No matter your personal feelings on the social giant, it's important to keep up with the evolving marketing opportunities available there.
Are you staying up-to-date with the most recent Facebook updates and other changes? If you’re not, you’re in luck! We’ve rounded up some of the social network’s most recent announcements and updates that affect businesses.
1. Updates to the News Feed Algorithm (Again!)
Facebook has announced two major changes to the News Feed algorithm in the last couple of weeks. Both affect businesses and how you craft your Facebook posts.
Anyone who works in social knows that Facebook is always testing new tools and features – in fact, it’s likely that the version of Facebook you’re using is different to the one your friends see.
And while not all of their experiments evolve into fully functional additions, it’s always interesting to note not only what they’re testing, but to consider why, as it can provide some additional insight into Facebook’s way of thinking, their strategic approach and the behaviors they’re seeking to encourage.
Facebook’s always testing new ideas and features to keep you on Facebook for longer, some of them major – like Facebook Stories – and others less so.
To help provide some additional context on these smaller tweaks and tests, we’re co-ordinating them into a weekly update to help keep you updated on what Facebook’s trying out, where they’re focused and what you should be watching for in future.
Facebook Cracks Down on Static Images as Video and Fake Video Play Buttons with New Algorithm Update
As with everything in the online realm, at some point, scammers are going to find loopholes in system processes to artificially boost their presence.
In SEO, for example, Google has to constantly evolve its algorithm to stay a step ahead, and they can’t reveal the inner workings of their process for fear of people seeking out vulnerabilities. Facebook too has to continually refine and tweak its algorithm to ensure people aren’t being inundated with junk – if they were to over-emphasize Page Likes, for example, Like sellers would ramp up their promotions.
Earlier this year, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel came under fire for reportedly saying that Snap Inc. was not focused on expanding its flagship app into India because it's "only for rich people".
Spiegel also reportedly remarked that he didn't want to "expand into poor countries like India".
Facebook is experimenting with the design of some pages on its iOS app. We noticed some updates to user profiles and notifications, and after we published this story, Facebook confirmed the update.
These changes appear to be limited to a small subset of users and seem to go as far back as May, which indicates that this is yet another design test by the social networking company. These tweaks affect the way users view people’s profiles and also their notifications.
Amid ongoing discussion about how Facebook was used to spread misinformation ahead of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, The Social Network continues to ramp up its efforts to improve news literacy and stop the distribution of fake (or ‘false’, as Facebook calls it) news content.
In their latest measure, Facebook’s adding in a new information button which users can click on to find out more about a particular news story in their News Feed.
As part of its ongoing effort to bring more diversity of content into your News Feed - and avoid creating echo chambers where all users hear see is information that reinforces their existing beliefs - Facebook has announced another update to Trending Stories, while also adding in a new way to showcase trending news in your region.
The latest change to Trending Stories will see Facebook present a new carousel layout for each topic, highlighting a set of stories from a range of publications covering the issue which you can flip through.
Facebook today said that it has started making changes to its News Feed based on the time people spend on individual posts. More changes will be coming over the next few weeks.
Clearly, time spent is important, but Facebook’s engineers have started to take a more nuanced view of the metric.
Since Facebook nearly killed organic reach more than a year ago, you might have stepped up your company’s or your clients’ Facebook Advertising game, and rightfully so. Now, just a few days ago Facebook announced updated controls for the News Feed.
Facebook's rolling out a new News Feed algorithm update which focuses on reducing the reach of clickbait, which is still one of the most complained about elements of The Social Network.
As explained by Facebook:
“People tell us they don’t like stories that are misleading, sensational or spammy. That includes clickbait headlines that are designed to get attention and lure visitors into clicking on a link. In an effort to support an informed community, we’re always working to determine what stories might have clickbait headlines so we can show them less often.”
Facebook has announced a new News Feed algorithm update, this time focused on reducing the reach of links to websites which contain “little substantive content and have a large number of disruptive, shocking or malicious ads”. The changes will also relate to ads from these domains, which will be blocked entirely.
In other words, if your site’s covered in crappy ads, you’re gonna’ find it a lot harder to keep drawing significant traffic from Facebook.
Facebook has announced another News Feed algorithm update, this time focused on reducing the reach of websites which are not optimized for mobile devices.
As explained by Facebook:
“We’ve heard from people that it’s frustrating to click on a link that leads to a slow-loading webpage. [...] During the coming months we’re making an update to News Feed to show people more stories that will load quickly on mobile and fewer stories that might take longer to load, so they can spend more time reading the stories they find relevant.”
As more and more people use social media more often, and upload more of their personal information to their profiles, identity theft and misuse becomes a much larger concern. This issue is particularly prevalent in India – according to research by Experian, identity theft is the most prominent form of fraud in the nation.
But identity theft isn’t the only way to misuse online data.
Remember how, a couple of weeks back, Amazon announced that they were launching their own social and messaging apps?
You know what Facebook really hates? People stepping on their turf. Just ask Snapchat.
As such, since Amazon’s announcement, Facebook has announced a range of smaller updates which help to evolve its eCommerce potential.
Over the past few weeks, major publishers have been calling on Facebook to reverse their decision to remove the capacity to edit link previews when you post content to your Facebook Page.
As we’ve reported previously, back in April, Facebook announced a pending change to their Graph API which would remove the ability for Pages to edit link previews attached to posts – that change comes into effect this week, but the backlash has lead to Facebook providing a stay of execution, of sorts, on the feature for some Pages, with a new option that will enable publishers to maintain the capacity to edit previews.
Back in January, we reported that Facebook was testing a new application questionnaire feature for Facebook Groups to help refine and improve the group membership process. That test appears to have gone well – this week, The Social Network has confirmed that Group membership questions are being rolled out to all users.
As reported by TechCrunch, group admins will now be able to pose up to three questions for people requesting to join their Group to answer – this is what the layout of those questions looked like in the initial test phase.
Do you know about Facebook’s 10-year master plan?
Most people don’t, but understanding the basic outline of Facebook’s plan can be a major advantage for marketers who are playing the long game.
You see, most businesses are so focused on day-to-day operations and Facebook’s last feature launch that they aren’t able to strategically plan for their business’s future with the advertising giant.