Major Facebook News Feed update: how will this impact marketers?

January 16, 2018

The Facebook algorithm is going to change to prioritise and show more posts from friends and family (i.e., people in your network) and less from businesses, brands, and other public pages – but these will not be entirely removed.

The algorithms will now prioritise posts that are likely to generate person-to-person (people within your network) interactions rather than person-to-Page.

The algorithm will prioritise posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.

Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed at Facebook says, ‘To do this, we will predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about, and show these posts higher in feed.

These are posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to – whether that’s a post from a friend seeking advice, a friend asking for recommendations for a trip, or a news article or video prompting lots of discussion.’

Facebook says the move will not affect advertisements – users will continue to see the same ads as before. However, ads are likely to get more expensive as brands move away from organic content to paid in order to reach their audiences.

Why have Facebook made this change?

Facebook are trying to encourage ‘more meaningful interactions’ rather than ‘passive usage’ of Facebook (i.e., scrolling, not interacting, or ‘surface interactions’ such as likes and shares) which research has shown can contribute to feelings of depression and isolation. Whereas connecting with people we care about by commenting and engaging in ongoing discussion on social media promotes wellbeing.

And the company has long displayed concern over the decline in “organic sharing” – users posting content about their own lives, rather than simply sharing links to the wider web or professionally produced videos and photos. Users are more likely to share details about their own lives if they see others doing the same, and so promoting organic content begets more organic content.

How will it affect marketers and brands?

It is likely that organic reach, organic video watch time and organic referral traffic will decrease.

Mark Zuckerberg – ‘Now, I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down.’. Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.

People who want to see more posts from Pages they follow can choose See First in News Feed Preferences to make sure they always see posts from their favourite Pages.

What are our recommendations for marketers?


  • Become even smarter with social media advertising: apply accurate segmentation techniques. Drive better results by matching ad creatives with audience insights. Paid posts will have to be: engaging, original and make people feel good – as well as encouraging interactions.
  • Make better use of Facebook Groups to help increase engagement. Dedicate more time to responding to comments and to engaging in Groups.
  • Make better use of Facebook Live. Live videos tend to generate more comments and interaction because people can do so in real time. Live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos. Learn how to take advantage of Facebook Live by reading our blog.
  • Continue to encourage meaningful interactions and conversations – getting people to engage by commenting and starting back-and-forth discussions within the community and wider network – i.e., getting the audience to invite their friends and family to comment and discuss it.
  • Avoid using “engagement-bait” (goading people into commenting on or reacting to posts) as it is not a meaningful interaction and Facebook will continue to demote these posts in the News Feed.


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