Meta is introducing a slew of updates to Facebook Groups as part of the Facebook Communities Summit, including new ways to share content, new admin controls, and more.

Groups have been a core part of Facebook for years, bringing users together around a central theme. Meta says that most Facebook users are a part of at least 15 active groups, with over 100 million group joins each day. For brands, Groups have also provided a space to become recognized as an industry authority and to build relationships with potential customers. 

The new updates announced for the Communities Summit are:

  • Reels in Facebook Groups
  • Share Facebook Group events in Instagram Stories
  • Customize Facebook Group Profiles
  • New ways to recognize Facebook Group community members
  • Updates to the Admin Assist tool
  • Ways for Group Admin to allow content normally flagged by Facebook

Reels In Facebook Groups

The social network has been making Reels more prominent over the past few months, so it was only a matter of time before the short videos made their way into Groups.

In the past, users could only post Reels to Groups using a workaround that included publicly posting the Reel and sharing that post to a Group.

Now, Group members can directly post their Reel to a Group without sacrificing the privacy of closed communities.

Share Group Events To Instagram Stories

Public events can now be promoted in Instagram Stories, making it easier to grow communities and attract non-group members to upcoming gatherings. As the announcement reads:

“Whether you’re a group admin hosting a meet-up to celebrate a community milestone, or a Group member sharing your passion with friends, this feature can help you showcase your community more broadly.”

Customize Facebook Group Profiles

To keep Group members up-to-date and build better connections, Meta is adding two new ways to customize your Group profiles.

Firstly, Groups can now customize the information in the About Me section of their profile to highlight important information for the community. 

Additionally, admins and members can now add indicators to their profiles showing whether they’re open to messages from other group members.

Recognize Top Group Members

Facebook Groups are testing a new way to highlight members who are contributing the most to the community. As Meta describes, the new system allows users to earn points through reactions and comments on posts. Users with the most points can then be given badges celebrating their contribution to the group.

Users can also take on a new role within Facebook Groups as a “socializer” or group member who goes out of their way to make others feel welcome, connected, and motivated to participate in the community.

Updates To Admin Assist Tools

The existing tools for admin are being expanded with new moderation options and ways to take action on content posted to the group.

With the new tools, the admin can automatically move or remove posts rated as false by third-party fact-checkers. Along with this, group admin can use the Daily Digest to easily review the latest actions taken in the community. 

Approve Content Flagged By Facebook

Facebook is working with group admins to give group leaders ways to approve non-offensive content which may otherwise be flagged and removed by Facebook’s automated systems. 

In the announcement, Meta gives the example of a group for fish tank enthusiasts. Within these communities, it may be common to call a fish “fatty” in a way that is not intended to be offensive. Previously, Facebook’s tools would flag this content despite the clear context and intent.

The new feature is being granted to eligible groups based on a variety of criteria. For example, the announcement notes that a group may not be eligible if the admin were previously part of a removed group.

For more about these features and all the latest info about Facebook Groups, check out the full announcement here.

Facebook rolled out a new version of Pages specifically designed for small and medium-sized businesses to grow their brand and connect with customers and other companies.

The new Pages layout is broadly similar to what you are used to, but a little more streamlined to make managing your brand’s Page easier than ever.

Specifically, the new layout makes it easier to swap between your personal and business accounts, introduces a Professional Dashboard to control all your Pages activities in one place, and gives you access to a unique dedicated Feed to interact with your audience.

With the new layout, Page managers can easily swap between accounts by tapping or holding down on the top right menu icon.

Along with the new layout, Facebook offered five tips for getting the most out of the new page experience for your business.

1 Set your business profile up for success.

Complete your basic business profile: Add a profile picture and cover photo, description of your business, contact details like your website, phone number, address and business hours so that people can discover and learn about your business.

Customize your page: Add an action button to direct people to take an action from your page, such as Call Now, Send WhatsApp message, Buy Now and many more. Pin posts, shops and upcoming events to a new Featured section to highlight important information at the top of your page and in a simple way for people to scroll through.

Assign Facebook admins: Assign admins to help you manage your Page. Use the Page Access tab in the Professional Dashboard to control who can access and manage your Page. You can give access for only certain tasks, such as Advertising or Messaging.

2 Grow your audience.

Invite your family, friends and existing customers to like your page using the Invite Friends feature. Inviting friends, posting more often, getting page likes and responding to comments can all help grow connections.

