Facebook frequently makes changes to their News Feed algorithm, and the most recent change has been dubbed “News Feed Armageddon” because now content from businesses will have a lower priority in the News Feed. Facebook is making this change so that our news feeds contain more content from people in our own circles, thus prioritizing posts from our friends over content from businesses. This change means that ads will not have the same reach on Facebook that businesses have enjoyed to-date. This poses serious ramifications for both brands and their agencies as many advertisers have relied upon the strong reach, engagement, and audience expansion that Facebook had delivered (over other digital platforms).
Here are three things your brand or agency can do to manage this latest change to Facebook’s news feed algorithm:
- Set up test cells
Facebook has explicitly prioritized user experience over advertising reach, but it remains to be seen what the financial consequences will be. The law of supply and demand could apply and that would mean that average costs per impression (CPMs) could rise as inventory on Facebook contracts.
Set up test cells now to analyze the performance between specific audiences to compare Facebook Custom Audiences, expanded audiences, and general audiences. You’ll want to use the same ad creative to ensure you’re testing audience performance instead of message performance, and you’ll want to set up new ad sets to ensure reporting only analyzes post-announcement data. Compare these tests to the performance your campaign achieved before January 11th to set new benchmarks for different audiences. These results will help you to plan budgets and adjust reach and performance estimates moving forward.
- Use Custom Audiences
This has never been more important. While using a specific list by definition limits your campaign’s reach, higher engagement and now greater impressions will delivery greater efficiency—and likely reward you with a higher relevancy score in the new Facebook environment.
Your Custom Audience reach is highly dependent upon the number of email addresses you have for each person on your list—select your data provider accordingly.
- Experiment with lookalike models
It’s unclear how the Facebook Audience Expansion algorithm will be affected by this change in policy. To avoid being caught flat-footed when the dust settles, experiment with lookalike models to expand your audiences pre-Facebook/offline. Test those against audiences determined by the Facebook expansion algorithm. Again, your data partner is the key to success in this endeavor – and be sure to use a channel preference model that takes into account both online and social media engagement/channel-mix elements.
Change is inevitable. With the right preparation, you could turn Facebook “News Feed Armageddon” into “News Feed Nirvana.”