Byline: Robert Tadros, CEO and founder of Impressive Digital
News that Facebook is changing its algorithms to favour users’ friends posts over businesses caused many organisations to rethink the platform as a marketing tool. My advice is not to change the channel: these tweaks are worth getting to know so you can maximise your spend and deliver a healthy return to your bottom line.
Impressive focus on SEO, SEM and facebook advertising campaigns for their clients. The business launched in March 2016 and in three years has grown to 40 employees, offices around the world and an expected turnover of $10million this financial year.
Is your fear of Facebook’s alleged decline or new algorithms losing you and your client sales? The belief that Facebook is no longer an important marketing channel for businesses is dangerous and those who spend too much time worrying instead of embracing change will suffer.
If you think Facebook would risk billions in revenue for the sake of what founder Mark Zuckerberg says will be “more meaningful social interactions”, you need to take a closer look at what the changes will actually entail. By the end of 2018, Facebook’s annual revenue was US$55.8 billion, up from $40.6 billion in 2017, largely driven by earnings from digital advertising. When Zuckerberg signalled the change, it was not to put this revenue in jeopardy but to make marketing through the channel more valuable in the long term.
If you’ve been too scared to outlay any money during this transitional time, take a closer look at what you need to do to work with the changes and benefit.
Get clever with content
Focus on the signals that Facebook will use to determine which posts are shown to users. In the past, brands could craft content and then pay to have it pushed onto people it identified as its target market. What ended up happening is users turned off. They became blind to this style of marketing because it was too blatantly advertising. For the brand, eyeballs did not necessarily convert to engagement or sales.
What Facebook’s new algorithm promises to do is shift up which signals affect feed content rankings. It now elevates ‘active’ interactions like comments and shares over less valuable likes and tagging. Person-to-person connection is more likely to spark active engagement compared to person-to-brand and that’s better for the platform and better for you if you work on hitting the right note with your content.
The algorithm promises to predict which posts users will want to talk to their network about, so if you focus your content on sparking conversation and being personal, it’ll increase the likelihood your post will be pushed up people’s feed. In short, create content for the people you want to engage with, rather than content for promoting your brand.
Stop using engagement bait
Engagement bait is the tactic some brands use to encourage likes, comments and tags. You’ll often see these posts phrased like this: “Tag a friend that would love these jeans!” or “Like this post if you love chocolate!”
Most enlightened marketers will already know that this might get the numbers up, but that this shallow engagement is neither valuable nor meaningful. Are you spending money to get likes or to get leads? They are not the same thing, so stop practising engagement baiting.
Facebook’s algorithm changes recognise engagement baiting as clutter and the platform is cracking down on baiting and spam, with Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed at Facebook, confirming they will “demote” such content. To make sure your post is considered relevant, send users to a high-quality landing page.
Consider investing some of your content budget in video. Video content naturally sparks conversation and more meaningful interactions, beating both images and links, which means it’ll continue to rate highly. And, according to Mosseri, live videos generate six times more interaction than regular videos. This is especially true of video creators and celebrities.
This is not the end of the changes, so don’t take all this on board and then take your eye off the ball. Facebook is likely to roll out some more tweaks to the news feed algorithm, so marketers need to stay on top of what it is doing and why, before making a decision on how to react as soon as they notice the changes being deployed.
In the case of one of our clients XBlades, we developed a Facebook funnel which comprised of a series of video ad campaigns that were focused around short-term sale activations, as well as retargeting strategies for their footwear and team apparel collection. Our goal was to reach relevant audiences and ensure a positive return on ad spends. The strategy was a success resulting in 4million plus impressions and 182% increase in Facebook revenue.
Keep in mind that Facebook is doing this for longevity. It has chosen to go back to its social network roots, not to kick businesses out but to keep the platform relevant. In the long run this will be better for businesses that pay close attention and create posts that are relevant and engaging. As long as you play by Facebook’s rules and embrace them, your brand won’t suffer.
Robert Tadrosis the CEO and founder of Impressive, one of Australia’s fastest growing digital marketing agencies specialising in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Facebook Advertising and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Since its launch in March 2016, Impressive has built a team of 40 employees, head offices in Melbourne, Australia, LA, Austin, Texas, Singapore and Hong Kong. The business is on track for turnover of $10million this financial year.