Facebook has announced sweeping changes to its news feed and the way it handles groups or pages that violate the company’s content policies.

The new changes, including a new algorithm signal, are aimed at reducing the reach of sites spreading content with misinformation by judging the authority of the sites the content comes from.

If Facebook believes the site producing content shared on the platform is not reputable, it will decrease its news feed reach and reduce the number of people seeing the content.

How Facebook is Changing its Algorithm

In the past, Facebook has teamed up with highly respected organizations like the Associated Press to validate sites spreading content across the platform.

Now, the company says it is introducing a “click-gap” metric designed to automatically evaluate the inbound and outbound linking patterns of a site to judge if it is authoritative.

Essentially, the click-gap signal measures the inbound and outbound linking patterns to determine if the number of links on Facebook is higher than the link’s popularity across the internet. This will allow the company to distinguish the forced spread of content rather than organic virality.

As Facebook explains in the announcement:

“This new signal, Click-Gap, relies on the web graph, a conceptual “map” of the internet in which domains with a lot of inbound and outbound links are at the center of the graph and domains with fewer inbound and outbound links are at the edges.

Click-Gap looks for domains with a disproportionate number of outbound Facebook clicks compared to their place in the web graph. This can be a sign that the domain is succeeding on News Feed in a way that doesn’t reflect the authority they’ve built outside it and is producing low-quality content.”

Changes to Groups

Notably, this new algorithmic signal isn’t just being applied to news feeds. The company explained it will also be using these algorithms to automatically remove low-quality content posted in groups, including private groups.

The company defended the decision by saying they can now identify and remove harmful groups, whether they are public, closed, or secret.”

“We can now proactively detect many types of violating content posted in groups before anyone reports them and sometimes before few people, if any, even see them.”

Admins are Required to Police Content

Along with these changes, Facebook clarified that its algorithms will consider what posts a group’s admins approve as a way of determining if they are a harmful group or eligible for removal.

The company says it will close down groups if an admin regularly approves content that is false, misleading, or against Facebook’s content guidelines.

This is how Facebook explained the new policy:

“Starting in the coming weeks, when reviewing a group to decide whether or not to take it down, we will look at admin and moderator content violations in that group, including member posts they have approved, as a stronger signal that the group violates our standards.”

What This Means for You

As long as the pages you participate in or run are sharing content from reliable sources, the new policies should have little effect on your day-to-day operations. However, the changes could have considerable impacts on brands or influencers who go against mainstream science or other non-approved sources. These types of industries have flourished on the platform for years, but may soon be facing a reckoning if Facebook’s new content guidelines are as strict as they sound.

A new survey sheds some light into the real reasons why consumers like, share, and follow brands on social media.

As Yes Marketing reports, their survey of 1,000 consumers reveals:

  • 63% of consumers follow retailers on social to learn about sales.
  • 60% follow retailers to keep up with new products.
  • 29% follow to show support for the retailer.
  • 23% follow because the retailer shares funny and interesting information.
  • 23% follow because the retailer has a positive reputation
  • 16% follow because they agree with the retailer’s stance on social and political issues.

When it comes to specifically why customers engage with content from retailers on social media, here’s what people had to say:

  • 36% engage with content because the retailer promises a discount for sharing the post.
  • 36% engage in order to share a product update or sale with their followers.
  • 35% engage because they agree personally with the content of the post.
  • 30% engage because the post is funny or interesting.
  • 29% engage in order to share positive feedback with the retailer.
  • 20% engage in order to share negative feedback with the retailer.

As for which demographics are active on which social networks, the respondents broke down as follows:

  • Gen Z consumers are more likely to have YouTube (77%) and Instagram (77%) accounts than a Facebook account (74%).
  • Millennials (89%) and Gen X (88%) are most likely to be on Facebook.
  • More Gen Z consumers (56%) are on Twitter compared to Millennials (50%) and Gen X (39%).
  • Snapchat is the least used social network among all respondents (30%), followed by Twitter (36%).
  • Only 11% of respondents are not on any of the major social networks.

Get the full report here to learn more.

 

Facebook is making a major change to how it handles advertising budget optimization. While it may lead to better ad performance, it also gives you less control over your ad campaigns.

Starting in September, Facebook will make all ad campaigns use campaign budget optimization. In plain English, this means that you will only be able to set the overall budget for your campaign. How much is distributed to each ad set within that campaign will be determined by Facebook’s algorithms and analytics.

The main goal of the change is to automatically emphasize the best performing ad sets while minimizing wasted ad-spend on underperforming ad sets.

Currently, campaign budget optimization is available as an optional setting. However, in September it will become mandatory for all campaigns.

The implementation of campaign budget optimization across Facebook will likely have a significant impact on how brands choose to advertise, but it may pay off in the long run.

Facebook claims this form of optimization not only lowers costs but improves ad results at the same time.

In the announcement, Facebook mentions several specific benefits of campaign budget optimization:

  • Capture the most results for your budget and lower your total cost per result.
  • Save significant time with an automated process that eliminates the need to manually shift budgets between ad sets.
  • A simplified campaign management process with fewer budgets to track and re-allocate during optimization.
  • More efficient spending across audiences with a process that finds the lowest cost opportunities across all ad sets and the markets they target.

