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Facebook Announced Changes to News Feed: Here’s What Marketers Need to Know

On January 11th, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in a post changes to the social network’s News Feed algorithm that will prioritize content from “friends, family, and groups,” ahead of Pages.

“As we roll this out,” Zuckerberg wrote, “You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard—it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

Facebook also posted a video about the shift featuring Mark Hull, Director of Product Management.

“We’ll also consider whether a potential interaction is between two people, or between a person and a Page. Person-to-person will be more valuable than person-to-Page. Connections with people in your network will get the biggest boost because interacting with people you’re close to is more meaningful,” said Hull.

The hope is that by encouraging more interactions between friends, users’ Facebook experience will become more meaningful. For example, users may see more photos of their friends’ vacations and fewer Buzzfeed articles. It’s worth noting that Facebook has been seeking to address the decrease in personal sharing and engagement for a while and even set up an internal team to address the issue.

What this Means for Marketers

As these changes roll out in the next few months, Pages will most likely witness a decline in organic reach. To what extent will entirely depend on how well your Page is able to adjust to the changes. Rest assured that Facebook is not eliminating your State Page content from News Feed, but posts sparking the most discussion and shares among users will be displayed more.

So what kinds of content will users see more of in News Feed? Some examples include
Facebook Live broadcasts, content from friends and family, posts from friends asking for recommendations, and articles or videos that prompt discussions. Keep in mind that
comments are more valuable than Likes in terms of positive algorithmic ranking. It’s likely the changes to News Feed will impact ads, specifically the cost of them. The decreased supply and increase demand of ad real estate may spike the price of ads.

Strategies for Marketers Moving Forward

Regularly Post Engaging Content that Encourages Comments. Zuckerberg stated, “Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution.” So make sure to share images, pose meaningful questions, and post once per day. But proceed with caution as certain posts can be considered “engagement bait” by the algorithm, and be penalized. Examples of things not to say in a post:

Tell Your Community to Follow Your Facebook Page. Facebook users can still choose “See First” in their News Feed preferences to make ensure they see posts from their favorite Pages (i.e., ARNG State Pages). How do you do that? (1) Click "Follow" near the cover photo of a Page, (2) Hover over "Following" or "Liked" near the cover photo, (3) Select "See First."

Go Live. States should use this opportunity to explore Facebook Live video broadcasts. Facebook’s Head of News Feed Adam Mosseri said, “Live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact, on average they get six times as many interactions as regular videos.”

Rethink Your Ad Budget. Think if you need to scale your budget up for Facebook
ads or down to allocate more money to ads elsewhere. Analyze your ad
performance over the next few months and determine if algorithm changes are
impacting your Page engagement. Facebook is re-prioritizing Page content and
your ad management skills will be more valuable than ever.

Data from CAMPO tells us that Facebook is the number one lead generating
social media platform for States, so make sure to revamp your strategy and
explore new ways of interacting with your audience. As always, send any
questions to our dedicated ARNG social media support team.