Wondering what’s new on Facebook in July of 2021?
You know we’ve got you covered.
There are two huge new Facebook updates that we’re particularly excited about this month: Facebook Pay checkout options for businesses, and new AR options (including ad formats).
We’ve also got news about where Facebook is planning on going with new personalization experiences, investing in creators, and some updates around prescription drug ad policies.
There’s plenty to cover, as always, so let’s take a look at all the Facebook updates you need to know for July.
New Facebook Pay Checkout Option for Businesses
Facebook Pay has been around for a hot minute now, but it’s been for onsite exchanges between users, businesses, and nonprofit organizations.
Now, Facebook Pay is extending off-site to participating platforms. Just as users are able to take advantage of paying through fast-pay options like PayPal on third-party sites, this will provide a near-immediate checkout process that could help increase both desktop and mobile purchases.
Shopify merchants are going to be the first ones with access, though other platforms will eventually gain access, too. If you want to learn more about Facebook Pay in the meantime, see more here.
Next Era of Personalized Experiences
Here at AdEspresso, we (like many other SaaS tools and online publications) spend a ton of time thinking about where Facebook plans on going next. It’s always helpful when they decide to shed some light on that for us.
Dan Levy, Vice President of Ads & Business products released a statement this month sharing where Facebook plans to go moving forward with personalization. These were the highlights:
- New privacy-enhancing technologies that will minimize the amount of personal information Facebook processes while still showing relevant ads
- Product and business discovery features, like an in-testing newsfeed experience that allows users to tap to explore content from businesses in topics like beauty, fitness, or clothing
- Small business badges will be tested to be placed on ads to encourage purchasing
- A modern eCommerce system is in development to help meet the demand for on-platform product discovery and shopping (which we can see with some of the AR tools in the next section)
- New Business Suite tools to help businesses improve, optimize, and potentially even automate their marketing, including expanding their Messenger functionality
New AR Options and Expansions
Facebook has had some downright useful AR options that they’ve been testing that are getting closer to wider release.
One popular one is their “Try On” feature, which was in testing with limited partners and allowed businesses to use AR technology so that users could “try on” lipsticks, bracelets, and clothing to see how it looked on them or to see how decor looked in their home. This will now be expanding, as Facebook will work to roll it out to more businesses.
In order to help with this, Facebook is working on their backend infrastructure to better scale the AR offerings more effectively moving forward. Brands will be able to bring AR into their catalogs by piloting APIs for Beauty Partners. Laura Mercier, Lakme, and NYX Professional Makeup are currently testing the features with lipsticks, and more features are coming this summer. As the tools are fine-tuned, brands in the similar spaces will be able to leverage the technology themselves.
Right now Facebook is starting with the beauty industry, but they’re looking forward to eventually adding similar functionality for both home decor and electronics, where limited testing has been successful. This will likely be a relatively slow release overtime, but one that will definitely be worth waiting for. Testing is underway, and they’re looking to expand the programs this year.
The Try On feature will eventually be available for use as an ad format, which will likely be unbelievably useful at driving sales.
New Ad Policies Around Prescription Drugs
We know that this isn’t directly relevant to many of our readers, but for medical businesses and the agencies who help them advertise on Facebook, pay close attention to this one.
Facebook has tightened regulations about how prescription drugs are advertised on the platform.
This is what you need to know:
- You cannot sell prescription drugs on Facebook
- You cannot promote the use of illicit drugs or illegal drug use
- Online pharmacies and telehealth providers must submit written certification from Legiscript prior to promoting prescription drugs on Facebook
- Only online pharmacies, telehealth providers, and pharmaceutical manufacturers can promote products in the US, Canada, or New Zealand and they cannot target people under 18 years of age
These are only the newly updated policies. You can learn more here.
Investing $1B In Creators
Instagram is going to be investing over one billion dollars in creators on the platform by the end of 2022.
Through the use of their Bonus programs, eligible creators can get paid for hitting certain milestones when using the native creative and monetization tools. These programs will be seasonal, and the goal is to have them expand over time.
The current bonus opportunities are available by invitation on Facebook now, and include:
- In-stream bonus, which pays out earnings to eligible creators using in-stream ads
- Stars bonus, which pays out monthly bonuses to eligible video and gaming creators who hit specific Stars milestones over the next three months
- IGTV ads bonus, which allows creators to earn a one-time bonus for signing up for the IGTV ad platform
- The badges in Live bonus, which rewards eligible creators when they reach badge milestones like going Live with another account
- The Reels Summer bonus, which will launch soon to pay creators for high-performing Reels content
It was a big month for Facebook Updates, so July definitely delivered. There are so many great features emerging for all business accounts, even if they’ll take a little while to reach us. Make sure you tune in to stay up-to-date on these new features as they emerge, and to see what bonus programs are available for creators on Instagram!
What do you think? Which of these Facebook updates are you most excited about? What do you want to see next? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
Top Facebook Updates June 2021
New AI-Based TextStyleBrush
This is a small but really cool and really useful Facebook update, so we’re starting here!
Facebook has just announced their new TextStyleBrush, which uses AI technology to essentially copy the font and style of text from an uploaded image and then recreate it on the platform. They only need a single word in order to recreate it. This could be an exceptionally easy way for businesses to take their brand’s font and text styles and adapt it for additional uses.
In their announcement, Facebook noted that they’re continually working towards advancing AI in safe, responsible, and transparent ways. Which brings us to our next update…
Facebook is Cracking Deepfakes
You may have recently heard the news that Facebook is aggressively working to find ways to detect deepfakes before the threat becomes more prevalent.
There’s good news: They’ve made some progress.
In a recent announcement, Facebook shared that while deepfakes can trick the human eye, there are attributes that reverse engineering can identify that flags it is false.
This is outstanding, as the platform has taken a lot of hits as being a prime breeding ground of misinformation. While it won’t stop people from creating the deepfakes, the ability to spot what is and isn’t real (even just when Facebook can tell and remove or flag a video for users) is exceptional. Their reverse engineering accounts for multiple different models of deep fake creation.
This is a step forward in the technology world, and it’s arrived not a moment too soon.
In Testing: Headset VR Ads
While only a relatively small subset of users are engaging with Facebook’s VR platform Oculus, that small niche is still a relatively large number of users. And now Facebook is looking for monetization options through their ad system.
Facebook is currently testing ads for their headset VR experience. These ads will show up “in-world” for users. You can see this in the image below, which shows how ads can be placed into the experience in an interesting but not obtrusive way. Since it’s important for developers to have monetization options, this is an easy one that won’t negatively impact the user experience.
Right now, VR ads are only being tested with a handful of apps. As the tests go well, it’s likely that Facebook will continue to roll out the feature. They’ve also said that they’re working on new, unique-to-virtual ad experiences that are not ready for tests just yet. We’ll keep an eye out for what these could be and we’ll give you more information as it becomes available.
Messenger API for Instagram is Here
The Messenger API for Instagram was launched on June 2nd at F8 Refresh. It allows businesses to use the same engagement platforms they’re using for other channels to respond to direct messages on Instagram.
Many brands have experienced an enormous influx of private messages and Story responses on Instagram over the past few years, which became increasingly difficult to manage when team members needed to log into the account and check those messages. It was crucial they did so, however, since Instagram couldn’t be connected to other social media management platforms like Hootsuite originally, and since so many users were making high-intent messages asking about products before purchase.
The ability to respond to Instagram messages from different third-party platforms is about as game-changing as it gets for brands who are selling at a high volume here, especially with more features available with additional tools.
Interested in streamlining your business communications from Instagram? Check out Hootsuite’s Instagram messaging integrations.
New Ads for Instagram Reels
Last month we shared that Instagram’s hyper-popular Reels feature got Insights. This month, it was announced that we’re getting Reels Ads.
Reels Ads have been tested in several countries over the past few months, and Facebook finally decided it was time to roll them out to a wider audience.
Like with standard Reels content, these ads will loop and can be up to 30 seconds long, making them longer than your standard 15-second Story Ad video or 5-second Story Ad image. You’ll also have room for “post description” at the bottom of the ad, and users can see likes and comments on the Reels Ad like they would a standard in-feed ad.
These ads can appear wherever you see Reels content, including in the Reels tab, the Explore tab, in Stories, and in your feed.
We’re exceptionally excited to see how Reels Ads perform, as they’re combining high-performing features from in-feed ads and Stories Ads on an already high-engaging part of the platform.
Affiliate Monetization Options Announced for Creators
Instagram has just announced new monetization options for creators that marketers everywhere will be thrilled about: Affiliate selling.
This feature will start testing in a few months, and it’s a completely new approach to selling other brands’ products on the platform.
Now, you can either sell your own products as a business or promote products for a brand as an influencer through a paid partnership. These are closely monitored and can require brand approval.
This won’t be the case for affiliate selling, at least as of now.
Influencers will be able to discover new products available on checkout and then share them with their followers. They can then earn commissions for the resulting purchases, all within the app.
Creators can make more passive income fairly easily, and brands can get extra visibility and sales without spending their marketing funds on promoted partnerships. It’s a win-win.
While the tool isn’t available yet, we can’t wait to see how it works during testing. Keep an eye on this post monthly to see more information when it becomes available.
Facebook and Instagram can keep marketers and small businesses on their toes, trying to guess at what new Facebook features will be coming around the corner next. This month, the new addition of two types of ads (one in testing and one being rolled out) is particularly exciting, but the AI and deepfake developments are great to see, too. This was a great month for Facebook updates, and we can’t wait to see what’s next.
What do you think? Which of these Facebook updates are you most excited about? What do you want to see next? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
Top Facebook Updates May 2021
Facebook Breaks Down its Ad Policy Review Process
We know that Facebook’s system looks at all ads you submit, reviewing them before they run. People have long been confused why ads that seemingly follow the rules are sometimes rejected while obvious scams somehow make it through.
To increase transparency, Facebook just recently broke down how their ad review process works, and it was extremely enlightening.
First, they reminded users that it’s not just the strict advertising policies that apply to Facebook Ads. You also need to check to ensure that each ad complies with branded content policies, commerce policies, event policies, and more (if applicable). You’ve got to be following all of Facebook’s rules in the ad platform.
They also explained that, as many of our users may have noticed, most ads are typically approved within 24 hours. I’ve had ads approved in as little as five minutes, as I’m sure many of our readers have, too.
When an ad is first submitted, they’ll use an automated review that uses machine learning and algorithms to flag potential issues. The approved ad can run, and may be subject to human review later. If the ad is rejected, you can appeal and submit it to human review. They remind users that if an ad is rejected, they can always edit it and resubmit.
Facebook also warns advertisers that in addition to reviewing individual ads, they look at an advertiser’s profile overall.
Have you made attempts to get around the ad review process in the past, or to find loopholes? Are a large number of ads being rejected, or reported by users? Facebook may take action against advertisers who consistently violate their policies, including suspension or banning.
Facebook Reports Efficacy of Platform Safety & Integrity Measures
Over the past few years, many users have worried about Facebook’s use of their personal data, as well as issues with transparency, hate speech, and misinformation.
While all of these issues are still in play and impacting users, the good news is that Facebook’s updated platform safety and integrity rules are making a positive impact.
In the first quarter of 2021, we saw the following improvements:
- Violent and graphic content decreased to .03%, down .05% from the last quarter
- Hate speech also decreased from .07-.08% to .05-.06%
- The rate of content “actions” taken was 10x higher, and we’ve seen the proactive rate shift from 24% to 97%.
This is great news for brands, because it creates a more positive and safe platform for all users.
New Instagram Insights for Reels & Live Video
Instagram Reels and Live are two exceptionally valuable features on Instagram. They’re currently both popular and capable of driving reach, engagement, and even brand awareness.
It’s great news, therefore, that we’re getting new native data for both to assess their performance and impact on our overall marketing strategies. This will be found under Instagram’s Insights, which you already have access to as a Business or Creator account.
Reels will get the following metrics:
- Accounts reached
Live videos will get the following:
- Accounts reached
- Peak concurrent viewers
These metrics will also be added to the Account Insights, to get a better big-picture look of the campaigns’ impact.
And more good news: Over the next few months, Instagram is working to roll out new preset time frame options to let marketers view beyond 7 or 30 day periods. Insights will also be supported on desktop. Stay tuned for that!
New Tools for Asian & Pacific-Islander Owned Businesses
A recent study showed that API-owned businesses have been the most harshly impacted of all demographic groups during the pandemic, seeing a 20% decrease in working business owners from February to December of 2020.
Starting on May 17th, Facebook invited users and businesses to support the Amplify API program. They offered content and training opportunities tailored to API-owned small and medium-sized businesses, and committed to spotlighting and showcasing small businesses from around the API community.
Live Shopping Fridays Announced
It feels a little like QVC’s infomercials have come full circle, but we’re unbelievably excited about Facebook’s new announcement of “Live Shopping Fridays.”
Starting in mid-May and running every Friday through July 16th, beauty and fashion brands will go Live and showcase beauty and fashion products and tutorials in real time. You can find these streams on participating brands’ Pages or by browsing the Shopping tab.
Users will be able to buy products featured in-stream by tapping on them while viewing, and they can purchase without ever leaving the app.
