Facebook to page owners: Quit spamming News Feed with sales pitches

nf_1113_2

Facebook recently made another change to its News Feed post-sorting algorithm, this time devaluing overly promotional posts.

Citing a user survey, Facebook will show fewer posts that solely push a product or app install, posts only promoting contests and posts that re-use the same content. The users in the survey said they wanted to see more posts from friends and pages they care about, and less promotional content.

Facebook announced this in a Newsroom blog post:

Beginning in January 2015, people will see less of this type of content in their News Feeds. As we’ve said before, News Feed is already a competitive place – as more people and Pages are posting content, competition to appear in News Feed has increased. All of this means that Pages that post promotional creative should expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time.

This change will not increase the number of ads people see in their News Feeds. The idea is to increase the relevance and quality of the overall stories – including Page posts – people see in their News Feeds. This change is about giving people the best Facebook experience possible and being responsive to what they have told us.

It’s a curious move, but Facebook does try to keep the News Feed more to the liking of users, rather than pages and advertisers.

So what does this mean for brands? Facebook assured page owners that pages are still an important part of the ecosystem, but also called for them to supplement current organic efforts with targeted advertising:

Pages still matter — a lot. They offer a free, easy-to-maintain online presence for people to discover and learn about a business. They work across desktop, mobile and tablets without requiring any extra configuration, and contain complete information about a business. They also offer tools to create videos, photos and events that bring a business’ story to life.

What many businesses may not realize is that Pages are an important destination for their current and potential customers. In October, for instance, nearly a billion people visited Facebook Pages. Of those visits, more than 750 million happened on mobile devices. Many businesses also use Pages as a customer service channel. Businesses should think about their Page as a cornerstone of their online identity, not simply as a publishing service. The businesses that are doing this well understand the discovery and communication that happens when people come to their Page.

These changes will take place starting in January.

Massimo Chieruzzi, CEO of Facebook Marketing Partner AdEspresso, weighed in on the changes:

I guess many users will be angry and will see this as a way for Facebook to get more money through Facebook Ads. I honestly disagree.

This is not about money (not primarily at least). It’s about the user experience. If the News Feed becomes flooded by affiliate marketers and promotional posts, users will have a terrible user experience and leave Facebook in the long run. Remember what happened with MySpace? Free spam for the masses.

This is about educating businesses on how to do marketing on Facebook. I don’t see Facebook punishing anyone publishing a post that sells something. But if the only purpose of your page is not to engage users and build a relationship but it’s posting, all day long, links to your checkout page … you’re going to be punished.

Page owners: How do you feel about this?