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Changes to the Facebook Algorithm and the end of the Facebook Contest

As you plan your digital marketing strategies for the year, you might be considering a Facebook contest or two. These usually involve asking your page fans to like, comment on and share a post to enter for a chance to win a prize. These have been very popular with brand pages, our retailer pages included. It’s been an easy way to get organic engagement (likes, comments, shares) on a post without having to pay for the post to be boosted.

But that’s all about to change.

Last month, Facebook announced that they will be demoting individual posts that use this kind of tactic to get organic engagement. This means that they are updating their algorithm to ensure posts using this tactic will be shown less in the News Feed.

Over the course of several weeks, they will start demoting entire pages that “systematically and repeatedly use engagement bait to artificially gain reach in the New Feed.” When a page is demoted, any content posted from it shows up less in the News Feed.

Facebook Baiting Examples

Source: newsroom.fb.com

So how will this change your digital marketing strategies going forward?

Online Contests

  • You won’t be able to host a contest on your Facebook without facing these consequences. But you can host a contest on your website or on a third-party platform like Woobox (the platform we use in the AWG marketing department to host digital contests).
  • Both options require placing a form on your website or the third-party platform. The customer fills out the form to enter the contest. These are a great way to build up your email list because you can include a field on the form for the customer’s email address. Just make sure you include a checkbox giving them the option to opt-out of emails from you.
  • You can also promote in-store contests and sweepstakes on your Facebook page.

Increasing Engagement and Page Fans

  • The goal of these Facebook contests involved increasing post engagement and/or page fans. Both can still be done without using this tactic. You can increase visibility and usually engagement on your Facebook posts by paying to boost them so that more people will see them. You can also increase awareness of your page, website, weekly ads, etc. by creating Facebook ad campaigns.
  • If you don’t want to spend the money on boosted posts or Facebook ads, the other solution is to create more engaging content for your page. Determine what your customers want to see from you and what gets the most likes, comments, shares, and clicks on links.
  • Video is also currently rated higher in the Facebook News Feed algorithm. So sharing high-quality, relevant content via video is a great way to increase your organic engagement and ultimately your page following in general.

Facebook is rolling out these changes in an effort to provide users with more relevant and meaningful content in their News Feed. Much like their efforts last year to crack down on “clickbait” headlines, the engagement bait rules will give the customers a more meaningful experience with brands and other professional pages they follow. It will require a little more effort for brands but ultimately, the interactions between brands and customers will be better. Brands will have a better understanding of what their customers want and the customers will be viewing quality content that adds value to their Facebook experience.

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Why do I work at AWG? “I like working for a company that supports local, often times family-owned, businesses in everything they do in order to help them succeed and stay competitive. It’s great to interact with the stores on a daily basis and learn about their story and the communities they serve.” -Melanie