Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by Mobilegeddon!
We know — it sucked, and we hope your site is mobile-responsive now. However, don’t get lazy. There’s another major change to digital marketing on the horizon:
In the first days of 2018, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be changing its news feed algorithm to prioritize content from “friends, family and groups.”
Why is the Facebook algorithm changing?
Facebook’s reason for this change is to favor posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people. For digital marketers, this announcement felt reminiscent of Mobilegeddon, Google’s changes to its algorithm that negatively affected non-mobile-responsive websites.
Directly, it raises concerns for how businesses can find their way into customers news feeds, an advertising strategy which has proven to be pivotal for a variety of industries.
We may not know how the updated algorithm will affect metrics like engagement and cost per result for all markers, but we do know that we want Facebook to improve the news feed experience. Why? Well, Facebook continues to grow and has new users year after year. If news feeds are full of spam and poorly done advertising, the users will leave, and we’ll have no one to market to. So, while Facebook works on the overall experience, it’s our duty to use strategies and tactics that work with the algorithm and yield meaningful interactions with consumers.
How can I avoid the negative effects of this new algorithm?
Here are three strategies that we prioritize at FSC in order to minimize the negative effects of the new Facebook algorithm:
Put proper tracking in place
As marketers, we often ask consumers to leave the Facebook or Instagram platform to take actions like sign up for newsletters, explore inventory, or make an online purchase. It’s important to track the entire customer journey from first touchpoint on social media to the desired end result. The best way to do this is to install a Facebook Pixel (a small piece of code provided by Facebook) to your website. This can be accomplished through Google Tag Manager or a web developer. Other than tracking customer journeys, the Facebook Pixels allow for sophisticated remarketing tactics. With the new algorithm, we predict an ad that contains content a consumer already explored on a website will outperform an ad that has no prior relevance to the consumer.
Only market using funnel-based strategies
Awareness > Consideration > Convert > Delight
This is likely what was written on the white board on the first day of your Introduction to Marketing class in college. It’s the marketing funnel, and it won’t change. What has changed over the years is Facebook’s ability to take consumer data and help marketers find potential customers to funnel through a consumer journey that makes sense.
In the early days of Facebook advertising, we were just boosting posts and hoping for the best. Today, the audience insights and targeting capabilities provide no excuse for theoretically throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping it will stick. Those who continue to do this will be penalized the most by the new Facebook algorithm.
We like to think of the marketing funnel as a series of dates:
- On your first date, you’ll keep it high level. Maybe talk about your accomplishments or your best attributes.
- On your second date, you’ll go a little deeper. Share your pet peeves and the type of relationship you are looking for.
- Then, by the third date, and not a moment before, you MAY feel comfortable asking this person to meet your friends, or attend a wedding as their date.
Apply that same formula to social media marketing. We don’t recommend asking a 35-year-old woman in Chicago to buy your miracle wrinkle cream before she knows that your company was 5-star rated by Allure and has worked for other women of a similar age. Be sure your messaging makes sense for where your audience is in the purchasing funnel. This can be accomplished by keeping track of audiences in Business Manager, and following their path progression on Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics.
Use meaningful advertising creative
Mark’s post read explaining Facebook’s new changes read, “Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”
Every social content creator’s goal is to produce quality posts that evoke emotion or reaction from the audience. However, the stakes are higher now, and creatives must be more innovative than ever before. Luckily, Facebook rolls out new ad types all the time, which allows creatives to test 360 video, live video, and dynamic ads. Don’t forget about that marketing funnel, either! Ad types like short-form video are best suited for your “first date” brand awareness folks. Canvas ads are better fit for the “second date” consideration group. Regardless of the stage in the funnel, creative needs to be impactful and important to the audience.
We hope these tips let you rest easy over your concerns about the Facebook algorithm. (Has anyone checked if #Algogeddon is trending?). There’s no reason to fear if you or your digital marketing agency is executing a thoughtful marketing and content strategy. Here at FSC, we have no plans to take our strategies and flip them on their heads due to the change. Rather, we will continue to optimize and tweak, as we always do, based on trends and data driven results.
Continue to check back here on the blog for digital marketing trends like these.