Facebook did it (again). They made large, sweeping changes to your newsfeed that will change what you see from friends, family, brands, politicians, and more. And it’s going to have consequences for your online planning and strategy.

For the first time since 2012, Facebook saw a decrease in daily active users, down 700,000 users per day by the end of 2017. That means people spent on 50 million fewer hours on Facebook, which translates to less ad revenue for the company.

In the wake of these concerning numbers and the controversy surrounding Russian meddling in 2016, Mark Zuckerberg announced the social media giant would refocus its efforts on “meaningful interactions between people” rather than posts from businesses, brands, and the media.

Facebook users really should be accustomed to the simple fact that the most popular social networking system on the planet, with more than 800 million users, is constantly evolving.

This evolution takes many forms, from behind the scenes in the business model (“how best to monetise your data”) to the more visible “hey, let’s change the whole look and feel”.

Inevitably, it’s the latter that’s likely to give users apoplectic fits when they fire up their browser and are faced with something that looks very different from what they’re used to.

These look-and-feel changes to its user interface — that is, to the very way that Facebook maps the network across social groups — are by no means rare. They happen pretty much every year, yet still as I write this column, my Facebook feed is fuming with the wrath of friends who just can’t understand why Facebook did this.

For your brands what does it mean?

To translate the Zuckerbergian-brand-speak, this means you can expect your organic Facebook reach to decline on your page. You can also expect website referral traffic to go down. Some brands are reporting a 20% decrease in web traffic from Facebook and some digital publishing companies have even gone out of business after the changes. Suffice to say, this is a pretty big deal, but it’s not the end of the world.

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With good planning and smarter strategies you can keep thriving online, despite this change and the other changes we’re bound to see in the future.

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