As it continues to tweak its News Feed algorithm, Facebook on Tuesday said it would push down text-only status updates from brands in user’s feeds. They don’t perform as well as more visual types of posts from businesses.
In a blog post today, Chris Turitzin, product manager, New Feed ranking at Facebook, explained that people getting more text-only updates from friends on the social network leads to them writing more status updates themselves.
“In our initial test when we showed more status updates from friends, it led to an average 9 million more status updates written each day. Because of this, we showed people more text status updates in their News Feed,” he wrote.
But the same isn’t true for text updates from Page owners on the site, including brands. As a result, “Page admins can expect a decrease in the distribution of their text status updates, but they may see some increases in engagement and distribution for other story types,” he noted.
What kind of content should
That depends on the audience and what they want to see, according to Facebook. But the company suggested one specific step that could boost engagement in relation to posting links. Instead of embedding links directly in status updates, it suggested using Facebook’s link-share posts—which pulls a large image from the site or article linked to--as the better option.
“We've found that, as compared to sharing links by embedding in status updates, these posts get more engagement (more likes, comments, shares and clicks) and they provide a more visual and compelling experience for people seeing them in their feeds,” stated Turitzin. In short, don’t use status updates to share links on Facebook.
He added that companies in general should use the type of post—whether a status update, photo, link or video—that fits best with their message. That leaves brands some discretion, but they can count on text-only posts geting demoted by Facebook.
The step to de-emphasize text posts is only the latest change to the News Feed algorithm limiting the reach of organic posts by marketers; it's all part of a broader effort to minimize intrusive, non-engaging content. That means marketers have to rely more on paid advertising to ensure their messages are seen by existing and potential customers on Facebook.