Facebook has done it again.  Today they announced three big changes to the News Feed algorithm.  (Interesting they chose today to announce this, on the heels of Google’s big website algorithm change.)

The new algorithm will balance more content from Users’ Friends and from Pages.  “We want to let you know about a change that may affect referral traffic for publishers. “ (Facebook Media)

Facebook asked people to rate their personal News Feeds and requested information on how they could make a Feed better for Users. Based on the feedback and how people use the News Feed they found that these three updates would improve a User’s experience.

  1. Users will now see more than one News Feed post from the same source in a row. Previously, the algorithm prevented multiple posts of the same update.  They have relaxed this rule so that Users with little content will have more posts in their Feeds.  “Now, if you run out of content, but want to spend more time in News Feed, you’ll see more.”  (Facebook Media)
  1. Facebook will now prioritize content posted by Users’ Friends. This ensures that content posted by Friends will be higher up in the News Feed so Users will not miss anything. Users’ expressed the importance of not missing their Friend’s updates, thus Friend’s photos, videos, status updates and links will be higher in the Feed so Users will be less likely to miss a thing.  You will still be able to see content from news organizations in the Feed, but content from Friends will be a priority.
  1. Facebook will start to hide posts Friends have liked or commented on. Finally, many Users told Facebook they did not “enjoy” seeing stories their Friends had liked or their comments on a post.  “This update will make these stories appear lower down in the News Feed or not at all.”  (Facebook Media)

The goal of the News Feed is to show content that matters to Users.  This requires a mix of updates from Friends, Public Figures, publishers, businesses and local organizations that Users are connected to and the balance differs from User to User based on what people are interested in learning about daily.  “As more people and pages are sharing more content, we need to keep improving News Feed to get this balance right.” (Facebook Media)

How will this affect marketing and business Pages?  The impact will vary considerably based on the audience of the Page and the posting activity.  Post Reach could decline.  However, “overall, pages should continue to post things that people find meaningful.”  (Facebook Media)