Over the past year, Facebook has seen a lot of changes to its platform. In Q1 and Q2, we’ve already seen significant updates trickle into the network, including a News Feed update and several policy alterations. The social media giant has been aiming to improve transparency across all aspects of the platform.
”Our focus in 2018 is to keep people safe, and to keep building the experiences people expect from us.” – Mark Zuckerberg
Keeping up with all these changes and understanding how it affects you can be challenging. We’ve compiled an easy-to-digest list of Facebook updates in the last year that marketers need to know.
More friends and family in your News Feed
Facebook updated its News Feed algorithm in January 2018 in order to promote more meaningful interactions between people. These changes include:
- Less organic content from businesses, brands and media
- More content from family, friends and groups that promote conversation
- More content from trustworthy local news publishers
What does the change mean for brands? With Facebook scaling back public content, users are seeing more organic content from people they know and less from brands. Organic reach will be more difficult to achieve, which means that brands have been shifting their Facebook strategies to focus more on paid efforts.
Facebook will prioritize organic posts that receive more engagement, so Pages that see little reaction or engagement may see the biggest impact from the algorithm update. Users may still prioritize who they see in their News Feed in their settings.
How brands and media can make the algorithm work them:
- Focus on engaging content, like video
- Post content that is valuable to your specific audience
- Post trustworthy content
- Make organic and paid media work together
- Localize your content
Transparency for political ads
Facebook recently announced a change to their political ad policies making it so advertisers will need to be authorized in order to publish electoral or issue ads. Additionally, Facebook will mark all political ads in the top left corner with the label “Political Ad.”
Image credit: Whyy.org
The update aims to increase accountability and transparency for these types of advertisements, meaning Facebook wants you to know where these ads come from.
For an advertiser to be authorized, they will need to verify their identity and location.
An increase in authenticity for Pages
Facebook has also cracked down on fake Pages, which has always been against their policy. Pages with large follower counts are now required to be verified on Facebook. Those that do not pass the verification step will be prohibited from posting.
Want to verify your Facebook Page? Learn how to here.
The decline of engagement bait
Facebook is beginning to frown upon engagement bait tactics. For example, if a post asks users to “like” or “comment” with the incentive to win something, Facebook will begin to limit the reach of that post.
Exceptions include posts promoting local issues like a missing person or important causes.
Image credit: PCMag.com
A change to advertising tools
We can also expect a change to many of Facebook’s advertising tools throughout 2018. Brands should adapt as these changes roll out.
These updates include:
- Removal of some audience size data
- No more custom audience sizes
- Removal of partner data
- Apps using API now require approval
- Removal of call and SMS data targeting
How marketers can adapt: Some of these changes have not taken full effect yet, but will roll into the platform soon enough. Remain flexible as Facebook shifts some of its policies and tools and adjust strategies as needed. Advertising on Facebook is still just as lucrative, with many ad features remaining the same.
New features you need to know about
In addition to Facebook’s policy and ad updates, there are also many new features they have introduced for advertisers. In short, while it takes time to adjust, Facebook’s new features are a good thing for advertisers.
Here are the top features that have the most impact on results and cost:
Dynamic Creative: Facebook introduced a new way to A/B test your ads this year. Dynamic Creative lets you create a Facebook ad with multiple assets and Facebook’s algorithm will find the best performing creative combination.
Dynamic language optimization: No more ads with single languages. You can now deliver multilingual ads to your audiences by including up to six different language options for one ad.
Domain verification: Prior to this feature, Facebook didn’t allow you to edit your link previews. Thankfully, with the new domain verification, you can now edit your link previews as long as you’ve verified your domain ownership.
Multicity and multicountry features: You no longer are limited to selecting one city or country to target per ad. For example, if a single ad pertains to multiple cities, you can target all cities based on size.
Messenger Broadcast: Facebook has been testing a new self-serve tool for businesses to mass-message marketing messages to users.
Staying flexible in the Facebook universe
It’s expected that Facebook will always be changing. Whether it’s developing improvements for the platform or making big shifts in the algorithm, as a marketer, the best advice is to adapt to these changes and learn how new features will work for you. Slowly adjust your marketing tactics to stay on top of changes so that you’re set up for success on Facebook.