Facebook Incrementality

The Effects of Facebook’s News Feed Update on Paid Advertising

On January 11, Facebook announced some major updates to its News Feed that will affect users and publishers in the coming months. Though the updates will enhance Facebook's user experience, the wake of the news has left businesses clamoring for answers and afraid that their social influence will wane and their advertising pockets run dry as the new changes take effect. 

Let's dive into the real story behind what the update entails and how it will affect businesses who leverage the platform for marketing purposes.

Why the Need to Update Facebook’s News Feed?

It was feedback from the Facebook community that prompted the popular social platform to make some key changes. 

Facebook users have stated that they prefer content from their friends and family over posts from brands and publishers which have been have been crowding their News Feed. Due to this user dissatisfaction, Facebook decided to pull back News Feed content from businesses, brands and media, and prioritize the content that helps users enjoy more meaningful social interactions. Facebook’s primary goal will always be to show its users the content they care most about and provide a platform to facilitate personal connections. 

Though some hysteria has erupted in the social publishing community over the ramifications of these changes for businesses, overall, the update will supply a higher measure of valuable content to users—and this is always a good thing.

Here are some specific effects businesses can expect from the update:

Facebook Update Effects on Organic Reach

Brands will experience less organic reach, but more so if they are baiting engagement. Baiting engagement refers to posting content with calls to action urging users to interact with it in some way. To make News Feed content more authentic, Facebook announced it will demote content like this that forces users to engage.

Here are some examples of engagement baiting:

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Facebook Update Effects on Paid Advertising

Though organic reach may suffer, Facebook’s updates will have minimal, if any effect on the number of ads shown to users. Facebook has stated that paid media ads will not suffer. The number of ads Facebook publishes will not change nor will less space be available from which advertisers can publish.

Due to the increased competition resulting from decreased organic reach, however, the potential exists for minimal increases in ad costs. Advertisers will likely see slight increases in CPAs and CPMs as it becomes more expensive to target certain audiences. 

Since brands will not be able to access the same size audience organically, they will be forced to invest more in paid ads if they want their communities to interact with the same volume of content they were accustomed to before the update. For example, if publishers post organic content that is not enjoying high reach, they may “boost” the post and pay for some additional exposure. The more ads Facebook needs to publish, the higher the competition for ad space, which drives up ad prices.  

Conclusion and Takeaways

If you were running Facebook ads before the update, you will likely not see any drastic changes in your campaigns as a result of Facebook’s new changes. In addition, if your ad content generates meaningful conversation, you will notice organic gains for your ads as well.

Facebook will always prioritize its users’ experience over its publishers'. So as a brand on Facebook, whether you post ads or organic content, focus on authenticity and publish meaningful content that sparks conversation. Prioritize your users’ experience as well and place a greater value on the content you publish. The more you prioritize the people you serve and align with Facebook’s mission, the less you need to worry about Facebook’s News Feed updates.

Knowing how to scale will also be key to getting the most out of your Facebook ad campaigns moving forward. If you want to learn how to scale your ads correctly to maximize your ad spend, download our free guide, The Ultimate Guide to Scaling your Facebook Advertising.

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