The recent announcement by social media giant Facebook of a change in its newsfeed algorithm has claimed its first casualty.
Recall that Facebook had earlier announced it is changing its News Feed to prioritize posts from friends, family members, and groups over posts from publishers and brands.
This according to Facebook will prioritize posts that ignite conversations and meaningful interactions between friends while demoting the many videos, news stories and business posts that users consume passively without commenting and sharing.
In the Facebook post, Mark Zuckerberg said the change was informed by research that shows the “well-being” of users is better served by connecting with friends and family than by “passively reading articles or watching videos.”
“AS WE ROLL THIS OUT, YOU’LL SEE LESS PUBLIC CONTENT LIKE POSTS FROM BUSINESSES, BRANDS, AND MEDIA,” ZUCKERBERG SAID.
The news has left many online publishers and brands uncertain about the impact it may have on their businesses, especially as many have pivoted to video and have leveraged on Facebook’s 2 billion active monthly users to increase their views.
Reports, however, has it that this new algorithm tweak by the social media giant will negatively impact the survival of many online brands and publishers.
Recently, a digital publishing company Little Things announced it is shutting down operations. Launched in 2014, Little Things had amassed over 12 million Facebook followers, and its videos regularly generated thousands, if not millions, of views.
LittleThings, R.I.P. Oh the cruelty of algorithms
— Lucia Moses (@lmoses) February 27, 2018
Sadly, the introduction of this new feed algorithm by Facebook took out roughly 75% of Little Things’ organic traffic while hammering its profit margins.
What this means for Nigerian Brands and Digital Publishers.
To win in a shifting social media environment, Nigerian brands and publishers must find ways to mitigate their dependence on Facebook to generate audience traffic, since that traffic will now decrease.
While some publishers that have taken advantage of clickbait images and titles may fail to succeed in this transition, those publishers that are truly creating good content with a good user experience will pull through.
Followers will always desire more content from their favourite outlets and from brands that they trust. Winning publishers can provide this solution by focusing their content distribution and monetization outside of the Facebook News Feed.
Nigerian brands and publishers must innovate their advertising strategies as well by moving beyond ‘boring banner ads’ and tapping into the shifting audience preferences for higher quality and more engaging content on social media platforms.
Nigerian Brands would have to create more engaging and interactive content such as Polls, questionnaires, contests.
Also, Facebook Live videos are more engaging and people like to spend more time in engaging with such content than just sharing a brand video.
Definitely, Marketers who were heavily reliant on Facebook will need to think of other social media channels to post brand updates and also rethink strategies of engagement on Facebook.