What News/Media Orgs Need to Know about Today’s Important Facebook News Feed Change

Facebook today released its News Feed values statement to help sum up the company’s vision for how and why they give certain posts more visibility in News Feed. The prominent theme is that Friends and Family come first. Which, of course means brands like yours come second. This is the direction Facebook has been moving for quite some time and, based on this, they’re unlikely to change anytime soon. In fact, coupled with today’s announcement came this update for how News Feed rankings work. Again, the big theme: Friends and Family first. If News Feed is a series of knobs…this signals the turning up of one that has direct impact on the prioritization of “other” content in the Feed. Consider that any single Facebook user has roughly 1500 posts waiting for them when they log in. Of those, Facebook uses it’s News Feed algorithm to determine the 300 or so it thinks you care most about – and then shows you those. This tweaking of the dial means more posts from Friends and Family will make their way into the Feed, leaving less room for posts by brands. But all is not lost. News organizations have two distinct advantages in News Feed that set your News/Media Page apart from the average “Brand Page.”

  1. Your content is relevant. You’re not selling shoes. You are putting out important, sometimes life-saving information that your community and therefore your Facebook audience cares about. This means your organic engagement is likely to be higher than a standard Brand Page. And that signals to Facebook that users CARE ABOUT YOUR POSTS. Maybe not quite as much as they care about their sister’s new baby pictures…but arguably a lot more than they care about Nike or Puma’s latest Facebook marketing post. And this puts your Page’s value somewhere in the middle of the very important Friends and Family content and the not-at-all important brand/marketer content. Not a horrible place to be.
  2.  Friends and Family are sharing and engaging with your content. This is key. Facebook certainly will prioritize something a user’s friend creates and posts. That’s obvious. But they’re also taking a hard look at what that user’s friend likes, comments on, shares etc. And as soon that friend likes, comments on or shares a piece of content – BINGO – that content is elevated to being something the user’s “Friends and Family” care about. Which, for the content creator, means more exposure in News Feed.

So, fear not – while Facebook will most likely continue down this path of prioritization based on what Friends and Family care about, the key for News/Media Pages will be putting out great content that everybody cares about. Something you’re already doing.