What Does Facebook’s New Algorithm Mean for Content Marketers?

Facebook users can now have more control over their News Feeds. But with people having more of a say in what they see, will that hurt content marketers?

In a new feature revealed by Facebook yesterday, users are able to designate which of their friends’ posts they want to see at the top of their feed at all times. Called “See First,” the feature lets users ranks items based on how interesting Facebook expects them to be to you, taking the friends you interact with most and the content you engage with into consideration. Getting added to the See First list guarantees all posts will appear at the top of a user’s News Feed with a blue star.

But while people will most likely have their closest friends in mind, Gerry Moran, global head of social media and content marketing for Cognizant Technology Solutions, thinks that brand pages could get lost in the pile. 

“I think you might have one or two brands you live or breathe that you may say define you, or your favorite deli or craft beer bar, but aside from that, I think people will prioritize their friends first,” Moran says. “I’m probably putting my top five or 10 friends on [See First] and I’m the guy with an Apple sticker on the back of my CRV.”

While brand pages may not make it to the top of people’s priority lists, it’s unlikely that anyone will be able to keep their Facebook experience ad-free, given the social media giant’s monetization strategy. Moran thinks content marketing will simply have to continue to get better in order to stand out in the crowd.

“Facebook is a funny place for marketers because it’s the sort of channel that lets you humanize but at the same time, you have to pay to play. If you look at all the algorithms and every message you put out, two or three people are going to actually seek out your content,” Moran says. “[See First] is part of the evolution and it will make content marketers work harder to catch the attention and mindshare of the reader or consumer,” Moran says. “The onus is on the marketer to put out great stuff.”

Facebook is also using See First to recommend new pages, based on data around which pages you’ve already liked and interact with regularly. This gives marketers another opportunity to be discovered, while diminishing the value of the Like, which the company no longer allows businesses to incentivize.

“Content marketers will now need to make their content more compelling and valuable so fans will choose to put them in the See First category,” says Ben Cockerell, director of global marketing at Crimson Hexagon, agreeing with Moran. “But it’s also a chance for smart marketers who make those conversions to become even more targeted with their campaigns.”

The feature is available on iOS and will be rolled out on Android and desktop in the coming weeks.

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