Oh, hey, what’s this, Mark Zuckerberg submarining news publishers who have built their businesses around clicks and mindless social media videos? I think it is!
Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.
As we make these updates, 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.
There was also a letter sent to big legacy media outlets – which Facebook has partnered with and now stabbed in the fucking back – explaining that, yeah, your views are gonna go down, this after Facebook Instant Articles (when posts are published directly to Facebook, with Facebook’s ads) was met with a collective meh by most big media outlets (though they perform fairly well for us), while others shifted to producing short, catchy square videos that served no other purpose than to mindlessly distract you from whatever it is you were doing.
You may think I have just the sourest grapes here, seeing as though this site was built using Facebook pages, but it’s mostly the opposite reaction. The media industry, with all of its troubles lately, has constantly turned to THE NEXT BIG THING to save themselves. Instant articles, video, stories, subscriptions, social content— almost all of which are impacted by Facebook in some way. The problem with that strategy, though, is that it gives all the power to Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram, Snapchat and so on. Those platforms become the gateway to accessing your content. Every time one of these things takes off, I hear from countless people that we should be doing this, this, and this, and then inevitably the trend dies a horrible death and everyone’s clips with overlayed text presented by Elkins Chevrolet, live podcast streams, and pizza review dies a slow, painful death. Basically every local media outlet – and most national ones, too – have invested in scores of social media producers to churn out this sort of stuff, mostly video lately, because that’s what Facebook’s algorithms favored. And while certain types of content may continue to receive priority, outlets will undoubtedly be scrambling to compel interaction– so look for posts asking you to share your favorite sports memory, nominate someone or something for an award, and send to a friend to enter.
Meanwhile, we’re over here still with 60% of our page views coming to the homepage, with another 23% coming on individual posts from the homepage. I’m guessing most media outlets would supply a specimen sample for that type of loyalty. Has not relying on the latest trend cost us some views? Absolutely. But it’s also allowed us to maintain our audience.
I can celebrate the demise of shitty Facebook videos and click grabs because we’ve been there ourselves with a big platform making a change. Google royally penetrated me from behind last year when they decided to change an algorithm in the way surveys were displayed. That’s why we now have different surveys. So, yeah, it sucks, but I kind of respect what Facebook is doing here… even if it means media outlets and businesses will now just have to pay them to get their message across. So much for your sponsored bordered square videos.