These are the current topics and dates on the map:
- Glow Up – May 21, June 11 and July 2 12:00PM – 1:30PM PT/3:00PM – 4:30PM PT
- New Fashion Finds – May 28, June 18 and July 9 12:00PM – 1:30PM PT/3:00PM – 4:30PM PT
- Self Care Spotlight – June 4, June 25 and July 16 12:00PM – 1:30PM PT/3:00PM – 4:30PM PT
While only major brands like Abercrombie & Fitch and Bobbi Brown Cosmetics are participating this year, it will be interesting to see if more advertisers will gain access to live shopping features on a more regular basis. Stay tuned!
While this was a relatively slow month for Facebook updates overall, the information and new features that we have gained are valuable.
A breakdown of the ad review process is a good reminder for users who are unfamiliar with how it works and the consequences of trying to game the system, for example.
The biggest standout feature here for Facebook alone is the Live Shopping Fridays, and it will be fascinating to see how effective these campaigns are and whether we see a more semi-permanent shopping feature roll out to more advertisers overtime.
In the meantime, this is also your reminder to check in with your ad campaigns since the iOS 14.5 and the ATT are in full swing. Watch those campaigns closely, and look at new ways to adapt if your campaigns take any hits outside of the expected reductions in efficacy of website and data tracking for reporting purposes. Learn more here.
What do you think? Which of these updates are you most excited about? What do you want to see next? Share your thoughts in the questions below!
Top Facebook Updates April 2021
The ATT Is Here
Apple’s AppTracking Transparency update has been the talk of the town for a few months now. Since the app would require that all apps obtained user consent to collect user data (instead of having users opted-in as a default option that they’d need to proactively opt-out of), we knew early on that this could have an enormous impact on Facebook Advertisers who use this information to serve better ads and on-platform experiences to its users.
On April 26th, the ATT was officially launched. Apps must get user permission to track data, and they also explain why you want to track additional user information (like their emails) when submitting your app to Apple for review.
This update is likely to impact custom audiences from site and app activity, and Facebook has acknowledged that it may impact the accuracy of both tracking and ad optimization. While this will only be true for mobile iOS users and their activity in-app, this may still have a wide-reaching impact. You can learn more about how to prepare here.
Facebook Addresses COVID-19 Misinformation
Unfortunately, misinformation on Facebook is nothing new, and it has potentially reached an all-new level of dangerous during COVID-19.
Last month, Facebook shared what it’s been doing to address misinformation about COVID. So far, they’ve created a global network of over 80 independent fact-checkers who review content across over 60 different languages, aided by AI advancements. AI tools have been removing COVID-19 misinformation flagged by global experts, removing a total of 12 million pieces of content about the virus and its vaccine.
While this is controversial amongst some users, it’s interesting to see how Facebook has responded to misinformation and understand the process behind it. We can assume that this is how they will handle misinformation regarding objective, science-based information in the future.
New Business Suite Features
Facebook’s Business Suite launched last year, and it’s like a central hub for your Facebook and even Instagram marketing.
Last month, they rolled out new features to the business suite, including the following:
- The ability to schedule and post Stories to both Facebook and Instagram, which is fairly groundbreaking
- The option to edit scheduled posts
- The ability to create, edit, and manage albums
- Saving posts in a draft mode
The Stories posting and scheduling feature is the biggest standout here, as that’s something that most users don’t have access to just yet.
New Dynamic Ads for Streaming
If you did a double-take when you read “dynamic ads for streaming,” you aren’t alone, but it’s a really exciting new feature.
These ads are meant to help video streaming brands show off their content to their target audience. When they see the ad, they can swipe through the slides to see different personalized suggestions that are relevant to them. They’re similar to Facebook’s traditional dynamic ads, only they show off different media titles instead of products.
Here’s why this is a big deal: Before this update, streaming creators typically had to promote different media titles separately.
Hulu would create entirely separate campaigns, for example, for The Handmaid’s Tale than they would for Shrill. Now, however, they can create a single campaign if they choose and let Facebook’s incredible optimization features do the heavy lifting (ATT’s impact notwithstanding, of course).
What do you think? Which of these Facebook updates are you anticipating most? What were you hoping we’d see, and what do you want to see next? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below!
Top Facebook Updates March 2021
March of 2021 was another exceptional month for Facebook updates, giving us three great new changes: more IGTV ad expansions, additional brand safety controls, and online courses for community managers were all released.
IGTV Ad Expansion
IGTV ads were first announced and rolled out on a small testing basis last year, and in March it was announced that they’d be rolling out to more users across the globe. These ads use a revenue-share model, and have been slowly improved over the last year. The mobile-first and immersive ads appear when people click to watch IGTV videos from previews in their feed, helping to capture more high-intent users who will sit through the ad.
Now, select creators in Australia and the UK will gain access, which is a good sign for even more significant expansions soon to come. This opens up more ad placements for users, and can allow creators to earn passive income on the platform, making it a win-win for everyone. The fact that it’s so high intent by capturing users who already clicked to watch the video will likely help boost video completion rates, too.
Updates to Brand Safety Controls
Brand safety controls have been a cherished feature for many advertisers on Facebook for some time, and in March we got a few new great options to help with this.
First: With the Rights Manager, copyright owners can opt to claim and collect ad earnings on copyrighted content that’s published by other Pages, as long as both aligns with the partner monetization policies.
This means that when someone shares your content, you can still profit accordingly instead of automatically having it blocked for copyright issues.
Second: They’re integrating “publisher allow” lists and inventory filters into the Ads Manager’s reach estimator. This can help you assess what your campaigns’ reach is after you’ve narrowed down which creators your ad content can appear in.
Third: There are new IP protection tools, to help protect your intellectual property across all of the Facebook suite of tools. This will help protect your brand and combat the promotion and sale of counterfeit items.
This is exceptionally great news, as this has been a problem for hot products for some time. The new measures include a notice-and-takedown program to machine learning investments that will help identify and suspend counterfeits.
As part of this program, they’re working on updating their Commerce and Ads IP tool. You can apply to access this tool here. The updates include image search functionality and more expansive search results.
Community Managers Online Course Expands Globally
Facebook has outstanding courses to walk businesses, brands, and social media marketers through the marketing and advertising process. Facebook Blueprint is an excellent example.
Their online courses for community managers are no exception, and these have now expanded globally. The program, which details how managers can build and grow their communities, was originally released last October only in English. It’s now available in additional languages, including Thai, Arabic, French, Spanish, German, Indonesian, and Portuguese.
What do you think? Which of these Facebook updates are you anticipating most? What were you hoping we’d see, and what do you want to see next? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below!
Top Facebook Updates January 2021
February was a slow month for Facebook updates, so we’re rolling straight into January 2021! Here, we’re going to look at topic exclusion testing, the new Instagram professional dashboard, and new tools to disclose partnerships.
Since Instagram is closely tied into Facebook as its sister app, we’re going to cover these changes here so you’re up to date across both platforms.
In Testing: Topic Exclusion Controls for Advertisers
Facebook is currently building and will soon be testing new advertiser topic exclusion controls, which is an extension of their brand safety measures. The goal is to allow advertisers to prevent their ads from appearing in the Newsfeed next to certain topics, based on their brand suitability preferences.
A vegan company, for example, might not want to have their ad displayed next to a post from a Page that offers bulk orders of meat. Seeing the two back to back could create an association the brand doesn’t want.
This isn’t entirely unlike how brands can choose to have their video ads excluded from showing in content of certain creators or creators in certain industries to prevent associations they want to avoid.
The idea here is that advertisers can select topics like “Crime and Tragedy” to avoid.
The building and testing of these features is complex, and it will take some time to get it right; expect to hear more later on this year.
New Instagram Professional Dashboard
Have you noticed that Instagram’s dashboard for business and creator accounts looks a little different?
The dashboard got a big update in January of this year. These are the three big changes and key features to know:
- You can track performance by measuring trends and insights with a core focus on vital data
- You can gain access to tools that help you grow your business account more efficiently, including assessing monetization status and eligibility, setting up branded content, and giving out badges to loyal and engaged followers
- Get access to everything you need for an Instagram education, including resources that share tips, strategies, guidance, and inspiration to grow your account further
While some of these resources were already available across Instagram, they were now brought to one central location. The hope is that it will be easier for business accounts to access and discover tools that are well-suited to assist them. And Instagram did note that they plan on adding to this tool overtime, so keep an eye out.
Business Equality Resources & Tools Announced
In 2019 and 2020, business equality, diversity, and inclusion were cornerstones of discussion in America. Facebook, like many other companies, has made steps to improve the inclusivity of the platform by creating a new resource center focused on Business Equality.
This resource center features the following:
- The most up-to-date trainings, programs, resources, and tools that all businesses can use to foster business equality in day-to-day operations
- Programs like SheMeansBusiness and Boost with Facebook, which may include spaces for diverse or minority people to gain resources they need and network
- Advertising tools like Ads for Equality that are meant to eliminate harmful bias in advertising
- Examples of businesses and organizations who have started on the journey, so other businesses can follow suit
Keep in mind, though, that these resources are not the end-all-be-all; there are limitations to what they can do, so consider consulting a specialist to help your business and marketing team in these areas if needed.
New Tools for Partnership Disclosure Released
Partnerships on Instagram is practically a core part of the platform at this point, but that comes with needed regulations to help everyone stay above-board both in terms of following Instagram’s guidelines and standard promotional laws, too.
It’s important that a creator’s audience knows when a brand is involved in creating that #sponsoredcontent. The transparency builds trust and promotes transparency. The branded content tool helped with this, and in January, Instagram rolled out a few new features to enhance it further.
These include the following:
- Branded content tags that have been expanded to Reels and Live content on Instagram, allowing every type of content to have that lovely “Sponsored” tag to identify paid content. Keep in mind that all branded content on Instagram must use these tags. You can learn more about how to use it here.
- Encouraging disclosure and communication with creators, including through direct messaging on platform if needed.
- A Trademark Reporting Channel, where creators can report content that they believe infringes on their rights. This may include untagged branded content if it violates trademark.
What do you think? Which of these Facebook updates are you anticipating most? What were you hoping we’d see, and what do you want to see next? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below!
Top Facebook Updates December 2020
There were three core updates from this month: New features for car dealers, social good resources, and the original announcement of iOS 14 and how it would impact business ads.
New Features for Auto Dealers
Selling cars is no easy task, especially when you’re trying to generate demand. The good news is Facebook has created some hyper-niche on-platform products to make it a little easier. If you sell cars or work with a client that does, this is great news.
Right now, US-based dealership Facebook Pages will get access to:
- A new “Manage Inventory” tab on their Pages, where they can create and promote vehicle listings on-platform
- A streamlined process to create auto industry ads (AIA), where you can promote your current inventory quickly through on-platform catalogs and pre-filled templates
- A new “Vehicles” tab on the Page, which will show your existing inventory through a standard Facebook shop interface
Especially now, as COVID-delays may cause a shortage in new cars hitting the market, this is something auto dealers and their marketers should take advantage of.
Business Resources for Social Good
December can be a time of great joy for many, but it can be incredibly difficult for those who are struggling. With a greater emphasis on social good in recent years, Facebook created a website designed to help businesses advance their social impact. We’re well past the holiday season now, but most information is still relevant. You can see the site here.
The site features purpose-driven brands to give you some inspiration for new directions your business could take, whether it’s hosting a fundraiser or doing “buy-one, give-one” deals on products.
The site has resources for the following:
- To help businesses build communities around causes using native platform tools
- See how to build your brand awareness while promoting social good (not in a self-serving way, ideally)
- Connecting with communities and customers more meaningfully, especially when working with key moments like Giving Tuesday, Pride Month, or Ramadan
Facebook First Announces The Impact of iOS 14
Anyone else remember the feeling of panic that set in when we first learned about iOS 14? While I am thrilled about users having more control over how their data is used, there’s no denying that this can directly impact Facebook Ads.
Facebook first confirmed the expected impact of iOS 14 (which eventually morphed into the ATT) in December of 2020.
They spoke out about the iOS update vehemently at the beginning, saying it would have a harmful effect on small businesses who relied on Facebook advertising and the free internet. They said it was about profit, not privacy, forcing businesses to turn to subscriptions and in-app payments for revenue while free services will have to start charging to stay on the market.
They have since updated their original post on April 26th, and stressed that Facebook will be providing an education screen before Apple’s prompt to explain how tracking is used before they decide to opt-out. For more information about how the changes are expected to impact businesses and advertisers, see here.
Top Facebook Updates November 2020
There was one update in November 2020 that we’re going to look at: Additional expanded branded content capabilities on Instagram.
Additional Branded Content Capabilities
In November, we got a number of different updates to branded content features on Instagram, which can spill over to Facebook when you consider that you need to take each platform’s requirements into account when creating cross-platform campaigns.
Because the changes are extensive, let’s look at each one at a time.
Branded Content Ads Receive a New Optional Creation Process
Previously, Branded Content ads could only be run by promoting existing posts from creators. Now, Instagram allows advertisers to create Branded Content ads without the creators posting organically on the platform first.
