Facebook Pages Reach Zombie Status: Changes To Algorithm Render Many Posts DOA

Facebook recently announced that beginning in January, promotional posts from Pages will virtually disappear from fans’ newsfeeds.  It is our understanding that it will be extremely difficult for ‘salesy’ posts about products, app installs, promotions or sweepstakes entries to organically make it into users’ newsfeeds.

However, this shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, Facebook only serves up a small portion of posts to a user's newsfeed from the thousands that are posted.  Most Page content currently only reaches an extremely small percentage of a brand’s total fans. 

In the good old days of Facebook you could post just about anything and it would end up in users’ newsfeeds, but that is long gone and this announcement is further proof from the social network giant that there needs to be a clear delineation in your strategy between social marketing and advertising on social channels.

If your content is already great  and you are reaching your audience, this new change in Facebook’s newsfeed, won’t reduce your organic reach.  Brands can still use Facebook as distribution for advertising and promotional content, it will just require an ad buy.    The micro-targeting is so great on Facebook, it makes sense to include it in your overall digital marketing ad buy.

What Should Brands Do About It

  1. Don’t freak out.
  2. Allocate additional budget for Facebook advertising.
  3. Double down on your content strategy.  Work extra hard to create exceptional content.
  4. Get intimate with Facebook advertising units.
  5. Stop posting ads masquerading as social content, it has never fooled anyone.
  6. Identify which content is truly social and which content is advertising and promotional.
  7. Develop Facebook strategies for social content and advertising/promotional content.  They need to be treated differently.
  8. Understand what content your audience shares, likes and comments on.  Do more of that.
  9. Expect that your organic reach may drop precipitously.

What Qualifies As A Promotional Post

Reportedly, brand posts that include an ask to enter a sweepstakes, agitate for a sale, or enter to win would most likely qualify as a promotional post.  According to Facebook, these are the traits that make posts feel too promotional:

  • Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  • Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  • Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

Here are some examples directly from Facebook:

Facebook Example of Promotional Post

Facebook Example of Promotional Post

If your brand posts are providing value to your consumer, then this change probably won’t change your strategy.  However, if your brand just views Facebook as another advertising channel then you are going to have to revisit how you’re using the social network.

The brass ring of social marketing is getting consumers to talk about your brand with their friends.  This new change to Facebook puts more pressure on brands to use the huge social platform for what it was intended, a great place for consumers to gather and connect.  Ultimately this will provide a more valuable audience for brands that can get social marketing right.