Update 17.10.2016: This article is outdated, some of the methods/topics discussed within it may no longer be valid.
If you’re in the fanpage game, you must have seen a drop in traffic. No, it’s not just you, Facebook made it official a few days ago that they’re restructuring the news feed.
Yesterday, Facebook announced major changes to its News Feed to show more news articles and high-quality content and fewer LOLCats, meme photos, and boring status updates (Business Insider’s Jillian D’Onfro wrote about them in detail here). The changes are huge news for large online publishers, whose content will now claim a larger share of the coveted News Feed slots and gain increased exposure with Facebook’s more than 1 billion users.
The aim of this move by Facebook is to compete with Twitter (and obviously to make more money). While Twitter is an entirely different platform, they dominate in social media news, something Facebook wants to be a part of. It seems Facebook has grown tired of the countless LOLcats, meme, funny images posted and are now turning to content with value. What does that mean to us? Looking at my news feed today (for the first time) I have not seen a single meme/funny image, it was all posts from my friends / family (and I like a LOT of pages). What I am seeing are news sites and sites with content that are making their way onto my feed. While it’s not over yet, this is going to hurt every funny image site owner that uses Facebook for traffic. Users are reporting a 60% drop in traffic, and according to Facebook, it does NOT look like it will bounce back.
So what now? Do you close shop? My guess is, no. While they have tightened the grip on the amount of traffic you have to remember, you’re still getting traffic. My suggestion is to dump funny image sites while it’s early and start with sites that provide real content. You can still engage your audience and bring tons of fans to your website, you just need more than a funny image on your site (i.e. a body of text).
So how does Facebook know if your site is worthy of being on top of the user’s news feed? No one knows for sure, but from what I’ve gathered around the web here are some possible theories:
- Facebook crawls your link, searches for articles/body of text.
- Facebook crawls your link, checks whether your domain has too many exit referrals with Facebook (this theory is also possible, as users who share links via known / whitelisted URL shorteners are seeing better results, it looks like they get a free pass)
- Facebook checks for a number of users who visit your fanpage, and based on that number it ranks your posts in the news feed. (The logic behind this theory is that if you truly have a fanpage people want to see posts from, it also means that the fans are dedicated enough to view the page from time to time.)
- It could be as simple as having “more text” in your posts. A single image won’t cut it anymore, try adding some text describing your picture, or whatever it is you are posting.
- Money. This move was mainly to get MORE money out of fanpage owners.
Point #3 can be tested quite easily and we will post results after a few days of trying. If Facebook wants more personal hits to your fanpage lets give them what they want. We encourage you to try out a simple hidden iframe pointing to your fanpage URL on your site, this way any fan who already is on your site will also have “opened” your fanpage.
<IFRAME width="1" height="1" src="URL TO YOUR FANPAGE HERE" scrolling="no" frameborder="0">
We don’t know if this will work, but it’s worth a shot. If you do end up seeing results, please let us know in the comment section below. Any input on this is greatly appreciated as we’re all in the same boat!