Report: Facebook’s News Feed changes could lead to fresh wave of influencer marketing


Dive Brief:

  • Facebook’s recent announcement of algorithm changes that will limit News Feed posts from brands, businesses and media in favor those from friends and family could lead to a ramp up of influencer marketing on the platform, according to a report in Digiday. 
  • Many marketers believe the changes will make organic brand posts nearly invisible to users but independent influencer media, which has strong organic performance and resembles regular user posts, could get newfound priority. Speaking to Digiday, Speakr CEO Marco Hansell said his company’s Facebook influencer content performs 5x to 10x better for engagement when an actual influencer shares it as opposed to a brand.  
  • A new feature unveiled this week indicates some of the ways in which marketers might be able to deploy influencers on Facebook. In a post, Fidji Simo, Facebook’s VP of product, said the company is experimenting with a group viewing feature called Watch Party, where people can comment and react to videos together in real time. It’s being tested in Facebook Groups, which Fidji noted connects everyone “from foodies, to dog lovers, to sports enthusiasts, to fans of video creators.” 

Dive Insight:

Facebook is enacting a major shift to focus on personal content over that of brands and publishers, meaning marketers need to adjust their strategies to preserve presence and reach on a platform that now has more than 2 billion users. Given that audience size, it’s unlikely that marketers will abandon Facebook, but the methods and tactics they use to reach its users could evolve in significant ways. The platform has, to date, not been as well known as an influencer hub as it properties like Instagram or Google’s YouTube, but the strength of organic performance for influencer posts could change that as brand and publisher posts lose clout, per Digiday. 

Facebook has potentially struggled to pick up influencers since it lacks the strictly visual focus of other apps and platforms, but that’s something the company is clearly trying to change. The Watch Party news signals how Facebook might try to leverage video, not just as a viewing destination that drives engagement, but as a hub for bringing different communities together. The areas highlighted by Fidji in her post — foodies, sports enthusiasts and video creators, in general — are all ripe areas for influencer marketing, and point to how brands might tap into Watch Party to reach Facebook users in new ways.  

Meanwhile, Facebook has been working to attract more influencers in recent months. In November, it launched the Facebook Creator app to help content producers shoot and edit video, broadcast live with custom effects, view page analytics, cross-post on different social platforms and receive direct messages in a more streamlined location. The social platform also gave content creators access to a website with resources and tips for creating video and growing their community. 

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