What Facebook’s news feed change means for brands

Facebook has introduced sweeping changes to the News Feed – changing how users see and consume organic news and branded content. Rumors started swirling last year about changes to the News Feed which deprioritize branded and media content, but Facebook is now confirming big changes are coming.

In the weeks ahead, users will begin seeing fewer viral videos (yes, even Buzzfeed Tasty treats), news articles shared by media companies, and organic branded content.

Instead, Facebook is refreshing the News Feed to be more human. Expect to see more posts with personal relevance – a photo of your family dog that’s getting attention or a status update from your best friend that’s worthy of engagement.

“We want to make sure that our products are not just fun, but are good for people – we need to refocus the system.” Mark Zuckerberg said in a recent statement about the change.

While some may misconstrue this as a slap at brands and media companies on the platform, it’s more likely intended to limit the amount of “fake news” being spread on the platform. Since the U.S. presidential election, Facebook has been under scrutiny for limited review and regulation of what’s posted and has pledged to clean it up.

What does this mean for brands?

– Paid Media Matters: With the deprioritization of organic branded content in the News Feed, brands need to be more intentional with their paid media budgets to ensure content is reaching consumers. No longer can brands rely on content that’s not married to a sound paid media strategy.

– Influencers Matter More: Tastemakers with a natural tie to your brand are more meaningful than ever. Influencers, especially subject matter experts and micro-influencers with more personal ties to individual Facebook users, will be key for brands looking to reach audience in the network.

– More Meaningful Content: Facebook’s shift to include more stories from your friends and family mean users will be accustomed to seeing fewer viral videos and more human-centric content. Branded content should reflect these norms, shying away from photos or ads that are outwardly promotional. Content that drives action and elicits a consumer response from friends and family members of target audiences should be a priority for brands, given the emphasis on content from personal connections.

Golin is working closely with our partners at Facebook as these changes are implemented, and we’ll share additional information as it becomes available.

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