When Facebook announced early this year that it would be tweaking the type of organic content its users see on their Timelines, de-emphasizing some news and branded content in favor of posts from friends and family, the social media platform made clear it was making the changes solely to enhance the user experience.
"We already know that time in News Feed interacting with people is more valuable than time passively consuming video or news," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained to analysts during an earnings call in late January. "When you care about something, you're willing to see ads to experience it. But if you just come across a viral video, then you're more likely to skip over it if you see an ad. So I want to be clear: the most important driver of our business has never been time spent by itself. It's the quality of the conversations and connections."
Facebook officials went on to suggest the move would have a minimal impact on how advertisers connect with users on the site. Still, with 2.13 billion active users worldwide, and just under $40 billion in annual ad revenue (including Instagram), everything Facebook does catches the attention of the marketing community. This time around, however, advertisers seem to be taking the move in stride.