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.
Earlier in August, Facebook quietly told advertisers that they were going to allow twice as many ads to appear in the News Feed of users, whether or not they've liked the brand running the ad.
Technically this is good for businesses and gives you a chance to get your ads in front of more eyes, more often.
More recently, Facebook announced that they're working to continue cutting down what users consider spam including "click-baiting" headlines and posts.
According to Facebook, "Click-baiting headlines is when a publisher posts a link with a headline that encourages people to click to see more, without telling them much information about what they will see. Posts like these tend to get a lot of clicks, which means that these posts get shown to more people, and get shown higher up in News Feed. Over time, stories with "click-bait" headlines can drown out content from friends and Pages that people really care about."
Secondly, Facebook noted that they'd be showing preference to links that are shared within a post. They plan on prioritizing links in the link-format, and showing fewer posts with links shared in captions or status updates.
Our advice: Make sure your links include a large, attractive image that will drive your audience to click through. Link share post image size is 484 pixels by 252 pixels.
2. You Can No Longer Like-Gate or Fan-Gate Apps or Content
In one of the most significant Facebook announcements to date, the social network has said that as of November 5, 2014 businesses will no longer be able to like-gate or fan-gate their custom Facebook Page apps or content.
While scary for some marketers, this is a big step in the direction that we see most businesses moving: wanting to build a valuable and engaging online audience.
According to Facebook, "You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike."
Any apps that are currently installed and running a like-gate will continue to show the like-gate until November 5, 2014. Starting November 5, Facebook will adjust their API to not read whether a visitor to an app is a fan or non-fan.
Our advice: Turn your like-gated strategies into action-gated strategies. Action-gating is when you reward your audience after they fill out a form, sign up for a newsletter, vote or perform some other action. By doing this you're collecting data you can use to engage with your audience outside of Facebook.
3. Save Articles for Later
You may have read that Facebook users would get up to 1,500 posts a day in their News Feed if Facebook didn't use an algorithm to cut it down to around 300. That's still a LOT of posts and a majority of those posts are links to news articles or interesting reads from your favorite brands and Pages.
In July, Facebook released a new feature that allows you to save items that you find on Facebook to check out later when you have more time. As of today, you can save links, places, movies, TV and music. You can choose to share your saved items with your friends or keep them private.
Our advice: Encourage your fans to save your posts to read later. As a business, make sure you're saving interesting articles and links you see so you can share them with your audience at a later date.
4. Updates to Facebook Advertising
There have been a variety of changes to the Facebook ads platform in the last several months. We could easily dedicate an entire article to these changes but instead we're going to leave it up to our favorite Facebook ads guy, Jon Loomer. Jon covers each Facebook ad change in length, we highly recommend following his blog.
We'll still do a quick run-down of some of the bigger advertising changes we've seen lately.
This feature allows advertisers to see how different devices influence a website conversion or mobile app actions.
New video advertising capabilities make it so businesses can include a call-to-action on their video ads. You can also set a campaign goal to see video views and build an audience based on people who have previously viewed a video.
Right-hand ads are now nearly three times larger than they were before. This doesn't affect the flow of creating ads, you just have more space to work with now! See a full list of the new right-hand ad dimensions.
You can now "Boost" a post to a saved target audience. To make a custom audience head to the Power Editor and create a Saved Target Audience for each Custom Audience you have.
Our advice: If you're not running Facebook ads, you should be! Start with a small budget of once a day and increase it as you get more comfortable and learn your target audiences.