What’s up, guys?!
Corbitt Chandler here… Founder and CEO of Apex Current.
Recently, I was provided a summary of some major changes taking place on Facebook’s platform by someone I highly trust and respect. These changes were announced at F8, Facebook’s annual conference (anybody else bother to apply for F8, get accepted and pay for their credentials only to not attend like me?? smh), which takes place in June, so in the world of technology this news is relatively old.
I received the information a few weeks ago and after recently having one of my Business Manager accounts shutdown by Facebook (it’s okay, I have multiple), I wanted to share this info so other agencies, ad buyers, consultants, etc. out there could avoid being in the same type of situation.
With that in mind, I don’t have the original source for this info. If you happen to stumble across this post and know the F8 attendee who crafted this, please provide their name in the comments section so I can credit them in the post (also, if you know them personally, please tell them thank you).
INTRODUCTION - A FEW IMPORTANT HOUSEKEEPING ITEMS TO NOTE:
Before diving in, I want to make clear that I have amended what was provided ever so slightly so that it speaks to paid advertisers on the platform. I’ve also reorganized the original info just a bit so that there’s a more of a natural flow, as what I was provided looked to be notes that were taken on the fly at the conference.
Last, but not least, I’ve siloed everything into two parts; the first section revolves around changes in regards to posts and/or ads and a second section that focuses on Facebook Groups, which is what they’ve noted “as the future” of the platform.
Alright, with all of that out of the way, let’s dive in! You’ll have to forgive any typos. My brain has a tendency to move well in advance of my fingers… Plus, the “E” key on my MacBook Pro is broken right now because if you ask my wife apparently I like to make the most obnoxiously loud noise as possible when I type on my keyboard! 💪
PART 1 - CHANGES TO HOW THE ALGORITHM VIEWS & OPTIMIZES AROUND CONTENT (POSTS, ADS, ETC):
The content we post on Facebook is supposed to create meaningful interactions. If it doesn’t, your post is less likely to be seen and suppressed by the algorithm. This extends to ads and why Facebook has removed “Relevance Score” and added the 3 new metrics for advertisers to be able to gauge ad quality as it relates to their targeted audience.
Contests, giveaways, and any posts or ads with language around the word “free” is starting to be suppressed by Facebook. If you are saying “get this free” or “enter this giveaway,” those will be suppressed by the algorithm. This goes back to creating meaningful interactions.
Newsfeed is shrinking. Stories are merging with the newsfeed. Messenger is being favored. Take the time to look through all the available options in Messenger. Messenger is soon going to be separated from the desktop, meaning it will be its own entity. WhatsApp and Messenger will be contained and can be used for direct selling. As mentioned, Facebook is saying that what they’re focused on moving to and the future of the platform revolves around “privacy.”
You CANNOT tell users how to react. In other words, you can’t say things like “Love this post and...” or “Comment below and…” Those phrases will suppress your reach because they are considered engagement baiting. What you should say is something like, “Leave me a heart and…” Engagement baiting includes words like COMMENT, VOTE, REACT, SHARE, TAG.
Teach users (e.g. prospects / clients) to leave a reaction, not a LIKE. Liking a post means nothing to the Facebook algorithm. It does not qualify as an engagement. Users need to LOVE it, react with SHOCK, or use the LAUGHING reaction. This shows positive user experience and will help your organic reach. Comments also boost your reach and GIF’s give you the highest ranking in the algorithm.
Ads are targeting new avenues. You can no longer have a small budget for Facebook ads and expect it to be successful. You need to understand targeting or you’ll be wasting money. Start testing ads in other ways that are not on the newsfeed.
Going LIVE is no longer on Facebook’s radar as an ORGANIC algorithm piece. If you didn’t go live often before, this is good news for you. If you are one who utilized it a lot, you’ll need to find other ways to boost organic reach. However, if your live video creates meaningful engagement, it will boost in algorithm ranking (with the reduction of the algorithm’s organic favoring given to FB Live videos, you may have seen a user or brand - that was aware of this ‘preferential treatment’ - posting a high volume of FB Live videos & with these new changes, has reduced or completely abandoned those efforts entirely).
Links in posts or ads can be determined as click-bait, or something that flags what’s called the “Click Gap Signal.” The Click Gap Signal is a measuring of inbound and outbound link patterns of a site that is being linked out from Facebook. Facebook will reduce the reach if the number of clicks from Facebook is higher than it is in other areas of the internet. In other words, if more people are going to your website via Facebook versus an organic Google search, your post will be considered click-bait or spam. Facebook will suppress it and/or shut down your ad account. While that might not be true, that’s what the algorithm will see (true story - as I mentioned in the intro, recently I had an entire Business Manager account shutdown. Every asset within that account is gone, goodbye, thanks for playing…).
This isn’t necessarily news to any decent ad buyer, but Facebook is tracking the link clicked to the funnel. This means Facebook will follow where the link is going. This could also trigger the Click Gap Signal.
