This article was gotten from Larry Kim – Mobile Monkey
In this article, I’ll tell you why I’m making this assertion, the conspiratorial events leading up to the death of the News Feed, what it all means for the future of Facebook marketing, and four solid takeaways that will superpower your marketing in a post-News Feed era.
After reading this article, you’ll be light-years ahead of most marketers. You’ll learn the unicorn moves in the brave new world of Facebook Messenger marketing — a world where the News Feed is a relic of history.
Facebook’s News Feed Is Dead: Here are the Facts
Let me lay out the issue in a single sentence: Facebook is restructuring all the leaders of their business to support a new focus on messaging and privacy.
The ones to suffer most from the demise of News Feed are publishers — us, marketers, storytellers, businesses.
We get it. People don’t see our organic posts anymore.
But why this new round of outrage about the News Feed’s demise?
In the past, when the News Feed got dinged, it was usually preceded by a Mark Zuckerburg jeremiad about the loss of “friends and family at the core of the experience,” or a variation on that theme.
Of course, these laments masked the cold, hard truth for us publishers who got screwed by the algorithm changes.
But now, it’s more than laments. It’s more than algorithm tweaks.
Zuckerburg has made moves. Bold moves.
What kind of moves? Here’s the Facebook shuffle that has all taken place within the last year.
These names may not be familiar to you, but basically, a whole lot of billionaires were just let out to pasture. Taken together, they tell the shocking story about how Facebook is changing.
WhatsApp cofounder Jan Koum left Facebook a while back.
Koum mushroomed into a billionaire when Facebook bought his and co-founder Brian Acton’s startup, WhatsApp.
Now, Koum is spending more time playing ultimate frisbee than he spends tweaking his app. And Brian Acton jumped ship, too.
It was no secret that Koum and Facebook’s old guard crossed swords when Facebook started tinkering with WhatsApp’s most notable feature — ironclad encryption.
Daniels became Koum’s replacement but not for long. On the day that Fast Company called “ugly Thursday,” Daniels cleared out his desk and walked out the door.
That’s a pretty big move for a guy who just got the equivalent of a Facebook corner office.
Chris Cox, third-highest at Facebook also resigned.
This is big news.
Cox was engineer hire number 13 at Facebook and he spent 13 years at Facebook. (Let’s not go all superstitious about the string of 13s.)
However, Chris Cox is the highest ranking company officer ever to resign. He held the Chief Product Officer role, just one door down from Ms. Sandberg, Facebook’s COO.
Chris Cox was a legend at Facebook — one of the most admired, and most trusted leaders the company knew.
His leaving is no morale booster, that’s for sure.
Those are just some of the changes that have been going on in Menlo Park. In his typical saturnine style, Zuckerburg described a few of those changes in a Facebook Newsroom post.
- Fidji Simo now heading up the Facebook app.
- Chris Cox’s role remains unfilled!
- Will Cathcart is the new head of WhatsApp.
- Javier Olivan is behind the plan to integrate Messenger, Whatsapp, and Instagram.
- The VPs of Instagram, Messenger, and Whatsapp will all report directly to Zuckerburg.
Zuckerburg doesn’t upset the applecart for no reason.
As one Facebook insider reported, this “was a burn the boats moment — a symbolic point of no return intended to rally the company around a new existential imperative.”
The News Feed has reached the end of its influence as a Facebook feature. The Verge explained, it “[has] already peaked, or will soon.” And since Zuckerburg knew this, Zuckerburg killed it.
Folks, this is a very big deal.
What does all of this mean?
To put it simply, these organizational changes indicate a massive new shift in Facebook’s direction.
News Feed will most likely disappear entirely and be subsumed by the primacy of messaging.
The News Feed has been a fixture of Facebook almost since the very beginning.
Thus, its sunsetting seems to make zero sense. Why would they bury it? It’s like Apple killing off the iPhone or Coca Cola discontinuing their Coke product.
One reason needs to be stated right off the bat.
The News Feed is really controversial.
If you think back on some of the momentous and headline-making news in recent years, Facebook’s News Feed has been caught up in it.
- Russian meddling in the United States elections
- Mental wellness and healthful social relationships
- Privacy controversy
- Live streaming horrific acts of hatred
- The rise of fake news
It’s hard to blame the News Feed directly for the outcome of the 2016 United States elections or as the cause for bloodshed in New Zealand. But the News Feed was there all along, and it’s no longer viewed as the bringer of truth and connection that it was intended to be.
And that needs to change. An algo tweak isn’t the change we’re talking about.
A dead News Feed is the kind of change that Facebook needs.
The News Feed is an existential legal threat to Facebook’s ongoing viability in the modern age.
So, that’s the negative side of things.
But obviously, Facebook is presenting a more positive standpoint.
Zuckerburg explained it (sort of) in his newsroom note. Here are the highlights from that release that shed light (sort of) on the rationale for the shakeup:
- …we organize our company to build out the privacy-focused social platform
- …new product efforts
- …clear plan for our apps, centered around making private messaging, stories and groups the foundation of the experience
- …the next chapter of our work [is] building the privacy-focused social foundation
In his rambling shpiel, Zuckerberg used derivatives of the word “privacy” seven times, and derivatives of the word “messaging” four times.
Is it beginning to make sense?
Look, as much as Mark Zuckerburg talks about human connection and family and friends, Facebook is a business. Businesses have to make money.
Facebook makes money, not from grandmothers fawning over photos of their grandbabies, but from businesses — the institutions that want to sell stuff.
And we businesses fork over a load of cash — billions of dollars each year.
The shift to privacy and messaging will contribute to a bigger and more solid revenue stream for Facebook. It has to. It’s the nature of business.
Instead of the News Feed, Facebook offers businesses the potential to use messaging to more effectively reach their customers. And, with all three messaging apps merging under a single infrastructure, businesses can reach more customers than ever before.
What’s more, as we’ve recently seen, Facebook is testing a business-exclusive messaging inbox.
That’s a major nod to business revenue being the driving force for Facebook’s epic change.
It just makes sense. Business sense.
But there’s another reason, and it comes as no surprise to Facebook. Email as a marketing channel is slowly dying.
Every email marketer that I know is disgusted with abysmally low open rates and clickthroughs. Email is just not working.
Who’s responsible for poisoning the well of email marketing?
And the biggest culprit? Facebook Messenger.
Rather than get all huffy about it, though, smart marketers are out there churning out Facebook Messenger chatbots, creating Messenger drip campaigns, sending chat blasts, and basically living in unicorn land.
What does this mean for the future of Facebook marketing?
The future is not dire. The future is bright with unicorns prancing in fields of delicate purple and pink wildflowers.
In fact, if you’re using Facebook Messenger marketing with chatbots, you have absolutely nothing to fear.
(But if you’ve been hoping that organic Facebook posting is going to cut it, then you’ll have to adjust your expectations.)
We’re in a new era of marketing ruled by Facebook Messenger, not the News Feed.