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Did your brand benefit from the latest Facebook algorithm change, Tactical Social Media; #BeTactical

Facebook Algorithm Change (2015): Did Your Brand Benefit?

The 2015 Facebook Algorithm Change

Back in April, when Facebook updated its algorithm back in April (2015), rather than simply post what changed, I decided to break down what each change in the latest Facebook algorithm meant for brand pages. I stated at the time that “(f)or some brands, this latest Facebook algorithm change will be a major benefit” for brand pages who post good content, drive interaction and engagement with their fan base and are truly social will see big gains.”

Did your brand benefit from the latest Facebook algorithm change, Tactical Social Media; #BeTactical

My question two months later?  Did your brand actually benefit?  There is more than enough anecdotal evidence in my personal feed alone (backed up by page insights) to make some general conclusions regarding the impact of the latest change.  Brand pages who posted good content drove interaction and engagement with their fan base and were truly social saw big gains from April’s Facebook algorithm change.

I spent a good deal of time recently scrolling through my personal feed tallying posts and looking at the content and ‘publisher’.  Combined with the activity I’ve noticed on close to two dozen pages I manage/admin over the past couple of months, what I am seeing is a clear win for brand pages.

Recap: The three significant Facebook algorithm changes

 

Significant Facebook Algorithm Change:  Posts about friends liking or commenting on a page’s content will be pushed down the news feed.

The Anecdotal Evidence:  Just looking at my personal feed, posts about what my friends like and comment on is all but gone.  I ran through 25 posts (my feed is defaulted to ‘recent stories’) just yesterday afternoon and found only 1.  It was the first time in several weeks I can recall seeing stories about friends liking or even commenting on content from others.  I have seen more shares, however.  I posted previously that the removal of ‘like and comment’ stories could hurt brands (liking your own content, leveraging a few friends or ‘core fans’ to like posts for visibility was a short-term tactic many employed to get visibility) and this has proven to be the case.  The flip side – shared content is now more likely to be seen, even if it’s shared by someone who is constantly posting!

I do want to add for several pages I manage, comments on posts DO have a positive impact on reach.  I tracked a few posts over a 24 hour period, then commented as myself and tagged another individual to comment as well. Within a few hours, post reach tripled.  To avoid the possibility that the posts were already viral, relevant or otherwise ‘Top Stories’ I purposely posted at off times based on page insights and in some cases, content was truly irrelevant to the brand’s audience.  Most of the posts saw an initial reach of single digits or low double digits.

Since post reach is only a measure of how many see a specific piece of content in their feed either Facebook is choosing to show comments and likes at random, is counting views in the ticker as feed views, or quite possibly, Facebook is toying with ‘influencers’ and comments and likes by certain individuals affect what you see in your feed (similar to how your connections and influencers in Google+ affect SERPs).

 

Significant Facebook Algorithm Change:  Facebook will allow multiple content from individual publishers to show in your feed.

The Anecdotal Evidence:  In that same string of 25 posts I found one instance of multiple posts from the same author. This morning, with the next 25 posts I looked at, there were 3 by one author.  Over the past two weeks, I have consistently seen multiple content from individual publishers.

What makes what I’m seeing more impressive?  In many cases, it hasn’t just been multiple content from individual publishers.  It’s been multiple content from brand pages!

 

Significant Facebook Algorithm Change:  Trying to balance the content you see in the right mix.

The Anecdotal Evidence:  This one can be a little harder to quantify as I’m not sure if ‘content mix’ referred to brand vs individual, content type (video, link, image) or a combination.  I can tell you my feed is still more heavily video posts, but I am seeing more links and text only posts than previously.

Interesting note –  I’ve seen overall video views decrease for pages with smaller fan bases since the latest Facebook algorithm change.

With respect to individuals vs brands, I think Facebook has done a better job of showing a mix.  While I can run through my feed at any given time and only see a handful of brand page posts (2 in 25 as I am writing this) I have seen brand posts dominate my feed.  Remember that 25 post reference above? Fifteen of those 25 posts were from brand pages!

I’ve run a few tests purposely posting when I know certain fans are online and without prompting they’ve been liking that content.  Without question brand page posts are much more likely to show in feeds since the April Facebook algorithm update.  What I found most telling – I now see content from my own pages in my feed!

The Insights

Of course, anecdotal evidence only tells part of the story.  I pulled insights for posts on the Tactical Social Media brand page activity for January through April and then again for May through mid-July.

Tactical Social Media's Insights BEFORE the latest Facebook algorithm change in April of 2015; #BeTactical

There is a very noticeable spike in activity at the end of April, and while that level wasn’t sustained in later months, there was a noticeable increase in post engagement after the latest algorithm update.

Tactical Social Media's Insights AFTER the latest Facebook algorithm change in April of 2015; #BeTactical

To be fair, there are still plenty of low points (I do experiment with my own posting tactics) but there was clearly an increase in overall post engagement since algorithm update.  What stood out was the jump in posts seeing more than 10 points of engagement.

With only 149 fans on the page at this point and only a few increases per week, page likes didn’t contribute to the numbers and as I have generally only posted once daily over the past 6 months, the increases aren’t attributable to frequency.

The April 2015 Facebook algorithm change is a ‘win’ for brand page owners.

My Take

While this is not a real study by any means, the April 2015 Facebook algorithm change is a ‘win’ for brand page owners.  It isn’t, however, a return the ‘post it and they’ll see it days’ of the past.  I mentioned purposely posting content at odd times and of irrelevant content to limit reach – well, reach WAS limited.  While the change helps, “Brand pages who post good content, drive interaction and engagement with their fan base and are truly social will see big gains.”

