Facebook’s New Algorithm? Brands are going to have to get real.
Last week Facebook announced that they are introducing a new algorithm and a major overhaul of the way they manage the newsfeed. For years now, a lot of good branded content has been getting lost amongst the drivel of terrible “tag a mate” memes, crappy videos and posts from friends that you haven’t actually spoken to since your holiday back in 2008. The newsfeed became meaningless and was fundamentally broken with the Buzzfeeds and other online media outlets’ content pollution spreading like digital herpes.
The result? Content nausea. Digital landfill. And enough unintelligible nonsense to last a lifetime. And all the while, branded content was having a hard time trying to exist in the midst of madness. But change is on the way.
With reports of declining engagement on both Facebook and Messenger, Zuckerberg and Co. decided that the newsfeed needed fixing. From now on you can expect to see less from brands and publishers, and more from friends and family. With just under two billion users, this will result in huge change not just for Facebook as a platform – but also for the many businesses and brands that use it.
Facebook insists that the new focus will revert back to the initial reason the platform was created; i.e., social interaction. It will be less about time spent on Facebook, but rather about the quality of time spent and meaningful social interactions between friends, family – and hopefully brands.
The algorithm favours social interaction, so more than ever, brands are going to have to stand for something.
For brands, this means greater competition in the attention economy. With the new algorithm, some brands may find their audience harder to reach. The algorithm favours social interaction, so more than ever, brands are going to have to stand for something. They will need to listen to their audience and try to drive meaningful interaction to generate cut through.
But as with any good campaign, it must be integrated. That’s why it’s important to plan your comms strategy with multiple online platforms in mind. We’ve created a quick guide to alternative social channels, depending on the age of your target audience.
Depending on your target market, here are our suggestions, based on the numbers, of where to promote your brand depending on the age of your target audience.
13-17 – GEN Z. Post Millennial. The First Truly Global Generation.
These guys are the real digital natives. Millennials could be called digital pioneers. But these guys are truly native, born into it. There is over 4 times the amount of 25-34 year old Australians on Facebook compared with the 13-17 year old segment. So where do they hang out? These young adults are multi-screened, hyperconnected individuals that live their digital lives across multiple platforms. 23% of Snapchat’s Australian users are aged between 13-17 years old, and on average they use the app more than five times a day.
GEN Z also spend a considerable amount of time on YouTube and Instagram, which means influencer marketing can play a part in communication strategies. Exercising caution around selecting brand ambassadors is advisable, just as was seen recently with the unsavoury behaviour of popular Youtuber and brand ambassador, Logan Paul.
Millennials are tech savvy and highly connected, and spend considerable time across multiple social media platforms. Millennials were the first adopters of Facebook in the late noughties and still spend a lot of time in this space, so the new algorithm will should should grow alongside them organically. Instagram ranks second in popularity and is a great platform for social testimony as millennials are very likely to research purchases long in advance.
Twitter is also seeing a resurgence as millennials seek a more refined newsfeed, free from the clutter and clickbait that has become synonymous with Facebook.
35-50 GEN X.
If you target audience is professionally focused, LinkedIn is a good bet. However, ads that do well here tend to be more career-oriented and relevant to the platform’s purpose. Ads for products or services that are not work-related may appear unsolicited and encroaching; in which case, Facebook is a better option.
If you are looking to target parents specifically, Instagram, YouTube and parenting blogs will prove to be a better alternative to Facebook adverts. Busy parents don’t spend as much time pointlessly scrolling through the web as millennials.
50+ Baby Boomers.
For many older social networkers, Facebook is their only social networking platform; however, their frequency of use is more sporadic and less frequent than younger generations. According to a 2012 study by AIMIA, people aged 65 and over account for 20% of Australia’s total internet traffic – so they are out there!
Outside of social, Google Adwords and electronic direct mail (EDM) campaigns are a great way to target them. Baby boomers use email every day and are the age group with the greatest likelihood of clicking through to an offer or article. Another point of information worth noting is that older Australians are more likely to access the internet via tablet, so it’s important that your content and adverts are optimised for this format.