Understand your weekly follower growth, get information about your followers, such as age and location, and track how your posts are doing with a simplified Insights tab in your Professional Dashboard.

Turn your top-performing posts into ads to show your content to more people by Boosting your post. Your ad may appear in different placements, such as Instagram.

3 Create better content.

Schedule your posts directly from the composer to publish at a later time, such as when your followers are most active.

Use trending hashtags to get your content discovered by a new and relevant audience. You can also share posts in up to 3 groups and link your Instagram to cross-share to your followers on Instagram.

Add the Get Message action button directly in your post to help get more messages from people who view your content.

4 Engage your community as a business.

Your business page now has its own Feed, which enables you to more easily engage with people, customers and other businesses on Facebook.

Join in on the conversation in the comments section of your own posts to delight and engage your audience. The posts that you engage with may also be shown again in your followers’ Feeds, which can further increase your reach. You can also engage with content from other pages’ accounts. Comment on posts as your Page to help build connections.

5 Account safety and security tips

There are a few safety checks you can do to help make sure your account is set up for success. Here is a quick refresher:

Set up 2-Factor authentication: Turn on 2-factor authentication and add an extra layer of security for your account. On Facebook, go to the 3 lines in the bottom right, tap Settings & Privacy on the bottom, then tap Privacy Shortcuts, then tap Use2-factor authentication. On Instagram, go to settings, tap Security, then tap 2-Factor Authentication..

Use comment moderation tools: Foster positive conversations and have more control over unwanted interactions with Facebook’s comment moderation tools.

Moderation Assist: Proactively moderate new comments on your posts by criteria you set in advance.

Choose who can comment: Limit who can comment on your organic public posts, from Profiles and Pages you follow to Profiles and Pages you mention.

Action on hacked accounts: If you think your account has been hacked or taken over, there are actions you can take to secure your account. Learn more about how to take action on Facebook on Facebook.

For more about the new Pages experience, check out the full announcement or Help Center page.

Anecdotal evidence has suggested Facebook has been losing popularity with teens for years. Now, research from Pew Research Center confirms it.

Based on a survey of American teenagers between 13 and 17, just 32% of teens are using Facebook.  For comparison, a similar survey in 2015 showed that 71% of teens were active on Facebook at the time. Meanwhile, the majority of teens are moving to newer platforms such as TikTok and Snapchat.

However, the most universally popular social network among teens remains YouTube, by a wide margin. Based on the survey results, more than 95% of American teens use the video-sharing platform regularly,

Here’s the full list of most popular social networks among US teens:

  1. YouTube (95%)
  2. TikTok (67%)
  3. Instagram (62%)
  4. Snapchat (59%)
  5. Facebook (32%)
  6. Twitter (23%)
  7. Twitch (20%)
  8. WhatsApp (17%)
  9. Reddit (14%)
  10. Tumblr (5%)

Notably, the report indicates there are some slight differences in social media between genders:

“Teen girls are more likely than teen boys to say they ever use TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat, while boys are more likely to use Twitch and Reddit. Boys also report using YouTube at higher rates than girls, although the vast majority of teens use this platform regardless of gender.”

How Often Teens Are Using Social Networks

When the survey asked teens about how regularly they use the top four platforms, here’s what they had to say:

  • Close to 75% of teens visit YouTube at least once a day, with 43% saying they visit several times daily.
  • TikTok is used daily by 58% of teens, with 32% visiting several times daily.
  • More than half (51%) visit Snapchat daily, and 29% say they visit several times daily.
  • 50%  visit Instagram daily, including 27% who visit several times daily.

Additionally, the report revealed that many teens feel attached to social media with over half (54%) saying it would be difficult to give up social media. At the same time, just 36% of teens are concerned they spend too much time on social media.

For more findings, read the full report from the Pew Research Center here.

Facebook’s revamped home feed is finally here after weeks of rumors and leaks.

The new home feed was announced by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the social network and explained in further detail in a Facebook Newsroom post over the weekend.

The big revamp is made up of two changes to users’ feeds which aim to bridge the gap between what people have come to expect from Facebook and the video-heavy experience made popular by TikTok.

These changes are:

  • The Home tab will act as a “discovery engine” through personalized content recommendations, including an increased focus on Reels and Stories.
  • A new Feeds tab will showcase content from specific types of sources, including friends, groups, and Pages. This content will be in reverse-chronological order.

