Facebook is changing. Can you keep up?

Facebook updates have been coming through at an accelerated rate recently. If you blinked you might have missed them.

I’ve received lots of inquiries recently about the Facebook changes and whether businesses will still be able to effectively run campaigns and reach audiences in the same way. The answer is, unfortunately, a mixture of yes and no depending on your current strategy. The good news is that you don’t need to worry too much about the changes unless you’re just relying on regular organic posting with no PPC budget. Facebook will still be an effective marketing tool in the near future but there are a few things that you need to be aware of. I said this a couple of years ago but I’ll say it again, ‘organic marketing on Facebook is dead!’ That’s not hyperbole. Without a marketing budget, only a handful of your carefully cultivated audience members will see your regular posts.

The Updates

Reach is what now?

  • Facebook has changed the way it calculates the reach of organic page posts, making it more similar and aligned to the way it calculates the reach of paid posts. Facebook explained that before now, organic reach was measured by how many people’s news feeds a post was delivered to but not necessarily seen… Now a post has to be visible to the user appearing on their screen before it’s counted. This change should give page administrators more accurate information but there are some that perceive that it will affect distribution even though Facebook has stated that it won’t. There has been an inevitable drop in metrics for reach but the standardisation between paid and organic reach is a move I personally agree with. The way it calculated organic reach before was more akin to false hope.

Downvote what you don’t like…

  • Do you wish you had a downvote button to hide and report inappropriate comments? Well, it’s coming! Many people have been asking for a dislike button for some time but you’re not having one. Many believe that could lead to bullying. What may be rolled out globally after some further testing though is a downvote button. This is to be used for anything you see that you find, annoying, inappropriate etc… It’s a downward facing arrow and when you choose it, among the other reactions, you’ll be given a list of options to select from to indicate why you’re unhappy with the comment or status.

More Mobile Movement

  • Facebook has redesigned its page insights for mobile, making it easier for Page Admins to measure their post metrics. After collating the metrics of what admins seemed to be most interested in, Facebook moved certain metrics to the top. These include the general page diagnostics, results of actions and a preview of page engagement. Facebook believes that this will encourage admins to concentrate on the content that resonates the most with their audiences.

Have you written your Bucket List?

  • This is a slightly unusual one but Facebook has created a feature it’s termed as ‘old school’ allowing you to create and share a colourful list as a status update. There’s been a lot of changes in the last year to the types of statuses that you can create including gifs, colorful backgrounds, and polls. This could be a nice feature for sharing your yearly resolutions or places you want to visit. The feature isn’t available to all users just yet but is on its way to full release.

Bigger Toolkits for Group Admins and Members

  • Facebook has launched a variety of new resources for group admins and members to support what it’s described as community building. They follow themes of better organisation, engagement, and safety. The new tools include –
  1. Admin Tools – Group Insights, member requests, and many other settings are all grouped together in one place
  2. Group Announcements – Admins can post up to 10 announcements appearing at the top of the group.
  3. Group Rules – They’ve created a rules section so that admins can easily communicate their rules to new and old members.
  4. Personalisation – Admins can now change the colour that appears throughout the group.

Hoax time! Did you fall for it?

Far too many businesses did. But with the number of changes Facebook has rolled out recently, I’m not surprised. To bring clarity to the confusion, Facebook is not limiting the visibility of your posts and those of your friends to just a few. There was a meme doing the rounds claiming that your news feed would be limited to show content for only a small amount of people and to get around it you’d need to learn how to ‘trick’ the algorithm. This hoax has been around for a while but businesses started jumping on the bandwagon too and made many people concerned. Facebook denied the change a while ago after they’d noticed that it had gotten out of hand. Here a direct quote from Facebook –

“We rank News Feed based on how relevant each post might be to you, and while we’ve made some updates that could increase the number of posts you see from your friends, your News Feed isn’t limited to 25 of them.”

As we know from audience testing, it’s essentially a mixture of your regular activity and engagement habits that determine what you’re showed. Why did so many people fall for the hoax? Well possibly due to the next News Feed change, below.

 Facebook – A Place for Friends and Family

  • Facebook is changing your newsfeed to concentrate more on ‘meaningful interactions’ with friends and family. This could be a sign that Facebook is going back to where is first started. To help families and friends across the globe stay connected. Nearly every newsfeed change in recent years has been described in this way and sold to users as an approach for better social interaction. Facebook admitted that it had become too saturated by brands and businesses, and wanted to do something to change that. There’s no denying that Facebook has monetised every part of the platform to a point that makes it hard to see how they could monetise it much further. Even our inboxes have ads now. As a marketer, I’m even a little funny about that one… even though I predicted it 5 years ago! Whilst the democratisation of advertising has been overwhelmingly positive for many, it has also given rise to the mass visibility of fake news. Facebook is launching many countermeasures to try and overcome and prevent the spread of misinformation in the future. I guess we’ll see how they get on. I hope Sylvester Stallone doesn’t have to perish a third time.

 What does this mean for advertisers?

Pages are already noticing a decline in reach, referral traffic, organic everything and video watch time but this has been in decline for a while. Unfortunately, Facebook is slowly changing into a platform not too dissimilar to prime time television, a place where only the biggest budgets will be able to access audiences. My advice is to take advantage of the platform now while you still can because soon, most businesses will be priced out of the market and it’ll ultimately become a platform just for the big brands with the biggest budgets. Also, with GDPR on the horizon making email marketing more problematic, creative alternatives will have to begin to emerge.

If you’re interested in how we strategically plan for the futures of our clients, send me a message or contact us at – hello@mantrahq.com

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