Once again, Facebook is changing the news feed to pump up the volume of personal updates vs branded Page updates. At least this time, they’re being honest about why they’re making the shift.
Usually, they play the “we’re just giving you what you want” card which never made any sense. I follow Pages for a reason, yet Facebook assumes to know what I want better than I do.
Through testing, we have found that when people see more text status updates on Facebook they write more status updates themselves. In fact, in our initial test when we showed more status updates from friends it led to on average 9 million more status updates written each day. Because of this, we showed people more text status updates in their News Feed.
Over time, we noticed that this effect wasn’t true for text status updates from Pages.
Let’s stop and think about this a minute. When my friend posts a message to me about a vacation she’s planning. That might prompt me to write an update about my vacation plans. I also wonder if this applies to shared responses. For example, my friend posted one of those “share this to your feed” chain letter thingies, which I dutifully copied to my feed. There’s social cause and effect there, I get it.
When I see a post from my favorite grocery store, it’s unlikely to cause me to post about my recent grocery shopping trip. However, that grocery store post has a $5 off coupon so it’s more valuable to me than my friend’s chain letter.
So assigning value based on response is ridiculous and yet it’s another blow to Pages managers.
As a result, the latest update to News Feed ranking treats text status updates from Pages as a different category to text status updates from friends. We are learning that posts from Pages behave differently to posts from friends and we are working to improve our ranking algorithms so that we do a better job of differentiating between the two types. This will help us show people more content they want to see.
And there they go, saying it’s all about helping me see what I want to see. Facebook! I follow brand Pages for a reason. Why would I NOT want to get their updates?
Still. . .
Page admins can expect a decrease in the distribution of their text status updates, but they may see some increases in engagement and distribution for other story types.
What’s less than zero?
Facebook goes on to say that this is just about “Text” updates (as opposed to. . . . ?) and they recommend a change in how you share links which I also don’t understand.
They say don’t put the link in the status box like this:
I’m confused because when I type a link in the box (example 1), I often get a result that looks like example 2. But I don’t have control over that. Sometimes it formats properly, sometimes it doesn’t. If anyone can tell me how to make it work every time, please do.
At this point, Facebook might as well just make brands pay to use the service in return for visibility. At least we’d all have a clear understanding of what’s going to show up and what’s not. Time to stop wasting time and find a system that works.