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Facebook Reactions

Remember when Facebook Likes meant everything when it came to getting exposure on the largest social network in the world? Well, these days it’s all about Loves. Or more specifically, Reactions.

Facebook has announced it is now giving more exposure to posts that get more Reactions – Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, or Angry – rather than those with more Likes. For now, all reactions are equally weighted, but they will boost the visibility more than the traditional blue thumbs-up.

“Over the past year we’ve found that if people leave a reaction on a post, it is an even stronger signal that they’d want to see that type of post than if they left a Like on the post,” according to Facebook. “So we are updating News Feed to weigh reactions a little more than Likes when taking into account how relevant the story is to each person.”

The decision makes sense. Compared to the variety of reactions available on Facebook, Liking a post is seemingly increasingly apathetic or neutral. All it takes is a simple click to show vague support of something you see on your wall. Meanwhile, users have to take the time to specifically select the reaction that more accurately reflects their feelings.

Reactions were launched by Facebook just over a year ago, but they’ve quickly become a big part of the platform. According to Facebook’s data, Reactions have been used more than 300 billion times by users since their release.

facebook-video

Over the past year or so you have probably noticed a pretty big shift happening on your Facebook News Feed. Video content has taken over, making up a huge portion of what you see on the platform.

To help sort through the influx of videos, Facebook is refining their News Feed algorithm with a new video ranking signal for videos: completion rates. Facebook has used several metrics in the past for ranking videos – including how long a person watched the video.

The problem is these metrics often benefitted shorter videos that don’t necessarily have as much value as longer video content

As the company explains in a recent update:

“One of the signals we look at is ‘percent completion’ — the percent of each video you watch — to help us understand which videos you enjoyed. If you watch most or all of a video, that tells us that you found the video to be compelling — and we know that completing a longer video is a bigger commitment than completing a shorter one. As we continue to understand how our community consumes video, we’ve realized that we should therefore weight percent completion more heavily the longer a video is, to avoid penalizing longer videos.”

For the most part, the new metric shouldn’t affect most pages sharing video content. However, they say “some shorter videos may see a slight dip in News Feed distribution.”

The key takeaway is that if you want your videos to be seen on Facebook, they have to be engaging – no matter their length.

FacebookClick

In the age of the internet, Facebook has become one of the premier ways to advertise a local business. Now, a new report from Borrell Associates shows just how many businesses are using the biggest social platform around to grow their business.

According to the report, almost 80% of local businesses have a Facebook page, and 62% are buying Facebook ads to reach a larger audience. In total, that adds up to more than 2.5 million US businesses paying to promote their brands or content on Facebook every year, spending $1,500 on average.

For the survey, Borrell Associates quizzed a mix of US businesses – many of which qualify as small businesses. However, it is important to note that some respondents represent larger brands with annual marketing and media budgets over $100,000.

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Among those surveyed, 85% said they maintain a presence on at least one social media site. The vast majority of those (96%) were on Facebook, with Twitter in second place. Surprisingly, Snapchat does not appear on the list at all.

The data also shows that online marketing of all forms have firmly overtaken more traditional advertising mediums like print or TV ads as the best source of new customers for businesses. Company website and social media were second and third respectively, only outranked by word of mouth referrals.

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A significant number of the respondents were categorized as “social media mavens” by the report, because they consider social media as the absolute best channel for acquiring new customers for their business. However, these businesses are probably not who you think.

Instead of new, high-tech start-ups or large businesses with the budget for extensive social media marketing, these “mavens” are described as being:

  • “Smaller, older, independent companies with less than $1 million in gross sales.”
  • “More likely to have a single location or be home-based than have multiple locations and slightly more likely to cater to consumers (B2C) versus only businesses (B2B).”
  • 76% manage social media themselves.
  • 57% pay to boost posts

A significant number of these companies are also looking at cutting or eliminating traditional advertising from their marketing mix in the near future.

The findings highlight that you don’t have to be a Forbes 500 company or a typical online-based business to benefit from marketing your business on Facebook. Businesses of all sizes are seeing the social platform as an enormously powerful tool for reaching new customers.

FacebookClick

Facebook Offers have been around since 2012, allowing brands to distribute coupons to users for special promotions. However, they never really took off like many of Facebook’s advertising features.

The social network is trying to turn that around by improving Offers to make it easier for people to find, save, and redeem coupons, especially from mobile phones. The changes also make it easier for brands to control who sees and uses their coupons.

