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3 Facebook Changes Businesses Need to Know About

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Shaun Chavis
Saltshaker Marketing & Media

This summer (2016), Facebook made algorithm changes that are so significant, major companies made changes overnight to their digital advertising and content marketing programs. To keep your business campaigns competitive, you’ll want to know about these changes and understand how they impact what you post, too. The bottom line is this: Engaging people with content they find valuable is more important than ever. Once you understand the changes Facebook’s made, you’ll see why.

1. Facebook’s giving people more control over the ads they see. (Or don’t see.)

This is a biggie, because most companies and online publishers are losing the fight against ad blockers. To give you an idea of how big the ad blocker issue is, industry estimates are that $21 billion was lost due to blocked ads in 2015. Facebook is angling to come out on top—and their strategy involves a compromise.

You’ve probably seen some of this at work already: You may have seen boxes in your Facebook News Feed that ask whether or not you like an ad. Facebook tells you as a user that it wants to give you ad content that’s relevant or important to you.

Facebook is taking three approaches to dealing with ad blockers. First, it’s changing code so its ads bypass ad blockers. Second, it’s asking users what kinds of ads they want to see. And third, Facebook is acknowledging the fact that people do block ads—so there’s improved opt-out features that allows users to block ads from particular businesses.

We’ve yet to see whether or not this approach works. But for now, the thought is that as Facebook users build more detailed profiles, it will allow Facebook to offer more targeted ads to its users—and offer advertisers better target audiences for their ads.

Your takeaway: Ultimately, this should help Facebook—and your company—deliver more targeted ads to its users. Take advantage of the sophisticated audience targeting tools that Facebook offers. Their gain can also be yours. The flip side is that fewer people may be in the audience to see your ads.

2. Facebook is delivering more personally informative stories to users. 

Another battle that Facebook’s been fighting for years: clickbait articles. You know what these are: the ones that make your eyes roll because You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!

Facebook wants to give users content that is truly valuable and relevant to them—i.e., not clickbait. To do that, Facebook not only asks people what stories they find informative—but they also look at the relationships each user has with the person or company that posted the content, and how users interact with the content—whether they share it, like it, or comment on it.

Facebook is also creating sophisticated definitions of clickbait in order to filter it, and that definition, according to a recent interview with Slate includes articles that withhold information required to understand what the article is, or headlines that exaggerate the article to create misleading expectations.

Your takeaway: Relationship matters. Being relevant, informative, and substantial matters. Not being spammy also matters. Facebook’s gurus say people find stories informative if the stories are related to their interests, if stories engage users in discussions, and if stories give users news about the world around them. Also, before you publish your content, step back and read the headline to make sure no one could misinterpret it as clickbait.

3. Facebook now offers detailed data on who’s watching your videos—minute by minute.

Facebook’s rolling out some cool new metrics tools if you’re publishing video, or Facebook Live or 360.

You can see age, gender, and top geographic locations of the audiences watching your videos—by the minute. With Live broadcasts, you’ll be able to see how audiences engage at specific moments. It’s easy to see how your video team can use this information, over time, to make videos even more interesting to your audience.

It’s worth taking a look at what are the peak moments in a video or broadcast and where the drop-off points are—so you can make the next video or broadcast even better.

Your takeaway: Keep in mind this valuable tidbit from Facebook: 48% of video watch time on Facebook comes from shares. Make video interesting enough that people want to share it.
 

Strategic Takeaway: Engagement is more important than ever.

It’s worth repeating here, for all the reasons listed above, and for yet another reason: Another element that Facebook measures is aging. The older content is, the more likely it is to disappear from News Feeds. However, engagement breaks that rule. The more people like (love, wow…), share, and comment on posted content, the longer it stays in News Feeds. Create content that people want to read, share, save, and talk about, and you’ll succeed.