4 Ways to Kick Facebook’s Algorithm Update in the Teeth
Facebook has recently been rocking the boat with their EdgeRank algorithm in what some describe as a “money grab”. The good ol’ days of Facebook keeping its purist coolness, as depicted in The Social Network are apparently over. Reality has caught up and shareholders are real. It was only a matter of how – not if – Facebook would end up causing a stink with their monetization methods. The latest affects on Facebook reach and engagement really have marketers in a pickle.
The first 2 minutes of this video by Veritasium, a channel at Youtube primarily showcasing science videos, explain in layman’s terms the main issue that is causing reach to go down:
Interesting side note:
I actually posted this video in my Facebook page, and tried to pay to boost it, but it was rejected by Facebook. They won’t even let me pay them to get the message out that they’re making me pay to get my message out.
So, in an an attempt to make the news feed more valuable real estate so that companies pay for it, they are severely limiting what shows up in feeds. This used to be solved by clicking ‘most recent’ instead of ‘news feed’. Now, even when you are on ‘most recent’, like most people on Earth, you are being kept from seeing content.
I checked just to be sure this was the case.
Some of the Facebook pages I manage are managed under pen Facebook accounts (not my personal Facebook account). This is to preserve privacy and integrity between clients and myself. One day I posted a video directly to the client’s Facebook page, which I happen to like on my personal Facebook account. When logged into my personal Facebook page, the video was nowhere to be seen in my ‘most recent’ feed, nor when I clicked on the page itself to see its timeline. The only way to see the video was to go to the page’s videos and find it there.
Reach is exponentially down overall.
One of the pages I manage has about 7,500 likes, but posts are only getting about 50 to 100 views. Another page I managed had 70,000+ likes but only had a few thousand views per post. If the particular piece of content happened to be more engaging within the first 5 minutes of posting it, it was shown to more of the page’s fans.
Dear Facebook: What is the point of investing in, pruning, and building a following of “likes”, if they don’t see our posts? Didn’t gaining the “like” prove they want to see our content?
In the eyes of Facebook, you need to prove yourself worthy not only to get the “like”, but also for each post. Each post needs an unusually high engagement rate for it to have a chance at being seen by even 5% of your fan base.
Is Facebook biting the hand that feeds them?
The logical conclusion many marketers then came to is to invest more into Facebook ads. Essentially, “Pay to Play”. “OK, Facebook just wants me to show them a little love, so I’ll invest in ads, get more fans, and my posts will be seen more often, and we all win.”
Only, it appears that with the recent algorithm updates, even likes acquired through legitimate Facebook ads are causing more harm than good. You would think that they would be benign at worst, but they are having an actual negative affect.
This is another video put up by Veritasium that explains his experience buying likes through Facebook’s legitimate ads, and its results:
Conclusion and unintended consequence: Investing in real human “likes” is less valuable than ever.
What’s the solution?
The truth is, nobody has a perfect fix-all yet. No matter how awesome your content is, it’s very rare to hit that jackpot engagement rate that happens all at once, even with really good content. People just don’t click on everything anymore. How often do you scroll through your feed and see something cool, but don’t click it? I do that every day! Now Facebook takes that inaction as me not liking that content. It’s pretentious and unfortunate, and sooner or later, Facebook will need to change that or people will just get frustrated yelling into an empty room, and stop using Facebook. But there are a few things I’ve found that can help improve visibility. Feel free to work some of these into your Facebook strategy, or suggest your own in the comments below.
4 Ways to Beat the Algo Update:
- Incite an emotion in the viewer for Pete’s sake! Laughter, anger, agreement, something! Make them compelled to engage. Before posting, think: “If I saw this, would I think ‘Nobody cares.’?” then wonder why anyone else would respond differently.
- Post visual content. Feeds are ever more busy, and 75% of Facebook use is done on mobile phones, so just imagine someone scrolling through. Would your post stick out? Post visually eye catching content.
- Portrait oriented images get clicked more. Some marketers insist to “go square”, but one trick I have discovered is that if you leave some of the picture unseen in the feed, it demands a click to see the rest. Facebook sees a click on a picture as engagement, so boom! Memes that are portrait oriented with words on top and bottom work great. People need to click the image to see the punch line and hence, engage with the post.
- If you pay for ads, spend it on a post, not a like. You might as well get some post engagement out of your money, so if you must spend money, boost a really great post every so often instead of buying likes. This does well for me, and has a residual side-effect of getting page likes.
I hope you get some use out of this information. If running your own Facebook page is too much of a hassle and you want someone who’s on top of it to keep you on top, you’re in luck! I do that!