As you’ve probably heard, Facebook is overhauling its news feed. In a nutshell, the updates will focus on prioritizing posts from a user’s family, friends, and groups. The second tier of content would include marketing content from brands and publishers.
As reported by CNN, these changes are intended to “boost the well-being of users, possibly at the expense of the well-being of publishers and other businesses.”
Ad Changes for Small Business
Facebook has always been a crucial arrow in the marketing quiver for small businesses. In fact, of the three million businesses that advertise on Facebook, the majority are small and medium businesses. For pennies on the dollar, they’ve been able to target some of the 1.65 billion people worldwide who use Facebook daily.
According to Small Business Trends, the updates stem from the proliferation of “fake news” and other low-quality content on the platform. The article points out that while the proposed changes are still in the testing phase, they’ve been applied in half a dozen countries. And it’s quite possible they’ll go into effect worldwide.
If that’s the case, those who pay for advertising on Facebook will be treated as a lower priority on both the website and the app. That’s not an insurmountable hurdle for companies with massive marketing budgets, but it’ll certainly be felt by startups and small businesses that rely on Facebook as an affordable ad platform.
One Platform, Two Feeds
When the new changes are in effect, users will have a couple options for their Facebook feed. The news feed will be more friend-centric, meaning original posts will be top priority. Sponsored posts will be viewable as well, but organic appearances are less likely.
The other option will be the explore feed. A lot of the ads that small businesses ran on the old news feed will now be migrated here. Problem is, this feed is unfamiliar to most users. And it’s also less prominent in the navigation.
Should You Stick with Facebook?
Small businesses have a few choices when it comes to dealing with the new changes. First, they can cut their losses and look for another marketing platform. Second, they can reconfigure their marketing approach to find success on the explore feed. Or, lastly, they can reallocate extra money to their Facebook marketing and do more sponsored posts in the news feed.
If you decide to stay with Facebook, consider placing a renewed focus on video content. It’s the most engaging format on the platform and gives you the best chance for organic proliferation. Also, pay extra attention to your headlines and make sure they’re eye-catching, relevant, and engaging.
Here’s the deal: even if Facebook doesn’t expand their news feed changes worldwide, you should still reevaluate your marketing on the platform. Promotions and campaigns stagnate faster than ever in our digital world, so any effort you put into incorporating videos and improving your headlines will pay dividends in the long run.