Facebook is announcing the change early to give both brands and advertisers time to begin adjusting to using campaign budget optimization. I would recommend trying it out for yourself now so that you can be prepared for when it becomes mandatory.

While most companies won’t tell you the exact science behind their search engines, Facebook has decided to take a different route.

As part of their recent push to be more transparent about how the site uses content from users across its platform, Facebook has released a short video explaining how its search results work.

How Facebook Search Works

Posted by Facebook on Tuesday, November 20, 2018

How Facebook Search Works

According to the video, Facebook relies almost entirely on users’ activity on the platform to evaluate its search engines. Users’ activity outside of Facebook has no influence on the search results.

Specifically, Facebook ranks results based on recent activity on Facebook and the activity of the overall community related to that search.

The types of activity that can influence search results include:

  • What your friends share with you
  • Pages you follow
  • Groups you’ve joined
  • Events you’ve liked or followed
  • Things you’ve interacted with in your News Feed
  • Information you’ve listed on your profile
  • Places where you’ve been tagged
  • Previous searches you’ve done

Facebook’s search results also consider the overall activity it is seeing across Facebook, including how popular the search topic is and the medium of the content. For example, videos hosted on Facebook’s platform may be prioritized over links to blog posts that are hosted off-site.

Facebook is cracking down on brands using its advertising platform to mislead or trick users with “malicious advertisements”.

As the social network announced this week, it is reducing how often it shows ads it believes are “clickbait” or mislead users, if not outright rejecting them.

As Facebook’s self-serve ad platform has grown, it has encountered growing issues with misleading or sensational ads – including political news spreading fake news. Now, it is working to remedy the problem and ensure users can trust ads shared across the largest social network existing today.

Specifically, Facebook has announced it will be cracking down on these types of troublesome ads:

Ads that withhold information:

Facebook Bad Ads - Withholding

Clickbait has become a popular way to get clicks, but it is universally hated because the actual content on the page often doesn’t live up to what the sensational headlines promise. This has grown into deliberately sharing vague ads that often start with “You’ll never believe…” or “You’ll never guess…” Now, any ads using this strategy will be demoted or disallowed.

Engagement bait:

Facebook Bad Ads - Engagement Bait

Another popular tactic to get the ever-important likes and shares on Facebook is to specifically use ads to drive these kinds of engagement without delivering any actual content with value. Facebook has already taken steps to prevent this type of advertisement, but it has continued to run rampant across the platform. However, the company says these ads will now be disallowed or receive reduced visibility.

Sensationalized language:

Facebook Bad Ads - Sensationalized Language

Over-the-top headlines may make people more likely to click, but it leaves a bad taste in their mouth when the content is not nearly as “MIND-BLOWING” as the ad suggests.

Pages that use these strategies regularly:

To reinforce its stance on clickbait or misleading advertising, Facebook is also taking aim directly at the pages which rely on these ads. As the company explains, “multiple ads flagged with low-quality attributes may impact the performance of all ads” from any offending advertiser.

All of these types of ads have become increasingly popular because they drive engagement and traffic, but these types of engagement are arguably worthless because they don’t come from real engagement or appreciation of the ad content.

Facebook is launching a new tool, called Creative Compass, aiming to help advertisers predict how well their ads will perform.

Creative Compass will assess your ads by examining key elements and scoring them on a scale from “low impact” to “high impact”.

Creative Compass Preview

Specifically, the tool will evaluate:

  • Noticeability
  • Brand association
  • Brand fit
  • Message comprehension
  • Believability
  • Information content
  • Emotional reward
  • Call to action

More than anything, Creative Compass is designed to help you understand how your ads will perform and how likely your target action is to take action after seeing one of your ads.

For now, the tool is being tested with just a small number of select partners, but Facebook says it aims to bring the tool to all marketing partners in 2019.

Facebook is launching a new feature for all Pages that allows you to publish pre-recorded “live” videos.

That may sound contradiction, but the new “Premieres” feature brings the best of Facebook’s live video and pre-recorded video features into one convenient package.

The biggest benefit of the premiering pre-recorded videos is that you can get the same boost to visibility received by “going live”, being placed in the top of feeds. Facebook will also deliver notifications alerting users to your video debut to those who have enabled them.

Additionally, “Premieres” will be included within the Facebook Watch tab, making it easier for them to be found by more users.

While these videos get all the benefits of live streaming, they are also eligible for a number of Facebook’s tools for pre-recorded videos such as monetization, interacting with your audience through chat, and branding.

How to use Facebook Premieres

Posted by Facebook Media on Friday, September 28, 2018

When created, a premiere will be turned into a post notifying users about your upcoming launch. Then, at the scheduled time, the video will be played “live” until it is completed. Finally, after the Premiere has ended, the post will turn into a typical on-demand video post.

Currently, Facebook Premieres are only able to be uploaded and schedule on desktop computers and must be scheduled at least 10 minutes in advance. The furthest ahead of time they can be scheduled is one week in advance.