As Zuckerberg said in his announcement:

“One of the most requested features for Facebook is to make sure people don’t miss friends’ posts. So today we’re launching a Feeds tab where you can see posts from your friends, groups, Pages and more separately in chronological order. The app will still open to a personalized feed on the Home tab, where our discovery engine will recommend the content we think you’ll care most about. But the Feeds tab will give you a way to customize and control your experience further.”

Does This Affect Your Ads?

According to the information available, advertisers should be largely unaffected by the revamped home feed for now. Facebook ads will continue to appear in all feeds. It is, however, unclear how engagement might differ between these feeds and how this might influence future ad updates.

Facebook is preparing for a major overhaul of its main feed to turn it into a “discovery engine” geared towards video content, based on a newly leaked internal memo.

The memo, written by Head of Facebook Tom Alison, was first sent to employees on April 27, though it was only recently obtained and published by The Verge. This suggests the changes to the main feed may be coming sooner rather than later, however, the memo does not give a date for the update to arrive.

What Is a Discovery Engine?

It may seem like corporate jargon, but the move towards being a ‘discovery engine’ indicates a major change in priorities for how Facebook’s main feed functions.

In general, the term ‘discovery engine’ simply refers to helping users find more interesting content from accounts or pages they are not connected to. What makes this such a big change is that Facebook has always focused on content shared by connections like friends and family.

This opens the door for Facebook to become more of a general content aggregator than the more personal social network it has always been.

Facebook’s Top Three Priorities

In the memo, Alison identifies three near-term priorities that the social network believes will help create a place where people can find and share engaging content. These are:

  • Make Reels successful.
  • Build world-class recommendations technology.
  • Unlock messaging-based sharing.

By focusing on these three goals, the platform aims to expand the ways people publish and share content with each other.

What Will The New Facebook Feed Look Like?

While the memo does not go into many specifics about what the new Facebook feed will look like, The Verge’s Alex Heath spoke with Alison to find out how he is envisioning the new feed experience:

“Here’s how the future Facebook app will work in practice: the main tab will become a mix of Stories and Reels at the top, followed by posts its discovery engine recommends from across both Facebook and Instagram. It’ll be a more visual, video-heavy experience with clearer prompts to direct message friends a post. To make messaging even more prominent, Facebook is working on placing a user’s Messenger inbox at the top right of the app, undoing the infamous decision to separate the two apps eight years ago.”

Advertising has undergone a massive shift in recent years. Instead of the sleek, high-end style that many associates with ads, consumers (and a growing number of brands) are embracing a more lo-fi, “imperfect” approach to ads. According to new research from Meta, this is especially true when it comes to social media ads.

In a recent blog post, Meta suggests this is about more than a change in visual trends. It is a shift in cultural standards and expectations, or “culture codes.”

As the post explains, this is “being driven by something more fundamental, which is a shift we’re seeing away from perfection and polish, towards a culture that instead celebrates what’s unpolished and real.”

Though it is unclear just how long this shift has been happening, Meta first noticed it in a study of Instagram Stories ads conducted back in 2019. 

The results of this study showed that ads that used a less-polished style performed far better in tests for both ad recall and content views compared to those with a more refined appearance.

This is particularly true for younger audiences who tend to spend a lot of time on social media. In a recent study from consumer behavior analysts YPulse, up to 84% of young consumers reported “I like it when content from brands is not perfect” and  79% said they are “tired of seeing perfect images in advertising.”

With this in mind, the researchers at Meta dug deeper to identify 6 specific codes that brands should follow if they want to continue connecting with online audiences:

Include Real People Telling Real Stories

Including real people – especially your actual employees or customers – helps to give your message authenticity. This is crucial for getting through to today’s savvy audiences.

Use “The Language of the Platform”

Obviously, we aren’t referring to the actual language you or other users speak, such as English, Spanish, Afrikaans, etc. In this case, speaking the language of the platform is all about proving you are “one of us” to other users by taking part in the latest trends, such as participating in “challenges”, putting a new spin on a popular dance, or using the hottest filters.

This helps establish your brand’s relatability to your audience.

Establish Relationships with Creators and Influencers

No matter what your feelings are about social media influencers, there is no denying the impact they can have on social media audiences.

