CUMULUS MEDIA and WESTWOOD ONE VP/Social Media and MERGE author LORI LEWIS reports: On THURSDAY, FACEBOOK announced another “fix” to News Feed; this time with a promise to prioritize and show more posts from friends and family and less from Pages/public content. This, of course, left publishers and WALL STREET panicking (shares off almost $8 at time of print).

If this change feels familiar, FACEBOOK did nearly the same thing only 18 months ago. What FACEBOOK said back in 2016 is essentially the same thing they are saying now: News Feed would reward posts creating more meaningful interactions.

The difference between 2016 and today is basic clarity. According to ADAM MOSSERI, Head of FACEBOOK News Feed, what now matters to FACEBOOK are comments. Conversations, they find, create a more meaningful experience.

MOSSERI noted, “We already see great examples of this on FACEBOOK — articles from publishers that can help start conversations between people on important issues, video series that can create tight-knit communities, and live videos that can generate more interactions and comments between people than other video.”

FACEBOOK is moving away from “time spent” on the platform as a key performance metric, focusing more on quality time — how “engaged” people are with posts.

• With this update, FACEBOOK will “prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.”
• Pages will still appear, “Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed.”
• Creating dialogue is the “new” end game, “[Pages] whose posts prompt conversations between friends (not between person and Page) will see less of an effect. For example, live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on FACEBOOK -– in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.”
• Don’t become a baiter “[To goad] people into commenting on posts is not meaningful interaction, and FACEBOOK will continue to demote those posts in News Feed.”

MARK ZUCKERBERG said it will take months for the changes to News Feed to roll out. That gives everyone ample time to test, test, test, study and learn what the audience cares about; and how you can make their FACEBOOK experience more meaningful with our brands.

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