This allows for more flexibility, especially if the brand wants to be the one running the content, though it has creator control in mind. Creators can pause and approve ads published from their handle as they choose. You can see the dashboard in the image below:
Branded Content Ads Released for Stories
In November, Stories Ads gained the ability to feature branded content. Even better, they included tappable, interactive elements like location tags, hashtags, and mentions. Brands could promote this content for authentic, mobile-shot ads that have been proven to perform well.
Branded Content Ads Get Product Tags
Businesses gained the ability to promote branded content posts that contain product tags.
Previously, posts from creators that had product tags couldn’t be promoted through the ad system.
This was one of the more significant changes to the Instagram platform in late 2020, and this increased the selling power of influencer campaigns significantly. If you’re investing in influencer and partnered campaigns, after all, you want to get the best ROI possible with a more seamless, in-app shopping experience.
Age Restrictions Put in Place for Branded Content
This was another great update we were excited for. Businesses and creators can set minimum ages that determine who sees their branded content on Instagram. They can rely on a default minimum age, a minimum age for specific countries, or a custom combination of the two.
An influencer in the US, for example, might restrict anyone under 21 from a sponsored post promoting a local bar, abiding by drinking age requirements.
Top Facebook Updates October 2020
October was a big, substantial month for both Facebook and Instagram updates. Here, we had an expansion of badges in Instagram live for creators, the new Messenger API supporting Instagram, a collaboration manager update for Groups, and a new community management certification.
Expanding Badges to More Creators in Instagram Live
Earlier in 2020, Instagram rolled out a test program that allowed select influencers to offer badges to live viewers. These could be purchased as a way to support the creator, as they get a share of the profit. The badges can then be displayed on their profile, and even be used to get features like a special heart to interact with, or having their comments stand out.
In October, over 50,000 creators received access to the feature, and in November they temporarily matched badge earnings to support creators during the tough economic times. In addition to expanding more within the US, badges were expanded to France, Italy, Germany, the UK, Australia, Japan, Mexico, Turkey, and Brazil.
If there are any creators out there reading this: If you have the feature, take advantage of it. It’s a great way to earn extra profit without a lot of significant effort, but make sure that you’re interacting heavily with the users who have purchased badges when they’re commenting on your lives and your content in general.
The Messenger API Integrates with Instagram
Earlier in 2020, there was a ton of talk about how Facebook was revamping their Messenger API to integrate with their suite of tools, including Instagram and potentially WhatsApp.
Last October, we finally got access to that long-awaited feature. The API allowed businesses participating in their beta program to integrate Instagram messaging with the business suite, or even with their own CRM.
A business, for example, could receive a direct message on Instagram about a Shopping product they had questions about. This could tie into the brand’s CRM to look at the customer’s history with the brand. It also can facilitate increased responsiveness, and allow for third-party social media management tools like Hootsuite to offer in-app response features that had previously been off the table.
Personally, we were greatly excited about this; a large number of small brands and large corporations alike use social media management software to boost response times and customer satisfaction; this update makes that easier than ever before.
New Expansion of the Brand Collabs Manager to Public Groups
The Brand Collabs Manager is essentially a marketplace where brands can promote their services or products to connect with potential influencers. They can then collaborate on campaigns that help both parties on Facebook or Instagram.
It was launched in 2018, and last year was expanded to some public groups to allow brands to connect with relevant audiences in engaged, trusted spaces on the platform.
Group admins can now create Branded Content with partnerships. The content will be disclosed as such, but it’s a great way to monetize Facebook Groups. Since Groups already have high organic reach and are typically incredibly high-engaging, this was a valuable option.
When using these features, however, make sure that you don’t overdo it. If your Group becomes nothing more than a stream of endless sales pitches, your members will start to tune out. They need to get value out of it, too, so put connection, support, and interaction as the core focus and use this as an add-on benefit with moderation.
Community Manager Certification Released
With a bigger-than-ever focus on not only social media management but community management and Facebook groups, it’s not much of a surprise that Facebook rolled out a community management certification course.
Unfortunately, maintaining a Facebook group and an online community is a whole different skill set than the ones you use to create high-converting ads or even click-worthy posts. It focuses much more on fostering engagement and interaction than driving immediate off-platform action. It’s a long-term game that requires the right strategies.
We strongly recommend having someone on your team take the course, which goes over the following:
- How to define and establish a community, including setting goals and guiding principles
- Developing strategies to manage and build your community, brand, and partnerships
- Creating relevant content that’s community-oriented
- Engaging with and moderating a community
- Measuring community success and Group performance
Certification badges are received upon completion and are valid for two years. Those who complete the course also gain access to a private Facebook Group specifically for certified community managers.
There you have it. It’s been a long few months both in Facebook world and the outside world, but Facebook at least has given us some great updates to improve the efficacy of our marketing campaigns.
The biggest and most substantial change to watch right now is the impact that the ATT will have on advertising. Keep a close eye on your campaigns for the next few months and be prepared to adapt as needed.
And don’t forget to check back next month; we’re excited to start updating this post again, and we’ll let you know what’s new through the month of May!
Top Facebook Updates September 2020
We’ve finally arrived at fall in this absolutely bananas crazy year, putting us three-quarters of the way through 2020.
That alone is worth celebrating given everything the world has gone through, but we’ve also got another reason to be excited: It’s time for our September Facebook Updates edition!
And this month, there are plenty of updates to be excited about, and a few that admittedly are a little less thank exciting. (Don’t worry, we’ll get the not-so-fun news out of the way first.)
We’ve got everything from ad limits for Pages, a new business suite, expanded brand safety options for in-stream ads, and so much more.
Ready to see what’s new? Let’s get started.
New Ads Limit Per Page
Alright, let’s go ahead and get the worst news out of the way first, because there’s a solid chance that if you already know about it, this is why you intentionally came to find this particular blog post.
Facebook announced almost exactly a year ago that they’d be imparting an ad limit on each individual Page, restricting the number of campaigns they run.
By restricting volume, Facebook -says- this will help advertisers keep costs down and performance up as the system’s machine learning and personalization options mean that high volumes aren’t necessary anymore.
We now have more information about the ad limits, which will roll out between February and the summer months in 2021.
While last year it was expected that only major corporations running more than something like 100k ads per month would be impacted, it’s clear that this isn’t quite the case.
These will be the new ad limits that determine how many ads can actively be running at a single time:
250 ads per Page for small to medium Pages
these are pages with less than 100k in ad spend in their highest spending month over the past twelve months
1,000 ads per Page for medium and large Pages
these are pages with ads costs ranging from $100k to $1M in their highest spending month in the past twelve months
5,000 ads per Page for larger pages
these are pages with $1M to $10M in their highest spending month over the past twelve months
20,000 ads for “largest” Pages
these are pages with over $10M in ad spend in their highest month over the last 12 months.
It is true that machine learning, improved algorithms, and options like dynamic ads make it possible for businesses to run fewer campaigns overall, and maybe restrictions on ad volume will make it easier for ads to be approved faster or more reliably (no promises though, of course, we all know how unreliable that system can be).
Overall, it’s not exciting to have limits, especially if you’re looking to scale, though adjusted ad spend would assumably increase volume potential overtime.
One thing to note now, though; if you’re on the verge of the next tier and want those extra ads, pay attention to that now. You’ve got until at least February.
Facebook Prepares Partners for iOS 14
There’s been a ton of talk about the upcoming iOS 14 update, which (amongst other changes) will ask users to opt-in to data collection instead of requiring them to be proactive and look up how to opt-out themselves. While this is good in theory for user privacy, it’s not so great for advertisers.
If a large number of your audience automatically opts-out to anonymous data collection, it means that you won’t be able to show them retargeting campaigns based on actions taken on your site or landing pages.
Website-based retargeting will likely take a massive hit as this update rolls out, especially since mobile usage is so popular and often surpasses desktop usage when it comes to browsing.
Facebook has said that they’re preparing businesses for the update, and have noted that they won’t collect identifiers for advertisers (IDFA) on their own apps.
They’ll also be reminding users about how their information is used on Facebook, and highlight their Off-Facebook Activity feature. This shows them a summary of the off-Facebook activity businesses send to Facebook, so they can disconnect it.
Here’s how Facebook recommends that their partners prepare:
- They ask that relevant businesses create a new ad account dedicated to running app install efforts for iOS users
- They remind advertisers to be prepared that Audience Network monetization will likely decrease
- Facebook stresses that ad performance will likely take a hit in some places; we recommend watching your campaigns extremely carefully during the change so you can adapt quickly if needed
Facebook Business Suite Announced & Rolled Out
On to happier news!
Facebook’s new Business Suite has been both announced and rolled out, and many of you have likely discovered it already!
The Business Suite is a single dashboard for your linked Facebook and Instagram accounts that allows you to post, message, advertise, and view insights all in one place.
It’s designed to make the social media management process easier, at least for two platforms. (Only third-party tools like Hootsuite extend across non-Facebook social media platform management).
If you want to schedule posts that will go out to both your Facebook and Instagram followers at the same time, now you can.
The combined insights feature is also useful for big-picture views on your performance for the two platforms, especially in terms of comparing what works on each and what doesn’t.
You don’t need to do anything special to access the new Business Suite; if you’re eligible to access it, you’ll be redirected when you visit business.facebook.com.
On mobile, if you’re using the Pages Manager App, you’ll see the option to opt-in; if you aren’t, the Facebook Business Suite App is available on Android and iOS app stores.
Data Checkups Coming Soon
Facebook has made efforts to keep the platform transparent and to protect user privacy as much as possible. They track plenty of data, after all, but it is anonymous; brands can’t see the names of users who visited their sites, for example.
Facebook has thus announced that they’re launching a Data Use Checkup, which is an annual workflow for developers and businesses on the platform that will allow them to review the permissions they have access to.
They’ll also be asked to commit that their data use and API access comply with the terms of service and developer policies within 60 days.
As long as you’re on the straight and narrow, you should be good to go here, but keep an eye out for this and make sure you’re familiar with all the latest policies.
Improvements Made to Auto Inventory Ads
Auto Inventory Ads (AIAs) have been around for a little while now, and Facebook has recently made some great improvements to them. These ads, if you aren’t familiar, are designed specifically to be relevant to those interested in buying a car.
These ads have now been expanded, allowing advertisers to send traffic to a mobile-optimized, on-platform shopping experience.
They see dynamic Vehicle Detail Page (VDP) on Facebook, which pulls information from the dealer’s auto catalog. Here, users can research vehicles, look at additional inventory, and connect with dealers directly through a lead form, phone call, or Messenger.
Expanded Safety for In-Stream Options
In-Stream has been a great opportunity for brands to have advertisements that users are kind of forced to watch while they wait for the content they chose to watch.
There have always been brand concerns, however, about what video their content is associated with, especially following major YouTube incidents a little while back when ads were shown on openly-racist videos.
There are plenty of associations you just don’t want, and having ad revenue go to these users can hurt you.
Facebook has rolled out plenty of “brand safety” options in the past, and now we have two new ones:
- Topic exclusion
which offers a “granular exclusionary tool” that allows you to assess suitability at the content level. It’s fueled by machine learning, but you can ensure your videos won’t appear on content relating to any of the four following topics you choose: news, gaming, religious and spiritual content, and politics.
- Publisher “allow” lists for in-stream auction
which let you name a specific list of individual publishers you who would be willing to have your ad shown alongside
You can learn more about how to protect your brand while advertising here.
This month’s lineup of Facebook updates is fascinating; some are about giving more control to advertisers, while others implement restrictions (intentionally or otherwise).
Either way, it’s essential for brands and marketers to be up to date on everything that could impact their organic and advertising campaigns moving forward.
It will be fascinating to see what the rest of this way-too-long-year has in store for us, and how the platform will continue to evolve to offer new features while adapting to tighter security and privacy restrictions.
Check back next month– you know we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know.
Top Facebook Updates August 2020
There’s a lot to cover this month, so let’s get started discussing all of the important Facebook updates for August 2020 and what they mean for you.
New Sponsored Posts for Groups
2020 is the year of Facebook Groups. Facebook groups are getting priority in newsfeeds, and users are joining and engaging in them in record numbers.
One of my favorite new Facebook updates this month is all about Facebook Groups, too. They’re now looking at potential revenue opportunities for those who run engaged, thriving communities.
You can already run ads your Groups feed, but soon you’ll be able to create brand partnership posts in groups.
Their branded content tags are now being extended to public groups, allowing admins of a group to create sponsored posts in partnership with or on behalf of advertisers.
For businesses and brands who are running groups to build loyalty and hopefully drive sales, this could be a great way to monetize the groups further.
Many businesses running groups, after all, may need to dedicate at least one team member to group management on a daily basis, especially once the groups pick up steam.
If you’re able to increase direct revenue from groups, that may help increase the ROI of the group overall.
One thing to be careful of; users, in general, are wary of ads, so if they see an overwhelming number of sponsored posts, they could lose trust with your brand.
Make sure you’re only using this feature sparingly if you do use it.
New Educational Features Roll Out
Facebook has just rolled out a new “Educational Hub” just in time for students heading back to school– remotely or otherwise.
