Facebook, the world’s most popular social media platform, is in a constant state of change. When we’ve just gotten our heads around a major update, they throw another one into the mix.
If your company has a Facebook profile, it is vital to keep up to date with these changes, as well as know how to get your content into more feeds and create Facebook ads. Here are some insights that will most likely affect the way you manage your business page.
Facebook organic reach is in decline
When you post a photo, status update or share a link on Facebook, this will naturally appear in some of your fans’ news feeds – anywhere between approximately 2% to 16% of your followers will receive each post. The number of feeds that each post appears in is a measure of its ‘organic reach’.
The amount of organic reach you will receive for content posts is decreasing dramatically. In fact, industry experts expect organic reach to cease altogether.
This means that you will no longer be able to reach new people on Facebook without paying for it.
News Feed algorithm
As the amount of content being shared on Facebook is increasing all the time, Facebook have changed the way that information is delivered to your feed. They deliver the most appropriate content to every user’s feed to maximise their individual engagement. This highly technical formula that determines what posts appear in people’s feeds is called the ‘News Feed algorithm’.
The updated News Feed algorithm has dramatically decreased the organic reach of businesses’ posts, making paid, boosted posts a necessity for brands – more about this below.
Facebook only delivers content to people who are likely to engage with the post. This is based on your past interaction with posts and the level of engagement previous posts have received from your followers.
When people interact with content by liking, commenting or sharing, Facebook will then consider this content to be engaging and subsequently place it in more News Feeds. If there is no initial engagement on the post, its organic reach will end there.
This means your content has to be interesting, relevant and informative for it to be seen by a wider audience.
In an algorithm update in April 2015, Facebook altered the News Feed as part of their ongoing efforts to “show the content that matters to you”. One of these updates includes placing your friends’ posts higher up in the News Feed, with news and business pages appearing further down. This means that more than ever, brands must create content that will be SHARED BY PEOPLE to get a top position in individual News Feeds.
Targeting organic reach
One way to achieve initial engagement is to target your organic posts – something that was previously only available to Facebook advertisements.
This allows businesses to target posts to their fans by demographics, interests and fans of specific pages. This may mean that it will be seen by less people, however, by targeting posts to people who are likely to engage in the first instance, the post will be shown in more News Feeds after this initial engagement.
Decreased reach for promotional posts
Organic reach on ‘promotional posts’ has a lower reach compared to other posts. Posts that push users to buy a product or service are seen in less News Feeds. This limitation is based on the language used in the posts, so avoid using words like ‘sale’, ‘buy’, ‘discount’, ‘save’, etc.
Boosting Facebook posts
With organic reach predicted to eventually disappear altogether, the only way for organisations to be seen in people’s News Feed is to use paid media. Boosting posts (and advertising) will soon be the only way for brand’s posts to be seen by fans and non-fans – it’s no real surprise as Facebook, now a listed company, does have to generate profits for its shareholders after all.
‘Boosting a post’ is paying for a post to appear in more people’s News Feeds than organic reach will achieve – this can be people who already follow you, as well as people who don’t.
For a while now, boosting posts has been the most successful way for your posts to be seen by a large number of people. Boosting gives you the option of either boosting to the people who currently like your page as well as their friends, or boosting to people you chose through targeting. More often than not, the latter is most effective as you can target a new audience that doesn’t already like your page.
You can boost a post from as little as $1.00 right up to $1,000,000.00 each day! The more you spend, the more reach you get. Boosting a post also allows you to target whose feeds you reach using criteria such as location, age, gender, interests, etc. to appropriately match the right content to the right audience to ultimately increase engagement with the post.
You can choose the duration of the boosted post for up to seven days. Remember, if you are boosting an image which contains text, this must adhere to the 20% rule – no more than 20% of the image must be made up of text. Use Facebook’s 20% grid here to determine if the image has too much text. Boosted posts must also comply with Facebook’s advertising guidelines.
The way advertisements appear on Facebook varies between desktop, tablet and mobile devices.
On desktop computers, Facebook users can choose to have an ad that appears in the right column of any page on the Facebook site, in the News Feed or both.
The ads on the right column are a simple combination of text and image that appear in the right column of any page on the Facebook site (seen below). They are very easy to create in the Ads Manager section, no matter your level of skill.
Sponsored posts are delivered directly to News Feeds and are clearly labeled as ‘sponsored’ with a call to action for example, ‘Learn more’ or ‘Buy now’.
On mobiles and tablets, ads appear as ‘sponsored posts’ in News Feeds. Also appearing in the News Feed are boosted posts (which are also labeled as ‘sponsored posts’ – confusing, we know!).
The difference between an ad and a boosted post in this instance is that the ad has several ‘call to action’ options to select, for example, Shop Now, Book Now, Learn More, Sign Up. This is because sponsored posts are effectively advertisements which aim to sell something or direct the viewer to another website, whereas boosted posts are simply content from a brand that aims to reach more News Feeds. Unlike boosted posts, sponsored posts do not appear in the brand’s timeline.
Segmenting advertising content
Due to the level of audience targeting now available on Facebook, brands should now consider creating different versions of advertising content to appeal to specific target segments. Even a slight copy change between versions can optimise each dollar spent on advertising and allows you to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time.
Getting this right will mean that the sponsored posts will seamlessly integrate into viewers’ News Feeds without blatantly looking like an ad, and will therefore achieve a greater level of engagement – the reason you are advertising on Facebook in the first place! – than non-specific or generic content will.
Facebook Messenger app updates
Payment feature on Facebook Messenger app
In March, Facebook launched a new payment feature on their Messenger app. This handy new tool allows Messenger users to securely transfer money between each other. Now it’s easy to split restaurant bills and pay someone back on the spot.
The first time you use the payment feature, you need to input your debit card details and then a four digit PIN is all that’s required thereafter. Currently, this featured has been rolled out across the US, with no word as to when to expect it in Australia or the rest of the world.
Businesses on Messenger
Facebook have launched a Facebook Messenger feature for businesses to create a direct line of conversation with their customers. When customers visit a business website, they can sign up to connect with the business via Facebook Messenger. This then opens up a direct, real-time line of communication between the business and the consumer which allows personalised updates to be sent.
At the moment, it is only available with select businesses in the US, however we hope that Facebook roll it out to us soon!
- The News Feed algorithm has dramatically decreased the organic reach of posts. Between 2 – 16% of your fans are seeing your posts. This will continue to decrease.
- Organic reach on promotional posts has an even further decreased reach – avoid the use of words like ‘sale’, ‘buy’, ‘discount’, ‘save’ etc.
- You can target the organic reach on posts. This is great to gain initial engagement in the posts to then be placed into even more feeds as the content will be deemed ‘interesting’ by Facebook.
- With organic reach continuing to decrease, allow a media budget for Facebook to guarantee reach.
- In the News Feed, friend’s posts are at the top of the feed – this means brands should create shareable content to get a place at the top of the News Feed.
- The best way for your posts to be seen is to boost your posts. This allows the content to be targeted and shown in the feeds of people who don’t already ‘like’ your page.
- When boosting an image, make sure it complies with Facebook’s 20% rule. Use Facebook’s 20% grid here to determine if the image has too much text.
- Facebook ads allow users greater targeting, pricing and bidding options for marketers. With this in mind, brands should create different content for the different audiences to optimise each dollar spent.
- The Facebook Messenger app now has a payment feature for easy, secure money transfers between friends using debit card details. This is currently available in the US only.
- Facebook is currently rolling out Business on Messenger. This creates a direct line of communication between businesses and customers.
For more information on how to use Facebook for your business, contact us.