Offers have always functioned by distributing online and in-store coupons as ads or organic Page posts that link to a brand’s site. When a person clicks the ad or post, they were then emailed a copy of the coupon.

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Facebook has streamlined and integrated the feature more thoroughly into their platform. While users can still click on Offers to visit the advertiser’s site and redeem their coupon via email. However, now offers will also be saved to a new Offers bookmark tab linked to their account.

This way, customers can quickly and easily access their coupons through Facebook’s mobile app and cashiers can easily scan the promotional barcode on their phone. Also, Offer codes will be shown at the bottom of the screen when users travel to an advertiser’s site to immediately redeem the code. That means they don’t have to exit the app to open their email, making the process less convoluted for users.

Not only is Facebook trying to make Offers easier to use and more attractive to users, the company is working to make sure those who show interest but don’t immediately redeem coupons don’t forget about you. When a saved offer gets close to expiring, Facebook will alert users to let them know time is running out to get savings.

On top of all of this, Facebook is making it easier for users to find Offers shared by brands with a new Offers tab on brand Pages.

Offers shared organically by brands are still available to anyone who sees it in their feed, however, Facebook is improving targeting for offer-carrying ads with more ad-targeting options. These including selecting people in your customer database to offer loyalty promotions or targeting similar individuals based on their characteristics.

According to media reported Tim Peterson, Facebook is working on expanding their Offer targeting options for brands even further, but it is unclear when those improvements can be expected. For now, Offers are getting a big shot in the arm that will make them more attractive to users and more effective for brands who use them.

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Facebook Live is going to become even bigger in the coming weeks. Facebook has been heavily pushing their live video streaming service and now they have announced several new features that will expand how users can livestream their lives.

Some of the new features are already available and the rest will be rolling out in the next few weeks. Let’s go through what you can expect to see from Facebook Live in the near future:

Longer Streams

Facebook Live users have been limited to 90-minute streams in most circumstances since the launch of the service, but Facebook is extending that limit substantially. Now, broadcasters are able to stream continuously for up to four hours when using the Facebook app or the Live API. If you desire, you can also stream continuously indefinitely, but your followers won’t receive notifications and there is no archive of your stream. You can’t share it with followers later or rewind.

Hide Reactions & Comments

Comments and live reactions can sometimes turn into a mess when you have a large enough audience. It can be hard to weed out spammers and trolls on the fly, but Facebook is making it easier to keep things under control by allowing you to hide reactions and comments by enabling a video-only mode. All broadcasters have to do is swipe right on their screen. You can always swipe left to re-enable them.

Full-Screen

Viewers don’t have to watch your streams from the small box in their feed anymore. Finally, you can watch live broadcasts full-screen from any iOS device. Unfortunately, Android users will have to wait until this summer to be able to view streams full-screen.

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Geogating

Want to make your broadcast an exclusive for a specific demographic? Now, you can limit your audience to specific users based on criteria like location, age, and gender. Facebook calls the feature “geogating”, but it basically allows you to set limits on who can see your streams. Currently, the limits are fairly broad, but they may become more refined in the future.

Facebook Video has quickly grown to rival YouTube, so it is unsurprising that video ads have also become a major part of Facebook’s advertising platform. But, as more and more companies share their ads on Facebook, it is becoming significantly more difficult to stand out.

To help companies make the best ads possible for their platform and best engage their audience, Facebook took it upon itself to test out their video ads to see what is best in the eyes of consumers.

Facebook showed 965 video ads targeted to the United States and Europe to a panel of consumers in a way that mimicked Facebook News Feed on mobile and asked the participants to evaluate each ad based on four factors: first impressions, branding, messaging, and video features.

Let’s break down the biggest findings of the report:

Engage Users Fast Without Audio

The majority of marketers aren’t taking how users watch videos into account when they create their ads, according to the report. Despite the fact that videos play silently in the News Feed by default and many users watch without sound entirely, only 24% of the ads were comprehensible without ads.

Additionally, only 23% of these ads included brand messaging that was easy to understand within the first 10 seconds of video and less than half (46%) featured recognizable brand links.

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Brands that ensured their ads quickly established their messaging and were understandable without sound were drastically more popular among respondents than those who didn’t.

