An early-stage study from EdgeRank shows the Facebook's new "hybrid feed" is decreasing the exposure of posts while increasing post interaction. Companies on Facebook should adapt their strategy to match a new set of priorities.
The Hybrid News Feed and Its Impact
Along with a slew of other Facebook changes, the world's leading social network created a "hybrid feed." This feed combines the previous "most recent" and "top stories" feeds, and creates a new system of prioritization for displaying posts above the fold.
Companies were concerned with how the changes would impact the visibility of their Facebook page and posts. Their worries held some water; according to a study by EdgeRank, which examined data from over 3,500 pages during the first two weeks of the new Facebook layout, post impressions were down by 25.15%.
That wasn't the only impact, however. While the total visibility was down, interactions were way up, with likes increasing by 9% and comments increasing by 21.15%. As noted by Inside Facebook, the new feed's statistics "should come as good news to most marketers," but "could hurt some institutional marketers that optimize for exposure or brand lift."
Working the Feed
To understand the new priorities for social marketing on Facebook, let's take a quick look at why the feed statistics have changed. First, comments and likes seem to be up because when a user engages with content (i.e., commenting, liking, and re-sharing), the content becomes more visible to all users. This means that engaging content will surface quickly while un-engaging posts sink just as fast.
While the rise of high-impact posts will do a lot to increase interactions, most users will only see the content once. Since the hybrid feed prioritizes content that the user hasn't seen yet (i.e., that was posted since their last visit), even a highly engaging post will fall from the line of sight after one exposure.
As a final contributor, users are now more likely to see content from people and pages they have interacted with in the past. This means that creating high-engagement content regularly will have additional long-term effects.
Given all that, your new strategies should focus on:
- Creating the most engaging, shareable content possible.
- Increasing your post frequency to compensate for lower exposure-per-post.
- Creating a long-term relationship with customers by prompting or incentivizing repeat interactions.
While this is still a preliminary examination, EdgeRank has promised further data and the early trends indicates that user interaction is only increasing.