Social Media

Facebook’s Latest Update Means Lower Reach for Promotional Content

November 17, 2014

This past Friday, Facebook announced another update to its News Feed algorithm that will impact how promotional content from Pages is distributed. The update stems from a recent survey Facebook conducted of users to determine how they feel about the content in their News Feeds, where people indicated that they want to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content.

While the algorithm will limit the number of ads that can be served to a user, other promotional content can still be distributed by Pages as organic content. Beginning in January, Pages that post less desirable promotional creative can expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time. According to Facebook, this update will bring new volume and content controls for promotional posts, so that people will see more of the content they want from Pages.

Based on the survey feedback, below are the top traits which Facebook users feel  make organic posts feel too promotional:

  • Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  • Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  • Posts that reuse the exact same content from previous ads

Below are examples of these types of Page posts:




What does this mean for marketers?
Facebook users don’t want to see promotional content in their feeds, so brands that are publishing these types of posts should evolve to create better content – and integrate paid strategies to surface it. More specifically, moving forward, brands should avoid promotional phrases in content such as “buy now” and “shop now.”

To take things a step further, this update makes it clear that in order for a brand to have a strong, successful presence on this channel, they must have a paid strategy. Furthermore, it’s critical that insights are leveraged, and performance data is closely monitored, to ensure that brands are developing content that people care about.

For example, 360i client Hanes recently created a Facebook post with a nod to the popular movie Mean Girls. For this content, Hanes leveraged insight about its fans’ humor, and paired the content with a paid strategy to target the content to a specific audience. The post was well received by Hanes’ followers, and the brand’s approach is a great example of the kind of approach marketers should always try and take for all their content and campaigns.

It is important for marketers to remember that Facebook has unrivaled targeting abilities that allow brands to reach consumers with very specific messages, and that the platform will only continue to evolve. So for brands that haven’t changed their content approaches just yet, now is the time.

Learn more about creating successful social content on the 360i blog in “4 Characteristics of Highly Shareable Content” and “From A to E: 5 Steps for Creating Content that Resonates.”

Cover photo via CS Group