Facebook Makes Major Changes to the News Feed: Here’s How It Will Impact Your Business


Mark Zuckerberg, champion of the decades-old prom picture, the neighborly squabble, the adorable baby pictures, announced yesterday that the Facebook News Feed is about to undergo a fundamental shift. Because “passively reading articles or watching videos” is bad for human beings, Facebook is pivoting its core away from its current state (inescapable time suck) and towards becoming a platform that helps users have “more meaningful social interactions.”

Great for humans, bad for (most) brands.

How is the Facebook News Feed Changing?

Per Zuckerberg’s post, the goal of the News Feed is moving from “helping you find relevant content” to enabling those meaningful social experiences I mentioned before. As such, the litany of posts from news outlets and the brands you love (or love to hate) whose content you passively consume will be usurped by updates from your friends, family, and groups.

facebook news feed changes impact smb advertisers

This doesn’t mean branded content and—more importantly as far as I’m concerned—ads are going away; they’re simply taking a back seat in one of Facebook’s myriad placements.

It’s been speculated by some (including WordStream founder Larry Kim) that Facebook will push “all publisher page posts out of the news feed into a separate ‘Explore’ tab.”

facebook explore tab

Facebook tested this last year and it seems likelier than ever that a world in which posts from the people in your life and posts from news outlets/businesses will be siloed is coming soon. That being said, as of today, Facebook is not eliminating your Business page content from the News Feed. More on where it is going below.

How Will It Impact Your Organic Facebook Presence?

In a post titled “Bringing People Closer Together,” Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s Head of News Feed, outlined the changes in greater detail. Instead of prioritizing posts based on comments and shares, Facebook will now push content to the top of your News Feed that its algorithms predict will spark meaningful “back-and-forth discussion.”

But then he comes in with a flying elbow off the top rope:

“Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.”

Which means you’ll see highlights from your cousin’s flag football championship or notices from your HOA instead of gems like this:

say goodbye to branded content in the news feed on facebook

Very unfair, I know.

Now, people who actively want to see your page’s content front and center can totally still do so by adjusting their “See First in News Feed” settings. In order to convince your followers to actively choose to see the content you’re producing, though, you’ll need to step your game up.

The limited spaces in the News Feed now afforded to businesses will be given to those whose content sparks the same meaningful engagement that inspired this change in the first place. Creating live video or events or recurring series of how-to posts or news that addresses meaningful issues—anything that might lead to discussion and provide actual value to your prospects and customers—is the only surefire way to maintain some semblance of organic reach (which was already dwindling in favor of content boosting and ads anyway).

It’s Still Possible to Grow Your Business on Facebook

Soooo Facebook’s stock is, uh, dropping…

facebook stock post news feed change

But that doesn’t make much sense to me at all.

Neither Zuckerberg nor Mosseri mention the word “advertising” in their respective posts. Facebook generated more than $10.3 billion in ad revenue last quarter alone; it’s the primary way the platform makes money. As such, it shouldn’t come as a shock that people see this deemphasizing of business-related content and run for the hills. But Facebook still has to make money; ads aren’t going anywhere. In fact, the competition for prime placements is sure to increase given that News Feed is now a magical vortex of friendship and happiness.

With that, here’s what you can do in order to start, maintain, or grow your business’s marketing presence on Facebook in a post-News Feed world.

Create hyper-engaging organic content

This drastic shift is in an effort to make people’s lives better by improving the quality of the content shared on Facebook (and its engagement) by, in part, significantly reducing quantity. Brands sharing “engagement-bait,” superfluous listicles and the like, are going to fall by the wayside in favor of those who consciously decide to create content that truly makes people’s lives better.

create more engaging organic facebook content

In their post on the winners and losers of Facebook's news feed changes, ShareThis suggests complementing the creation of more engaging content with, you guessed it, even more engagement.

By empowering readers to share your stuff and harnessing the power of influencers in your vertical, you can amplify opportunities for meaningful conversation to take place; per Facebook, it's this level of interaction—not simply mindless likes and shares but positive discourse—that the News Feed algorithm will reward moving forward.

Optimizing ads for non-feed placements

The News Feed is the crown jewel of ad placements. This is not a secret.

It affords advertisers the most space, allowing you to do and say more interesting things about your product or service. If Facebook is going to reduce the number of posts in the News Feed afforded to businesses, it stands to reason that competition (and cost) for ads in the New Feed will increase exponentially.

