Ahead of Social Media Marketing 2013 (London) on October 23/24, we’re taking a look at the latest updates to the world’s biggest social network and the impact these changes will have for marketers.
1. More Relevant Ads in Newsfeed
“The goal of News Feed is to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time. Our goal with the ads we show in News Feed is no different.”
News Feed ads are a tricky business for Facebook. Whilst users tend to be tolerant of ads in the right-hand column, irrelevant ads in the News Feed feel more intrusive and are detrimental to the user experience. Facebook is well aware of this and is working to “improve the relevance and quality of the ads people see.” To achieve this, Facebook’s algorithm will now place more emphasis on user feedback, including how often people hide an ad.
This is good news for users and marketers alike as users will start to see more relevant ads and marketers can be confident that their adverts will be shown to those who are most likely to be interested in them.
2. Graph Search for Posts
Facebook first launched Graph Search in January, allowing users to find other people and brand Pages based on certain characteristics. For instance, “Mexican restaurants my friends like in London”.
Facebook has now announced that it is taking Graph Search a step further by making almost everything you post accessible via Graph Search. That includes status updates, comments, likes, photos, notes and check-ins (see examples below).
This is being rolled out to a small selection of users in the US who already have access to Graph Search. Facebook will monitor how it is used and collect feedback before rolling it out to the wider public.
3. Edit Posts after Publishing
Last week Facebook introduced a new feature to web and Android, allowing users to edit posts after publishing them. This is good news for anyone who has fallen victim to an embarrassing typo as a result of ‘auto-complete’ when posting from mobile. Previously, you would have to delete the entire post and re-post it, losing all your likes, comments and shares in the process.
The update is due to be rolled out to iOS soon.
4. Changes to Competition and Promotion Rules
Big news for marketers! Admins can now run competitions directly on their Page without having to use third party apps. Users are allowed to enter a promotion or competition by liking or commenting on a post, posting to a Page or sending a private message. It is, however, still against the rules to require users to like a Page, share a post or tag a photo as part of entering a competition.
It’s been a few months since Facebook first introduced hashtags and recently studies have emerged showing the effect that they’re having on reach and engagement.
In fact, EdgeRank Checker actually found that posts containing hashtags received lower viral reach than posts that did not include a hashtag.
It’s still early days and there are always going to be teething issues, but it looks like this is one update that hasn’t gone to plan.
6. EdgeRank Updates
In a recent update to Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm, Pages that post memes and ask fans to ‘LIKE’ their posts could find themselves penalised.
This update was introduced after Facebook surveyed thousands of users to find out exactly what they would classify as a ‘quality post’.
This move will come as something of a shock to many Facebook marketers, social media consultants and community managers who have used this technique as a way of increasing engagement. However, Facebook has seen this as an attempt to ‘game the News Feed’ at the expense of good quality content and has acted accordingly.
7. New Image Sizes
Link thumbnail images are now larger. This is great news for any marketers looking to drive traffic to their website as links are now far more visual and prominent. The important thing to note is that if the thumbnail image isn’t at least 400×209 pixels, it will automatically be resized to 154×154 or 90×90.
For more details on Facebook image sizes, take a look at this great post by Jon Loomer.
8. Embed Posts
Public posts from Facebook users and Pages can now be embedded on external websites.
“Today, we are beginning to roll out Embedded Posts to make it possible for people to bring the most compelling, timely public posts from Facebook to the rest of the Web. Every day, public figures, journalists, and millions of regular people share their thoughts on what’s happening around the world on Facebook publicly.” Dave Capra, Facebook software engineer
9. Auto-Play Video
Text only status updates and photos tend to be the most engaging type of post on Facebook. This is because they require no effort on the part of the user, who can instantly see if it’s something they are interested in and ‘like’. Conversely, links and videos involve clicking, loading, then watching/reading/listening.
Facebook has now changed this by auto-playing videos that appear in the News Feed. They will begin silently and will only play sound once the user clicks on them. Currently, only videos from individuals, verified Pages, and Pages of musicians and bands auto-play.
10. Facebook Insights
Facebook Insights has always offered valuable data, but until now it’s been very difficult to access it. Drilling into data involved downloading spreadsheets and manually sifting through it to pick out key metrics. Fortunately, their recent updates have made this much easier. For an in-depth guide to Facebook Insights, take a look at this useful post from Social Media Examiner, but in short, the new features include:
- Easy start and end date slider
- See when your fans are online
- Best post types
- Comparisons against Facebook averages
- Advanced filtering
- Addition of ‘Post Clicks’ stat