The Educator Hub contains a large number of educational resources designed to help parents, teachers, and students alike.
The resources include the following:
- Anti-racism resources
- Self-care strategies and mental health resources (which are likely particularly important during social distancing during the pandemic)
- “Get Digital,” a digital literacy program that includes lesson plans, online conversation starters, and online activities for students
- Group-focused options, including the option to start or find a group of like-minded teachers, students, or parents
Whether a family has students enrolled in a homeschool group or remote learning or a teacher is teaching in-class or from home, this could be worth checking out.
It’s a free resource, which can be accessed here.
New Improvements for Accessibility
Accessibility is a big concern, as plenty of users may need assistance using social media sites from accessibility devices like screen readers or by using keyboard-only navigation (no mouse).
Social media sites haven’t historically been the most accessible, but Facebook is taking steps to improve that on their platform.
Here are the new accessibility improvements recently made by Facebook:
- Scalable font sizes, increasing readability
- A new API to ensure that contextual headings are always implemented correctly in descending order, allowing them to actually be usable
- Resolved and debugged keyboard commands so that full keyboard navigation is possible
- Overlay and markup that would flag features that may be problematic for those with low sight (like Stories)
- Reusable components based on the ARIA Practices Guide
Businesses don’t need to worry about being impacted by these updates, but it’s great news overall. The more accessible the platform is, the easier it will be for you to reach your true full target audience.
New Page Follow Settings Give Users More Control
Facebook is testing out different notification options that make it easier for users to get updates from Pages and brands that they most want to see.
When following a Page, users can choose to be notified for highlights or all content of posts, videos, live content, and offers.
If you want to closely follow a local restaurant, for example, so that you’re notified the second they upload a post in case it’s featuring the week’s specials, you can do that.
Many users actually want to see more crucial content from their favorite businesses and have started to realize that with declining organic reach, that just isn’t happening. Plenty of users may choose to opt-in for these purposes.
As this rolls out, take a close look at your analytics.
If some post types have significantly higher engagement that spikes, this may be what users are subscribing to. Creating additional similar content could help you reach quickly.
New Paid Online Events for Creators & Businesses
Small businesses are struggling all over the world right now; there’s no doubt about that. In order to help small business recovery, Facebook has just created a new feature: Paid Online Events.
Designed to help businesses, creators, educators, and publishers to generate direct and quick income during COVID, this feature allows Page owners to create online events that users can pay to attend.
Creators can promote the event, collect payments, and host the event itself through live video all on the platform. They’re also currently testing paid events with Messenger Rooms for an added layer of interaction.
There are plenty of great uses for this feature.
A local restaurant can offer an online cooking class, showing how to make a popular dish or how to plate dishes like a pro. A graphic designer could offer a coaching class to people who want to own their own graphic design businesses but don’t know where to start.
Think about what expertise your business offers and how you can profit accordingly.
Facebook will not be collecting on any fees for paid events for the next year, so take advantage and strike while the iron is hot!
Removal of 1,000 Targeting Options
Facebook has recently removed just over 1,000 of their previously existing targeting options.
While this seems like a strange move for a platform that’s known for its insanely hyper-specific ads, it makes sense; they’re removing the targeting features because they’re either not used frequently, or because they’re so similar to other targeting options that they don’t make an impact.
Facebook gave one example of removing the interest “Key West” because it’s a duplicate version of “Key West, Florida,” which will be kept in place.
Keep an extra close eye on your campaigns for the next few weeks. On the very off chance that your campaigns are impacted, this will allow you to react immediately.
New Timely, Cultural, & Political Updates
The last few years have been extremely tumultuous politically, and Facebook has been at the center of some controversy as problems with transparency and misinformation have run rampant.
Facebook has rolled out a number of significant updates this month. They’ll really mostly impact you as a user unless the specifics apply to your business, but we still wanted to outline them here.
These are the big updates you need to know:
- Facebook has launched a $25 million program to support Black creators.
The program is open to creators who are at least 18 years old with a minimum of 10,000 followers on either Facebook or Instagram.
- Facebook launched “Black Business August” to highlight Black-owned businesses.
They’ve also rolled out business education content in support of Black-owned businesses, which included business panels and free online courses.
- Facebook has a Voting Information Center, encouraging 4 million more Americans to vote.
It encourages users to register, and reminds them of when their primary or election dates will be.
- There’s a new tool to track political ad spend via the Ad Library.
Researchers, journalists, and users in general can use the ad library to see how different campaigns and accounts are spending their money on political campaigns. This can promote transparency.
- Facebook created a new informational prompt that shows up when users share COVID-19 content.
This will point users to official health resources, providing more context about potential posts.
There’s been a lot to digest regarding transparency updates over the past year on Facebook, and with an ongoing pandemic and a major election in the US this year, that’s unlikely to change.
We can likely expect more transparency- and authenticity-driven features in the next few months, along with hopefully additional features to support more of the small businesses who need it most.
We can’t wait to see what features come next! Make sure you subscribe to our blog so you never miss an update, and check back next month to see what’s new in September!
What do you think? Which update or change are you most excited about? What do you think will make the biggest impact on your business? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
Top Facebook Updates July 2020
This month’s Facebook updates do include a few new features (like Live broadcasting from Messenger rooms), but they focus most heavily on creating a more secure, authentic, and truthful user experience.
Eager to know which Facebook updates have been announced (or rolled out) in July 2020? Let’s dive in and take a close look at each one and how they might impact you.
Go Live from Messenger Rooms
You can create “rooms” on Facebook Messenger, which allows you to invite up to 50 people into what’s essentially a chat room.
This feature rolled out relatively recently, and now we’re gaining a new extension of it: The ability to broadcast live from rooms on Messenger.
This is an interactive feature, and it’s designed to be a joinable video call. Any invited users are able to join the call, even if they don’t have a Facebook account as long as they have access to the Messenger room.
You can keep these broadcasts private, or, as a room creator, broadcast the room to your profile, Page, or even a group you run and invite viewers to watch.
This is a great feature to use, especially as many people are more physically isolated due to the coronavirus.
Your business can use this feature to create engaging, multi-person live videos that your audience will respond to (or even participate) in real-time!
Since live video sees significantly higher engagement than most other types of content on Facebook, this is a great feature that you should test out.
New Privacy Settings & Messenger App Lock
This new Facebook update is all about increasing security for users, and it comes with a multi-faceted approach.
The first is the “app lock” feature, which allows you to lock access to the Messenger app even someone else has access to the phone itself.
If someone needs to borrow your phone to make a phone call, for example, you can “lock” the app so that they’re not able to see any of your messages even though they’re holding your otherwise-unlocked phone in their hands.
If you’re managing a business’s communications, this is particularly important, but it’s great news for all users.
You’ll need to use features like Touch ID or face recognition (whatever you have enabled) in order to unlock the app again. This feature is already available on iOS and will roll out to Android within the next few months.
Which sort of brings us to the second feature that will be coming soon with this update: The ability to gain more control over who is messaging you or calling you on Messenger.
Facebook is working on a set of new controls so that you can determine who can message or call you directly, which messages are sent to a requests folder, and who is unable to message you at all.
These will resemble Instagram’s own message controls.
New Options for Connecting with Businesses on WhatsApp
Plenty of users will reach out to businesses on WhatsApp, making it an important platform for brands to consider joining.
And now, there are new features that can make connecting with your customers on this platform easier than ever.
For starters, you can feature QR codes on your site, in a chat, on product packaging, or in-store. When users scan these QR codes, they’ll be able to immediately initiate a chat in WhatsApp with your business.
The easier it is for users to connect with you, the better.
You can also now share your business catalog or featured items as links on WhatsApp, which can be used to answer user questions, promote your products, offer suggestions, and drive sales.
If you’re an eCommerce business with a catalog on Facebook and you’re invested in using native shopping features, this could be a great way to use WhatsApp to build product awareness and sales in one nice, neat, convenient package.
Facebook Removes “Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior”
After the 2016 US election, there’s been huge concern about the intentional spread of misinformation and manipulation of users on Facebook. Facebook has taken a number of steps to resolve this, including rolling out new transparency tools.
They’ve also been on the lookout for “inauthentic” behavior, especially when it’s consistently coordinated.
This month, they’ve announced that they’ve shut down four networks that violated Facebook’s policies against all foreign interface and coordinated inauthentic behavior. The accounts originated in the United States, Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, and Ukraine.
The inauthentic behavior included the following:
- Using a combination of established and fake accounts to manipulate user trust, promote their own content, and drive users off-platform to third-party political sites.
- Former government officials in Ecuador and political consultants tried to hide their identities and mask as local independent news journals
- In Florida, users linked to a hate group previously banned on Facebook tried to set up fake accounts to pose as state residents to evade enforcement and manage a network of pages while purchasing followers from Egypt and Pakistan.
This hopefully is only good news for businesses out there, as it means Facebook is coming up with new ways to keep the platform safe and they’re enforcing their policy guidelines. And since Facebook is prioritizing original news reporting, probably, this will help keep misinformation at a minimum.
Facebook knows that the pressure is on for them to step up their game and do their part to reduce the misinformation and manipulation that can take place on the platform.
They’re taking this seriously, looking at both major enforcement options to shut down coordinated networks of policy violators and small, seemingly minor security updates like the option to lock your phone.
These are the most exciting updates because they’ll hopefully have a positive and significant effect on the platform as a whole, but the new WhatsApp and Rooms Live features are pretty great, too.
We’re excited to use them, and we hope you are, too.
What do you think? Which tools are you most excited about? What new features do you want to see next? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
Top Facebook Updates June 2020
This month, we don’t have many new exciting, flashy features for businesses, but we do have some big important updates about the platform itself.
With that being said, let’s go ahead and take a look at what’s new and what it means for you.
It’s been interesting to watch what updates Facebook has released when; in addition to your standard new and exciting features (like the new styles of shops rolled out on Instagram), they’ve also been working hard to shift users’ perception and safety on the platforms.
They’re opting for more transparency and more authenticity, and are taking their role in helping to prevent misinformation seriously.
We’ve seen this as they’ve tried to put a stop to incorrect information on anything related to politics to the coronavirus.
Facebook Complying with CCPA
The California Consumer Privacy Act (CPPA) grants California consumers the right to control their personal information. This includes knowing who has and is using their information for marketing purposes, and the right to ensure that their information isn’t used for those purposes without permission.
All businesses that sell to consumers in California want to ensure that they’re maintaining the standards of that privacy law, and Facebook has stepped up to make that much easier.
Now, businesses can limit how Facebook uses the data that they’re sending to Facebook by using the “Limited Data Use” feature.
This feature must be enabled to apply, but once it is, Facebook will process information about California consumers as the business’s service provider. This will take California’s specific privacy laws into consideration. There is a transition period, which will take place this July.
Facebook does note that businesses may see a dip in campaign performance, and note that both retargeting and some tracking and measurement capabilities will be limited.
That being said, if you’re selling to consumers in California, using this feature can help protect your business and their privacy. That’s always worth it.
Facebook Seeking to Advance Racial Justice
We’ve seen a number of businesses come out strong over the past two months, making it clear where they stand about racial injustice. Facebook has just recently done so, and they’ve listed clear steps they’ll be taking.
These steps include:
Improving their policies, products, and programs.
They’ll be investing in people and technology designed to “proactively detect and remove hate speech hand other violating content.” They’ll also be reviewing policies around how to handle violating content, around voter suppression, and around discussions and threats of state use of force. They’ll also be working to amplify Black voices and ensuring there is more diversity on their own teams.
Investing in communities of color.
Facebook says they’ll be investing over $1 billion USD to support Black and diverse communities and suppliers within the US. They’ve specified that this year, they’re committing an additional $200 million to Black-owned businesses, creators, and organizations.
Launching a new destination.
Facebook is creating a “new destination” called Lift Black Voices, which is designed to amplify Black voices and to share educational resources and storytelling through fundraising.
These changes likely won’t directly impact many businesses day-to-day, but hopefully, they’ll have a strong impact over time that can improve the platform for all users and businesses– especially those who need it most.
Facebook Shifts Commerce Eligibility Requirements
Instagram has announced that they’re adjusting their commerce eligibility requirements.
And this matters for this post because while it will impact businesses on Instagram first, they have stated that these requirements will eventually go on to apply to Facebook businesses, too.
Now, any eligible business or creator account with even one eligible product can use shopping features and tags. These will drive users to your site to make purchases, and for US businesses that are in the checkout test group, customers can purchase directly in-app.
You’re no longer needing to set up a Facebook store and wait for approval on both.
These new changes will go into effect on July 9th for Instagram where Instagram Shopping is supported and remember that eventually, this will move to Facebook, too.
Collections Lists Are Now Sharable Publicly
Facebook’s Collections list allows you to add “items” (including links, photos, and more) to a list that you can access later on, almost like archived content.
Now, these lists are going to be publicly shareable, allowing you to share the lists with just yourself, contributors, friends, or the public.
This could open the door for business partnerships and influencer collaborations.
Local businesses in a community, for example, could compile a list of “great events around Texas” that promotes an event at each business, and influencers and creators can promote each other’s content.
