Most media editors count Facebook as the main source of the traffic reference. No wonder then that Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement makes everyone nervous late at night. The change of any kind makes the editors in this room nervous.
Why are you shaking the boat, Zuck? Well, keep that in mind: In 2017, the EMarketer research firm predicted the first decline in Facebook users, especially adolescent users who are turning to SnapChat and Instagram instead.
While a decline of 3.4% in teenagers may not alarm you today, it is a trend that Mark Zuckerberg wants to eliminate early. And believe it or not, that could be the best for the publisher.
After all, if there is no Facebook, it will generate exactly zero traffic to your website.
“I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.” – Mark Zuckerberg
Well, if you are the main producer of this “relevant content”, it is not surprising that you are a little scared. Will the “content” be dethroned? Is there a new king in the city?
There are some basic principles in the algorithm that are used to determine which publications appear in Facebook messages and which do not. One of the simplest is the “weight” of publication: this is determined by the number of likes, comments, actions, clicks, or other Facebook commitments. And every interaction has a different value, for example, 1 action can be worth several, and so on. Nobody really knows the formula. I mean, except Adam Mosseri, head of Facebook News. He brings the change like this:
“These are posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to – whether that’s a post from a friend seeking advice, a friend asking for recommendations for a trip, or a news article or video prompting lots of discussion.” – Adam Mosseri, Facebook Head of News Feed
Mosseri’s announcement came shortly after by Zuckerberg.
In it, he emphasizes that news feed publications prioritizing “conversations and significant interactions between people” will give priority. The key seems to be a change in what defines a “significant social interaction” or MSI.
Buzzfeed goes so far as to say that “comments” are the new “actions”. And that can be part of it. In short, if Facebook prioritizes “conversation,” then Facebook prioritizes the comments because it’s where the talks take place. But do not make mistakes, it’s never that easy.
Some more examples of “meaningful social interactions” from the Mosseri publication:
- A person who comments on or likes the photo or status update of another person
- Multiple people or a page responding to people’s comments on an article or video published by a Facebook editor
- Someone who shares a video published by an editor with his own commentary
- A person who responds to a news editor’s news release shared by a friend
- A person who shares a link to an article through Messenger to begin a conversation with a group of friends
- Then not only the comments are important, but also the conversation in them. And here the editors come into play. The news has always been controversial.
- And yes, there are always 2 pages in each story. If it can be the catalyst for “significant social interaction” on both sides, then it has apparently found the holy grail of Facebook News Feed. Especially if these interactions
Changes to Facebook will not happen overnight. Time will tell how this affects your web traffic and digital revenue. But Mosseri does not cover the possible case with sugar:
“Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease. … The impact will vary from Page to Page, driven by factors including the type of content they produce and how people interact with it. Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.” – Adam Mosseri, Facebook Head of News Feed
However, Zuckerberg emphasizes that in the long run this should be a positive change: “I think it will be good for our society and our business in the long term.”
Our team will evaluate the content of our partners and work on clarifying more specific strategies for building and measuring MSI .