In a statement earlier this year, Facebook announced that it would be de-prioritizing publisher content in favor of content generated by users' friends and family. These algorithmic changes have caused major publishers to reevaluate digital content production and distribution strategies.
"For the average Facebook users, this change should be positive, resulting in more meaningful interactions, with an increasing focus on friends and connections over published media," says Alex Price at The Drum Network. "For the average publisher, however, this news might come as a concern."
Publishers Leaving Facebook: What Does This Mean for the Future of Digital Content?
In the past, Facebook utilized a complex ranking algorithm to determine which posts are visible on users' news feeds. This ranking algorithm prioritized content based on user engagement metrics including time-on-site, click-through-rates, and more. However, moving forward, posts from friends and family will receive an algorithmic boost. This change comes after Facebook experienced a major data breach, resulting in the misuse of more than 87 million users' data.
"The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long-term measures of happiness and health," says Zuckerberg. "On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they're entertaining or informative — may not be as good."
Zuckerberg expects users to spend less time on the platform, but hopes that interactions will be more valuable. "And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over time," continues Zuckerberg.
How Publishers Responded to Facebook's Algorithm Changes
As a result, many of the world's top publishers have chosen to leave the platform in favor of more impactful and audience-generating tools and tactics. This movement has been met with sharp criticism from executives and stakeholders at Facebook.
"My job is to make sure there is quality news on Facebook and that publishers who want to be on Facebook have a business model that works," says Head of News Partnerships, Campbell Brown. "If anyone feels this isn't the right platform for them, they should not be on Facebook."
In a recent statement, Brazil's largest newspaper, Folha de Sao Paulo, indicated that it would no longer be producing content for its 6 million Facebook followers. Additionally, LittleThings, a popular women-focused publisher, said that it is shutting its doors, largely due to the impact that Facebook's algorithmic changes have had on audience engagement.
"The prioritization of friends/family content of publishers was the last straw," said the company in a recent memo. "Our organic traffic (the highest margin business), and influencer traffic were cut by 75 percent. No previous algorithm update ever came close to this level of decimation."
How Publishers Can Combat Facebook's Algorithmic Changes
How can publishers fight back against Facebook's decision to demote commercialized content? NativeAI, a leader in audience intelligence and native advertising, recommends the following:
Understand Your Audience
Start by making a commitment to better understand your audience. What content do they find most useful? With a better understanding of audiences, publishers can craft content that aligns more closely with preferences, beliefs, and practices.
Create Rich Media Content
Consumers are interacting with video content at a greater velocity. Look for ways to engage audiences with video content including how-to videos, subject matter overviews, live interviews, and more.
Start a Conversation
Facebook is prioritizing content that inspires a thoughtful dialogue between friends and family. The best content is built around a single question: why does this matter? Keep audiences engaged by building messaging that encourages readers to share and discuss.
Publishers should seek alternative content distribution channels. This "umbrella approach" to content dissemination creates more widely accessible content. When publishers cast a wider net, engagement is bound to increase.
How NativeAI Can Help
Our platform features cutting-edge machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities designed to help publishers crush the competition, drive more meaningful engagement, and maximize revenue-generating capabilities. We offer two distinct solutions including:
- Publisher Analytics: Our publisher analytics solutions help advertisers to learn more about audiences. With deeper intelligence and insights, advertisers can learn more about the kind of content that users engage with and why they interact with it. Access our real-time dashboard for up-to-the-minute engagement metrics. Additionally, our Engagement Quality (EC) metric combines time spent, scroll depth, user action, story length, and more to analyze user's real value.
- Native Advertising: Our native advertising capabilities allow advertisers to reach the right audience. Through advanced algorithms, advertisers can create targeted advertisements based on more than sixty million audience interests. We have partnered with industry-leading web properties to ensure that content is viewed by highly qualified customers.
Is our system right for your organization? Try our FREE demo and unlock audience intelligence capabilities to drive more meaningful engagement.