It’s that time of year again – Facebook is updating it’s algorithm to make the News Feed a more ‘user friendly’ experience for its audience. As marketers let out a collective groan of despair, we look at what’s changed and more importantly, what it means for you.

In summary, here are the 3 changes users can expect to see over the following weeks:

  1. Users should start to see more posts in News Feed from friends that they might’ve been missing before.
  2. Updates showing friends liking or commenting on posts will show less in the News Feed, or not at all.
  3. Users may start to see multiple updates in a row from the same source (Facebook has previously stopped this from happening to encourage variety).

What does this mean for marketers?

As with all changes to its algorithm, Facebook’s aim is to improve user experience. And this time, their core aim is to allow more content filtering for those users who do not see a lot of updates in their News Feed.

And so from this perspective, it’s not all bad news for marketers – Facebook is not specifically setting out to curb Business Page posts in general.

However, your reach (meaning the number of people who Like your Page who will see your updates in their News Feeds) may decline if you do not have a regular posting strategy or do not post content that your audience deems ‘meaningful’. With Facebook, the more popular your are with your Fans, the more their algorithm shares your updates to a wider audience.

What is worrying though, is that Fan Pages may see a decline in what’s called ‘second hand reach’, where users will see that ‘Friend ‘X’ has just liked a post from…’. We’ll track the results of this over the coming months and share the results.

So what can you do?

Well currently, the full impact of these changes is yet to be seen, and it may mean marketers are pushed more and more into paying to boost posts on the site to get maximum engagement.

A plus side of this is that Facebook paid advertising has incredibly granular demographic targeting, which can make a small budget go a long way, when used thoughtfully.

And while Facebook has little official reassurance to offer marketers, their spokespeople reiterated Pages should continue to post things that people find meaningful and consider these best practices for driving referral traffic.” See: http://media.fb.com/best-practice/drive-referrals/