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Facebook is going through some changes.  If you’ve been on Facebook for more than a year, you’ve likely seen a bunch of changes.  But this change I’m talking about is different.

Over the years, they’ve completely revamped and changed their layout numerous times.  These changes, for the most part, have just annoyed users.    Each time, their user base quickly and loudly goes up in arms over it.  Then once they get used to the new look and feel, Facebook does it all over again.

But each change Facebook has made over the years have truthfully brought in big improvements.  I guess people just don’t like change.  But each change has been something that seemed needed in retrospect.  Something that made the user experience better.

However one of their biggest changes that they’ve made has nothing to do with user experience and is not as obvious.  It is tied to the algorithm that decides what you see on your news feed.  The algorithm known as Edge Rank uses these three components:

Affinity – This is the amount of interaction your posts get

Weight – Type of interaction taken by your fans

Time Decay – The longer the post is out there, the less relevant it is

Each user you interact with has an Edge Rank score for you.  The lower your score, the less they see what you have to say.

The more interaction you can get from your audience, the more they should see you.  But now, Facebook is also showing something else within the news feed: advertisements.

Ad Revenue

facebook_sponsored_post

A business or person can pay a small fee to sponsor a status update.  These will look like every other status update in your news feed with the exception of the small word “Sponsored ” appearing on the bottom right of the update.

So how do these ads fit in with Edge Rank?  Well, Facebook needs to take these into account in their algorithm too.  They need to decide who gets bumped in order to show you an ad.  The more ads they show you and the longer they stay in your news feed, the less you see of the people you actually want to see.

It seems only logical that all of your friends and pages you like have more competition to have you see them than they did.  Which means it will be more difficult to get your message in front of your audience.

Facebook is catching a lot of slack from the media for this.  They are also still making changes to their algorithm to try to get it right so they show you what they believe you really want to see.  At least that’s what they’re saying.

The bottom line for businesses is that it just got harder and easier to get in front of your audience on Facebook.  That’s right, I said Harder and easier.

For businesses that don’t do a good job of engaging their audience, they’re going to see ever diminishing returns.  But, for those who do engage their audience well, there is going to be less competition.  Poor players are going to drop and if you play your cards right, you can dominate here.

Plus, for a nominal fee, you too can sponsor your own posts and not only be seen by more of the people you are connected to, but their friends as well.  I don’t recommend doing it just to do it.  If you’ve got a strategy however, sponsored ads can be an extremely cost effective way to add a little oomph to your Facebook results.

Things are going to continue to change with Facebook.  Who knows, this may be a moot point in another month as they update their algorithm again.  However, Facebook certainly has the right and need to monetize their site.  I don’t see these types of ads, like them or not, going away any time soon.  The bottom line: pay close attention to your interaction on Facebook and always work to increase engagement both on and off Facebook.

questionsWhat is your biggest challenge using Facebook to market your business?  Leave a comment below and I will answer back with some help.

Also, make sure to share this article with any businesses you know who are using Facebook to market.