One of the best articles I have read on Facebook's News Feed algorithm change yesterday was published by Ezra Klein at the Washington Post. Facebook made the change to deemphasize memes and prioritize "high quality articles." Too many Buzzfeed lists and too much Upworthy tearjerker content hitting feeds. Why? According to Klein:
But hitting "like" isn't the same thing as actually enjoying the content. And collectively, everyone "liking" and sharing this stuff to show that they love babies and believe in gay marriage and oppose bullying and appreciate Will Ferrell and all the rest of it could mean news feeds fill with content that users don't actually want to see so much of.
There is something critically important for clients and their agencies to consider when developing Facebook content-we are at the mercy of Facebook engineers. As Klein reminds us:
Facebook can tell the difference between content people automatically share and content that they actually watch, or comment on, or otherwise seem to engage with. So if and when Facebook begins to ratchet back on this new wave of viral content it can do so in ways that separate the really manipulative posts from the ones people actually enjoy.
It's about engagement, Stupid. We should focus more on content users will truly engage with (read, watch or comment on) rather than content designed simply with a sharing objective. We must remember that if the content is crafted with engagement in mind then it will ultimately be shared. In fact, this is how we should be thinking about brand content for Facebook in the first place.