According to Meta, even adults aren’t immune to the reach of influencers, with 63% of adults between 18-34 saying they trust a popular creator’s view of a brand.

This is considerably more than those who reported trusting brands themselves.

The power of influencers really comes down to the fact that they have established a relationship with their viewers and have an incomparable reach. This helps build your own credibility with a whole new audience you might have never reached before.

Go Behind The Scenes

When users say they don’t want to see “perfection” in ads, they don’t necessarily mean they want low-quality or poorly made ads. They just want to know your message is based in reality. This is why viewers tend to respond strongly to brands who are willing to take them behind the curtain. 

Keep Your Video Lo-Fi

Today, it is easier than ever to get access to affordable editing and production tools that can make your ad look like a Hollywood movie. Don’t use them. Sticking with simpler, lo-fi editing and production techniques, such as the most popular editing apps for smartphones, keeps your ad feeling authentic and hand-crafted.

Use Humor to Connect With Audiences

Humor is consistently one of the most effective tools for getting audiences to lower their guard. It makes your brand more relatable and makes listeners want to hear what else you have to say. The obvious catch here is that brands must be careful because several brands have made tone-deaf jokes which missed the mark and hurt their reputation.

After suffering a massive drop in stock values earlier this week, Facebook is planning to pivot more towards being a short-form video platform. 

The shift in focus was announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a company-wide virtual meeting with Facebook employees shortly after the stock crash, which was triggered by a devastating quarterly earnings report from the platform’s parent company – Meta Platforms. 

In its latest earnings report, Meta disclosed that it had lost money throughout the quarter as well as seeing the first-ever decline in daily active users. By the end of the quarter, the company says more than half a million users had stopped using the platform on a daily basis. 

All of this then caused investors to panic, leading to the company’s stock price dropping by over 200 billion dollars in a single day – the largest single-day stock drop in history.

Why Is Facebook Losing Users and Money?

As Zuckerberg laid out to employees, he sees three major contributing factors to the unflattering quarterly earnings report. These are a recent wave of investments from Meta to establish Metaverse, difficulties with advertising after the of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature and Android’s take on this information sharing feature, and TikTok.

The first issue is easy to believe. After the company’s hugely publicized rebrand to Meta, it has been spending a lot of money to establish its Metaverse platform – which has yet to pay off. Given the mixed-to-negative reception the Metaverse has received, it is also possible investors are nervous about the potential for eventual revenue from the platform.

Facebook is also seeing a notable loss in money from advertising, largely because the largest mobile operating systems have both implemented new features which give users more information and control over how their information is being used. 

On one hand, this is a benefit for users because they can now easily opt-out of being tracked online. On the other, it makes it much more difficult – and even potentially impossible in some cases – to target relevant ads for users. This leads to less interest in ads from users, which translates to less engagement, and thus less revenue, 

What About TikTok?

After surviving challenges from Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, Facebook may have finally met a competitor it can’t afford to ignore.

Mark Zuckerberg told employees that part of the company’s poor quarterly performance was an “unprecedented level of competition” from TikTok.

As such, Zuckerberg plans to directly focus on promoting its short-video-related content and features across both Instagram and Facebook.

As he told meeting attendees:

“People have a lot of choices for how they want to spend their time, and apps like TikTok are growing very quickly. And this is why our focus on Reels is so important over the long term.”

While both of Meta’s social networks have increasingly prioritized video in recent years, this underscores a renewed emphasis on video content – especially short, easy-to-share clips like those found on TikTok. As such, brands hoping to reach their audiences on these platforms should be prepared to similarly focus on creating video content that connects with their potential customers.

After years of criticism around Facebook ad targeting, Meta says it will be restricting the ability to target individuals based on sensitive information, such as their health conditions, religion, or political beliefs.

Specifically, Facebook will be removing targeting options for four distinct categories of audience data:

  • Health causes (targeting interests such as “Chemotherapy” or “World Diabetes Day”)
  • Sexual Orientation (including targeting interests such as “same-sex marriage”)
  • Religious practices or groups 
  • Political beliefs, social issues, causes, organizations, and popular political individuals

Starting January 19, 2022, advertisers will no longer be able to target new ads using this highly specific audience information. However, existing campaigns will continue delivering to their targeting audiences using this data through March.

For existing campaigns, you will be able to edit campaign-level information (such as your budget or campaign name) without affecting targeting details until March 17.