And if you’re looking to sell items on the marketplace, you can even create a list of what you’ve got for sale.
These lists are extending to all users, and we’re excited to start testing out some use cases soon.
New Fan Subscriptions for Game Streaming
Facebook is underway on a big push to get more gaming streamers on their platform.
(If anyone follows the gaming world, games like PubG are soon dropping Mixer as a streaming platform and starting up on Facebook, for what it’s worth).
They’re now expanding their streaming subscription options, allowing viewers to “support” gamers financially.
Facebook will soon be enabling more streamers to access this subscription option, rolling out to creators in Brazil, Australia, Thailand, Canada, Mexico, the UK, and the US. All gamers who see 250 weekly returning viewers in these areas can join the “Level Up” program to take part.
As they’re ramping up monetization for gaming streamers from supporters, they’re also looking at other methods of monetization, too.
They’ll be testing several different types of ads during gaming streams, including live ads that show up as pre-roll or midroll, or image ads that appear before the stream while it’s airing.
This will certainly offer up new placements, but since streaming happens live, it will be interesting to see how these ads impact engagement. Gamers and creators will likely get a cut of the ad revenue here, giving them even more incentive to build an audience here.
It’s fascinating to watch Facebook’s priorities and usage shift over the past year.
There have been big pushes for more transparency and more responsible and ethical business practices, but at the same time we’re seeing some great monetization and selling features rolling out to new creators and businesses, too.
As a reminder, we also know that Facebook is still working on full messaging integration with Messenger, Instagram Direct, and WhatsApp, so expect some changes there soon, too.
What do you think? Which features are you most excited about? What do you want to see next? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
Top Facebook Updates May 2020
Whether you’re back open for business entirely, still waiting at home for the “all clear,” or hovering somewhere in the middle, we’re sure that you’ll love the new Facebook updates that were rolled out or announced this month.
We’ve got new shops, support for small business features, and so much more!
New Facebook Shops
We had to start with the biggest update that brands can start leveraging right away: Facebook’s new, native, mobile-friendly shops.
Facebook has had on-platform shops before, and if you’re familiar with them, the basic idea is the same. You can upload products and information about them onto your on-platform store, creating and featuring the collections of your choice.
The new shop features, however, go far beyond what the previous version ever offered.
You can customize the look of your virtual storefront, for example, with customizable fonts and coloring, and users can convert and checkout without ever having to leave the app.
The new shop is definitely an improved version of Facebook’s previous rendition, offering more control to businesses and more convenience to customers.
They’ve also announced that they have plans down the line to roll out additional features, like live shopping options and loyalty programs to incentivize additional purchases.
If you’re an eCommerce business or selling merchandise online, this is something to consider.
“Support Small Business” Hashtag Rolled Out
Facebook knows that small businesses everywhere are hurting right now, with many taking big financial hits. They’ve recently worked hard to roll out new features designed to promote and support small businesses that you can hopefully benefit from!
They’ve created a #SupportSmallBusiness hashtag on the app, encouraging users to show their love for small businesses. Similarly, creators can use “in support of” tags to promote small businesses to their followers.
They’re also prioritizing their “Businesses Nearby” feature to help users discover local businesses and neighborhood shops, encouraging them to get in touch or purchase in the process.
Facebook Launches Group Chat “CatchUp” App
Knowing that more users have been forced to shift to entirely or almost-entirely online communication, they’ve been working to keep up. In response to this, they’ve just rolled out their new sister “CatchUp” app, which was designed to facilitate group chats.
This is basically Messenger Rooms for voice calls, allowing you to call users one-on-one or in groups.
Overall, this is one app that won’t affect marketers much at the moment, but it’s good to be aware of. It will be interesting to see if it takes off; many users are already using other tools to have one-on-one calls and group calls, so we’ll keep an eye on this one and see how it does over time.
Warning Prompts Added to Messenger Threads
Scamming has unfortunately run amock on the platform for over a decade now, and Facebook is making clear efforts to try to stop this (or at least significantly reduce it).
This includes new warning prompts that pop up with Facebook’s algorithms flag suspicious activity from someone contacting you through your inbox.
They’ll ask if you know the person, and if you say no, they’ll go over steps you can take and inform you about common scams. They always encourage you to refuse requests for money.
The algorithm uses machine learning and looks for common signals that indicate fraudulent or scamming behavior. The signals include the user sending out a large number of messages to people they hadn’t interacted with before or using specific keywords in those messages.
In addition to general safety measures, there’s a big focus on protecting minors. They’re using machine learning to watch for behavioral signals that are questionable, like adults sending a large number of messages or friend requests to people under the age of 18. This new feature will work alongside protections the platform already has, working to educate the underage users to be cautious. It also allows them to take action before ever responding to a message.
Facebook does want users to be safe, knowing that if they’re not, the platform could be in trouble.
15 New Courses on Facebook Blueprint
We’re big fans of Facebook Blueprint, especially since many of our advertisers and clients are learning how to run successful, engaging campaigns themselves. This is a native and outstanding resource, and it’s free!
Blueprint just rolled out 15 new courses, including the following:
- Decide Who You Want to Reach
- Map the Customer Journey
- Set Marketing Goals
- Select Your Marketing Channels
- Tell Your Business Story
- Create and Manage a Content Calendar
- Create Authentic Messages
- Stay Connected to Customers Online
- Bring Your Business Online with Instagram
- Attract an Audience on Social Media
- Engage with People and Build an Audience
- Plan What to Post on Instagram
- Communicate with Customers on WhatsApp
- Set Up Digital Gift Cards for Your Business
If any of these new courses sound like they could be beneficial to you, we strongly recommend that you check them out! Learn more here.
Facebook’s new shop feature is the big highlight of this month’s updates, and we can’t wait to see how our customers here at AdEspresso start using it. (The feature has slowly started rolling out, so many of you will start to see it and have access relatively soon!)
Facebook’s additional, moral-focused features that support small businesses, educate advertisers and protect vulnerable users from scams and potential harmful individuals are also great and shouldn’t be overlooked.
These are all positive changes that impact users and advertisers in great ways.
That’s always something to be excited about, especially since the better the user experience, the more we get to interact with them on-platform moving forward.
What do you think? Which of these updates was your favorite? What are you most excited about, and what do you want to see next? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
Top Facebook Updates April 2020
This month’s Facebook Updates won’t disappoint you.
We got new accessibility tools for live streaming, the updated Messenger interface, “quiet time,” and a new download data tool that will impact the user and marketer experience alike.
Let’s take a look at all of these new changes and what they mean for you.
New Live Streaming Accessibility Tools
Online content has had a huge push for inclusivity and accessibility in recent years, and it’s great to see this now crossing over into Facebook’s live stream.
So far, Facebook has only had video live stream options, where video content is shot and broadcasted in real-time. While most users loved it, this content provided a huge barrier of entry to those who are hard of hearing and or those who rely on screen readers.
Now, Facebook has announced that they’ll be releasing an “audio-only” live mode that will come with the option for automatic captions. They’ve also shared that they’ll offer new ways to access live streams outside of Facebook itself, though we don’t know more about that yet outside of the fact that even those who aren’t logged in will be able to see the content if they choose.
This is great news overall. Automatic captions can have a strong tendency to be less than reliable (especially if there’s mumbling / a background noise/ even the slightest accent involved), but they’re still allowing hard of hearing users to be able to follow along with the basic conversation. Brands should consider taking advantage of this new format and testing it out to see how well it works for them. When in doubt, you can treat it like a short podcast, and we all know how popular podcasts have been in recent years!
New Desktop Messenger App Rolls Out
Facebook’s Messenger app for desktop is brand new, and it allows users to engage in group chats and group videos from their computers and laptops.
This is a new standalone Messenger app designed specifically for desktop. You can still use Messenger in the browser as you currently do; this is separate.
This app rolled out largely because Facebook wanted to find new ways to help their users connect with each other while also potentially weeding out information. The idea is that the more connected people are, the easier the shelter-in-place orders will be, and why not keep them connected on Facebook and in Messenger (especially since they can make profit with Messenger placements).
You can see what the new app looks like here:
This feature will be most valuable for personal uses, but businesses can use it to communicate with small groups of clients on the platform if they choose. They can also use the feature for internal communications if needed.
New “Quiet Mode” Rolled Out
Facebook recently started rolling out “Quiet Mode,” which simply allows users to silence all notifications. The idea is to encourage them to actually walk away from their screens (phones and desktops alike).
For many, this is a relief. When users are stuck at home with shelter-in-place orders, it’s easy to get sucked into Facebook and social media sites a little too often. And while it doesn’t seem like it’s in the platform’s best interest to encourage those to turn away, it’s actually a very good thing. There have been concerns over social media’s impact on users’ mental health in general, and these concerns have been elevated during times of crisis. Facebook encouraging users to limit their time on the platform can result in the user experience improving, meaning that they’re happier to engage with great content (like that from your brand!) when on the site.
As a business, be prepared for some users to take longer to respond to you both publicly and privately if they’re using this feature.
Right now, it’s still rolling out on iOS, and it will likely be available for Android users starting in early May.
Updated Data Download Tool
If you read last week’s Instagram Updates post, this section will look a little familiar.
This month, Facebook worked to offer even more transparency to users in terms of why they’re seeing the ads that are showing up in their feeds. They released an updated version of their existing data download tool that allows users to download three new sections of information on their own activity.
The new reports show:
- Interactions on both Facebook and Instagram from the user, including their own profile updates, Page content, post likes, comments, and more.
- Inferences on how Facebook is pairing up the user’s specific behaviors with content it deems relevant.
- A list of categories assigned to Instagram accounts you interact with, showing users specifically what types of content Instagram thinks they’re interested in when determining what to show in the Explore section of their app.
Once again, brands aren’t necessarily benefiting from this nearly as much as users are. That’s okay; building trust with users so they can understand what they’re seeing and why is important right now, especially when so many users are distrustful of ad targeting capabilities amidst privacy concerns. This could actually help build more trust between consumers and advertisers by shedding some light on the process.
While not an official intended use, advertisers can check out their own data and see if they get any new ideas for how to target users based on their own interactions with the platform. Many brands happily view content related to their own industry, for example, so you may get some new inspiration for categories on Instagram to consider.
Right now, it’s not surprising to see a number of social media platforms shifting their focus quickly to try to offer new ways to support users, brands, and marketers during the time of the crisis, especially since nobody knows exactly how long it will last. It makes sense that we’ll continue to see features geared towards this purpose in the immediate months, especially as many small businesses struggle, misinformation continues to circulate, and users are looking for more meaningful ways to stay connected.
During the next few months, it may be more important than ever to stay up to date with what’s happening on your primary social media platforms, especially since these new features may be so valuable. Social is a crucial platform right now for businesses working hard to stay connected with their customers, so take the time to keep investing into your social strategy and management. It will absolutely be worth it.
What do you think? How do you feel about these new updates? Is there anything you were hoping to see that got pushed back? What are you hoping gets released next? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
Top Facebook Updates March 2020
This month, Facebook has made a few changes on their platform as a result of the coronavirus (which we’ll take a look at first), but they’ve also been hard at work on a number of different features that will impact how users and brands alike are interacting with the platform.
We can expect that as we’re all dealing with the coronavirus and its impact to see some shifts in marketing best practices, a slight slow-down of the release of in-testing features, and some adjustments to the platform (particularly ad campaigns) that may somehow be related to the virus.
We’re here to discuss all of it, so let’s get started.
Facebook Announces Changes Related to COVID-19
This is one thing we see people asking about a lot, so let’s get it out of the way: How the virus might impact Facebook marketing?
Right now, there are a few ways COVID-19 could impact your campaigns.
Here are the basics:
- Facebook has announced that due to changes in the moderation process and with staff out of office, there may be delays and errors in ad reviews.
Make sure that you’re creating your ads and submitting them for approval long before you actually need them so you have time to adjust, edit, or appeal them if needed.
- Facebook has created a ban on any ads and commerce listings that seek to capitalize on fears related to the virus.
Any supposedly magic cures, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, and test kits cannot be advertised at this point in time. Absolutely no face masks can be advertised. This is really about preventing exploitation more than anything
- Facebook is currently testing new features to reduce misinformation about the virus on both WhatsApp and Messenger.
Some of these misinformation campaigns (including “cures” and rumors about government actions) have gained incredible traction in messaging apps, so giving users the ability to quickly research claims seen in Messenger online before believing it and resharing it may be effective.
You can see what this would look like here:
Facebook Releases New “Mood” for Stories Frames
The Facebook Stories camera has a new “Mood” mode, which enables users to create a GIF-centric frame for their Stories.
Users can look up a GIF, select it, and it will be framed with statements like “mood” or “LOL” underneath them.
Here’s how Facebook’s NEW ‘Mood’ creation mode for stories works… pic.twitter.com/YbU4l8Ih8d
— Matt Navarra 😷 (@MattNavarra) March 18, 2020
These are designed to be quick and easy to create, and they’re utilizing the popularity of GIFs in Stories right now.
We recommend that brands use them to explain their feelings or excitement about the news they’ve already discussed in a Story immediately leading up to it, like an announcement of a new product or a share of a customer review.
