By now everyone knows that Facebook unveiled some major changes to their desktop platform and app at F8, their annual developer conference, in April. Operating under the codename FB5, these changes impact pretty much every aspect of the social media platform and is considered by many to be an aspirational change by Mark Zuckerberg and his Facebook team.
But what does this mean for businesses and brands who utilize the Facebook platform for advertising, marketing, and even e-commerce? We have dug into the changes that have been made on Facebook, or that will be launching throughout 2019, and these are the top things we think that you should be aware of:
De-Emphasizing the News Feed
Moving away from the News Feed, Facebook is making Groups, Events, and Stories the points of emphasis on the app. There is a conscious effort to shift from being a town square to a digital living room. According to Facebook, “the main utility people get from Facebook these days is in connecting with communities both large and small that are largely away from the public eye and centered on a shared interest.”
There are aesthetic changes that will place Groups in the center tab of a redesigned menu bar on the platform; and Stories will get prominent placement at the top of the user’s feed. Groups will be easier to find and easier to participate in, and users will have a personalized feed of updates from the various groups of which they are members, as well as recommendations that the user might be interested in based on behavior and engagement. There is a concerted effort to make Groups visible from every aspect of Facebook, including Watch and Marketplace. The platform also is building specific tools tailored to the different Group types, including job listing tools and “buying buttons” to bulk up the functionality of Groups.
Pro Tip: Consider creating a group around your brand that offers genuine value to your audience.
Changes being made to Messenger hold promise for businesses to be able to more authentically and directly engage with users. The new Messenger will allow your business to personalize instant replies and greetings to new people engaging with your page, and make it easier for those users to send you messages. The platform is also developing some plug and play solutions aimed at businesses, for use in the Messenger Platform, including Appointment Booking and Lead Generation and Qualification. The Appointment Booking feature will allow businesses to integrate their calendar system with Messenger to allow potential customers and clients to book appointments. Similarly the Lead Generation and Qualification feature will make it easier to attract leads with a template that will qualify leads with an automated question and answer flow.
Pro Tip: If you haven’t been utilizing Messenger for your business, we recommend checking your inbox, and personally engaging with your customers.
Updating the Algorithm
As we already know, Facebook prioritizes what users see based on their engagement with friends and brands. Moving forward, there also is a focus on increasing visibility to links that the user might find valuable. While the algorithm updates are not specifically designed to impact pages, business that share links and content that users find valuable may see a lift in their reach. However, unoriginal or repurposed content may see limited distribution, especially if you are sharing content for other sources without adding any of your own value.
Specifically in terms of video, Facebook prioritizes three factors:
- Loyalty and intent—Repeat viewership and seeking out content;
- Viewing duration—Videos that engage users for at least minute; ideally videos at least 3 minutes long that keep viewers engaged;
- Originality—Create your own content, or add value when sharing someone else’s.
Pro Tip: Use Stories for heightened visibility at the top of your audience’s newsfeed and not buried—or excluded from—the newsfeed itself.
New Ads Manager and Business Manager
For those brands who are already utilizing Facebook ads (and if you are not, you need to start!), you will notice a new design with increased functionality. The new design has simplified navigation, a cleaner design, and improved campaign management with easier to access reporting. There also is an updated campaign creation process that allows for easier and quicker ad creation, as well as a more seamless approach to managing client accounts. A new inventory filter gives more control over where ads will appear and the content with which it could be associated. Increased integration of purchasing and shopping capabilities throughout Facebook—and user’s shopping patterns using them—will further help target ads.
Pro Tip: Have a clear strategy for your social media marketing efforts, which incorporates targeted paid ads that will help to bolster your organic content.