But what does “meaningful” mean? A response to the latest Facebook News Feed announcement.

By now, you’ve likely read at least something about the changes Facebook is making to the algorithm that determines what you see in your News Feed. Facebook’s aim, as stated by founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is to focus on more “meaningful social interactions.” Of course, pretty much all three of those words are open to interpretation.

If you’re a regular Facebook user, you know that there is a lot of activity there, and it can be hard to find useful content amid the noise of individuals and brands just wanting to be heard. Facebook is always tweaking the process to figure out which content to prioritize, and as many of the articles about the newest revision have mentioned, Facebook has announced changes before.

Whenever Facebook makes a big announcement like this, there is usually an initial freak-out, and that is understandable. Facebook is a “free” platform on which people spend a lot of time and money. It is unnerving enough when Ads Manager gets redesigned, and you wake up one morning faced with relearning how to place ads. A routine that once took five minutes at the beginning of your day takes almost an hour until you’ve adjusted to the new design—a design you have no idea how long you’ll be using before the next change. Add to that frustration the idea that the things you can’t see are being modified in ways you can’t predict but that will likely affect the outcomes of the ads you’re placing either for yourself or your clients. So of course, the internet is on fire over these “meaningful social interactions.”

Much of the reaction to this change is like this Nieman Lab article that starts off in the title using words like “drastically” and “good” and “bad.” The subhead warns that “news publishers that have relied on Facebook for traffic will suffer.” Maybe you focused on the dramatic “will suffer” in that sentence. I know I did. It turns out, however, that the important word there might be “traffic.” In the text of the article itself, there is a tweet from Verge editor Casey Newton, who wrote, “So many publishers think they have audiences when what they really have is traffic. I think we’re about to find out who has an audience.” That distinction is where CPU comes in. Eyes on your content is not our goal; minds on your content is. If the game is changing to favor quality, CPU is ready. We don’t subscribe to the quality v. quantity binary because we know that ultimately, quality leads to quantity.

The truth is that at this point, no one knows how this will affect the way businesses use Facebook, but as always, CPU is monitoring the situation. We’re reading everything we can and watching how the ads are performing, and we’ll keep worrying about it so that you don’t have to.

Let’s be meaningful, shall we?

 


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