Facebook once again is changing their newsfeed algorithm that will likely have a significant impact on band and musician pages.
According to Adam Mosseri, Facebook VP, Product Management in a Facebook Newsfeed Algorithm Change Update, “The goal of News Feed is to show people the stories that are most relevant to them. Today, we’re announcing an update to News Feed that helps you see more posts from your friends and family… As part of that process, we often make improvements to News Feed, and when we do, we rely on a set of core values: ”
- Friends and Family Come First
- A Platform For All Ideas
- Authentic Communication
- You Control Your Experience
- Constant Iteration
He went on to say, “When we launched News Feed in 2006, it was hard to imagine the challenge we now face: far too much information for any one person to consume… That’s why stories in News Feed are ranked — so that people can see what they care about first, and don’t miss important stuff from their friends. If the ranking is off, people don’t engage, and leave dissatisfied.”
How do the Facebook Newsfeed Algorithm Changes Impact Band Pages?
Why do we believe that the recent changes to the Facebook Newsfeed Algorithm will impact band and corporate pages? Anyone running a Facebook Page will certainly attest to seeing a decline in organic traffic. To get content from a fan page to be seen has been a pay to play proposition since the last major change of the Algorithm that rolled in around April 2015.
Lars Backstrom, Facebook Engineering Director, said in his blog post titled Helping Make Sure You Don’t Miss Stories from Friends that “Overall, we anticipate that this update may cause reach and referral traffic to decline for some Pages. The specific impact on your Page’s distribution and other metrics may vary depending on the composition of your audience. For example, if a lot of your referral traffic is the result of people sharing your content and their friends liking and commenting on it, there will be less of an impact than if the majority of your traffic comes directly through Page posts.”
The last sentence, “If the Majority of your traffic comes directly through page posts” is a big one. People have been speculating for awhile that Facebook has been penalizing them for using third-party platforms such as Hootsuite, CD Baby, TopSpin or Bandcamp to post to their pages.
Facebook has historically avoided the direct answer to that question, but Mr. Backstrom’s statement seems to clarify this point. It appears they will be promoting content that is created directly on Facebook or very few if any will actually see the post.
What does that mean in English? Bands will not be able to schedule automatic posts for album releases using third-party systems using the Facebook API. They will have to go to the page directly at the exact time and publish a post.
What should a band do?
We routinely tell our Musician and Songwriter members to own their data. The Facebook Newsfeed Changes are another good example of why. A good case study is to think about the millions of fans that were following Bands on MySpace. Practically overnight MySpace was gone and the bands completely lost access to their fans that were following them on that platform.
Musicians who manage Facebook pages do not have access to personal information of their followers such as email addresses and they have no way to directly engage with them — even paid posts do not guarantee all fans will see the update.
Any time Facebook makes a change their is a potential to completely lose access to a fanbase and there is nothing that anyone can do about it. Accordingly, the new Facebook Newsfeed Algorithms will look at how end-users are engaging with content. If they don’t regularly click on a post form a Band Page then the chances are all posts from that page will be suppressed and never been seen by that fan again.
About the Foundation for Musicians and Songwriters
The Foundation for Musicians and Songwriters is an IRS 501c3 Public Charity that is dedicated to helping Musicians and Songwriters develop their careers in the Music Industry. We do so without taking a penny or rights from the artist we represent.
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Jimmy Kerr is President and CEO of the Foundation for Musicians and Songwriters. He is a tech entrepreneur who has started dozens of companies including Orbitz.com. Mr. Kerr is a musician and Berklee College of Music trained Recording Engineer and Record Producer.