Facebook has established itself as a powerful social platform, and one of the most successful mobile-advertising powerhouses in the world, nearly tripling its quarterly advertising profit this year. As a result of Facebook’s continued focus on creating the best and brightest advertising product available, we’ve seen a significant drop in reach for non-ads on Facebook over the last year. Last week, Facebook announced some new changes to its News Feed algorithm that will affect the way brands reach followers and stay visible in News Feeds.

Latest Update: Time Spent Viewing

The latest change Facebook has introduced is that it will now consider how long you spend checking out an article on your phone when deciding which posts to put in your feed. Facebook already considers how much time people spend looking at a post, but this latest update will now apply to third large pages that posts may link to as well.

Facebook’s goal is to remove click bait type of articles from News Feeds, only displaying quality content. Facebook will not take into account load time of the page, but rather only count time spent once the page has fully loaded. Since August 2014, the social network has been penalizing links that people clicked on and immediately clicked out of because the content didn’t deliver on the headline’s promise. For brands and publishers, this means that creating quality content will be crucial in order to get seen on News Feeds.

Latest Update: Diversity of Page Posts 

Facebook also mentioned that they would be adding more diversity of posts to users’ News Feeds. Facebook mentions that it can “be repetitive if too many articles from the same source are back to back in their News Feed”. As a result, the company will be offering a new update that will reduce how often people see several posts in a row from the same source.

How Will This Impact My Facebook Page? 

Facebook said that most pages will not see significant changes. However, some may see a small increase in referral traffic and some pages my see minor decreases. A key point businesses should take away is that quality content will be increasingly more important in the next several months. The focus should not be what will get the most likes, comments, shares, and clicks, but provide useful, relevant information that will captivate your audience. Facebook recommends referring to its publishing guidelines as well as page post tips, which include these suggestions for optimizing content:

  • Post Consistently
  • Target Your Posts
  • Keep Post Images and Text Fresh
  • Boost Important Posts
  • Publicize Exclusive Discounts and Promotions with Ads
  • Connect with Words and Pictures
  • Review Post Performance

One tip is to use hashtags to help users find your content through Facebook’s search functionality.

The Decline of Social Media Organic Reach

Overall, organic reach on social media has declined across the board, not just on Facebook. It will likely become harder for brands to reach their audience without paying to promote their content. LinkedIn, like Facebook, is encouraging companies to invest in paid advertising to get results, rather than rely on organic reach. For brands willing to “pay to play,” paid promotion offers opportunities to reach audiences beyond existing followers.