Is Facebook’s new algo behind brand’s huge social growth?

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Facebook recently updated its Newsfeed algorithm to make credible social content more visible online, and one Brafton client may be reaping the rewards.

Industry: Publishing
Content: Blog posts and social marketing
Highlights: Facebook referral traffic spike

Facebook’s latest newsfeed algorithm update promised to bring users information that was more relevant and timely. At first, it was unclear if this change would benefit brands’ social media marketing efforts. The outcome hinged on whether Facebook considered their news content the kind of high-quality editorially driven pieces that users would like to read.

Brafton’s team was excited to see that a client received 171 percent more referral traffic from Facebook, but we were even more excited to see that this surge in visits took place just after the social network rolled out its new algorithm. The correlation may indicate Facebook identified the client as a credible publisher, and as a result of high-quality content, the company earned more face time with Facebook audiences.

The client’s strategy includes coverage of trending pregnancy news and evergreen advice fueled by Brafton’s content writers.

We dug into the data and the results are promising, but we’re waiting for more comprehensive metrics to make sure this was the result of the new algorithm and isn’t the result of a seasonal uptick.

Pregnancy Magazine Success Story Referral Traffic

Coincidence? The data says not.

The period of marked improvement (the second half of December) coincided with the release of the new algorithm, which was announced December 2, 2013.

  •  The client’s site received 171 percent more visits from Facebook in the last two weeks of December, compared with traffic from the two weeks prior: November 22, 2013 through December 13, 2013.
  • The brand saw significantly more year-on-year Facebook traffic for this period, up nearly 170 percent.
  • It received 258 percent more visits from Facebook mobile traffic during the same reporting period, a trend that’s likely also the result of the algo update. Facebook said it was experimenting with prioritizing news articles in mobile Newsfeeds.

Our strategists suspect Facebook identified the client as a source of trusted information and gave its posts better visibility on the platform as part of its commitment to promote authoritative articles. In turn, this made the brand’s social content easier for fans and followers to discover and generated immense results.

Pregnancy Magazine Success Story Social Reach Stat

Same content, more reach & engagement

Without increasing the amount of content shared on Facebook, or changing the writing strategy, the client’s organic posts reached between 2 to 3 times as many people in the reporting period after the algorithm update.

Not only was the brand’s content shown to a larger pool of social media users, but it also engaged them. Comparing the social interaction measured between December 15, 2013 – January 8, 2014 and November 21, 2013 – December 14, 2013, the posts received:

Pregnancy Magazine Success Story Social Engagement Stat

  •  469 percent more Likes
  •  1167 percent more Comments
  •  542 percent more Shares

During this period of impressive growth, the client also earned more followers, a sign that wider reach and quality content can help brands generate new prospects. While more Facebook traffic monitoring will confirm whether Facebook’s algorithm assisted these results, it is promising to see that companies are reaping the rewards of their brand journalism strategies.

Have you seen an uptick in Facebook traffic since the new algo release? Join the conversation in the comments.

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Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.
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