Adios Facebook page likes, we never liked you

Adios Facebook page likes, we never liked you

Facebook and their in-house measurement platform, CrowdTangle, are doing away with Page Likes and switching the currency to Followers, effectively merging two paths that never should have split.

The social media behemoth said the change is a part of their changes to “Pages experience.”

“We are removing Likes and focusing on Followers to simplify the way people connect with their favorite Pages,” the company wrote. “Unlike Likes, Followers of a Page represent the people who can receive updates from Pages, which helps give public figures a stronger indication of their fan base.”

Likes and Followers weren’t always separate things. When I started managing brand pages for newsrooms, there was only one measure of popularity and each new fan was also a potential recipient of page content.

The Followers and Likes metrics were split, I believe, as part of Facebook’s reaction to the brands that raced toward millions of Likes with junk content and contests but failed to engage effectively with users over time. No matter how much they paid for that self promotion, those pages were bad for Facebook’s bottom line and the company needed a way for people to separate the brands they Liked from those they actually wanted to hear from.

Take the Boston news market, for example.

One of our competitors spent untold amounts of money on promoting posts and growing page Likes in a campaign that ended, I believe, at some point in 2017. When they stopped spending, that meteoric growth of Likes came to a quick halt.

Meanwhile, my team and I have focused on organic growth and our upward trend in Likes continued uninterrupted.

Today, our competitor has 86,000 more Likes on their main page than we have, but their lead in Followers is just 29,000. They have fewer Followers than Likes, while we have more Followers.

And here’s why our number of both Likes and Followers continues to grow, while the competitor’s are not: Over the past 7 days our audience has engaged with us more than twice as much.

If a tree falls in the forest, it only makes a sound if someone is there to hear it.

Tonight, I’m happy to see that Facebook is making a change that will take a step toward eliminating measurements that have historically been manipulated. Facebook has learned a thing or two about being manipulated recently and I hope this change has come, at least partly, from that experience.