Have you been tracking your website’s traffic from Facebook?
If you haven’t, it’s time that you take a look. In early January of this year, Facebook announced a major change in their algorithm. This change is having a major change in what people see in their feeds, and it’s not a business-friendly change.
In an attempt to curtail the “fake news” issues that have been plaguing the platform, Facebook had an algorithm change on January 11th that has had and will continue to have a dramatic impact on a business’s ability to get their organic posts in front of the people that they want to get in front of.
Here’s an excerpt of what Mark Zuckerberg had to say about this algorithm update:
“But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other”
Zuckerberg then went on to say:
“The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups. As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media…”
Since this announcement, businesses of all sizes and in all industries are starting to re-think their Facebook strategy. If this new algorithm is going to squeeze out brand’s organic posts, then is there still an opportunity to use this platform to get in front of customers?
“The days of organic reach are definitely over. Businesses already have to invest in ads on Facebook to get their content in front of their audiences. But there will be fewer opportunities to buy ads so that the prices will be higher.”
And, just one more, Joe Lazauskas from Contently said:
…”Start adjusting your strategy accordingly: prioritize owned media and transfer as much of your audience as you can to your email lists. That way, you’ll have a direct line to them.”
It’s easy to see that this change is having a really big impact for everyone in the digital marketing space. Even though we’ve had about three months to feel the effects of this change, I’m not sure that most people have a grasp of this, yet.
Has Your Traffic Been Affected?
Have you seen a drop off in the traffic coming to your site from Facebook? Not sure how to tell? Login to your Google Analytics account and navigate to Acquisition > Referrals > Facebook. Make sure that the date range that you are looking at starts a couple of months before the algorithm change in January and continues to today’s date. Show the data by months to get the correct picture of what is happening to your traffic.
If you’re like most businesses that were getting traffic from Facebook, you’ll notice a downturn in that traffic.
What Are The Options
There are a couple of things that you can do moving forward. Before you decide on any options, you have to decide how important Facebook is to your overall marketing strategy.
- Does Facebook give you the ability to get your marketing message in front of people that you can’t get in any other way?
- Do the people that come to your site, from Facebook, convert at a higher rate than people that come to your site from other places?
- How committed are you to content marketing? Are you ready to increase the quality of your posts?
Facebook is really really important to my marketing!
If this is you, then you can continue to use Facebook as a marketing channel, but be prepared that things are going to be different. Going forward you have two ways that you can get your marketing messages in front of people organically (you’ll need way better content than you’ve been using) and advertising.
Now, before you start to grumble about “paying” for advertising, recognize that creating content, really good content that will get shares and likes costs money too.
- Organic posts:As I’ve been mentioning that the only way that your posts are going to see the light of day is if you post information that gets engagement. And, by that, I don’t mean that you get a like. Your posts have to get comments. Lots of comments and conversations going back and forth. To do this, you’re going to have to do better than posting your latest coupon. And you’re going to have to do it with a lot more consistency. This is going to take a lot of work, to get it right.
- Advertising: One of the best things about Facebook, from an advertising perspective, is the level of targeting that you can get in front of with your marketing message. This will give you a better ROI that you’re used to. Without tight targeting, you have to spend more money to reach more people to try to get in front of the people that matter.
Facebook really isn’t that important to me!
If you fall into this category, then the answer for you is really simple. Stop! Stop putting in the time and effort that is and will continue to be required to get any visibility for your marketing messages and put that effort into a channel that will pay dividends for your business. There are a lot of things that you can do with your new-found time and money.
- Improve your SEO. This is still the foundation for a great digital marketing strategy.
- Look at marketing automation. Nothing is better at building great customers relationships!
- Keep your website up-to-date. Your website is the center of your digital marketing universe. Get all you can from it.
- Increase your LocalSEO visibility, especially if your business focuses on a specific geography.
- much much more…
The most important takeaways from this algorithm change are:
- Always be looking at your analytics for changes in your traffic patterns
- Have a plan. Plan for things that could change.
- Don’t put all of your eggs in one marketing basket. The online marketing space is still too volatile to put too heavy of a commitment into one channel.