Have you noticed any changes in your Facebook news feed lately? We mean besides the seemingly arbitrary layout changes that Facebook introduces every couple of months. Well, whether you’ve noticed it or not, significant changes to Facebook’s programming have been manipulating what you see when you log on.
Earlier this year, the social media giant made changes to its algorithm (a science-y, computer-y thing that determines how the ton of content Facebook generates is sorted), that saw the reach of liked pages significantly decrease.
What was once one of the greatest free promotional tools in a brand’s arsenal — this includes musicians and record labels — changed, with a view to encouraging content providers to pay for “boosted” ads (give Facebook your money and they’ll make sure more people see your post).
Despite a myriad of complaints from content providers, many of the brands affected did end up forking out in order to increase their fan base. But now, as Digital Music News reports, they may have to pay a lot more.
According to a report in The Guardian, as of 2015, Facebook will be reducing the amount of “overly promotional” posts in users’ news feeds. This means posts that aren’t paid ads will become less visible if they meet certain criteria.
This includes “posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app, posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context, [and] posts that reuse the exact same content from ads”.
Basically, if you’re going to be advertising anything, Facebook wants you to shell out for it, because, they claim, a recent survey of their user base revealed Facebookers believe many organic posts in their news feeds are too promotional.
Why these users can’t simply unlike the pages flooding them with overly promotional content, no one is sure, but what is more certain is that this will definitely affect musicians, particularly those without any major label backing.
Though the language used is rather vague, according to the criteria laid out by Facebook, an artist wishing to inform their fans that their new album is now available or wishing to run a competition to generate buzz about an album will no longer be able to do so free of charge.
This, combined with another recent policy change that went into effect on 5th November, which states that pages can no longer offer incentives in exchange for page or post likes (think ‘Get this page to 10,000 likes and we’ll give away a prize pack), means indie artists will soon be experiencing an uphill battle on Facebook