Benefiting from the update still requires:

  • Posting timely, relevant and shareable content (#BeTactical)
  • Driving interaction and engagement, and being engaged (#BeSocial)
  • Posting timely – it’s critical you regularly monitor your insights to find the best times for you to post)
  • Posting consistently

.

The Latest Facebook Algorithm Change, April 2015: Facebook Organic Reach = (Quality Content + Post Timing) x Post Frequency + Engaged Fans; Tactical Social Media: a Tacoma, WA / South Sound Social Media Consulting Agency

Facebook Organic Reach = {(Quality Content + Post Timing) x Post Frequency} + Engaged Fans
Where Quality Content = Content x (Relevant + Timely + Sharable)
Where Engaged Fans = Active Fans / Total Fans

What’s Your Take?

Are you seeing more page stories in your personal feed?  Have you seen any increase in post reach?  Do you think the April 2015 Facebook algorithm change has helped?  If not, could it just be your content or posting strategy/tactics?

The Latest Facebook Algorithm Change, April 2015: Facebook Organic Reach = (Quality Content + Post Timing) x Post Frequency + Engaged Fans; Tactical Social Media: a Tacoma Social Media Consulting Agency

The Latest Facebook Algorithm Change (April 2015)

Will (Did) Your Brand Benefit?

Facebook gets some heavy criticism from brand and pages admins on algorithm changes.  What was a great tool to get visibility for just showing up and posting morphed into a “you need to work hard at it and maybe add a few of your hard-earned dollars” tool?  Most saw this as a negative, for those brands that did social media right, it hurt but certainly wasn’t a death-blow.  The latest Facebook algorithm change (there are three significant changes) looks to be no different.  How brand pages will be affected depends on several factors.  For some brands, this latest Facebook algorithm change will be a major benefit.

 

The Latest Facebook Algorithm Change, April 2015: Facebook Organic Reach = (Quality Content + Post Timing) x Post Frequency + Engaged Fans; Tactical Social Media: a Tacoma, WA / South Sound Social Media Consulting Agency

 

Facebook Organic Reach

The primary measure Facebook has given us to measure post effectiveness is “reach” – how many saw your content in their feed (not that this in and of itself was a good measure).  Initially, liking a page meant seeing content.  That meant good reach.  Shifts over the years have limited content from ‘liked’ pages being seen in favor of content and activity from your friends.  Facebook assumed this was what people wanted.  It went so far as telling us what our friends were up to with Open Graph and details in our feeds.

Organic Reach took a deep hit unless brands provided timely, relevant content or paid to have their content show.  It seems Facebook got this ‘half’ right.  People complained about sponsored posts they didn’t want to see and being shown content friends liked or commented on they could care less about.  People, it turns out, don’t want a play-by-play of what their friends do.  They want content FROM their friends and pages.  Afterall, that’s why they connected with people and liked pages.

 

Enter the latest Facebook algorithm change.

Significant Facebook Algorithm Change:  Posts about friends liking or commenting on a page’s content will be pushed down the news feed.

What does it mean for pages? Brand pages who relied on a couple of engaged fans to leverage reach through likes and comments will mean a further drop in those already dismal reach numbers. Unless you have other methods in place to drive fans to your Facebook content (if you want to know more, contact us now), this will have a significant impact on Facebook’s value for your brand.   

 

A larger fan base that isn't actively engaged has no value. You still need numbers, but you need active numbers. How you get those fans and who they are matters.Click To Tweet

 

Significant Facebook Algorithm Change:  Trying to balance the content you see in the right mix.

Facebook seems to have taken the stance that if you engage, you want to see it.  While the change is designed to show more of “content posted by the friends you care about”, we cannot help but think ‘friends’ includes ‘pages’ – “If you like to read news or interact with posts from pages you care about, you will still see that content in News Feed.”

What does it mean for pages? Brand pages with good fan bases that are active, who post quality content will have that content seen by their fans.  While reach will increase, but only within your core fan base.  Expanding your ‘Reach’ will now require more sharing by your fans.   Now, more than ever, your better content needs to be timely, relevant and shareable.  If your content is already there, this change is a major win for you.

Significant Facebook Algorithm Change:  Facebook will allow multiple content from individual publishers to show in your feed.

What does it mean for pages? Previously Facebook had rules in place to essentially prevent individual publishers (friends and pages) from monopolizing your feed.  While that meant seeing more content from your entire network it also meant missing out on content from those you interact with the most.  While we don’t suggest leveraging this as a tactic to purposely drive more reach, when you do have additional content, it will get seen.  Again, if your content is up to par, this is a win for you as well.

 

My Take

The latest Facebook algorithm change might be the first I’m happy to see.  Brand pages who post good content, drive interaction and engagement with their fan base and are truly social will see big gains.  Like Google’s algorithm changes designed to weed out ‘Black Hat’ SEO practices, this change should have the same effect, reward those who are doing it right.

The only downside we can see initially while being social and relevant are still key, as they always have been, smaller pages will be hurt more than larger ones.  Expanding your reach will require a bigger and more active (bigger alone is not enough) fan base.  For some brands, who were seeing good numbers in the past without having to ante up, they may now.

Again, do it right, and you may just see some big rewards.  Of course, while more organic reach is good, we still caution of focusing too much on it.

UPDATE:  It does appear that those brands ‘doing it right’ should have seen a big uptick in visibility a result of this particular Facebook algorithm change.  Did YOUR brand?