Facebook Sucker Punches Brands With News Feed Updates

This past weekend Facebook did a nice karate kick to marketers and brands…right in the face.  And the web was ablaze with reaction.  I saw countless posts about how to fix Facebook’s new homepage.  Even protest groups have sprouted up.  The “Facebook: SWITCH BACK TO THE OLD NEWS FEED!!!” group has already reached 1,000,000 members in just three days.

As with all things at The Real-Time Marketer, we’re not so much not interested in what Facebook users think, we’re concerned with what these updates mean to marketers and business owners.

Evaluation:  The new Facebook update was a sucker punch to brands.

In case you missed it, Facebook added 3 new features this weekend.  The most notable being an updated News Feed.  You can read more about it HERE.

In short, the new News Feed changes to Facebook over the weekend were that “highlights” of your News Feed are now the default status, and all the updates you were used to seeing are known as The Live Feed.

The problem to marketers or anyone with a Facebook Page is that your brand’s Page updates are now at the mercy of the Facebook algorithm.  This magical math formula controlled by the Wizard behind the curtain is what now determines if your Page updates will be seen by your fans…or if it will be ignored on the other side in the land of the lost…know as the Live Feed page.

As a brief test, to see how many updates I’ll actually see throughout the day, I “Fanned” several new pages last night.  Today:  Only 2 updates from Pages showed up in my feed out of 26 updates.  And one of those was my own page.

So basically, 1 out of 26 updates are seen?  That’s not a super high percentage for us marketers or business owners.

According to Facebook: “You’ll see the most interesting things that happened on the last day in the “News Feed” view. News Feed picks stories that we think you’ll enjoy based on a variety of factors including how many friends have liked and commented on it and how likely you are to interact with that story.”

So exactly what decides what’s interesting?  This is an absolute punch in the junk to marketers.  You’ve worked your tail off acquiring Fans to sign up for your page…now they most likely aren’t even going to see your updates.

Facebook’s thinking is obvious…to encourage users to interact with more and grow closer to the people they already have a history of interacting with.  Weaker social connections (like with brand Pages) are less prioritized in this view.

My opinion is that it should be up to each individual user to determine which contacts they interact with.  The new News Feed basically determines that for you.  This is not good for brand Pages.

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Scott S Bishop
Scott S. Bishop is editor for Real Time Marketer and a marketing strategist with a specialty in social media. He is an avid blogger and active across the net. He is @thescottbishop on Twitter
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