It should be noted that Facebook does have some limits on what videos are eligible for the Premieres feature.

The company says content must be entirely original and not available anywhere on Facebook or elsewhere online before the Premiere, though it is not entirely clear how they will ensure this.

Videos must also be at least 30 seconds long and no larger than 10 GB in size.

Facebook is finally allowing all advertisers to run ads during users’ Stories.

The social network has been allowing a limited number of brands across three countries to create ads that appear during Stories published on the site since May, but this is the first time the company has expanded the option to smaller businesses.

Notably, during this time period, the number of people watching Facebook Stories each day has more than doubled from 150 million to over 300 million viewers.

In addition to making the ads available to a wider range of brands, the company has also rolled out a number of new tools and features to better target the ads and improve performance.

As part of these features, Facebook Stories now allow brands to optimize for all objectives available for Instagram Stories ads, including:

  • Reach
  • Brand awareness
  • Video views
  • App installs
  • Conversion
  • Traffic
  • Lead generation

Facebook has also brought all of its targeting and reporting tools for ads to Story ads, allowing brands to better track their performance.

As part of the official announcement of Story ads, Facebook emphasized how popular their Story feature has become and the impact of ads viewed during Stories:

“Advertising in stories has proven to drive valuable business outcomes. In the Ipsos survey, 62% of people said they became more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in a story. And brands testing Facebook Stories ads are already seeing results. iHeartRadio, Kettle Chips and KFC are among the advertisers who have seen brand lift from their Facebook Stories ad campaigns.”

The company also noted some other interesting statistics about Stories, such as:

  • More than half of people surveyed said they’re making more online purchases as a result of seeing stories.
  • 38% of people said that after seeing a product or service in a story they talked to someone about it.
  • 34% said they went to a store to look for a product after seeing it in a story.

in a year full of scandals and congressional inquiries, people appear to be changing how they use Facebook.

A new study from Pew Research Center shows that a huge portion of users has taken steps to reduce their usage and increase their privacy within the past year.

Interestingly, the findings show that users are specifically ditching the Facebook mobile app, with more than a quarter of US adults deleting the app on their phone. Even more have gone on a trial separation by taking a break from the platform entirely.

Among the findings of the study are several notable discoveries, including:

  • 54% of users have adjusted their privacy settings
  • 42% have taken a break from checking Facebook for several weeks or longer
  • 26% have deleted the Facebook app from their phone
  • 74% have done at least one of the above

These numbers on their own are very concerning for Facebook, but they become even more illuminating when broken down by age group. The survey shows that young Facebook users are widely stepping away from the platform or restricting their privacy.

Among users aged 18-29, 44% have deleted the app, compared to just 12% of users over the age of 64. Similar shifts were found among those who have changed their privacy settings.

Notably, there was no significant difference between the ages of those who have taken a break from Facebook.

The survey was conducted between May 29th and June 11th this year, after news broke about Facebook’s involvement in the collection and selling data on millions of users by Cambridge Analytica.

While these trends are certainly eye-raising, it remains unclear exactly how Facebook’s scandals have actually affected the company. The company’s latest quarterly report indicates the average daily users in North America has remained steady throughout the year.

Facebook is running an extremely limited test letting just five publishers create and test responsive headlines, images, videos, and copy to see which versions of their posts perform better in real time.

The new tool allows the select few publishers to test up to four unique versions of any organic post, according to Digiday. It also allows these publishers to see data such as interactions and click-through rate, as well as predictions of these metrics as the ads roll out. This way, publishers can actively gauge which version of their content fares best.

While Facebook wasn’t willing to release specific data on the test yet, Facebook product manager Mollie Vandor said that more than half of the time, publishers wound up choosing a different version of the story than they had originally created.

The intention is to help boost organic performance for publishers in a time where organic reach and engagement continues to fall across the platform. According to BuzzFeed News, one of the publishers given access to the test, the tool does improve performance. However, it isn’t enough to mitigate Facebook’s ongoing demotion of organic reach.

“This comes as everyone’s traffic on Facebook has gone down a lot, so it’s good to be able to get the most out of our posts, but we’re still getting a lot less,” said BuzzFeed news deputy director, Fran Berkman.

As a Facebook rep told Marketing Land in a written statement:

Our goal with this test is to provide more visibility into how their organic content is performing on Facebook on a post by post basis. Also to enable publishers in the test to derive learnings and identify their own best practices over time. With this level of insight, publishers are better equipped to drive meaningful engagement around their content and have a stronger sense of control over how their content performs on Facebook.

Vandor echoed this sentiment, saying the tool “is a way to maximize how they pitch their content to people on Facebook.”

“Instead of us saying, ‘Here’s a list of universal best practices,’ we’re trying to give publishers the tools they can use to develop their own best practices.”

When asked if the tool would be available to other publishers and advertisers in the future, Vandor wouldn’t say anything decisively. She did, though, say the company is “actively exploring” expanding the tool to others once it is made easier and less resource-intensive to use.