Lurk is the New Like

What the Latest Facebook Update Means for Brands

We’ve all known for years that the actions we take on Facebook – likes, shares and comments – are documented and measured by Facebook’s wizards behind the curtain. Facebook used this action data to predict when and what content users would most likely find relevant. However, these click-based metrics left the door open for users to passively peruse content without taking a measurable action. Facebook lurkers could scroll through photos, posts and threads, absorbing content without leaving a trace. This past week, Facebook unveiled an update that measures the time users spend on a post, even if users don’t take an action. Sure, your high school crush won’t see you lurking, but Facebook does.

“We learned that in many cases, just because someone didn’t like, comment or share a story in their News Feed doesn’t mean it wasn’t meaningful to them.”

– Ansha Yu, Sami Tas, Facebook 

What Has Changed

The new update takes into account how much time a particular post is “on-screen” meaning within the viewing window of your device – whether it’s a mobile phone or desktop browser. The algorithm takes into account differences in internet speed, website performance, whether or not your browser tab is open, and other factors to derive a measurement for the amount of time a user was “looking” at a post. This means that if you’re lurking over a photo in your News Feed, or lurking through comments on a post, Facebook is now measuring your engagement with the content.

What this Means for Brands

As advertising on Facebook continues to evolve, this latest update can be a boon for highly visual brands. We’ve all launched campaigns focused on driving likes and shares, but now brands can focus on visual impact. The focus can shift away from measuring the actions users take because of an ad, and more toward users’ interaction with the ad. The algorithm update applies to both photo and video posts. Therefore, brands have a new metric to test the effectiveness of their visual storytelling techniques. This is particularly relevant to campaigns designed to drive impressions, raise awareness and encourage lifestyle adoption of consumer brands. As this update rolls out, advertisers will develop creative new ways to grab and hold users’ attention versus encouraging quick action.

Will the “lurk” become the new like? At least someone will be watching as we all find out.

About Punch

Punch Digital Strategies is a creative agency for bold brands. We provide digital marketing strategy that helps clients brand for growth and engage with customers online. We design websites that inspire action, and help clients generate leads through content marketing and social media. With services tailored to meet the needs of start-ups, B2C, B2B and non-profit organizations, we make bold brands stand out. Learn more at AddSomePunch.com.