Thankfully, between desktop, mobile, the audience network, and Instagram, Facebook offers a whole mess of alternative ad placement options.

facebook ad placement options alternatives to news feed

They include:

  • Groups
  • Right column
  • Instant articles
  • In-stream video
  • Instagram (feed and story)
  • Sponsored messages
  • Audience network

Start thinking about how you can leverage these alternative placements in your Facebook advertising efforts!

Making the most out of your ad spend and activity

If, for most businesses, organic content falls by the wayside, the importance of Facebook advertising for SMBs will increase exponentially. Even with the relative unknown we’re facing in terms of ads showing and with what frequency, knowing where to advertise on Facebook is barely half the battle; the how still takes the cake.

facebook ads grader

To find out how you stack up against your competitors, where you’re wasting ad spend, and who you should be targeting, try the Facebook Ads Grader today!

About the Author

Allen Finn is a content marketing specialist and the reigning fantasy football champion at WordStream. He enjoys couth menswear, dank eats, and the dulcet tones of the Wu-Tang Clan.

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Jan 15, 2018

These changes will definately gonna help to make impact on ROI.

Jan 15, 2018

i think these changes can affect many small businesses.

Allen Finn
Jan 16, 2018

From an organic perspective, sort of. But organic reach has been throttled for months now. This change might force SMBs to focus on advertising a bit more, but it shouldn't derail your marketing efforts entirely.

Harley Greytak
Jan 15, 2018

From what you have analyzed, I should be able to safely assume that the current Facebook Marketing style won't change much and only the competition to show in the "main" feed will increase.

In your opinion, is it more important to make the ads to the top of the News Feed or to the Main Feed?

Allen Finn
Jan 16, 2018

Hi, Harley!

That's where my head's at. Fewer spots in the News Feed for business and news posts will likely mean less real estate for advertisers there, too; less, but not none.

We'll have to wait and see if/how cost is impacted by the potential increase in competition.

In regards to your question, the answer, quite simply, is a shrug. If you're targeting the right people with the right offer, you'll be able to make any placement work.

Adil Khan
Jan 17, 2018

From a media perspective, I think the cost per results metric is going to increase with lowest being for Cost Per Reach ..and highest increases coming from Cost Per Conversion, LTV metric.

Tricia Belmonte
Jan 15, 2018

Thank you for trying to put a positive spin on what otherwise is devastating news for advertisers. I've seen a massive drop in reach for ad spend on my ads. I'm going to remove the ads from feeds and experiment with right-hand ads - which in light of all this, may actually achieve a higher reach as it will be more in line with what FB obviously wants- a way to separate friend content from ads.

Allen Finn
Jan 16, 2018

Could not agree more. it might also be worth giving Instagram a go and keeping a chunk of your budget reserved for pitching high-intent audiences with offers in the News Feed.

Rohit kr.
Jan 16, 2018

It's getting harder and harder to get better ROI on Facebook. Last month I tried joining few groups but they all were full of spam (links links and links ).

What are Instant articles?

Nadia Khan
Jan 17, 2018

We prefer to do our digital marketing on Google Adwords and it works instead of Facebook. We are unable to get the desired results from Facebook marketing.

Jan 17, 2018

Hi Allen and thanks for writing this article! It's deffo getting harder to advertise on Facebook now.. I tried running a FB ad couple weeks ago but was not too successful.. What do you think of Instagram? I was reading this article over at http://facebookadsmadeeasy.co.uk/2018/01/04/advertising-on-facebook-and-instagram-which-one-is-better-youll-be-surprised/ and the guy who wrote this states Facebook is a better platform to use for advertising.. I'm in 2 minds now.. Thinking about going into Instagram advertising. Have you tried Instagram advertising? Would love to hear your opinion on the article. Thanks!

Jan 25, 2018

This is why IG has become a better platform. How long til it follows suit with the pay-to-play scheme we'll see!

Phil Hood
Jan 31, 2018

They are probably trying to accomplish too much and some of this is a good move. But friends & family are not separate from business, especially local business. If I follow the bakery where I get my coffee I don't want to see only 1% of their posts. I want to be dialed in. This reinforces that the whole structure of social media is wrong. Ideally it would be P2P and my social feed would pull in stuff from everywhere, not just Facebook. That would be truly social.

Helen Cope
Feb 01, 2018

Some valid point raised, I too created a video on the impact to business the latest Newsfeed update will have check it out here https://youtu.be/DApsW-wviP8

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