'You should not focus on engagement baiting': Here's how Facebook is explaining its sweeping News Feed change to advertisers

Facebook Mark Zuckerberg employees

  • Facebook is set to start playing up status updates from friends and family in the News Feed, effectively deprioritizing content from media publishers and brands.
  • It explained the changes to its partners including ad agencies through emails sent on Friday morning, Business Insider has learned. 
  • Facebook told advertisers that it is not making any changes to ads ranking at this time, and that they should continue to focus on driving business results and not indulge in “engagement-baiting.”

In a massive shake-up announced Thursday, Facebook said it would start playing up status updates from friends and family in the News Feed, effectively deprioritizing content from media publishers and brands.

On Friday morning, it followed suit by sending emails explaining the changes to its partners including ad agencies, Business Insider has learned. Digiday published the email Facebook’s head of news partnerships Campbell Brown sent to its media partners.

The tech giant said that it was going to increase the weight it puts on friend interactions and prioritize posts that inspire conversations and interactions, such as comments, shares, and reactions, over posts that are consumed passively, people familiar with the matter told Business Insider. 

It said that pages may see a decline in their organic reach, referral traffic and total video watch time due to these changes, but maintained that posts that lead to more meaningful interactions will see less of an impact. 

Here is what Facebook is specifically telling advertisers:

  • Facebook is not making any changes to ads ranking at this time.
  • However, if a post by a brand page is getting less organic reach due to this ranking change, “it may see a slight impact within the ads auction, if boosted,” an email to an agency read. In other words, brands should not waste money on boosting subpar content hoping it will do better with some dollars behind it. 
  • Facebook is telling agencies that they shouldn’t fret about engagement, which is a very small part of ads ranking. The company relies on many other data points to determine what ads people see to ensure relevancy and value.
  • Brands should focus on using Facebook to drive business outcomes, like conversion, instead of engagement. “As our ads auction already optimizes for user value, we encourage advertisers to continue focusing on driving real business outcomes,” the email said.
  • The company assured ad agencies and brands that it would continue to work with them to figure out what types of posts promote meaningful interactions.
  • Facebook is telling advertisers that “you should not focus on ‘engagement baiting‘ by trying to get audiences to comment on your posts.”
  • Posts such as those asking people to ‘Comment yes if you like rock music’ do not constitute a meaningful interaction, says Facebook. Rather, brands should create content that matters to their customers, while staying true to their brand.

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Source: businessinsider
'You should not focus on engagement baiting': Here's how Facebook is explaining its sweeping News Feed change to advertisers