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What’s to like about the new Facebook update?

18 January 2021

A sign that says LIKE with the Facebook thumbs up icon.

Facebook have announced another update, following 2020’s revamp, which will be rolling out from January, 2021. This update will see Facebook removing likes from their new Pages experience, which means there may not be much to “like” at all. Instead, the social media giant is shifting away from it’s most iconic Page action “like” to focus on Page follows instead.

To date, “liking” a Page and “following” a Page might have seemed to be the same thing. You would hit like and receive updates from a Page. That’s because Facebook would also add you as a follower by default. If you got sick of updates from a particular Page (perhaps because your Aunt Gladys guilted you into liking her Page that time: Crocheted Doily Collection) you could unfollow updates, but still show your support for the Page owner by giving their Page a like.

However, liking a Page in isolation means you are no longer engaging with the content because it will no longer show up in your feed.

Of course, there’s always been the option to simply follow a page without actually liking it, but with the new Pages experience, this will now be the default across the board. 


reaction emojis for Facebook post


Shifting the focus to user engagement


Having a shed-tonne of likes might seem like a great metric and that your Page is performing well, but if people aren’t actually engaging with your content as a follower, the number of likes you have might not be so important after all.

Ultimately your metrics should be giving you useful information to track and measure the success of your marketing efforts - not least of all your ROI. Because Facebook likes don’t reflect who has been engaging with your Page and content, it falls under the banner of “vanity metrics”.

These are metrics that look good on the surface, but offer little insight into the way people interact with your content - especially if they’ve unfollowed your Page and that content no longer enters their news feed. Some businesses have also paid for likes to make their Page (or their client’s Pages) look popular, but again, this technique offers very little value as a marketing strategy.

Which is why Facebook has been testing the like-free format since July 2020 on new Pages used by public figures and brands.

According to a blog posted 6th January by the social media platform, Facebook announced:

”Today, we’re rolling out the redesigned Facebook Pages experience that makes it simpler for public figures and creators to build community and achieve their business objectives.”

Their reasoning is that using followers is a stronger indicator of “the number of people who would like to see your Page's posts in their feed”.

What does the latest Facebook update mean for your Page?


In terms of Facebook dropping Page likes, nothing, really. If people have liked and, by default, followed your page in the past, you’ll simply have a more accurate reflection of how many people currently see your content. So rather than your metrics including numbers for people who may have unfollowed your Page (and no longer see the efforts of your ever so thoughtfully crafted content anyway) you’ll instead have a better idea of how many fans are actively listening and your true level of reach and engagement.

New Facebook Page Experience 2021

Image credit: Facebook

What happens to likes when you switch to new Pages?


If people have liked and followed your classic Page, they will automatically be transferred as a follower when you switch to your new Page.

For those who have followed your classic Page, but have not liked it, they will also automatically become a follower on your new Page.

However, if they have liked your classic Page, but have unfollowed it at some point, they will not transfer to your new Page as a follower.

”Page likes will not be supported on your new Page, and Page like count will no longer be accessible.”

What if you decide to switch back to classic Pages?


Can’t live without your Page likes? That’s OK. If you decide to switch back, your Page likes will still be waiting for you - unless people unfollowed you while you were in the new Page format. And anyone who liked your new Page will also be transferred to your classic Page as a follower.

But wait folks… there’s more!


Now we all know that just as soon as you get your head around one set of changes, Facebook changes things again - and this update is no different. In addition to a redesigned layout that’s allegedly “simpler and more intuitive”, they haven’t stopped there.

If you switch to the new Facebook Pages layout, you’ll find a number of new features that include:

  • dedicated news feed separate from your personal feed
  • actionable insights and more relevant notifications
  • updated Page management tools including task-based admin controls
  • a range of business features
  • new interactive Q&A format
  • Instagram account linking
  • easier transition between your personal and Page profiles
  • safety and integrity features to unearth spammy Pages and fake accounts

Overall, the complete suite of changes appears to be a positive move for Page owners, making it easier to manage and stay connected with their core audience. For those who access the social network via the mobile app, the new design is intended to make key information more visible and accessible on the smaller screen.

Ultimately, these changes should make it easier to understand your Page’s reach. By removing those who have “liked” but “unfollowed” you should have a more accurate picture of who your audience is to help drive your Facebook marketing strategy.

Facebook has also signalled they’ll prioritise verified accounts higher in comments and news feed. This may encourage more followers who want to engage with Pages that attract high profile attention.

smartphone with follow me button

Get the best from your Facebook and socials


With Facebook on the front foot with their updates, maybe it’s time you revamped your own social media strategy. Why not book in a half our strategy call with Rubina, our fabulous Digital Marketing Manager to look at how to leverage your social channels.


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