The controversial changes Facebook made to its feed this year have resulted in “quite significant” changes to traffic, a senior News Corp executive has confirmed, following debate about the ramifications they would have for businesses.
In January this year, Facebook announced a major change to its display of content on user feeds, which restricted the flow of non-paid posts by businesses and publishers.
The move was described as an attempt to make the platform “encourage meaningful interactions between people”.
My Business readers responded resoundingly by claiming they would quit Facebook, fearing the restrictions on their organic posts would slash customer engagement and, hence, render their time monitoring and updating their profiles worthless.
The experience of News Corp Australia – one of Australia’s largest media outlets – appears to show those fears were somewhat justified.
Julian Delany, the company’s managing director of News DNA, said some of its mastheads have witnessed “quite a significant impact” in the volume of referrals from Facebook as a result of the change.
However, he said this impact has not been universal across the business.
“On the experience of News Corp, it varies from brand to brand,” Mr Delany said.
“Some have seen quite a significant impact, and others not.”
According to Mr Delany, businesses and publishers using social media to spread their content need not be so concerned about things they cannot change, and instead focus on how best to respond to changing events.
“Impact? Yes. Change? Yes. What do we do about it? The very best that we can.”
In some ways, Mr Delany said the change by Facebook was actually welcome, as it has forced the business to more effectively target its audiences.
“As a matter of fact, I think it has actually pushed us to represent our brands in those environments in a different way, such as by putting more video onto our posts as opposed to just putting a link in,” he said.
“Not all audiences are as valuable as each other. Someone coming from search is different from social and different from someone coming direct.”
Mr Delany was speaking as part of a panel on digital marketing at the Advertising Week APAC conference in Sydney.