Facebook Tweaks Friends And Page Postings, Publishers Could See Lower Reach

For most brands and publishers, it just got a little harder to connect with users on Facebook.

That’s because the social giant is now letting people pick the friends and Pages they want to the see most often represented at the top of their News Feeds.

Within News Feed Preferences, users need only tap on a friend’s profile picture to see their posts at the top of their News Feeds. Among with other content, they can then expect to see any new stories those friends have recently shared at the top of their feeds, with a star in the top right of the post.

Publishers, artists, brands, and businesses aren’t entirely being left out in the cold, because users can also choose to see their posts more prominently in their News Feeds.

Based on the types of Pages users have liked in the past, Facebook is also suggesting similar Pages to like and see more of.

Facebook, however, is also making it easier for its members to weed out unwanted brands and other Page owners.

“You can now see a list of the top people, Pages and groups that you’ve seen in your News Feed over the past week, and choose to unfollow any friend, Page or group if you don’t want to see their updates,” Jacob Frantz, a product manager at Facebook, explains in a new blog post.

To the chagrin of brands and publishers, Facebook regularly tweaks the algorithm that determines what content users see in their News Feeds. While the expressed intent of the changes is always to improve user experience, they often result in lowering the organic reach rate of publishers and marketers.

Last month, Facebook began factoring the time users spend viewing stories into its master algorithm. For example, if someone hovers over a piece about political affairs, they are now more likely to see similarly scandalous stories in their News Feed.

Facebook also recently implemented another tweak that it said would prioritize personal status updates over other posts, including those from publishers.

On the video front, Facebook recently began considering consumers’ choice to turn on a video’s sound -- and watch it in full-screen mode -- when calculating content preferences.

From a consumer perspective, continuing to improve its user experience remains critical to Facebook’s success. “Facebook has proven why it remains so strong in this space,” Forrester analyst Erna Alfred Liousas recently told Social Media & Marketing Daily. “It continues to improve the user experience.”

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