Facebook has announced some changes to how people see updates from individuals and pages in the news feed. This change will definitely hurt businesses running branded pages on Facebook that don't want to pay for Facebook advertising for visibility.
Facebook is continually running tests on the news feed that users see when they log into Facebook in order to discover ways that encourages people to interact or update themselves more. They discovered that when Facebook users saw more text only updates from friends in their feed, it made them more likely to share their own updates. So they increased the number of text status updates that appear on a user’s news feed, a change Facebook says that led to an average of 9 million more status updates by Facebook users each day.
However, Facebook noticed that text status updates from pages didn't have the same influence as text status updates from users. So they are now ranking text status updates from pages separately from text status updates that are made by friends, and they are also working on differentiating between the two to improve overall user experience.
What does this mean for page owners? Unfortunately this means that page owners are going to see a decrease in the distribution of their own text status updates they share.
This will definitely hurt businesses, as they’ve already been hit with the impact of declining organic reach for Pages when Facebook said, "We expect organic distribution of an individual page's posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site."
Add to that the fact that Facebook is killing Sponsored Stories in the news stream in April, and businesses are going to have to reevaluate once again how they use Facebook to promote their products and brand.
Additionally, Facebook is making a change to page status updates that include a link within the update. Now, including a link in the text status update for page will automatically embed a photo and a snippet from the pager article into the post:
Facebook said these types of updates get more engagement in terms of likes, comments, shares, and clicks, adding that they are more visually compelling than a text-only status update with a link. While some businesses will embrace this change, others probably won’t be so happy about it being default.
Facebook is definitely making some changes that seem to be encouraging the potential to earn more revenue from pages by forcing them to advertise for Facebook traffic that was once free once they got the Likes.
As free organic exposure continues to decline, businesses will have to make a decision whether Facebook marketing continues to be worth it without paying for it or whether they do need to spend a substantial budget see the impact they are looking for from Facebook.