Article

Angela Southall
Angela Southall 20 September 2016

The Facebook Algorithm Changes. Something to Fear or Embrace?

Facebook recently announced what appeared to be a series of significant changes to its news feed algorithm, eliciting reactions ranging from confusion to despair among marketers. Are the changes something to be worried about?

What are its true implications for marketers, not least for those running referral campaigns (built on the power of social sharing)? Is it really all doom and gloom?

Here at Mention Me, we’ve been digging into what these changes mean and the impact they could be having on referral marketing. And we have to say, we think it’s good news.

The Key Changes: In Summary

Facebook actually announced three key developments in quick succession a few months back. Let’s get up to speed by running through each of them…

Change #1, announced 29 July:

Facebook publishes ‘News Feed Values’ document, emphasising commitment to prioritising friends’ over publishers’ interests.

What Facebook said:

"Our top priority is keeping you connected to the people, places and things you want to be connected to — starting with the people you are friends with on Facebook. That’s why if it’s from your friends, it’s in your feed, period — you just have to scroll down. To help make sure you don’t miss the friends and family posts you are likely to care about, we put those posts toward the top of your News Feed. We learn from you and adapt over time."

Change #2, announced 4 August:

Facebook announces a specific newsfeed algorithm change designed to reduce volume of so-called ‘clickbait’ articles

What Facebook said:

"We’ve heard from people that they specifically want to see fewer stories with clickbait headlines or link titles. These are headlines that intentionally leave out crucial information, or mislead people, forcing people to click to find out the answer… To address this… we’re making an update to News Feed ranking to further reduce clickbait headlines in the coming weeks. With this update, people will see fewer clickbait stories and more of the stories they want to see higher up in their feeds."

Change #3, announced 9 August:

Improved Ad preference controls for are released by Facebook

What Facebook said:

"We’re making ad preferences easier to use, so you can stop seeing certain types of ads. If you don’t want to see ads about a certain interest like travel or cats, you can remove the interest from your ad preferences. We also heard that people want to be able to stop seeing ads from businesses or organizations who have added them to their customer lists... These improvements are designed to give people even more control over how their data informs the ads they see."

Why These Seem Like good things for Marketers (but Especially Referral Marketing)

Basically, Facebook has prioritised the overall user experience of its newsfeed, over the capability of publishers and advertisers to spend their way in. And that feels like a big win for relevance and trust-based marketing.

The opportunity for referral marketing is fairly obvious. Referral is powered by real, authentic recommendations being shared organically via social channels. Including of course, Facebook… which has just announced it intends to make sure those authentic recommendations get seen above more obtuse, old-school paid advertising.

In fact, we took a look at Mention Me data from before and after Facebook’s main algorithm changes, and it suggests that referral may have already greatly benefitted. Comparing data 3 months prior to the change with 3 months after the change, we’ve see conversion rates from Facebook timeline sharing increase by 22%.  Coincidence? We think not.

In conclusion

By allowing users to choose to see less of the unwanted paid-for content on their newsfeed and more authentic content from their peers, Facebook has paved the way for referral marketing to win big via the social network.

Mention Me allows brands to create, experiment, and iterate highly customised Facebook sharing templates for their customers. Strike the right combination of headline, images and copy, and the results can be amazing.

For instance, following some careful experimentation and iteration this sharing design from Bloom & Wild converted 54% higher than average referral performance…

20160913_Facebook_changes.png

Create beautiful sharing templates that your customers will actually want to share (and their friends will want to click on) and the algorithm changes may actually work to your advantage.

As far as we’re concerned, Facebook and refer-a-friend is a match made in marketing heaven.

This post about Facebook's algorithm changes was previosuly published on the Mention Me Blog.

Please login or register to add a comment.

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

See all
How to Review a Website — A Guide for Beginners

How to Review a Website — A Guide for Beginners

A company website is crucial for any business's digital marketing strategy. To keep up with the changing trends and customer buying behaviors, it's important to review and make necessary changes regularly...

Digital Doughnut Contributor
Digital Doughnut Contributor 25 March 2024
Read more
The Impact of New Technology on Marketing

The Impact of New Technology on Marketing

Technology has impacted every part of our lives. From household chores to business disciplines and etiquette, there's a gadget or app for it. Marketing has changed dramatically over the years, but what is the...

Alex Lysak
Alex Lysak 3 April 2024
Read more
7 Reasons Why Social Media Marketing is Important For Your Business

7 Reasons Why Social Media Marketing is Important For Your Business

In the past two decades social media has become a crucial tool for marketers, enabling businesses to connect with potential customers. If your business has yet to embrace social media and you want to know why it is...

Sharron Nelson
Sharron Nelson 29 February 2024
Read more
10 Factors that Influence Customer Buying Behaviour Online

10 Factors that Influence Customer Buying Behaviour Online

Now is an era where customers take the center stags influencing business strategies across industries. No business can afford to overlook factors that could either break the customer experience or even pose a risk of...

Edward Roesch
Edward Roesch 4 June 2018
Read more
Mature Partnerships: The Revenue Stream You Need to Get to Know

Mature Partnerships: The Revenue Stream You Need to Get to Know

Discover how high-maturity partnership programmes are driving growth, with a Forrester survey showing companies with mature partnerships see up to 28% revenue increase. Insights reveal the importance of investing in...

Florian Gramshammer
Florian Gramshammer 19 March 2024
Read more