IMterview: "How should brands REALLY react to the new Facebook algorithm?"

Paul Armstrong and Darika Ahrens are the 'Trinny and Susannah' of digital marketing. After long agency careers -- most recently for Paul as Head of Social at Mindshare, and for Darika as the Forrester Analyst covering European agencies - every week the pair will look at what's going on behind the latest news... your agency won't tell you the truth, but they're not your agency.

Paul, people are going nuts about the death of Edge Rank, what does it really mean for brands?

Darika, 26 mins

Hiya. They sure have been busy lately. It's a big change but I like their positioning around transparency. In essence, they have said they'll be opening up the kimono a bit more in the future. Brands need to really think about who is liking, commenting, sharing more than ever now.

Paul, 24 mins

I loved your newsletter headline 'Be interesting or pay us'. Isn't this just a move to force more brands to pay for Facebook exposure?

Darika, 22 mins

It's interesting that the official blurb from FB HQ mentioned nothing about ads or Sponsored Posts since it relates so closely to the announcement but yes, in general this is a move to give with one hand and take (or ask!) with the other. The organic post show rates have not gone up as far as I am aware so brands get nothing more for free than then did before these changes.

Paul, 20 mins

Interesting you use the phrase 'organic post'. I reckon most brands will look to their Social agency or whoever leads Content Marketing. But there's a great opp for Search agencies - who really know this stuff - to step up and say "We do FEO or Facebook Engine Optimisation"??

Darika, 17 mins

I agree - there's definitely scope for new services to come out of this - especially with multivalent testing and dark posts etc. Facebook has publicly said that Edgerank is dead and there are now over 1,000 elements that go into where a post is placed into a the users' newsfeed.

Paul, 12 mins

Indeed. I love this quote from Facebook on how Edge Rank worked "In the beginning, News Feed ranking was turning knobs," said Facebook VP of Product Chris Cox during Facebook’s recent News Feed media event. "Turn up photos a little bit, turn down platform stories a little bit." So what exactly are we supposed to be doing to 'be seen' nowadays?

Darika, 9 mins

No-one but Facebook knows every part of the algorithm or what each elements' weighting is but the usual suspects are likely to remain paramount - number of likes, shares and comments - as they are key signal givers. In essence, this update deals with content that hasn't been seen and gives it a new lease of life.

Paul, 8 mins

I thought the device detection feature is really smart, but I wondered how sophisticated that would be in reality. Will it really show me something different on my mobile while in an area with low signal?

Darika, 7 mins

It's possible - Facebook have a decent handle on their mobile product - especially in developing countries where they use a super light version of Facebook.

Paul, 5 mins

Ok, so we're buying that. One final question - you know I'm bit of a Facebook eye-roller. How much time should marketers really be spending trying to get to grips with the new Facebook algorithm?

Darika, 5 mins

Taken on its own this announcement will make people happy but if you delve underneath it, there is a very clear message from Facebook. Your content must be good or it will be actively hidden and I would argue that only about 5% of brands could say they have that. Algorithms are algorithms they rule our lives and change easily. Chasing every change on Facebook (even big ones like this) is a bit like trying to catch milk in water. You'll never get it all and are more likely to get nothing usable at the end. Focus on what you are doing, put out the best content you can and measure everything to be a bit better every day.

1 mins

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