Out of reach?
“Overall, we anticipate that this update may cause reach and referral traffic to decline for some Pages” is the difficult but unavoidable takeaway from yesterday's announcement by Facebook describing an upcoming change to the News Feed algorithm. Continuing a long term trend, Facebook will place an even higher value on posts from Friends and family over those from publishers, celebrities...and brands. Ad Age published a good analysis of the changes along with the optimistic theory that a decline in personal sharing might mean that the competition for News Feed space might not be as difficult as it seems.
Recode took the opportunity to recount the dangers that brands and publishers face when they outsource their distribution to Facebook. In particular, many companies have just invested in Facebook Instant Articles and may not see the return they had expected. Pew Internet Research presented a study last year showing that Facebook was the primary political news source for Millennials. Now, as the NY Times points out, Facebook seems to be saying that it would focus instead on personal item sharing.
The advice for brands is to encourage sharing, although no one was sure how they could get seen in the first place without paid boosts.
To help out, Facebook VP Adam Mosseri described how the News Feed is created, perhaps the most detailed written explanation yet from Facebook (he also explained the News Feed workings in detail during the F8 Conference earlier this month).