Keep Your Messaging Clear To Spark Engagement

Videos that were intended to create a conversation and succinctly communicated a brands’ message were also more liked by participants in the study.

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For more insights from Facebook’s study, read the report here.

Facebook has made itself an absolute necessity for businesses looking to build a following, increase their visibility, engage with their fans, and even find new qualified leads. To get the most out of the most popular social network, however, you need to take advantage of all the newest tools and features Facebook is always rolling out – such as call-to-action buttons on business pages and letting you share company milestones on your profile.

Taking advantage of all these great little tricks and tools not only shows your audience that you are active on Facebook, it shows you care about making sure your fans can always contact you for questions, problems, or to share how much they like your products or services.

So how can you be sure you’re getting the most out of the largest social platform in the world? The tips in this infographic from Cafe Quill will help you get started by showing all the different ways you can be using Facebook to improve your branding and exposure while keeping your fans engaged and invested in your brand.

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FacebookClick

Facebook is changing its mind on branded content, though it isn’t ready to completely dive in. The social media giant is revising its policy on branded content, which is anything that specifically “mentions or features a third party product, brand, or sponsor.”

With the latest change, Facebook is allowing any verified page to share branded content, however, the content must be labeled as such. This is a significant turn from the company’s previous stance against branded content and ads.

To help brands with verified pages label their branded content, Facebook is also offering a new tool to assist in tagging brands mentioned in the content. The company says the tool must be used every time branded content is published.

By changing their policy, Facebook is allowing companies with existing partnerships or sponsorships to bring their relationship into the world’s largest social network.

Notably, branded content can also be pushed via sponsored posts or leveraged in paid ads. The company says the new tool will hopefully lead to greater transparency while continuing to help users find valuable information.

When a brand is tagged in a piece of branded content, they will also receive access to post insights and can share the boosted post themselves.

While this is a notable change, Facebook still has some restrictions. Here is what Facebook will still not allow:

“…our branded content guidelines prohibit overly promotional features, such as persistent watermarks and pre-roll advertisements. Additionally, cover photos and profile pictures must not feature third party products, brands, or sponsors. Branded content integrations that are allowed to be posted on Facebook include content like product placement, endcards, and marketer’s logos.”

YourBusinessStory

Facebook announced a new video offering for small businesses called Your Business Story, which would allow Pages to easily create and share montage-videos incorporating still images and music. At the same time, the company let slip that it now has over three million advertisers.

Your Business Story is a simple tool similar to the previously announced SlideShow offering. The company didn’t say anything about ads being included in the platform, but the note about their recent advertising milestone suggests the new offering will eventually work its way into Facebook Ads.

In the announcement, Facebook said:

To celebrate the businesses that use Facebook to grow, we created Your Business Story — a tool that makes it easy to create a video that shows what your business brings to the world. Because we believe the best way to tell the story of three million businesses is to empower each one to share their own.

Three million advertisers is a significant milestone for the social media platform. In September, the company announced it had reached 2.5 million. Before that, it claimed two million advertisers in February 2015. That means Facebook has been bringing in about half a million advertisers every six months for about the past year.

The announcement also said the majority of the businesses that use Facebook’s ad services are small businesses, also saying “50 million small businesses now use Pages on Facebok.”

FacebookVideo

As Facebook’s video platform continues to grow in popularity, the social media giant is releasing a new set of tools aimed at making it easier for Page owners to control and manage their video content.

Now, when Page admins upload videos they will have new distribution and customization options available, such as setting for making a secret video or assigning an expiration date. Below is a full rundown of the new video options available for Page admins:

  • Secret videos: Upload non-discoverable videos that are accessible only via a direct URL.
  • Audience restrictions: Restrict who can watch a video based on age and gender.
  • Expiration date: Set a date for a video to be automatically removed from Facebook, while retaining all the insights data.
  • Prohibit third-party embeds
  • Upload without distributing in News Feed
  • Customize thumbnails
  • Tag videos by category
  • Edit video metadata

Along with these new options, Facebook announced it is introducing a new section under the Publishing Tools tab called ‘Video Library’. This tab will allow Page owners to manage all of their video content easily in one place.

Facebook is becoming a formidable competitor to YouTube, and could potentially bypass Google’s video service in video views in the near future. With these new features, Page admins have more reason than ever to give Facebook’s video platform a try.

Facebook says all of these upgrades will be rolled out globally to Pages “over the coming weeks.”