Every time you open Facebook the News Feed algorithm is working behind the scenes to create a personalized experience. Each piece of content published by a Facebook friend, or a brand you follow, is assigned a Relevance Score and ranked among all of the other content in your personal News Feed. Every single time. Every piece of content. This is called feed ranking, and it means that no two News Feeds are alike.
As a marketer thick in the day-to-day of brand social media, I often have to remind myself that people are more likely to engage with content on Facebook in the News Feed than any other location on the site. In fact, 27 percent of all Facebook interactions occur in the News Feed. My clients’ content is competing with baby photos, a retelling of a friend’s last night’s shenanigans and countless quick recipe videos. This isn’t limited to just organic posts on Facebook. What many marketers don’t realize is that ads are also assigned a Relevance Score. Ads with higher Relevance Scores historically yield higher news feed rank, reach more people, and perform better.
Relevancy for the Win
It’s funny when I hear others in B2B marketing say their audience is not on Facebook. With over 1.79 billion monthly users, everyone’s audience is on Facebook. However, Facebook does present challenges for marketers. Some could argue that these challenges are even greater for B2B marketers looking to stand out (or rather blend in) with highly relevant content on Facebook. Over the past few years Facebook has admittedly decreased the organic reach of brands in lieu of favoring friend-to-friend content. That has led brands to rely on heavily promoted content and paying for audience reach in the News Feed.
Facebook recently published a set of News Feed Values that exist to breakdown how the News Feed algorithm ranks content. These values aim to create the most personalized and relevant experience for each person’s News Feed. In order to increase the Relevancy Score of both Facebook ads and organic content, B2B brands need to be creating content with these values in mind:
- Friends and Family Come First – This drills down to two main ideas: Informative content and entertaining content. Lately we’ve all seen a slew of recipe-focused videos swamping our feeds. These are ranked as extremely informative by Facebook. We also see an insane amount of silly memes in our News Feeds. It’s no surprise that these types of posts are deemed to be extremely entertaining.
- A Platform for All Ideas – None of the values are more timely than this. While the election has come and gone, Facebook has been left at the center of a controversy around favoring news sources. I’m not here to talk about that. Plenty of others are talking about it already, and it is just noise. The inevitable truth is that Facebook is indeed a platform for all ideas, and that will not change. As marketers we are held to a higher standard of creating a safe and respectful place for sharing content. I challenge you all to do the same both in your personal and professional publishing of content.
- Authentic Communication – This is perhaps the biggest challenge for B2B marketers. With sales objectives often driving the marketing agenda, it is hard to tell an authentic story that is relevant to audiences who may or may not be looking to consume sales-focused content while perusing the Facebook News Feed. The more personal and informative your content can be, the more relevant it will be.
- You Control Your Experience – While this value does not affect marketers directly, it is a recently measureable aspect for Facebook Ads. Because Facebook allows us to control our own experience, we, as advertisers, can see the number of people who “hid” our ad, unfollowed our brand because of a particular ad, or who perhaps enjoyed our ad so much they want to see more content like ours.
- Constant Iteration – As the News Feed is constantly iterating, marketers must keep up. When Facebook releases a new feature, we almost immediately see it ranking higher in the News Feed. This is the case with Facebook Live. Facebook has not only emerged with News Feed notification settings just for Live, they are also testing mid-roll video advertisements and sponsored content within Live Video. This also applies to Instagram.
What does this mean for B2B marketers?
- Find a way to inform your audience through content. If you are a highly technical research company, find a way way to share an interesting fact through a sharable image or other highly visual way instead of just posting a link to your latest whitepaper.
- Use Facebook to put faces to the names behind your company. Share team photos and fun facts to make your content more personal.
- If you are in the tech or software business, try targeting the end-user with both organic and paid posts. It is often the end users who are most engaged with a brand on Facebook, and it is, coincidently, the end users who provide feedback to their company decision makers when it’s time to make a major purchase..
- Try new methods of sharing content. Share a Facebook Live Video of a product announcement, a tour of a warehouse or a quick customer interview.
- Fail fast, test often. If an ad is not performing well or has a low relevancy score, make changes in the creative, the copy or the audience targeting.
If you are ever looking to learn more about the Facebook News Feed. Check out News Feed FYI, from Facebook.