Facebook – Colour, cut, style and blow dry

In the old Facebook days features and functions would disappear, move, and reappear from one week to the next, leaving digital and social agencies scrambling around forums to make sense of the changes and implications. The updates were akin to the feeling you have when you leave a barber shop with a bad haircut – How the hell am I going to style this one out?* This happened with the introduction of the Edge Ranking algorithm, when all of a sudden brands and publishers could no longer broadcast content to all of their followers and the value of engagement became ever more precious. I remember at the time there was a fury of keyboard tapping and mouse clicking in our office – Facebook had upped their game.

As I’ve started with a haircut analogy, I won’t cut it short. Nowadays, it seems that the changes Facebook make are more like the type of brand new hairstyle that a high-end hairdresser would encourage you to have. Y’know the type that you’re not too sure about? A haircut, new look, or interface forces people to look at you differently – some people may like it, some may prefer the old you. Regardless, you’re moving forwards and everyone has got to live with your new look no matter how they feel about it.

The latest change from Facebook centres around meaningful posts from friends and family. In turn this means that publisher and advertiser content will now be marginalised in the hope that Facebook users will be happier and more satisfied with the content they are fed minute-by-minute. (There’s that ‘happy’ word again. It keeps cropping up, doesn’t it?)

I read that Mark Hull, Director of Product Management at Facebook believes that these changes will mean that the time users spend on the app will decrease in favour of better time spent. You could spin that on its head, however; if content is better and more meaningful then our Facebook and Instagram addiction will still be hard to break. Maybe that high-end hairdresser was right, after all?

What does this mean for brands and publishers? It means that the value placed on engaging with Facebook users will be premiumised once again. It will cost more to engage an audience, plus the content will need to fit in with Facebook’s new algorithms on what qualifies as meaningful posts. This will also mean that creatively, social media advertising will need to evolve. This will create a challenge for agencies, publishers and brands alike to showcase the best of their abilities. This isn’t just a short back and sides from the local barbershop. This will require a full colour, cut, style and blow dry Facebook style!

NB. *I’m actually bald so have no idea how that feels.