Why is Facebook's Algorithm Focusing on "Meaningful Interactions"?
Zuckerburg explained that Facebook would be making on-going changes over the course of 2018 that would make the time spent on Facebook more meaningful. Research showed that time spent on Facebook was becoming increasingly more passive. Users were no longer liking, commenting, or sharing as much content as they had previously. By modifying the algorithm that determines the ranking of posts, users will more easily find content that they will readily engage with, thus increasing the number of meaningful interactions that brought users to Facebook in the first place.
Zuckerburg notes that he is expecting a decrease in time spent on Facebook, but he is okay with that because if the time is more meaningful, Facebook will be accomplishing its goals. He says that “helping people connect is more important than maximizing the time they spend on Facebook.”
The Facebook News Feed
Every Facebook newsfeed starts as a blank slate. Each user fills their feed by adding friends and family that they care about and following publishers that they are interested in. Each time you like, comment, or share a post, Facebook is able to collect more information about the kind of content you are inclined to engage with. Do you like a lot of photos but scroll past text-only posts? Do you spend a lot of time with videos, but move along when a long form post appears? All of these actions form proxies that help Facebook predict what kind of content you would most like to see.
With the information that Facebook gathers from your behavior, each post is assigned a relevancy score and then ordered in your news feed accordingly. The algorithm continuously gathers information based on your behavior each time you get on your news feed with the intention of providing an exceptional user experience each and every time you log in.
What Does This Mean For Brands?
There are approximately 65 million active business pages on Facebook that average 1.5 posts per day. That is more than 97 million posts coming from business pages alone on any given day. With such a high volume of posts, it is no surprise that the organic reach is a mere 2 percent.
With the “meaningful interactions” update, the Facebook algorithm is docking posts that are overly salesy, spammy or have unusual engagement patterns which are a signal of click-baiting. What it comes down to is that this update does not bring anything with it that businesses didn't already know. People want to see interesting content, simple as that.
Facilitating Meaningful Interactions
As marketers, we have seen this shift in the digital world towards data-driven content that is designed to engage a targeted audience. This research-based content generation is the key to creating the meaningful interactions that will help your business succeed on Facebook, but research alone won't cut it. In order to make Facebook more user-centric, there are inherent benefits that brands can take advantage of. Features like lookalike audiences and audience optimization help you expand the reach of the content you are generating on the platform to relevant users.
This doesn't have the desired effect though if you are not creating the right content. We already know that overly promotional posts will get you nowhere, so how do you establish your brand as a leader in the eyes of your target consumer?
Experimentation Is The Answer
No brand will be able to succeed off of the strategies of another. In order to capitalize on the Facebook algorithm updates, business pages will need to experiment with the types of content they are generating and continuously evaluate the success each post. When you find what works for your brand and captures your audiences' attention, you run with it.
The “meaningful interactions” update is not the death of Facebook marketing, but rather a starting point for brands to facilitate genuine relationships with their audience. It will be a challenge, no doubt, to determine what will and won't work for your brand, but the end result when done right will be a more loyal customer base and, ultimately, more sales.
If you're interested in creating meaningful interactions on and off Facebook, contact FiG Advertising + Marketing today to see what our social media specialists can do for you.