Facebook’s Rolling Out New Design for Messenger
Messenger is getting yet another overhaul.
Facebook is rolling out a new update for Messenger which looks to simplify and focus your messaging experience.
After first announcing its intention to simplify Messenger back in 2018, Facebook is now close to launching the next stage.
The biggest change, according to TechCrunch, is that the new update will eliminate the in-app Discover section. All that’s left will be “Chats” and “People” for your main navigation options.
Overall, this likely won’t impact most brands too significantly, though some did benefit from the Discover section’s potential boost in visibility.
Stories also seem to be missing.
Facebook Allows You To Convert 2D Images into 3D Images
Facebook’s 3D photos feature now has a new capability that many marketers may want to take note of. The system is now able to evaluate any image and simulate depth within it.
Static, flat, VERY 2D pictures can now have the appearance of 3D graphics.
These pictures aren’t truly 3D, but it does make them more attention-grabbing in the feed and can look higher quality.
Users can also use their mouse to “tilt” the image, almost like they could with a 360-degree photo.
While you can use Facebook to create actual 3D posts (and these will be a superior quality), this is a good smart answer for brands who want to change up their images quickly.
Facebook Testing the Ability to Cross-Post Facebook Stories on Instagram
We already have the ability to create Stories on Instagram and then share them to Facebook, too. All you’ve got to do is hit the little Facebook icon and boom, shared; you don’t need to recreate the Story on both interfaces, and it’s a great time saver.
Until now, this feature has only worked one way.
Facebook is now testing the option, however, to create Stories with them and then share it by cross-posting to Instagram. This was recently spotted by the incredible Jane Manchun Wong, who noticed the coding in the backend of the app.
While this may not necessarily be an enormous game-changer, it will be a great asset and increase potential convenience for brands and marketers.
Since more heavy integration is expected between the messaging apps, this cohesion makes sense.
Facebook marketing is always rapidly evolving. Right now, the coronavirus has us all on edge and taking precautions, and even if it’s slowing down other development even a little, it’s good to see that Facebook is taking its role and responsibility here seriously.
The company knows that their platform has been used (both intentionally and unintentionally) to spread misleading information and potentially take advantage of people, so they’re doing their part to ensure that this isn’t happening now.
As we move through the next month, remember to focus on valuable, empathetic marketing on Facebook, and look for shifts in consumer behavior.
Your audience is likely to be online more, so this isn’t a time to slow down the messaging, but they may respond more to certain types of content than others now, so be on the lookout for that.
What do you think? How have recent world events and these latest updates changed how you’re marketing on Facebook? Which updates are you most excited about? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
Top Facebook Updates February 2020
This month, Facebook celebrated its 16th birthday, and it’s a powerful reminder of how much marketing and the platform itself has evolved over the last decade and a half. A lot has changed since Facebook first rolled out and resembled the original Myspace in concept almost more than it resembled its current iteration. This isn’t surprising since so much can change on Facebook even on a month-to-month basis.
And this month was no exception.
In the past thirty days, Facebook has announced some new features, rolled out a few more, and set up partnerships with third-party companies to improve the user experience on the platform.
There’s a lot of updates to cover, so let’s start with one of the biggest announcements of the lot: the Clear History tool has now been rolled out to all users.
Facebook Rolls Out “Clear History” Tool to All Users Worldwide
We’ve talked a lot about Facebook’s Clear History tool for a while now and what it means for marketers, and it’s officially here in a big way. It’s been rolling out for a little while, and it’s now available to all Facebook users around the globe.
As soon as it becomes available to them, users will see a Privacy Check-Up, with one section explaining how to use the tool.
Users can see the data Facebook has stored about their off-Facebook activity and clear it if they choose, wiping it from Facebook’s system.
As we’ve discussed before, this can impact retargeting. If droves of users all over the world– and a large chunk of your target audience– decides to clear their history, cookie-based retargeting will become tricky.
Keep a close eye on your campaigns, and consider setting up ad funnels that leverage on-platform activity.
Facebook Releases “One Time Notification” API for Messenger
Businesses have 24 hours to respond to a user after that user has gotten in touch with their Page; they can’t message the individual outside of that period unless they’re using ad campaigns.
The exception here is if users choose to enable “one-time” notifications through Messenger for relevant updates from the business.
Businesses can now set up notification tools within Messenger that users can enable to receive relevant-to-them updates at a later time.
If customers are interested in a product that’s out of stock, for example, they can opt-in to in-stock notifications. You can also allow users to enable notifications for when their purchase ships, or before a coupon code expires.
There’s a lot of flexibility in how you use this feature, but it’s an enormous asset as it can keep you at the forefront of customers’ minds.
Facebook Expands Fact-Checking with Reuters Partnership
Almost everyone is familiar with the major transparency and misinformation issues Facebook has been known for within the past few years. Incorrect information is spread constantly on the platform, and though they turned a blind eye for years, they’ve taken an effort to change that since the 2016 election and all the fallout that happened with the platform since.
They’ve expanded their fact-checking efforts by establishing a partnership with Reuters, which will help Facebook attempt to detect, flag, and address any misinformation on the platform.
This is great news for marketers, because the more users feel they can trust the information they’re seeing on the platform, the better.
You want users to be able to trust what they’re seeing from your brand, and an overall improvement in authenticity on the platform can help.
Facebook Releases Creator Studio Mobile App
This month, Facebook released a new Creator Studio mobile app, which is a separate mobile tool designed to help manage your Pages on the go.
This mobile app will have many of the same features as the Creator Studio, just presented in a mobile-friendly package.
You can still manage, upload, and publish content, check your insights, and engage with your audience from a simplified, streamlined dashboard.
For brands who are using the Creator Studio to manage their Facebook and even Instagram campaigns, this is a must-have app.
Those who are already using third-party tools with mobile apps like Hootsuite may not rely on it as much, but it could still be valuable to download just in case it’s ever needed.
Audience Network Losing Mobile Web Placements
So much of Facebook’s updates seem to be about expansion, but sometimes the best thing the platform can do is let go of features that aren’t working anymore. That’s the case with mobile web placements from the audience network, which will be shut down as of April 11th.
Facebook has stated that:
These placements represented very small pieces of the audience network success”, and that “their removal will not have a material impact.”
By April 10th, make sure that your campaigns are changed over. Remove these placements from your campaigns to keep things simple, and focus on other placements instead.
Since most businesses focus more heavily on in-feed and more native ads, this won’t affect the majority of campaigns, but you may see a small fluctuation around mid-April in results if you were all-in on these particular placements.
There you have it, ladies and gentlemen! Another month is almost over, and Facebook certainly hasn’t disappointed.
As we continue to move forward through the year, one thing we know we’ll likely see a lot more of will be intentional efforts to increase transparency, authenticity, and accurate information on Facebook.
This was a major concern in the 2016 election and it’s proving to be an issue in the upcoming 2020 US election, too, and Facebook is taking it seriously this time. While many restrictions may only impact political campaigns, there will likely be a few that impact us all.
In the meantime, make sure you check out the new changes and check back in with us next month to see what else is new!
What do you think about this month’s Facebook updates? What are you most excited about, and which updates do you think will be most significant to the platform? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below!
Top Facebook Updates January 2020
Facebook slowed down a bit towards late December when it came to major updates, but that doesn’t mean they left us empty-handed for January!
Even though no highly-anticipated features dropped so far this month, they still quietly rolled out some great new Facebook updates that positive impact brands.
We’ve also got some news on policies moving forward, so in this post, we’re going to look at everything that’s changed on Facebook since our last post and what it means for you.
Messenger’s New Policy Start Date Delayed
If you’re asking yourself “What Messenger new policy,” then count yourself lucky.
Facebook has announced new policies for the Messenger platform that directly impact how business Pages can interact with customers. These include the following:
There’s a revised standard messaging window, which is now 24 hours.
Facebook wants businesses responding to messages within 24 hours since it’s what users expect, and now the pressure is on to do so.
We’re getting streamlined message tags
This will allow for personalized one-on-one messages outside of the standard messaging window in four specific use cases: post-purchase updates like shipping notifications, event reminders, account updates, and personalized responses from a human agent. The latter is currently in beta.
The News messaging is here (beta)
This new feature will allow registered news agencies to set up subscription messaging in a way that other businesses can’t.
Launch of a new API for one-time notifications
Some users want notifications on Messenger that they’ve opted in for, including one-time notifications for price alerts, back-in-stock alerts, and an alert that tickets or products are now available for sale. These are obviously beneficial for businesses, too. There will be a new API that will support these use cases, but only if the individual has explicitly requested the specific, relevant-to-them notifications.
NOTE: This policy was originally scheduled to go live on January 15th. It has since been pushed to March, with the “one-time notification” API likely rolling out sometime in February, so be ready for that.
You can read more about these policies here.
New Page Management History Tool Available
Matt Navarra recently flagged a brand new feature for Facebook Pages which is currently called “Page Management History.”
This tool is particularly useful for Pages being managed by multiple individuals, because it will show every single action made on and by your Page, when the actions were taken, and who enacted them.
Want to know who was a little bit rude to a customer, or who doled out wrong information? Looking to see who your shining stars are in terms of engaging customers? This tool can help you do that at a glance.
You can find this tool on your Page under the “Settings” tab, with the “Page Management History” all the way at the bottom of the menu. Right now, the history dates back to November 2019.
Updated Political Ad Policies
Tired of seeing so much content discussing politics or social issues on Facebook and Instagram?
While you will have to unfollow your aunt who shares political articles six times a day on your own, Facebook is now offering a control that allows users to reduce the number of political and social ads. They simply need to go to their “Ad Preferences” and opt to see fewer ads on these topics.
This won’t affect most of our readers as marketers, but it will likely impact you as a Facebook user.
Facebook has recently updated their policies on political ads by giving users more control of what they see. They have stated that they will not limit the targeting on political ads, but that they’re giving more control to users when it comes to what they want to see.
And if users want to check up on any political ads that are being run, they pushed out an improved version of their Facebook Ads library to make it a little more user-friendly in terms of search. It’s easier to find content based on keywords and key phrases now.
Special Category Ad Requirements Take Place in February
When you’re creating ads on Facebook, U.S.-based advertisers see an option to mention that you’re running ads in a “Special Ad Category.” These ads include those related to housing, credit opportunities, and employment.
Starting on February 11th, Facebook will require all U.S. advertisers to categorize their ads accordingly as well as to identify any active campaigns created before December 4th, 2019 if they belong in the Special Ad Category.
At this point, impacted advertisers are also going to need to update their targeting settings to meet current compliance standards.
All other businesses will simply ignore this, and make sure that they have the “Special Ad Category” option unchecked for all your campaigns.
Facebook didn’t drop any insane, out-of-this-world features over our break; they released one useful new update, and mostly focused on fine-tuning their policies and adjusting timelines.
This is what we expected to see, and with all the new changes we’re starting to see brew under the surface, it won’t be long before we’re writing about more substantial new features and changes happening on the platform.
In the meantime, please make sure that you’re up to date with all of the policy changes happening on the platform, and that any social teams you’re working with are as well.
These will impact how your business is marketing on the platform, so you need to be ready, because they’re coming quickly.
What do you think? Which of these policy changes and updates will impact you most? Do you think the Page Management History feature will be useful to your business? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
Top Facebook Updates November/December 2019
It’s really been one crazy year for Facebook marketing and advertising, with a major focus being on privacy and transparency concerns. We’ve also gotten some great new features along the way in addition to those that were privacy-oriented, including the expansion of the Stories feature, the new Creator Studio, and the business features for Messenger.
It’s not over yet, though.
This month we’ve got a look at new brand safety controls, limits on ads per page in 2020, responsive ads, and more. They really have saved the best for last, and there’s a lot to cover.
Facebook Releases New Placement Controls for Advertisers
Ever since there were issues a few years back on YouTube with ads being shown before (and then associated with) videos containing hate speech or violence, there’s been a big concern amongst plenty of advertisers about what content their ads are associated with. Facebook has already had blocklists for categories and select publishers when it comes to in-stream publishers, but now they’re extending their brand safety control features.
First, advertisers will soon be able to create publisher “white lists” in addition to blocklists, which will green-light ad placements for specific publishers, helping you show up in placements that may benefit you most. This feature is currently in testing with select advertisers.
We’ll also be getting account-level controls in the Business and Ad Managers so each Page can create their own lists.
Facebook also has a new safety partner: Zefr, a contextual data company, will work alongside Integral Ad Science, OpenSlate, and DoubleVerify to help ensure that “brand safety controls and tools can continue to serve advertisers’ needs.”
Facebook Will Implement Limits Ads Run in 2020
Facebook just recently announced that they’re planning on limiting the number of ads any given Page can run within set limits of time. So far, that’s all they’ve said, and we don’t know more yet.
Don’t panic yet, though. While we do have to wait for more information in 2020, the one thing that Facebook has said is that it will only affect “a small percentage of advertisers,” so we’re guessing major corporations running hundreds of ads within a given point in time.
That being said, this will be something to watch in the new year so that advertisers can ensure they’re prioritizing their (soon-to-be-limited) ad count accordingly.
