Branded content on Facebook – Not a good idea?

Facebook has been changing its algorithm faster than brands, marketers can cope up with. Today I will focus on one such update which Facebook had announced in November, 2014 and was going to bring it in effect from January, 2015 – “Fans can unfollow and decide to ignore the content from brands which is crowding their newsfeed”.

Reactions were pretty extreme to this. Brands must be thinking that Facebook is trying to squeeze them out of every last Rupee. But look at it this way – if you keep the news feed cluttered and branded content pushed to fans face, there will be lesser engagement on Facebook. The platform will close down in no time, that’s why Facebook’s team has to keep news feed relevant for fans.

Let’s first take a look at the change that has been implemented:

Facebook has a new feature which highlights the people, pages, groups that you visited most during past week.

Image 1

Consider a scenario that a group, friend or brand is annoying you and you don’t want to see any content from these entities. You can just unfollow them, but you will still be part of that group, friend or brand page.

Image 2

In the past even if a brand had irrelevant content the fan had to endure, but not anymore. This means I as a marketer will reach fewer fans.

News feed works in a manner which identifies the best content a fan interacts on a group, people or page. If I am posting more no. of times and a fan is getting annoyed then I will be slated to lose that fan. I would rather curb frequency of my posts to keep it realistic.

Mark Zuckerberg very clearly mentioned the following in a public Q&A session:

“There’s this inherent conflict in the system, though. Are we trying to optimize News Feed to give each person, all of you guys, the best experience when you’re reading? Or are we trying to help businesses just reach as many people as possible? And in every decision that we make, we optimize for the first, for making it so that for the people that we serve that use Facebook and are reading News Feed get the very best experience that they can.”

Very clearly Facebook puts user experience above brands content reach. If users spend less time on Facebook, there will be fewer fans seeing organic posts from brands. There will be less data to target the ads to right TG, in turn affecting Facebook’s revenues.

Many marketers have focused on numbers which are not gonna add to their bottom line. Rather than looking at reach, clicks and engagement, marketers should look at more solid KPI’s. E.g. website clicks, email addresses collected or sales generated. Take a long term view rather than short term.


Twitter is a great platform but one not so good thing about it is its timeline. Now imagine Facebook has the same kind of non filtered news feed wherein you have to persist to keep up with all the conversations, you might not spend much time in there.

Fans matter?

A lot, but what equally matters is whether those fans care about your content? When you focus on creating value for your fans, they will come back for more.

What do you think? Let me know your experience, feedback related to this new change.

Until next time, be awesome 🙂

(Images and content courtesy Jon Loomer)


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