Last week Facebook announced three updates to its News Feed algorithm based on feedback from its users, the aim being to offer a better balance between updates from personal contacts and businesses they are connected to. These changes mean that content from friends will become more prominent in the News Feed, multiple updates from the same friend can be seen in succession and content that has been commented on by friends will have a lower priority (i.e. those from businesses such as yours).
In their blog of 21st April 2015, Facebook’s Max Eulenstein, Product Manager and Lauren Scissors, User Experience Researcher said:
“The impact of these changes on your page’s distribution will vary considerably depending on the composition of your audience and your posting activity. In some cases, post reach and referral traffic could potentially decline. Overall, pages should continue to post things that people find meaningful and consider these best practices for driving referral traffic.”
They conclude ominously for that viral reach we all like so much:
“Lastly, many people have told us they don’t enjoy seeing stories about their friends liking or commenting on a post. This update will make these stories appear lower down in News Feed or not at all, so you are more likely to see the stuff you care about directly from friends and the pages you have liked.”
What does this mean for your business and what are the best ways of driving referral traffic?
In short, Facebook is becoming a far less efficient “free” tool to market your business, and paying to boost posts is becoming a necessity to reach your hard-won audience. Even then, when paying for boosts, your content still needs to be ‘quality’ and meet the the Facebook criteria for boosting.
You should be using your Facebook posts (and other channels) to drive traffic to your own website where you have complete control over the content, keeping it relevant and valuable to your visitors.
According to www.marketingland.com:
“If a visitor arrives on your site from Facebook and it’s boring, chances are they’ll head right back into the Facebook vacuum where the cycle begins again. And sadly, when it comes to social traffic, that’s exactly what happens most of the time for brands and publishers alike. But research from Chartbeat shows that if you can hold visitors’ attention for three minutes, they are twice as likely to return to your site than if you only hold them for one minute.”[separator type=’normal’ color=’#ffffff’ thickness=’1′ up=’10’ down=’10’]