Over the next few weeks, marketers who use Facebook may see their number of Page Likes decline a little bit. While this is never a good thing to see, marketers can take comfort in the fact they haven't done anything wrong. Facebook announced a plan to clean of the Page Likes of business pages by removing certain pages from the count.
Facebook already removes pages that are deleted from the Page Like numbers. This new move will remove two groups of accounts from Page Like counts. The account types in question, memorialized accounts and deactivated accounts aren't technically deleted, but they will no longer be included a business page likes.
"To make audience data even more meaningful for businesses, we're updating the way Page likes are counted by removing memorialized and voluntarily deactivated accounts from Pages' like counts," the company explained in a blog post. "This change ensures that data on Facebook is consistent and up-to-date."
Voluntarily deactivated accounts are accounts where the user has chosen to turn the account off but not delete it. This means they can turn the account back on later, if they wish. People who want to take a break from Facebook can deactivate their account without having to lose everything they've done. Businesses liked by these accounts will lose the like to their business page while the account is deactivated. However, the like will come back automatically once the account is reactivated.
Memorialized accounts, on the other hand, are the accounts of people who have died. The person's page will say it's for "Remembering" the original creator. In this case, the business pages liked by that person will the like forever. Though presumably, the fact that they liked the business will probably still show if you look at their friends list. It just won't affect the page like count.
Though it's frustrating to lose a like, marketers shouldn't be too upset with this move by Facebook. Removing these inactive account types from the metrics is useful for people using Facebook Insights to guide their social marketing plans. As an extreme example of what could happen, a retirement community would look like it was liked by a lot more octogenarian and older fans than they really did.
Many marketers may not have known this, but Facebook already filter out likes and comments generated by deactivated or memorialized accounts from individual Page posts. So rather than a radical change, this update is really just keeping the data consistent.
This change should affect most businesses. It's likely that most businesses have had at least a few fans die if they've been around for a few years and cater to all age groups. Similarly, a lot of people take breaks from Facebook from time to time, so that no page is immune to the potential loss of likes. Though the change will affect a lot of pages, the actual dip in page likes should be pretty small.
If you didn't know about these various options for your personal page, it's something that business owners and marketers should look up. For example, a Facebook user can setup a legacy contact who will admin access to the page should use pass away. Or you can have the page deleted entirely. It's important to set these provisions up because it becomes a legal mess to do after the fact. You can learn more about this topic here.
For more, less somber, news about Facebook marketing, read this article on using the Ad Relevance Score to improve your ad performance.
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