Facebook Rolls Out “Multiple Text” Optimization
Facebook is releasing its version of Google’s responsive ad feature, which they’re calling “Multiple Text Optimization.”
You may already have the feature, and if not, it’s likely that you’ll have it soon.
This feature ads essentially an upgrade to their A/B testing tool, making it easier for advertisers to create, test, and optimize several different options for the headlines, ad copy, and product descriptions. If this sounds familiar to our AdEspresso users, it’s similar to how our platform works, allowing you to create multiple text options for an ad so that we can test and optimize your campaigns for you.
The ability to have Facebook test and then optimize ad copy (like we do here at AdEspresso) is valuable for those who haven’t had access to a feature like this yet, and can reduce some manual effort on your part while hopefully increasing your success on the platform.
Machine Learning Comes to Dynamic Ad Creation
Machine learning is a big deal in marketing right now, with plenty of platforms racing to create systems that get smarter the more they go on, even affecting chatbots who are learning to sell more and offer more finely-tuned suggestions. Now, it’s being applied to dynamic ad creation, with the goal being to deliver more personalized ads at a scalable level.
Facebook is going to use their own algorithms and information that you share about your audience to serve the most relevant dynamic ad campaigns to individual users, influenced by their actions on- and off-platform.
There’s nothing for you to do when it comes to using or enabling this update; this will happen automatically, and will hopefully help to improve your success if you’re using dynamic ad campaigns.
Want a refresh on how to leverage dynamic ad campaigns for your business? Check out our post here.
Facebook Adds New Fundraising Tools
To get ready for Giving Tuesday, Facebook rolled out three new fundraising tools across their entire family of platforms.
These three new tools are:
- “Donate” button for Instagram profiles of nonprofit organizations
- “Donate” stickers for Facebook Stories (which we already had available for Instagram)
- “Gaming for Good,” which is gaming live-streaming that encourages users to donate to a cause of the live-streamers choice.
If you are a nonprofit organization, take note of these changes and update your Instagram profile with the option to donate!
And all other businesses, if you work with nonprofits, consider running campaigns designed to drive donations towards the charity or organization of your choice.
Not only does this mean you’re doing good for the world, but it does also come with a nice bump in brand reputation, too.
New Video Management & Analytics Options Are Here for Creator Studio
Facebook isn’t just updating brand safety features and controls; they’re also releasing new Insights information through the Creator’s Studio that will be incredibly valuable to all business owners, marketers, and advertisers on the platform.
The biggest update here is their Traffic Source Insights feature (which is found in the Creator’s Studio) will show you exactly where your video views are coming from (with sources including recommendations, shares, followers, and paid traffic) and how long people are watching.
This is an insanely valuable breakdown, helping you see for the first time what kind of visibility you can get from different sources of traffic and how it’s impacting your campaigns.
With this update to the Creator Studio, we’re also gaining the ability to create multi-image Instagram posts on desktop.
Even better: you can now add tags from the Creator Studio, too, included branded sponsorship tags if relevant.
It’s been a big year for Facebook, and they’re certainly determined to keep that trend going through December.
With new insights, new testing and optimization features, and new ways for brands to impact and control the success of their ad campaigns, Facebook marketing doesn’t seem to be going anywhere but up in 2020.
We’re excited to see what new changes the next year brings about, but for now, we’re more than happy with what we’ve got.
Have a great holiday, everyone, and we’ll see you for our next update post in January!
What do you think? How do you feel about these Facebook updates? What are you most excited about, and which update did you find most impactful in all of 2019? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
Top Facebook Updates – October 2019
This month, we’ve got great Facebook updates coming our way, along with some general changes to the platform.
Facebook has eliminated a few things (including post scheduling outside of the Creator studio and grey verification badges), but we’re also getting search ads, Group post topics, new photo layouts, and more!
There’s a lot to cover, so let’s start with a look at what Facebook is removing from the platform first.
Facebook Removes Gray Verification Badges
Have you ever noticed on Facebook that there are two types of verification badges?
One is blue, and one is gray. They grey badges are available to all Pages who have verified their official details with Facebook to prove their identity, while blue checkmarks signal an important business, organization, or figure that’s well-known.
Facebook has just announced that they’ll be removing all gray verification badges as of October 30th, because this system appears to be “more confusing than helpful”.
You will soon see a red notification on your Facebook page about the removal. If you click the “Learn More” button, you’ll go to your Support Inbox where you can read this message:
Facebook guarantees that the update will not affect Pages or Profiles that have a blue verification badge, and states that the removal won’t impact on the way the Page appears in search results.
Let’s be honest, this will remove some credibility that your Page has, so try to step up your review game to garner that trust elsewhere.
Facebook Changes Reach Calculations
Facebook is making some changes to how they’re calculating reach and impressions, trying to ensure that the analytics platform is as accurate as possible.
They’re going to be changing the time frame that cuts off when two impressions from the same user can be counted as unique reach.
This may make it seem like you’re having a smaller reach or lower impressions than before, but all else being equal, it’s likely just due to the change in algorithms.
If you see a slight decline, don’t panic; the changes are going to start rolling out between the 17th and 28th of this month, so they’re coming soon.
As long as your overall ad performance stays steady, this is likely just a reflection of the more accurate reporting system.
Facebook Eliminates Post Scheduling on Pages
Facebook Admins have long been able to schedule posts directly from the Page itself, but this functionality has now been removed. Though it was originally thought to be a glitch, Mari Smith has confirmed that the post scheduling feature has been completely removed from the platform.
Now, you can only schedule Page posts through the Creator Studio, Business Manage, or Publishing Tools natively. You can also use third-party scheduling tools like Hootsuite, which are still fully functional.
Facebook Opens Search Ad Placements to More Advertisers
Facebook’s search ads are officially here, and it’s just been announced that these placements are rolling out to more advertisers.
These search ads are a new type of ad for the platform, allowing advertisers to bid to have their Page show up in relevant mobile searches users make on the platform.
This is the first ad type that allows businesses to reach users actively searching for Pages like theirs, giving them the chance to cash in on demand capturing instead of demand generation.
These ads are still going to be incredibly visual, as you can see in the example above.
Search pages will include the general search and Marketplace search options while still being able to set detailed audience criteria.
If you only want 24-year old dog owners who like tennis and art history to see your ads in search, you can still ensure that’s happening.
Right now, the ads will likely be limited to a set of contextually relevant English and Spanish search terms, so while it’s rolling out more broadly, it’s not doing so in all languages just yet.
Since the feature is just rolling out, we don’t have a ton of data on the ad system just yet and how well this new placement works. It will be interesting to see if they’re even close to being as effective as keyword-oriented search campaigns like you see on Google Ads or Bing Ads.
Keep an eye out for a post about these ads– we’ll have them coming to you soon!
New Post Topics Coming to Groups
Groups are booming on Facebook. They’re pretty much the platform’s most popular feature, and engagement in groups is skyrocketing.
This is great news, especially for businesses leveraging groups for marketing and relationship-building purposes, but it can also be a little chaotic, too.
I’m in a couple of professional groups, for example, and the number of times I see a mod respond “people ask this all the time, use the search bar” is pretty crazy. And they’re not being snarky, they’re actually directing people to where they can find the information that’s already there.
In order to prevent this, Facebook is releasing “post topic tags,” which enable group members and admins to categorize different types of posts and make them easier to find later.
In a professional copywriting group, for example, you might see tags like “job leads,” “industry news,” and “contract questions.” People can quickly find the content that’s most valuable to them, making the group more valuable by consequence.
There’s a lot of chatter that happens in groups, after all, so being able to sift through that if it’s not really your thing will actually keep engagement up.
Facebook Tests New Photo Layouts for Multi-Image Posts
Right now, Facebook really has one layout option for multi-image posts, which is automatically generated upon publication.
Top hacker Jane Manchun Wong has found evidence, however, that Facebook is testing a few different new layout options for multi-image posts, allowing users (and Pages!) to choose between different formats for these posts.
This is a small change, but it’s a really cool one.
The ability to choose different layouts will allow marketers and Pages to choose the option that best showcases the images they want to share with their audiences.
You can emphasize certain images by making them larger, or focus on mobile-first vertical content instead of being forced to stick to square previous.
This allows for more creative flexibility, which is always good.
In the last few months, we’ve seen some big updates coming from Facebook, and fortunately for all of us, October was no different!
While we’re losing a few things (grey badges, on-Page scheduling, and the algorithm we’re familiar with), we’re also gaining some new things.
Search Ads, in particular, are insanely exciting, and we’ can’t wait to get our hands on them and start testing them out.
What do you think? Which changes are you most excited about? Are you going to start testing Search Ads soon? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
Top Facebook Updates – September 2019
Who is ready to read about everything new happening on Facebook right now?
This month, in particular, we’re seeing some great new tools that can be a direct benefit to businesses, allowing business owners and marketers to use the platform in new ways to better connect with and serve our target audience.
There’s a lot to cover, so without further ado, let’s jump straight in.
New Business Tools in Messenger
Facebook announced some new business tools in Messenger, most of which will likely be rolling out later this year either in an initial public release or on a beta-test, depending on the feature.
Here’s what’s coming our way:
Lead Generation tools in Messenger.
This tool has started rolling out already, and has been in beta-testing for a little while. This is an option in Messenger’s template, which can be found in the Facebook Ads Manager and allows businesses to set up automated, chatbot-like experiences to qualify leads quickly and automatically. Businesses will then be able to pick up and continue the conversations, while having an integration with CRM tools to onboard and track the leads.
Appointment booking through Messenger.
This was also announced earlier this year, and this feature is now open to beta testing (you can request to join the waitlist here). This new feature lets businesses integrate their calendar and appointment booking software with Facebook, and then accept appointment bookings through Messenger when potential customers message them. The goal is to help businesses convert Messenger conversations into real traffic and appointments, in-store and/or online, and the feature will likely be rolling out later this year.
Improved reporting for events.
We don’t have much information on this particular feature yet, but Facebook assures us that they’ll be “making it easier for businesses using Messenger Platform to report and track conversions that take place in Messenger.” This will potentially include analytics tracking clicks, appointment bookings, and possibly interactions with chatbots, but we don’t have details yet aside from the fact that it’ll be available later this year.
Alongside these changes, Facebook also announced that they’re revising the standard messaging window to 24 hours after receiving the message, after which you’ll need to rely on sponsored messages or message tags that are essentially preloaded messages that you can send out like a canned response.
New Collaborative & Monetization Features for Stories
Alright, Instagram creators, this one is for you.
Facebook is releasing new collaborative and monetization features for their Stories platform, designed to increase its potential. These new features include:
- Collaborative features, allowing multiple pre-selected accounts to share their own image or video to your Story.
Imagine if you were hosting a conference, for example, and allowing your speakers access to post content sharing their experience. It’s a great way to get more brand awareness for everyone involved and make your Stories more engaging and dynamic.
- New engagement-oriented reply feature, allowing brands to create a CTA that asks users to submit their own images or videos (essentially a clickable request for UGC).
Once you get those pictures or videos, you can instantly and easily reshare them on your own Story for some great content and social proof.
- Monetization & selling features, which would allow select creators to tag products that they’re promoting (like on Instagram) and then sell directly with an in-development native checkout process.
In the midst of all this, Facebook has acknowledged that they’re testing new ways to introduce more creators to their target audiences based on users’ likes, interests, and on-platform opportunity.
This could make Facebook an even more valuable platform in terms of reaching your audience, even though organic reach has been tough for a while.
Facebook Dating (Love Is In The App)
If you want to talk about going “Facebook official,” you can really take that to the next level now with the official release of Facebook Dating.
Users who are 18+ are able to create a dating profile (which is separate from their main profile), and have potential dates suggested to them based on interests and on-platform activity. Only those who have opted-in will be suggested as potential matches.
While this is called “Facebook dating,” there’s an interesting integration with Instagram here, allowing users to share their Instagram content on the dating app.
This likely points to the increasing integration we may see moving forward, particularly in terms of the integrated messaging apps Facebook confirmed awhile back.
As of right now, this likely won’t impact business owners or marketers unless they’re looking for love, but it’s a big feature so we had to mention it.
Moving forward, who knows if there are opportunities here for businesses to promote date-friendly events they’re hosting or…
New Video Publishing Tools
Ever gone Live for the first time in a while and felt nervous about what to expect with the technical side of things? Or maybe you wanted to see how you’d actually look on camera?
Now, Facebook is giving you a workaround with Live rehearsals.
This feature will let you broadcast your Live to Page admins and editors only, allowing you to do a test run and even get feedback if you want before the real deal.
There will also be a new “trimming” feature, allowing Live publishers to cut out the beginning and the end of their Live replays, sparring us all the awkward two minutes of “we’ll just wait for everyone to show up before we get started” that always ensues when you’re hosting live broadcasts on Facebook (speaking from experience).
Use this to your advantage, increasing viewer retention on replays significantly. You want to start off strong to keep people engaged, and sitting waiting at your computer mumbling about technical difficulties (guilty once again) isn’t what will cut it.
And for the last update on this front, Facebook has extended the maximum live broadcasts from four hours to eight hours.
