Facebook's chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has recently announced a series of changes to the social media site that will impact user's News Feeds. He said in a post that, "One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent. We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That's why we've always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness. But recently we've gotten feedback from our community that public content -- posts from businesses, brands and media -- is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other."
Mark Zuckerberg expects that these recently announced changes will shrink the amount of news on Facebook by 20 per cent, to about 4 per cent of all content from 5 per cent currently. Facebook has become an important way for brands, media companies and other content creators to reach Facebook's growing audience, which now numbers more than 2.07 billion people. The recent changes mean that now brands will have to spend more to reach their audiences as organic reach of pages and publishers will keep declining.
As part of Facebook’s ongoing quality surveys, Facebook will now ask people if they’re familiar with a news source and if they trust it. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg provided a bit more detail about the thinking behind it in a post: “The idea is that some news organizations are only trusted by their readers or watchers, and others are broadly trusted across society even by those who don’t follow them directly,” Zuckerberg wrote. “(We eliminate from the sample those who aren’t familiar with a source, so the output is a ratio of those who trust the source to those who are familiar with it.)”.
Brands now will have to shell out more money to reach their fans on Facebook as a result of these changes in the news feed. There has been a slow decline in organic reach for Facebook pages for some time now. This means that publishers and page owners on Facebook will have to spend more to reach their audiences. For many brands, the bigger challenge will emerge from Facebook’s parallel war on low-quality brand content, with the platform’s December announcement that it was deprioritizing “engagement bait.” Brands that look to add value to people’s lives and invest in high-quality, original content will have the most sustained success.
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