Facebook puts meaningful user experiences first

by Nigel Hollis | January 15, 2018

Facebook is going to prioritize posts from friends and family and downplay those from businesses, brands, and media. Intriguingly, Facebook expects this move to result in lower time spent on the platform but higher engagement, something which can only be to the platform’s benefit longer-term.

The strange coincidence is that Facebook’s announcement came quick on the heels of a post from one of my friends which stated,

“Does anybody else miss the old, pre-choked with advertisements and fake news Facebook? I’m having a really hard time being in here anymore, but I do love the part that is a celebration of beloved friends and family.”

At the time I read this, I simply nodded in agreement. Right now my News Feed is cluttered with sponsored videos and ads delivered on the pretext that one of my friends likes the brand in question.

Look, Ann may like Bloomingdale’s but I am not going to be looking for my signature scent there, OK? Maybe the algorithms cannot figure out that Nigel is a guy’s name but I can tell you that my interest in Tory Burch’s Bel Azur Eau de Parfum is non-existent. And Jorge might like Intel but I have no interest in checking out highlights from the amazing #Intel Shooting Star drone light show over the fountains of @Bellagio at #CES2018.

But it seems that Facebook has finally got the message. So alongside reactions, comments and shares your News Feed will prioritize posts based on “meaningful interactions”, in line with this post from late last year, which states,

three-facebook-friends646x366

“We want Facebook to be a place for meaningful interactions with your friends and family — enhancing your relationships offline, not detracting from them.”

So basically, it looks like Facebook’s algorithms will predict which posts you might want to talk to your friends about and prioritize them in your News Feed.

From a user perspective this is likely to be a good thing. Investors on the other hand might be wondering what the short-term impact will be on revenues if the ad load decreases. But I suspect that the change will help prevent people being lured away to other platforms. With a huge audience now enjoying a more rewarding experience advertisers are going to have a hard time ignoring the opportunity to interact with potential consumers at scale and may even find that there is a better response with less competition for attention. But what do you think? Will this help improve the Facebook experience? Please share your thoughts.  

3 comments

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  1. Katharine Baker, January 15, 2018
    I totally agree with this. It can only be a good thing for Facebook to refocus on its core. 
  2. Ed C, January 15, 2018
    I agree. I think a win win win, as isers will like it, advertisers will like the more focused attention each user has on any one ad, and shareholders will like it if indeed the depth vs breadth approch yields a greater ROI (and later, more ad revenue) from the updated approach. 
  3. Bev Wills, January 15, 2018
    I want Facebook to put things on my wall that I care about - not what a friend ate for dinner etc. I want information and opinion on the sports teams and music that I am interested in. I dont want trivial. 

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