This week, Facebook announced its latest round of changes to the News Feed algorithm. Once again, it doesn’t exactly sound like great news for people running Facebook pages. While there were three different changes, the one that has people and businesses worried sees Facebook showing people more content from their friends and less from Pages, at least for those who don’t engage with Pages as much.
The update doesn’t come as much of a surprise, as Facebook has made multiple changes over the past year and a half or so that have cost Pages a great deal of the organic reach of their posts. Still, that doesn’t exactly make it easier to swallow for Pages that have spent years gaining followings on the social network.
There has also been a lot of talk about Facebook’s reported efforts to get publishers to let it host their content, which Facebook sees as a way to deliver content to users more quickly, particularly on mobile devices, where more and more of Facebook’s traffic is coming from. This has been another controversial topic.
On Wednesday, Facebook reported its earnings for the first quarter, and on the ensuing conference call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg was asked about both of these things in one question.
He said that “the North Star” for Facebook in News Feed is that it wants to produce the best experience for users, and that businesses and professional content producers are not their main interest. They want tools for the businesses and content producers to make it easier to share good content, which he acknowledged is an important part of the experience, but basically, the priority is making sure users see what they want to see. They’re constant refining the algorithms.
Yes, you’ve pretty much heard it before.
“We go to a lot of lengths to make sure that we’re getting signals from people in our community to make sure that we’re doing this correctly, in addition to the different signals that we would get from seeing people use the products,” he said (via Seeking Alpha’s transcript). “We also do a lot of qualitative surveys to see what people, what makes – what people write in that they want to see from us, what people tell us is the most important thing that they saw in Facebook today or saw anywhere in the world today and what they would’ve wanted to have seen on Facebook. And our goal is to just constantly refine this and make it better and we’re going to keep on doing that because we think there’s a lot of upside and there’s a lot more that we can do.”
“Now, at the same time, in order to make this experience good, there also needs to be good content in the system, right, so we need to make sure that people have the tools to able to share the moments that they care about,” he continued. “But if you’re a professional publisher, you need to have the ability to share a version of the content that you’re producing that you’re proud of, that can load quickly, that can be as rich as the tools enable people to see, and we’re working on a lot of different tools for that.”
“And you can imagine that as the tools for any of this content get better, people taking photos, newspapers, writing news articles, advertisers, putting out ads for content that they want to sell, the better that content gets, the more people are excited to see it and then that informs the ranking in what the community qualitatively tells us that they want to see from us over time as well. So it’s just a constant cycle on that.”
Zuckerberg talked more about organic reach in a November Q&A. He went into more detail about Facebook’s approach in that. Even though it was significantly ahead of this latest update, it’s worth taking a look at.
Image via Facebook