Mark Zuckerberg announced earlier this month that his resolution is to "fix Facebook." From causing political controversy, to the decreasing amount of engagement in the platform, Facebook has fallen short of the public's expectations in 2017. With negativity in the press looming, Zuckerberg is hoping to increase "meaningful social interactions" within the platform and improve overall user experience. He's hoping to do this primarily through a major change in algorithm, but there's also some new features coming, as well as some updates to features you already know and love. Read below for everything Facebook's been up to.
Ok, let's start with a breakdown of what's been going on. Facebook announced January 11th that it's changing it's Newsfeed algorithm. So what exactly does this mean? Well, simply put, your friend's and family's posts will get a boost on your newsfeed over posts from brands and companies now. So is this a good thing? For a consumer maybe yes, but for most brands, definitely no.
In the words of Mark Zuckerberg, the algorithm is being tweaked to “prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people” and to “prioritize posts from friends and family over public content.” There have been rumors of this change coming before, when it was tested in other countries back in October, but Facebook denied any plans of rolling it out universally. The reason this move is so controversial is because small businesses who rely on Facebook for traffic and sales, will not get as much reach on the network. This is also causing a stir with news organizations whose stories will get less hits. Most people in the industry believe this to be unfair for brands and publishers who will lose the audiences they worked (and paid) to build up themselves for years. However, there is a minority of marketers who believe this will be a good thing, as it will downplay low engagement content. Is the rumored split newsfeed coming next? I guess we will know soon.
So what does this algorithm change mean for all of those "Influencers" you've seen popping up. Will it be more difficult for them to get views as well? Actually, it won't. Seeing as influencers are 'real people' and not companies, their content will be prioritized in the algorithm and therefore, companies who use influencers will be at an advantage. Read more about this by clicking the link above.
So aside from using influencers, how else are brands supposed to cope with this change? PR week has 4 suggestions.
- Leveraging personal accounts. Whether it's an employee, director, or some social media managers, brands should have some personal accounts associated with their page in 2018..
- The humble brag. Sharing success stories about the company history or CEO can add a personal touch that is algorithm-friendly.
- Engage in two-way communication. Using the previously mentioned personal accounts to communicate back and forth with other users, as well as other other page directors, will give your page a boost.
- Take your online presence offline, then back again. Joining relevant Facebook groups can help your brand. So can going to industry events and sharing your experiences about them online.
Bloated Facebook Messenger promises to simplify in 2018
Facebook is expected to drastically change their Messenger app in 2018. Facebook’s head of Messenger, David Marcus, argues, “The app became too cluttered." Between Messenger's 'Stories' feature, it's augmented reality camera, a bot Discover section, game plugins, and much more, Facebook had to build "Messenger Suggestions" AI just to remind people of all of the app's features. I personally use Messenger and had no idea any of these features existed until now. Perhaps reorganizing will improve UX.
So what changes can we expect in the app? Similar to Facebook's algorithm change, Messenger is hoping to get back to it's core. Some priorities with the new app will be
- Group Chats
- Visual Communication (video chats, emoji, GIFS)
- Customer Service- you can expect to see more brands using this app for customer service in the 2018
Another change coming to Facebook, Watch Parties! Sounds like a fun addition, right? This new feature will let groups of Facebook users watch the same video at the same time, even if the video isn’t being broadcast live. According to Facebook, live videos generate six times more interactions from users than non-live, and one of the reasons for this is that people are watching together. Group viewing is not a new concept. Think about it... would you rather watch a season premiere or major television event by yourself or with a group? Technology is trying to mimic this experience online, although it hasn't taken off quite yet. Tumblr launched a group watching feature and so has the app, Airtime. There is also an app called Houseparty, which is more focused on group video chats then video viewing. But just because it hasn't worked in the past, doesn't mean it won't work for Facebook who has over one billion users. This concept goes along with their new years mission of getting more people to interact inside the app. Does this sound like a feature you will use?
That's this week in Inbound Marketing Highlights, stop by next week for more!