Why Facebook’s News Feed Changes Are Good News for PR

shutterstock_169379165

In case you missed it, the folks at Facebook dropped the ultimate Friday Dump on digital agencies everywhere last week by announcing that they’d be tinkering with their super-secret algorithm yet again, giving unpaid promotional posts even less of a presence in users’ respective news feeds.

If we currently had the words “social” and “media” in our title, we might be a little worried — especially if they preceded the word “manager.” But we think this change is ultimately good news for PR. Here’s some language from the release:

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.”

Translation for digital agencies: “We have you BY THE BALLS. Now pay up.”

One could argue that users are asking for promotional content whenever they “like” a given brand’s page. But Facebook’s research says otherwise: we the public get annoyed by such content even when it comes from the companies we choose to follow.

When users told the Facebook team that they want “to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about,” that means legitimate news stories like the ones media relations specialists work every day to place. Standard Facebook brand posts are neither paid nor earned, which means that editorial mentions will provide a client with the biggest bang for their buck in almost every instance.

This is especially true because, as we all know, people resent having to watch unexpected ads. Speaking as users, we also question the effectiveness of “your friends X and Y like M&M’s, and you should too” posts.

The basic message: who cares how good a brand’s posts are when no one will see them?