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2017 Year in Review: Facebook Updates You Might Have Missed in the Last Quarter

2017 has been quite a wild ride for Facebook, for its user base and its businesses. With their new community initiatives and transparency objectives, we're beginning to see that shape Facebook's support structure for their network of businesses.

In 2017 there has been a huge push for support of local businesses, communities and tools to help the everyday person establish themselves on the platform. The 'Market Place' for example is a testament to that business goal and philosophy.

In light of the major 2018 update announcement, here is a quick summary of every update you need to know and how it will affect your business in the coming year: 

• Disputed Flagged articles will be replaced with Related Articles

News articles that are shared around and posted will no longer be red flagged, instead related articles will appear to provide users with context and more information surrounding the issues. 

Businesses that share news around and in business circles will be met with a system that promotes better understanding and awareness of fake news.

Implication: When an article is suspected of being fake, a tab of related articles from other publishers (could be you) are displayed. 

As of the moment it is in testing stages so Facebook is unsure of how much this will affect your page and reach.


• Facebook is fighting engagement bait

Engagement bait is a very common tactic within the marketing and social media industry.

It takes advantage of the News Feed Algorithm and attempts to boost engagement on their posts by inviting the users to 'like', 'comment', 'react' and or 'share' their posts. 

By doing so they hope to increase their reach however to many users, they observe this to be 'spammy'.

Implication: If you're a business that uses these tactics, expect to see your a decrease in the reach of your posts and your pages demoted in Facebook's Algorithm.

Facebook suggests that content creators and page admins look to focusing on posting meaningful and informative. Content that people care about like whether it be educational, commentary or stories etc.



  • Facebook introduced the snooze feature for user's News Feed

One of Facebook's initiative is to give users more control of their news feed.

The snooze feature allows users to temporarily block (not unfollow or unlike) a page or person from appearing on their feed for 30 days. 

When you get snoozed however, you will not be notified. 

Implication: More autonomy and control is being placed in the users hands. 

If a user deems your content as 'spam' or an 'annoyance' they may completely block all your content for 30 days and continue to without you knowing.

What this means is to be more aware of the kinds of content you post to your audience and whether that content is what they want.

Being consumer oriented rather than marketer orientated. ​


• Facebook will boost video rankings on news feeds if people are looking for it and re-visiting the publisher

As part of their 'connecting people' and meaningful content initiatives, Facebook's new updates will boost video rankings if these video posts are firstly, actively being sought out by users (directly searching your page and video) and secondly, if there is repeat viewership (returning to your page for more).

Implication: Videos that have meaningful, informative content and drives conversations will discover their videos to have a wider reach. 

To do well and land on people's news feeds more often, it is advised to look at creating content that caters to your audience.


• Facebook introduced new Creator Tools

For business and creators that center around sharing videos, stories, interacting with the community, going live and obtaining analytics on those things, the Facebook Creator App has it all.

In addition their website provides helpful information on how and where to start if you choose to. 

Implication: Connecting through videos whether it is live or not is always an effective way to increase reach and engagement with your page. 

Current business creators can look to the tools app for increased efficiency with producing and managing video content. Business and creators who want to get into it can hop onto the website to learn how to start.


• Facebook has new features for groups to build communities

In this new update, Group Admins has tools to do a number of things.

1. Welcome posts: Welcoming new members and making them feel supported. The post automatically tags new joiners.

2. Badges: To easily identify group leaders and other members 

3. Member Profiles: To help get to know each other with brief member profiles. The information is based on publicly available information like interests they may share in common and a feed of that person's activity in the group.

4. New controls/analytics: Information about how to find your group and at what times the members of your group are most engaged etc.

Implication: For businesses and companies that have created groups either with your clients, subscribers or other businesses, these new features in 'Groups' help foster community growth and thus increasing brand loyalty and trust in your products, services and business interactions. 


Facebook is updating Ad Targeting

Facebook's ad targeting has always been about being able to find and target the right audiences. 

However due to the segregating nature of these targets, Facebook has implemented restrictions to ensure that ads that contain hate speech and are discriminatory messages can no longer be targeted (such as race and religion).

Implication: This wide net move by Facebook has double edge blade effect. 

Firstly, although it may prevent hate speech and discriminatory targeting, businesses that legitimately target those niches (religious or cultural goods and services) for their business will now have to find another avenues to target their audiences.


• Facebook will block your Ad if your page shares false news

Facebook's objectives of protecting users and the community has now implemented measures to reduce the spread of harmful and false information.

According to Facebook, repeatedly sharing stories marked as false will no longer be allowed to advertise on Facebook.

Implication: If you're a business or company that interacts with your page through sharing stories, there is now a BIG risk. 

If you share stories from a source that is infamous for false news or share stories fact checking, when Facebook algorithm flags your shared post as dangerous multiple times, the consequence is NO MORE ADVERTISING on the platform. Make sure that you're checking the legitimacy of your posts before you share them.


• Facebook will de-rank your posts if you use 'click-bait'

'Click-bait' is deceptive practice that has substantial ramifications on your posts and page if you choose to do so. 

Click-bait posts are ones that use static images disguised as videos to trick people into clicking low quality experiences and content.

Implication: If you are a business that engages in this or is thinking of engaging into this practice, expect to see your posts and page rankings significantly decrease.

The more you do it, the more Facebook algorithm registers your page and content as low quality and illegitimate.



• Links that are faster to load get preference on users News Feeds

Facebook is beginning to take into account the user's device and internet connection, if your webpage link is slow to load it will show fewer videos and more status updates and links.

Sometimes Facebook may pre-load content to help users load it faster. If the news feed recognises that your content and links load quickly, it is more likely to promote your posts, and place them towards the top of the feed.


Implication: Some things like the users internet connection or the general speed of the device cannot be helped. 

Facebook does not anticipate any significant changes on the distribution of News Feeds, however, if your webpage and links are slow to load then your page and posts may experience a decrease in engagement and traffic. 

Some things to consider for yourself are quality of servers, connectivity, amount of redirects or plugins and whether or not it is optimized for mobile. For page speed insights visit Google's Page Speed Insight tool

Conclusion

All the updates selected and listed above one way or another will affect the running of your business operations on Facebook.

All these updates follow a common theme of giving users more control, encouraging businesses to provide more meaningful and value driven content as well as punishing those who partake in deceptive social media practices. 

We are confident that there are at least one or two updates listed in this blog that you didn't know about until now.

All screenshots taken are from Facebook Newsroom. For more news and updates on Social Media and Digital Marketing, be sure to follow Webplanner's Blog!


 References


https://newsroom.fb.com/news/

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Monday, 17 December 2018