If you are in charge of a corporate Facebook page, you might want to prepare your boss for a possible dip in the number of likes your company has. That's because Facebook just announced it is changing the way it counts page likes, and the change is likely to result in a net decrease for many pages.
The company said Thursday that it would no longer count likes coming from inactive accounts to reflect a more accurate count of each page’s likes. Facebook made the announcement on the Facebook for Business blog in a post titled “Making Page Likes More Meaningful.”
More Accurate Audience Insights
“Businesses use Page audience data to understand what their followers care about,” according to the company. “To make audience data even more meaningful for businesses, we’re updating the way Page likes are counted by removing memorialized and voluntarily deactivated accounts from Pages’ like counts. This change ensures that data on Facebook is consistent and up-to-date.”
The company is marketing the change as a benefit to businesses. By removing inactive or memorialized accounts (i.e., the accounts of individuals who have passed away), the audience data from companies' Facebook pages will provide firms with more accurate insights on the number of people actively following their pages.
Facebook said the change will make it easier for businesses to find people like their followers through tools such as lookalike audiences. Lookalike allows companies to search for and reach new customers based on similarities between their profiles and those of existing fans of a page.
Filtering Out Inactive Users
The company also said that the change to the way it displays a page’s likes is more consistent with the way it displays other kinds of data. Since the social network already filters out likes and comments generated by deactivated or memorialized accounts for individual posts, the change just extends the same policy to likes for companies.
Even though Facebook said it would no longer count likes from deactivated accounts, that data is not going anywhere. If a user decides to reactivate his profile, his page likes will once again be counted toward a company’s total, and any previous comments a user made would once again be displayed.
The change has not yet gone into effect, however. Page admins should expect to see a slight dip in the number of page likes over the coming weeks as a result of the update, as the change is rolled out gradually across the network. Facebook says admins should not be overly concerned about the drop in numbers.
“These removed likes represent people who were already inactive on Facebook,” the company wrote on its blog. “Everyone benefits from meaningful information on Facebook. It’s our hope that this update makes Pages even more valuable for businesses.”