Facebook in the spotlight in the first half of 2019
The largest of the social networks has been forced to reevaluate a lot of what they do after their oft-quoted mantra ‘Go fast and break things’ backfired on them very badly last year. Facebook’s biggest changes have been to the algorithm (again) to ensure users are getting value and privacy issues across the board.
Here’s how the recent changes play out for brands.
Facebook keeps tinkering with the algorithms, trying to give more value to users. This in part means focusing on what people actually use Facebook for – i.e. primarily community and events – and so have downgraded the importance of pure news in the home feed.
At the moment they have set the home feed so that people are more likely to see updates containing links that they will find most valuable i.e. people and brands, events and communities that they are interested in and interact with. This should be good news from a brand perspective as Facebook have hinted that if you are sharing links that people are likely to find valuable these will be prioritised.
As ever with Facebook, let’s see how it plays out.
Stories, groups and events
These have been prioritised over page posts. So if you don’t already use stories on your Facebook page, now is a good time to start as their reach is far better than posts. You can also upload 3D pictures to stories.
Events have changed and there is a new tab sitting next to the groups tab in the new menu bar layout. It has a richer map view for seeing where the events are located. The tab has also got a more intuitive design that makes it easy to find new events, including ones that friends are hosting and public ones Facebook thinks they may be interested in checking out too.
Ditto with groups – their reach is enhanced and this is likely to stay as Facebook is prioritising communities, so now is a good time to think of starting a community that is relevant to your brand. Facebook is making a huge effort to ensure groups are visible, so they are promoting groups in areas like Marketplace and Watch as well as on the home feed and in search. It’s also building specific tools tailored to group types, like a new listing format for groups focused on finding new jobs or buying buttons built into live broadcasts for groups that focus on selling products. There are also more groups able to set up a subscription model and better management tools available too.
There are now three factors to consider when creating videos that will be visible on Facebook and get good reach.
• Loyalty and intent – those who are seeking out videos are likely to be shown them more often, and this is even more the case if they particularly like your videos
• Duration – videos that capture people’s attention for at at least a minute will be prioritised i.e. make it GOOD!
• Originality – repurposed content will see limited distribution. If you are going to do video, make it original – but then you are already doing that, right?
Privacy & Trust
It’s no secret that Facebook has been through the wringer in recent years on both privacy and trust. Now they are starting to clean up their act, which is to be welcomed. What it means for brands is that you have (to continue) to be transparent and totally trustworthy with your content. So fact check it and make sure, for example, that you complying with copyright requirements for pictures and text (remember the law has changed) and that you are not linking to untrustworthy source – and if you are linking to your own website and it doesn’t have great domain ranking, now is the time to sort that out.
Recent changes to Facebook Advertising have been noticeable. Here’s why they are happening.
They have introduced a new inventory filter that gives you more control over where your advert will appear on Facebook and what content it will be associated with.
Cost Cap Bidding Option
This is designed to help you optimise your advertising bids and focuses on maximising conversion volume while maintaining costs predictability.
They have split their single advert relevancy score in to three elements:
• Quality ranking – this is the perceived quality of your ad compared with those that are trying to reach the same audience i.e. it’s a comparative metric and there’s nothing you can do about it except try and be the best you can!
• Engagement rate ranking – the expected engagement rate Facebook thinks your advert will get compared with adverts targeting the same audience.
• Conversion rate ranking – the expected conversion rate compared with other adverts targeting the same audience.
• Reach for custom audience – this handy function has been reinstated after Facebook spent a year spent working with researchers to refine it so that people’s privacy isn’t abused.
• Premium Video Showcase & Subscription Channels – Facebook have also announced a new premium video advertising Showcase, that will be similar to television advertising (only available in the US currently) and also a subscription-based feature, whereby people can pay to access your content on Facebook (for a 30% fee to Facebook).
Libra is Facebook’s new blockchange currency, and it’s already been a game changer way before it’s ready to launch. Read our article here.