Two Plus Two Equals Five: or the Disaster that is Facebook’s New Algorithm

Two months ago, Zuckerberg announced a new version of the much loathed Facebook Algorithm that would make it…that much more loathed (is that even possible) to businesses and professional pages alike. He was pushing away from businesses showing up in newsfeeds and making it more people focused.

His reasoning was that Facebook should be more friends and family oriented, and driven to give you the content you (supposedly) want to see. It would show “…less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard—it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

Well, it’s been a few months (though it feels like years) and the changes are definitely being felt.

Reach has DROPPED

Song’s stuck in your head now isn’t it.

First thing I noticed was the drastic change in reach on any of my ads, based on dollar amount spent. We’re talking in half here, if not lower. Tried and true audiences that I’ve used in the past suddenly didn’t work anymore – at least it looked that way, and not in the way they used to. Not gonna lie, it was a bit of a blow to the ego. I pride myself on my ability to develop a strong audience for my clients, so to see ROI shrink on successful audiences…bruised a little.

 

I had to go in and recreate the audiences with updated numbers, and massage what I had even further based on any of my most recent data. I cut down on how far back into the shift I was looking to determine audience patterns, and focused straight up on the here and now. It’s definitely helped, but I have a long way to go.

Costs are UP

Yes, this meme is old, shut up I love it.

So, you know, you can still reach the same audiences, but it’s going to cost you. I know Facebook is all about the ‘user experience’, but I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again: Facebook is in the business of making money for Facebook. There is a reason Facebook is directly targeting brands and professionals, there reason Instagram introduced its own algorithm, there is a reason Instagram also is going after even the harmless organic approaches, like comment pods – if people are finding ways around spending money on ads, then Facebook loses its biggest source of income. And they’re attacking them.

(On a particular note, this especially burns me when Facebook has a specific campaign option for driving people to like your business page, but has yet to introduce one on Instagram. If you aren’t going to give us the option of paid campaigns to drive numbers, then don’t take away our organic options.)

Facebook is in a bit of a Jam

Unless you live under a rock (and if you do, how the hell did you find this blog???), then you know all about Facebook’s scandals as of late: First there was the Russians getting in and using targeted propaganda ads to skew the 2016 Presidential Election. Now we’ve got the Cambridge Analytica disaster currently nosediving Facebook’s stock value. Both have had insanely detrimental effects on, not just the aforementioned stock value, but also the entire world’s trust in the social media behemoth. And when that happens, and you’ve got shareholders you have to make nice with, you have to do something to keep the funds from completely drying up. So how do you do that? Tweak the algorithm in such a way that the thousands (millions?) of companies that rely on it to do business are forced to shell out more money to keep reaching those same levels of target audiences. The tactic is practically Supply and Demand 101.

Do I have proof to what I’m bitching about saying? Only past experience, really, and frankly, when you live in a capitalist nation, the writing is just kind of on the wall.

But make no mistake, this won’t be changing back anytime soon (read: never). If you want to reach your audience, be prepared to go full Jackie Chan Black Belt on your audience assets, because nothing short of sheer perfect knowledge, understanding, and skill will get you what you had in the past.

Or, you know, you can just hire me. I’ve had a black belt in this ish for years.

Posted by Stephanie Cole

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