There’s no hiding the fact that Facebook is constantly changing… and not just for us as personal users of the social network. Working in social media means we see these changes before our very eyes. We know when they’re testing different ideas, concepts, and functions – because we see the glitches, new buttons appearing and disappearing and changes in the way our information is sorted within our News Feeds.
Lately, Facebook has been rolling out some big changes that impact how we use the social network, as well as heightening what we can do as marketers to further build Fans and push website traffic to entice conversions (whether that be leads or sales).
We wanted to share with you some of the biggest changes and not only demystify some of the scarier updates (like the change in organic reach), but to also highlight some ways you can use these to your best advantage as businesses on Facebook.
Facebook algorithm update
Facebook has recently updated its News Feed Algorithm in terms of the organic reach of content shared on Facebook Pages. In the past when content was shared on a Facebook Page, up to 40% of its Fans would have seen this within their News Feed without the assistance of Facebook Ads to further promote it.
However in late December 2013, Facebook made an update to its algorithm; resulting in a decrease in organic reach of content shared by a Facebook Page to approximately 3%. So… now when a Facebook Page shares an update – only approximately 3% of the Fan base will see this content organically within their News Feed.
Facebook is doing this in an attempt to reduce Facebook Pages that are focused on sharing spammy information, memes non-related to their business, or content that adds no value (eg. Happy Monday with a photo of a cat holding a flower).
A snapshot of the average Facebook Page content organic reach from June 2013 to December 2013
What does this mean for you?
- It is important to be more strategic about the content you share and how you utilise Facebook Ads in combination.
- In the past, images were highly regarded by the EdgeRank Algorithm (now superseded by the News Feed Algorithm). Now, not so much. Branded images are still important, but they are more useful from an engagement perspective used in combination with a Facebook Post Engagement Ad targeted to the Fan base
- Link Preview post types now gain further traction. Sharing copy with a link that is relevant to your business – Facebook sees this as further educating your Fan base, and so gains priority within the News Feed = slightly higher organic reach. Link Previews also have a higher click-through-rate, so we recommend any content shared on Facebook pointing to your website utilise a Link Preview content format
- It is essential to use Facebook Engagement Ad types in combination with the content shared on Facebook. Without using Facebook Ads with content shared on the page – your message will not be heard to its full impact. From our experience, we see the majority of sales and leads generated as a result of adding a Facebook Ad onto the content shared on the Facebook Page. In this, we of course focus this strategy on content that is pointing to the website of the Facebook Page.
Something to keep in mind is that it is rumoured this organic reach will drop again from 3% to 1%. But by using the above strategies – you’ll maintain a successful and high-performing Facebook marketing campaign.
Previously, remarketing strategies on Facebook had to be done via third-party providers (eg. AdRoll). However, Facebook has now launched this within their Facebook Ads platform allowing us to use both methods of Cost-Per-Impression (CPM) and Cost-Per-Click (CPC) giving us more control, and making the strategy less expensive.
What is Facebook Remarketing?
By placing the Facebook remarketing pixel on your website, we can then build custom audiences to deliver Facebook Ads to users based on the pages they interacted with on your website. Simply put – once someone has visited your website, and then goes to Facebook we can deliver a Facebook Ad to them about your business in their personal Facebook News Feed.
This can be about your brand, service / product – or be focused on enticing people to become a Fan of your Facebook Page (given their pre-existing interest in your business having previously visited your website).
Remarketing will assist in lowering the Cost-Per-Fan, as well as the Cost-Per-Acquisition as a result of your Facebook marketing campaign.
Call-t0-action buttons added to Facebook Ads
February 2014 saw the rollout of Call-To-Action buttons embedded within News Feed Conversion Facebook Ads (ads directed to your website) for both desktop and mobile.
Previously a Facebook Ad would purely be made up of chosen copy, link to your website and then the generated link preview (with the ability to change the image and meta description of this link preview).
The latest development to this ad type is that we can now integrate a Call-To-Action that sit within the link preview. While this functionality is still in its infancy, testing how this impacts the click-through-rate and conversions is imperative.
The Call-To-Action button options include:
- Shop Now
- Book Now
- Learn More
- Sign Up
Facebook Sponsored Stories Ads functionality removed
Facebook announced that it will phase out Sponsored Stories as of April 2014 – and it has indeed happened.
While it is rumoured this ad type may be back sometime in the future, the company has had to remove these for legal reasons. A class-action lawsuit filed in 2011, not long after Sponsored Stories launched, saw a Facebook settlement of $20 million in August 2013 to resolve the issue, as well as to discontinue the ad type.
What were Sponsored Stories?
Facebook would use our social actions on Facebook (check-in or Like for example) and let advertisers then show Facebook Ads to those people’s friends without first gaining permission. To explain it better, if I ‘Liked’ Web Profits on Facebook, Web Profits could then advertise to all my friends on Facebook to get them to also ‘Like’ Web Profits.
Facebook Remarketing is proving to be a valuable strategy to use instead of Sponsored Stories.
Tagging other Facebook Pages in posts shared
Facebook announced in March 2014 that content posted on Facebook Pages that tag (@’s) other Facebook Pages relevant to the information shared – will increase the organic reach of this post.
This means that not only are we able to leverage your Facebook Page’s Fans, but also the Fans of those pages tagged within the status update.
What does this mean for you?
- DON’T start tagging other pages in your content that are not relevant, as this will simply be seen as spam.
- DO tag businesses if you are talking about a partner in your content.
Facebook (Business) Page Layout update
Facebook is currently rolling out a new look and feel for business Facebook Pages.
While we are unsure of all the added features, we do know from past experience that an update like this generally brings with it further changes of how we can use the platform from a marketing perspective.
News Feed (personal) update
As of 6 March 2014 Facebook started rolling out an update to the News Feed for all users.
We’re not sure yet the full impact this will have – but we do know from experience it will bring with it a host of other updates in terms of functionality, algorithm, how content is displayed and Facebook Ads.
As you can see… there’s lots going on! But the biggest point I want to convey is – it’s not as scary as it seems. Over 50% of our Australian population are on Facebook, and we watch them daily interacting with our clients’ Facebook Pages – with the right strategy, all of the above can be overcome and harnessed.
As marketers, we’re working in exciting times. Facebook is an exciting platform for businesses, but it’s really important to stay up to date, understand it and embrace it!
Want to know more? Let us show you how we can help.