If a campaign is paused, though, it will be updated using the new targeting restrictions when resumed.

The vast majority of advertisers should be unaffected by the new ad targeting policies. If you provide medical services or are using ads to promote political efforts, however, you will likely need to review your existing audience targeting and begin planning for a new approach to reach your target audience.

For the few of you out there who don’t know, Facebook and the other platforms it owns (Instagram and WhatsApp) experienced an outage yesterday, October 4. The outage kept the sites offline for more than six hours after beginning around 10:30 AM Monday morning. 

Apparently, the problem was made even worse as Facebook’s own internal tools and communication systems went down at the same time, making it even harder for engineers to address and fix the problem.

Now, we are learning what caused the outages as Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, apologize for the interruption to its services.

Why Did Facebook Go Offline?

According to official statements from the company, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp went down Monday, October 4, 2021, due to an interruption in communication between the company’s data centers. 

This interruption was caused by configuration changes on the routers coordinating traffic between the data centers. These configuration changes brought about a disruption in network traffic that cascaded into a complete service shutdown.

As the company explained:

“Our services are now back online and we’re actively working to fully return them to regular operations. We want to make clear at this time we believe the root cause of this outage was a faulty configuration change.”

Mark Zuckerberg himself posted a brief personal apology, which states:

“Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger are coming back online now. Sorry for the disruption today — I know how much you rely on our services to stay connected with the people you care about.”

Was Any User Data Compromised?

Throughout the outage, rumors swirled that the disruption was the result of hackers, DDoS attacks, and numerous other causes. This inevitably also led to speculation that user data had been compromised during the situation.

Despite the rumors, Facebook denied any such issues:

“We also have no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime.”

How Advertisers Are Effected

Since the outage also made it impossible to actually run any ads across the company’s platforms, Facebook says it will not charge advertisers for any campaigns running during the outage time.

Now that services are back online, the company says ads should be running as normal. In some situations, the company may even enable accelerated delivery to make up for potential lost reach.

What Can Be Learned

Obviously, outages like this are entirely out of most of our hands. Still, there is one thing we can take away from the Great Facebook Outage of 2021: diversify your online presence. 

Brands who exclusively or primarily drive traffic through their Facebook and Instagram pages found themselves almost entirely at a loss for most of yesterday. Those who were already established on multiple platforms, however, were able to pivot their focus and even take advantage of the service disruption.

This week, Facebook teased a number of new features it is working on to help brands better connect with their customers and drive more leads across its platforms. 

The upcoming and newly released features highlighted by the company include everything from expanding its existing ad formats to creating entirely new ways to do business online. 

Let’s explore everything showcased in the company’s recent blog post below:

Click-to-Message Ads Come To More Chat Apps

For some time now, Facebook has offered an ad format designed to encourage viewers to take action through its many chat services, like Messenger or WhatsApp. 

Now, the company is updating this ad format to make it possible to reach brands on a wider range of messaging platforms, including those not owned by Facebook. 

While Facebook hasn’t provided an actual list of the messaging apps which will be included in the updated click-to-message ads, the blog post suggests it will include all major messaging apps used by consumers today. 

Start WhatsApp Chats on Instagram

Aside from dropping into someone’s DMs, Instagram has been obviously lacking the robust messaging options included on most Facebook social networks. Now, with integration through WhatsApp, that is changing. 

Now, brands on Instagram can add a click-to-chat button on their profile which will instantly launch a WhatsApp chat conversation when clicked. 

Even better, the company says it is working on ads that will also allow users to immediately start a WhatsApp chat from an advertisement on Instagram. 

Request Quotes on Messenger

Select advertisers are testing an upcoming feature that will allow brands to invite customers to request a quote within Messenger.

With the feature, brands can create a customized request form using 4-5 specific questions to ask potential customers before sending a message. 

Once completed, consumers can request a quote by completing a short questionnaire on Messenger.

Instagram Lead Generation

Though the company is keeping largely mum on the details, it also teased plans to launch free and paid tools for helping small businesses drive qualified leads on Instagram. 

“Advertisers use lead generation ads to connect with customers and connect leads in a more personal way, while reducing costs — like Seoul Spa, a Vietnamese beauty clinic, did with their Messenger campaign, lowering their cost per lead by 72%.”

To see more of the upcoming features Facebook is currently testing, check out the full Facebook for Business blog post here.