By Arielle Mullen

Recently Mark Zuckerberg announced big changes are ahead for his social media behemoth. This update, referred to by the company as "Facebook Zero," is causing a fair amount of panic, with some calling the impending shift Armageddon for marketers on Facebook. The update in and of itself comes as no surprise, particularly after a tumultuous few months post-election, and their confirmation that yes, passively consuming content on Facebook can lead to depression. (Although let's be honest, we all definitely already knew that). 

After Facebook Zero, the platform's algorithm (the ranking system prioritizing content in the news feed), will make it nearly impossible for Pages (which represent businesses, brands, etc.) to maintain an organic reach for their posted content. Mark Zuckerberg explained:

"As we roll this out, you'll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard - it should encourage meaningful interactions between people." 

Content that prompts engagement (shares, comments, etc.) will rank higher, as well as posts originating from Facebook Groups. This announcement has raised a lot of questions (and a moderate amount of panic), from the millions of businesses who rely on Facebook as their primary advertising platform. If you count yourself among them, here’s our overview of the good news, the bad news, what remains to be seen, and our suggested actions to help you fight Facebook Zero.

Facebook's Head of News Feed, Adam Mosseri added: 

"So what we want is to make sure that anytime we make any major ranking change, we explain it proactively. But we make lots and lots of changes. Most of them are very small in nature with small effects… but those we don’t talk about because they don’t have material effect… this one is bigger than the average tweak. It’s not a tweak.” 

Content that prompts engagement (shares, comments, etc.) will rank higher, as well as posts originating from Facebook Groups. This announcement has raised a lot of questions (and a moderate amount of panic), from the millions of businesses who rely on Facebook as their primary advertising platform. If you count yourself among them, here’s our overview of the good news, the bad news, what remains to be seen, and our suggested actions to help you fight Facebook Zero. 

The Bad News

The organic (i.e. unpaid) reach for content posted by Pages, is going to drop dramatically. This means fewer people seeing your posts, and less video views and referrals. It raises the question, if no one is seeing the posts from your Page, is it worth your time to maintain it at all? We say yes, as long as you consider the following...

The Good News

Although this is a big shift, Facebook has been continually moving towards a pay-to-play model for a while now. Meaning? There's never been a better time to invest in learning everything you can about your target audience, and what would provide them with the most value. By posting content designed to speak directly to the various challenges they face or questions they collectively share, you will build authority and continually grow your ranking. 

And while developing a thorough understanding of your target audience(s) is an ongoing endeavor that requires time, your findings will ultimately contribute to the overall health and success of your business. 

The Unclear

If you currently use Facebook Ads to promote your business, congratulations, you're in the minority! Also, you're probably wondering if Facebook Zero will impact ad costs. It's possible that the emphasis on higher quality content will have the intended effect, and people will begin paying more attention to material (and ads) that resonate with them. The proof on that point remains yet unseen, but we're cautiously optimistic. Ultimately, 2 billion people worldwide use this platform; it's not a matter of whether or not Facebook is a viable marketing tool. The question instead should be whether your business will adapt to leverage those changes to work in support of your other marketing and advertising initiatives.   

Suggested Action Items

  • Don't post as frequently. This should be a given, and we know daily (or hourly) posting can be a difficult habit to break. With every post, ask yourself "what is the value I'm offering to my audience by posting this?" If the answer doesn't immediately jump to mind, don't post it!
  • Start utilizing Facebook Live. We know it can be scary, but when the average live video sees around 4-6x more engagement, it's not a feature you can continue to ignore. 
  • Learn how to use Facebook Ads. Although this will definitely take some time, it's also the fastest and most surefire way to work against the changes on the horizon. Remember, while there are 65 million Facebook Pages representing businesses, only 4 million of those currently use Facebook Ads. Interested in learning the fundamentals of advertising on Facebook? Attend our upcoming workshop!

Questions about how Facebook Zero will affect your business? We'd love to hear from you! 

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