Facebook’s last earnings report was a total disaster.
After months of bad news, Facebook unveiled its second quarter earnings back in July and reported less revenue than Wall Street analysts expected — and more importantly, fewer new users. In fact, Facebook didn’t grow at all in its most valuable markets, the U.S., Canada and Europe. It actually shrunk.
After years of tremendous user growth — Facebook has more than 2.2 billion users globally, and owns three other apps with more than one billion — Facebook had suddenly hit a wall.
Building an active and engaged following on social media is no easy feat, especially with the ever-evolving algorithms on Facebook, Instagram and the like, making it increasingly difficult for marketers and businesses to reach customers organically through social networks.
Long gone are the days when a business could post a few updates a day, or week, and garner considerable web traffic and post engagement – the slow decline of organic reach, which began as early as 2014, has continuously restricted post exposure. And with more and more algorithms and algorithm refinements coming through regularly, this is now the new norm. You either work with the systems to maximize performance, or you watch your social referral traffic continue to decline at a steady rate.
So how can you work with the algorithms – what are the things you can do to ensure that you get the best performance on social platforms, despite ongoing distribution shifts?
In this post, we’ll take a look at the ways social media algorithms have changed the way businesses need to post, and look at some tried-and-true content ideas you can use to create a diverse, valuable social media feed that continues to drive engagement and traffic to your site.
In order to create a diverse social media feed that’ll actually get seen, you need to first have an understanding of the basics of how platform algorithms work, so you can adjust your strategy accordingly.
Here are some insights into what we know about the various algorithms at play.
Earlier this year, Facebook’s algorithm was given a significant update which aimed to reinforce the platform’s commitment to facilitating meaningful communication between friends and family.
“You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media,” Mark Zuckerberg announced this year. “The public content you see more will be held to the same standard – it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
Essentially, Facebook prioritizes content that it deems “relevant, valuable, and interesting” to users, with general engagement – and now “meaningful interactions” – as drivers.
This could be interesting – Facebook’s testing a new ad unit which would display content from multiple advertisers within a single ad collection.
As you can see in this example, the ad includes content from two companies within the same unit, with the bottom bar branding alternating on each frame within the carousel.
Facebook confirmed the test to Digiday and provided the following statement:
“We are conducting a small test that groups product recommendations from different advertisers into a single experience. We will evaluate if it creates value for people and businesses before deciding whether to expand it.”
It’s not clear exactly how this new promotional unit would work – whether the costs would be split evenly between the associated brands, how brands would participate, or how much control they’d have over the partners they’re displayed with (as Facebook is displaying these based on product recommendations, not on brand-advised groupings).
It seems more aligned with on-platform discovery, similar to recommendations in Google Shopping or Pinterest, but framed as an ad. That would mean that Facebook will be looking to charge for the additional exposure (they’re not charging during the test), though there does still seem to be quite a bit to work out before an expanded release.
Still, it’s interesting to see how Facebook is looking at such promotions, and seeking to expand discovery on the platform. The benefits, you would think, will either need to come from reduced cost, higher exposure and/or audience responsiveness, so at this stage, Facebook seems to be merely testing to see if audiences even like the format in the first place. From there, The Social Network will be able to better frame their pitch for the potential product, if they so choose.
Messenger apps have seen enormous growth over the years. The top four messaging platforms—Facebook Messenger, WeChat, WhatsApp, and Viber—boast of over 3 billion active users per month. This number is bigger than the active users of the top four social networks. It goes without saying that people love these apps, and any marketer should learn how to leverage these platforms to reach their target customers. Thankfully, messenger apps have released several updates to make their platforms friendlier to marketers.
In this guide, we’ll focus on Facebook Messenger, which has proven to be a useful marketing tool when leveraged correctly. Here are three ways to advertise your business using Facebook Messenger Ads.
This is the most popular Messenger ads for marketers—and there’s a good reason why. Its primary purpose is to build a subscriber list and a loyal following by starting conversations with new people. Click-to-Messenger ads look like regular ads on Facebook, but you’re redirecting users to Messenger instead of your website or a landing page.
Also called Destination Ads, this type of ad can be customized by adding an image, video, slideshows, carousel, etc. Users can tell that it’s a destination and when they see a call to action button that says, “Get Started” or “Send Message.”
With all the discussion around how social platforms can be used to fuel divisions within society by facilitating the spread of fake news, and reinforcing filter bubbles due to algorithms showing users more of what they agree with, the latest Pew Research study on social media news consumption comes at an important time, and underlines, yet again, why this is a significant area of concern.
According to Pew’s latest data, which incorporates responses from more than 4,500 Americans, 68% of American adults say that they now get at least some news coverage from social media, making it an influential source of updates on the latest issues and affairs.
Facebook is giving its immersive Canvas ad option an update, with a new name, some new back-end tweaks to improve load time and performance, and new creative template options to make them easier than ever to implement.
Canvas ads, which Facebook rolled out to all advertisers back in 2016, essentially offer a mini-website experience within Facebook itself, with the ads taking up the whole screen when clicked.