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People have been proclaiming that organic reach on Facebook is dead for years, thanks to moves that increasingly prioritize paid ads over regular Page posts. However, now might really be the time to start grieving. Facebook has announced sweeping changes to its News Feed that will make organic Page content even less likely to be seen.

According to Facebook, the change is ostensibly to prioritize the “social” part of their platform by putting posts from friends and family at the top of the News Feed. As this happens, “public content” (or content shared by Pages, rather than individual accounts) will be removed or pushed deeper down the feed.

However, there is a caveat that Page content that “spark conversations” will also be prioritized.

It is unclear exactly how this will be measured or enacted, but it implies that brands or publishers will have a harder time reaching users unless their content regularly receives a large number of comments.

Facebook explains the changes in a blog post, saying:

“Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses…Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed. For example, live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.”

Facebook is largely trying to downplay the impact on businesses or publishers, but Zuckerberg’s own blog post acknowledges that he expects “some measures of engagement will go down” for publishers and small businesses.

Unsurprisingly, this creates more incentive for brands to buy into Facebook’s ad platform to ensure their content actually reaches their audience.

Facebook’s Adam Mosseri recommended several steps small business or brands can take that rely heavily on video content – particularly Facebook Live.

“Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed. For example, live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook — in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos. Many creators who post videos on Facebook prompt discussion among their followers, as do posts from celebrities. In Groups, people often interact around public content. Local businesses connect with their communities by posting relevant updates and creating events. And news can help start conversations on important issues.”

These changes and the continually decreasing organic reach across Facebook may make it tempting to try to manipulate or goad users into engaging, but Mosserri says this will get you in even worse trouble.

He says “using engagement-bait to goad people into commenting on posts is not a meaningful interaction, and we will continue to demote these posts in News Feed.”

In an attempt to breathe some life into their version of ‘Stories’, Facebook is expanding the feature to all pages – rather than just individual users.

This means brands can now start sharing Stories too all their friends and followers, though it’s unclear whether businesses will take Facebook up on the offer.

Since launching the Snapchat-like feature on Facebook earlier this year, Stories have largely been ignored by most users. Compared to Instagram or Snapchat, Facebook has struggled to find the right place or utility for their own version of the feature and many have forgotten the feature exists at all.

Rather than admitting their failure, the massive social platform is doubling down in hopes that they can encourage more users to share their own stories by letting brands take the lead. Presumably, the hope is that users will follow more influential pages’ leads and boost the number of Stories being shared.

According to Facebook, the expansion has actually been in high-demand recently. Product manager Amy Sun says users have been clamoring for more ways to share and engage in the feature.

”We’ve been listening to our community and working to make it fast, fun and easy for people and Pages to create Stories on Facebook. Over the coming month, Pages will be able to create Stories to share with the people who follow them.”

It is entirely possible that this move will allow Facebook Stories to finally find their audience and take off as a legitimate way to engage with your friends and followers. However, it feels likely that Stories are just not a natural fit for Facebook and may never see similar levels of popularity as on Snapchat, where the idea originated.

It may not come as a surprise that Facebook favors native videos, but a new report shows just how much of a boost videos can get by being uploaded straight to the social media platform.

According to Quintly, native videos on Facebook get up to 530% more comments than videos shared from other sources like YouTube.

The report comes from a study originally published back in March, but which has been recently updated with data collected between January and July of this year.

Including the new data, the study analyzed 187,000 Facebook pages and 7.5 million posts. From all this data, Quintly says it deduced that approximately 92% of all videos on Facebook are uploaded natively.

The study also shows how video has grown on Facebook recently. From January to July, almost half (48%) of all pages analyzed uploaded a video to their timeline. Of those, 92% posted at least one Facebook native video or Facebook Live video.

In comparison, only 26% of pages analyzed posted YouTube videos and 7% shared videos from Vimeo or other sources.

Facebook video’s biggest competition still comes from YouTube, but Facebook’s own clips still trounce all others in every metric.

Native Facebook videos received 168% more interactions – reactions, comments, or shares – compared to YouTube videos. They also received eight times more comments and 477% more shares.

It is highly likely that part of Facebook’s domination here is that it owns the platform, and thus, makes the rules. Facebook is almost certainly showing their own videos more prominently, which would lead to more engagement.

However, that is not the whole explanation. Native videos on Facebook’s platform also enjoy several arguably natural benefits that make them more likely to be viewed and engaged with. They can be played seamlessly from your timeline and users can react or comment as they’re watching.

In comparison, videos from other platforms have to be viewed off-site or in a separate pop-up player, and then navigate back to their timeline to like, share, or comment. At that point, they might decide to move on and keep scrolling through their feed.

Whatever the reason for native video’s domination on Facebook may be, it is clear that posting your clips directly to Facebook is the most effective way to get seen and build your brand on social media.

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.

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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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