Don’t limit yourself to one platform. Stories, Groups, Messenger, etc. are where you need to be on Facebook, but you should also be on other platforms. Move users away from Facebook to other areas. Spread out your reach. You shouldn’t build your entire business on one platform that you have no control over.
Sharing is not caring. Sharing from your page to your timeline/newsfeed is against the Terms of Service. By dropping your page link in a Sharing is Caring post, you are putting yourself at risk to have your account shut down. Sharing sale posts made on a page you are the admin of is also a no-no. Facebook wants page content to stay on the page. Selling is not allowed on your personal timeline. However, if a user (a non-admin of your page) shares a post from your page, the complete opposite happens. This boosts your ranking in the algorithm. Facebook views this as positive content because a user cared enough about the post to share it. If someone comments on that users shared post, you get an even higher boost.
Understand Facebook’s Community Standards and know that it’s a bot screening your content. It’s important to work within those rules in order to be present on social media. Understanding and following these standards will help boost your ad in the algorithm and help with your ad approvals.
PART 2 - FACEBOOK’S NEW FOCUS ON GROUPS AS THE FUTURE OF THE PLATFORM:
Facebook is focusing on privacy and making the user experience more intimate. That’s what the algorithms is going to start catering to. If you don’t have a group strategy, getting one going might be a good route. Here are some items to be aware of if you’re the Admin of a group or are implementing a Facebook Group strategy:
Group Admins are responsible for all group activities. If content is posted in a group that goes against Facebook’s Terms of Service (TOS) or Community Standards, admins are at risk to lose their personal profile, their business page, and their group. Admins can be shut down with no recourse.
Negative ratings reflect poorly on the admin team. Negative ratings are the angry face, the sad face, member reported content, and the number of people who block you. These things also reflect poor ratings on groups and suppress reach. Facebook wants the user experience to be positive. Sad or angry face reactions tells Facebook that the user is having a bad experience, therefore diminishing your organic reach.
Post approval process is a responsibility. Admins should have post approval turned on in groups to protect themselves from negative ratings. Questions should be asked for new joins. It’s the admins responsibility to monitor and know who they are allowing in their group.
When members leave the group, they have the choice to take all of their content with them. This applies to admins as well. So if you had an admin that posted great content and then they leave the group, they have the ability to take their posts out of the group.
Sales posts on your page and in your group should be less than 20%. Facebook doesn’t want an abundance of “buy my (insert product / service)” posts because they don’t create meaningful interactions.
Admins should reduce takeovers or change how they are phrased. The word TAKEOVER is being suppressed. Instead, have a PARTY, an AUTHOR GATHERING, or EVENING ENTERTAINMENT.
Reduce the number of admins in the group. Again, this goes back to admin responsibility. The group admins should be you and only one or two other trusted sources.
Create Group Rules within Facebook (not just pinned in the announcements or written in the ‘about’ section of the group). They set the tone for the group and gives you something to point to if someone is not following the rules. It is your responsibility to make sure everyone is on the same page, or you risk losing your account with no recourse.
Link your group to your page. Facebook is going to be coming out with features that are specific to business pages that have groups.
Be a conversation starter in groups. Earn the badge. It shows you are creating meaningful conversations. Users are like you. If you like to see something on Facebook, chances are that they will like it too.
Groups deemed harmful on Facebook will be shut down. As per the statement put out by Facebook “…we identify and remove harmful groups, whether they are public, closed or secret. We can now proactively detect many types of violating content posted in groups before anyone reports them and sometimes before few people, if any, even see them.”
CONCLUSION - DON’T STAND STILL, WE HAVE TO KEEP EVOLVING:
Take advantage of these updates and changes! If they scare you a little (or a lot), that’s okay! What’s not okay is to stand in the same place doing the same old thing until your ads don’t produce any notable results oor worse. Anything you may see listed above that conflicts with your current strategy is only an opportunity in disguise. Don’t miss the importance of focusing on your groups given that’s where Facebook has decided to move their focus.
Digital marketers and ad buyers evolve everyday. This is just another element we have to evolve with to continue staying on top of our game! It might not be easy because for some of us this might change a great deal of what we’re used to as an effective strategy. As it goes with anything worth doing, the cream will always rise to the top!
Remember, Facebook’s number one product is UX (user experience) and they’re attempting to improve it so that more users spend time on the platform and engaging. Facebook’s number one source of revenue (currently) comes from advertisers so I highly doubt they’re planning to throw the baby out with the bath water. Evolve your strategy and figure out what it takes to win given these new standards (whether that’s for your clients or your business) and you’ll be rewarded for those efforts.
Ultimately, when you do figure out the recipe for success for your business or clients I strongly believe this “meaningful interaction” element Facebook is focusing on will be a game changer in many ways! In the long haul, it will create an environment where prospects who interact with your ads will have higher intent and improve the overall performance of your paid advertising campaigns on Facebook.
Good luck and Godspeed!