This is bananas, and unless you’re a news station broadcasting something legitimately newsworthy live, there’s no reason most marketers or businesses will need to come close even to the four hours. Still, it’s an option if you decide to go for it (it’s just not one we’d recommend!).
After a slow month for Instagram updates, this month’s Facebook news was music to our ears. Who doesn’t love shiny new toys (aka features) to play with and test out?
The Messenger tools are the highlight this month, as they’ll be the most useful for businesses and marketers across the board.
The new monetization and collaboration options, however, are fantastic, and showing a new way that Stories are starting to evolve even further beyond their Snapchat origin.
We’re also a big fan of the live rehearsals, which can ensure things go smoothly once your audience is tuned in and watching.
All in all, this was a great month for Facebook updates, and we can’t wait to see what next month brings. Can you?
What do you think? Which of these new features are you most excited to get your hands on? What do you think will impact you the most? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
Top Facebook Updates – August 2019
Within the month of August, we got some big news about the platform, and we’re getting a few smaller tweaks to improve the platform alone with two very, very significant changes.
Do we have your interest yet? Keep reading and see all the Facebook updates from this month and what they mean for you.
Facebook Releases Q2 Earnings for 2019
Facebook has just released their Q2 earnings report for 2019.
This is all happening following the FTC settlement and fine, and only hours after everything went down, Facebook still saw a 3% increase in stock value.
The platform had a Q2 earnings beat of $16.9 billion, with $1.99 adjusted EPS.
We also know that the number of users on the platform has increased further still.
There are more than 2.7 billion people using the suite of Facebook tools and apps, which include Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Over 2.1 billion people use at least one service per day. There are so many people who use the apps so frequently and even rely on them, it still marks Facebook and its connected apps as tools that marketers should be investing in.
The Clear History Tool Has Started Rolling Out
Users have happily anticipated it for years, and marketers and advertisers have low-key (or high-key) dreaded it, but now it’s here: Facebook’s much-requested Clear History tool has started rolling out in select areas.
The Clear History feature is one that we’ve talked about recently. It will allow users to manage how Facebook stores your off-platform activity, which they then use for ad targeting.
Users will be able to prevent Facebook from storing this data, significantly impacting retargeting potential if they do so. You can’t create retargeting campaigns based on site activity, after all, if that data is no longer there.
Since Facebook has confirmed that this may (and likely will) impact retargeting abilities, this is important to consider. There’s a good chance that plenty of users will take advantage of this feature, so it’s important to prepare now.
Facebook will likely still be able to track on-platform actions like video views and lead form completions, and you’ll still be able to upload customer lists, so these options will stay intact and become even more valuable.
Slight Expansion of Search Ad Placements Is Happening
Here’s another big one: Facebook is expanding their Search Ads to a few more select advertisers.
Do we have your attention yet?
Last year, Facebook started testing search ads with just a few businesses in the United States. Search Ads, like those in the newsfeed, have a “Sponsored” tag when they appear.
They function completely differently from your standard Facebook Ad, however; they’ll show up in users’ relevant search results, giving you the ability to potentially show your content to people looking for businesses like yours.
This is huge for advertisers everywhere.
Search Ads are all about fulfilling an existing demand instead of trying to create one.
There can be a more immediate path to conversion, because you don’t have to convince users they need you in the first place, and it gives you an edge over the competition who won’t be using these search features yet.
Right now, the search ads are restricted and aren’t nearly as sophisticated as other search ad platforms (including Pinterest). You can’t bid on keywords; instead, your ad can be triggered for placement based on a user searching a phrase that aligns with something in your profile.
When you’re using these ads, therefore, make sure you’ve got a keyword-laden profile.
You can use single image or carousel images for the ad campaign, but no other formats are available.
“Outdated” Interest Targeting Options Are Removed
This is a simple update, but it’s worth noting nonetheless.
Facebook is removing “outdated” interest targeting options that were often infrequently used by advertisers.
These include minor interest targeting choices like old movies, band names, or cultural references that may be a little obscure.
These select targeting options are going to be removed from the ad interface and the APIs.
Facebook has stated that the majority of advertisers won’t even notice the removals, but just in case, we wanted to mention them here.
Updated Language Better Reflects The Actual Privacy of Groups
Facebook has used terms like “private” and “secrets” and “hidden” in recent times, and its left consumers and even marketers a little confused about what term means what exactly.
In part of their effort to promote better transparency on their part, Facebook has been updating some of the language on the platform to offer clarification and keep everyone on board.
They’ve recently extended this to clarify the privacy and visibility of group statuses, which is significant since so many businesses are creating branded groups to keep their audiences engaged.
Groups are so prominent that understanding the difference in terminology is important. Groups will now either be labeled “public” or “private.” Here’s what the terminology means:
- Public groups are automatically visible, meaning that anyone can find them by searching or seeing a friend join it. Anyone can see who is in the group and what they post.
- Groups can be private but visible, meaning that anyone can find it by searching or other methods of discovery, but that only members can see who is in the group and what they post. This used to be the “closed” option.
- Groups can be private but hidden, meaning that no one can see who is in the group and what they post unless they’re members, and that only members and those invited to the group will be able to find it. This used to be the “secret” option.
It’s clear that Facebook is still very heavily focused on shifting the tool to allow for more privacy for users and transparency on the part of themselves and brands marketing on the platform. This isn’t surprising, and it’s following the trend of what we’ve seen so far this year.
In the meantime, perhaps the biggest news here is the emergence of search ads, which will absolutely add an entirely new dynamic to Facebook advertising. It will be interesting to see how this feature evolves overtime to give marketers more control, but for now any addition in this area is a good one. We’ll keep you updated when we know more.
What do you think? Which update surprised you most? How do you feel about the clear history tool? Are you excited to get your hands on search ads? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
Top Facebook Updates – July 2019
This month was an interesting one. Like in June, we haven’t seen a ton of new features rolled out. Instead, we got one really cool feature, and a few other smaller updates that essentially affect how the platform works for businesses and advertisers.
Even if July wasn’t a particularly crazy month, all of these changes are important, so let’s take a look at what’s happened and what it means for you.
Organic Targeted Posts Released
We’re starting with the most exciting update that we have this month: organic targeted posts for top fans.
Coming soon for Pages with more than 10,000 followers (which is needed to get that Top Fan badge) is the ability to create and share organic posts only to those with a “top fan” classification badge.
These fans are those are engaging with you most frequently, meaning that they care and are invested with your content.
You can use this feature to share exclusive content only with the people who are most excited about your brand, which can give you an opportunity to split-test new content before going more public.
It can also give you a chance to offer exclusive information, discounts, or access to new products to those who are most likely to be excited about it.
It definitely can lend to a feeling of exclusivity, but remember that anything that’s posted anywhere online is fair game; there’s nothing stopping one of your top fans from screenshotting whatever you’ve posted and sharing it elsewhere.
Facebook Updates Mobile Formatting
Starting on August 19th of this year, Facebook’s mobile ad formatting and mobile Page post formatting will look a little different.
This content on mobile will be compressed, making it easier for users to scroll through their mobile feeds quickly.
In order to aid the compression, only three lines of primary text will be shown in the feed, requiring people to click if they want to view more.
The maximum height for videos and videos will also be reduced down to 4:5. If you’re using media that is taller than 4:5, it won’t show up in the mobile newsfeed, so make sure that you get those dimensions right.
This update is only a tiny change, but it significantly impacts the creatives that marketers and brands are sharing.
Both organic and ad posts need to be short enough (literally) in order to even show up in the feed.
In order to take advantage of the decreased text, make sure that you’re getting your point across right away; you can always go back and elaborate later.
Facebook Reinstating Custom Audience Reach Estimates
In March of 2018, Facebook discovered a unique bug that caused a potential program with custom audience reach estimates.
The reach estimates would tell advertisers approximately how many users fell under the audience perimeters they were targeting, but the bug could have let some advertisers infer attributes like gender or country of those in the audiences they uploaded.
This was considered to be a potential violation of privacy, so they temporarily removed the reach estimates.
Now, those reach estimates are going to be reinstated. The bug has been fixed, and Facebook has announced that the reinsertion will be happening soon.
When you upload custom audiences, you’ll be able to see the estimated number of people within that audience that you could potentially connect with.
While this isn’t an enormous update, it is a helpful one; larger audiences can keep costs down and allow you to catch a wider net. An audience that’s too large, though, may not be segmented enough, and it may be difficult to properly drive conversions.
Updated Terms of Service
Facebook has an update in its terms of service that has– you guessed it– taken transparency into consideration.
As explained on their own blog, Facebook’s new “terms of service” is designed to be clearer and more straight-forward in terms of explaining how the services work and how the platform is using personal information.
The new terms of service that have been added or altered include:
- More details about how Facebook makes money, including details about how ad revenue pays for the service so users don’t have to
- Information about why certain content is removed, and what violates the platform’s terms or policies
- Explanations of how users own their intellectual property, including videos or posts they share
- Details that it can take up to 90 days for deleted content to be removed from the system, even though it will no longer be visible immediately upon deletion.
These updates aren’t really anything new, but it’s still good for all users and advertisers to know what they’re agreeing to.
The new terms of service go into effect across the board on July 31.
Health Claim Posts Are More Regulated
We’ve all seen the ads and posts from advertisers claiming that their super-secret nutritional program will give you more energy than a border collie puppy, or that their special supplement will “Melt the pounds away like butter.”
We all know that most of these claims are pretty much bogus, but it can be difficult to sort out what’s real and what isn’t. That’s impacting users’ experience on Facebook, so the platform is stepping up and addressing “sensational” health claims.
Businesses and advertisers in the health and wellness niche, pay attention: Facebook will be reducing posts with sensational or exaggerated health claims in the algorithm, hurting their reach.
This means they may also penalize a post that promotes a product or service based on health claims, like magic pills or medicines to help you lose weight.
They’re doing this by identifying phrases that were commonly used in sensational health-related posts, and causing them to take a hit in the algorithm.
We don’t know what those exact phrases are, but if you’re in a related industry, pay close attention to this.
We haven’t seen a ton of new features and updates coming around every corner in recent months like we’ve been accustomed to (and like Instagram is still doing), but this makes sense.
Facebook has gotten hit so hard with issues regarding privacy, transparency, and security concerns that they’ve had to focus on restructuring a few things at the core level.
This takes time, and they’re also working on a few more big upheavals in the meantime (read: the integration of all the messaging apps), so it makes sense that we’d see a little bit of a slow down with new features for now.
As for this next month, though, who’s to say what’s around the corner? Make sure you come back then and find out!
What do you think? What changes are you most excited about? What do you think is coming next? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
Top Facebook Updates – June 2019
This month’s update is not quite as big as last month, but there are still some important changes that you need to know about. Like the launch of Facebook’s new cryptocurrency. What else is slate to change for Facebook?
Let’s take a look!
Branded Content on Instagram Ads
Previously, AdEspresso outlined what Branded Content Ads for Facebook were and 4 smart ways to use them in your advertising strategy.
Given the success they have seen on the Facebook side, the team has decided to expand the same ad to take organic content and turn them into Branded Content Ads.
As you can see in the image above, users will be able to see the name of the sponsored business right underneath the ad itself, which is important for Facebook in the wake of their transparency scandals.
When asked about the role of Branded Content in their ad strategy, the VP of Brand Communications for Old Navy said the following:
We’ve long seen that customers want to discover fashion through trusted sources who have credibility, but organic reach on that content has become increasingly limited. So we’re consistently looking for more sophisticated ways like Branded Content ads to serve partner content to the right shoppers, instead of just throwing it into the social ether. Promoting content directly from an influencer’s handle inherently gives the post more authenticity than coming from a brand handle, and we’re seeing significantly higher engagement rates using this strategy.– LIAT WEINGARTEN, VP OF BRAND COMMUNICATIONS, OLD NAVY
If you’d like to try these ads out for yourself, you can find the full guide on how to create these ads here.
Improvements to the Comment Ranking System
If you’re familiar with Facebook in any way, you know that Facebook ranks both posts and ads in order to display the most relevant and useful content to their users. A little known fact, however, is that Facebook also ranks comments made on these posts.
They rank these comments using several different factors:
- Integrity signals: Facebook scans posts for violation of their Community Standards. Anything that doesn’t fit is removed immediately, while they rank the others based on things like engagement baiting and integrity of information.
- What people tell us they want to see in comments: Facebook has been using surveys to determine the most personalized and engaging content.
- How people interact with comments: How many reactions and replies a comment receives.
- What the poster controls: Page owners have the ability to self-moderate their comments and can reply, hide, or delete them at will. Facebook states that comment ranking is the default for pages with a high volume of followers, but they can choose to disable this option. Pages with fewer followers will have this turned off by default, but you can turn it on y using the same steps linked above.
So, what’s changed?
Facebook’s comment updates amount to two big changes as it related to how Facebook prioritizes the comments.
- Facebook will promote comments which have a reply from the original poster
- Facebook will promote comments or reactions from friends of the original poster
Now, this doesn’t mean that just because your friend posted a spammy MLM comment that it won’t be removed. This change by Facebook incentivizes the connection between brands and their consumers, strengthening their resolve to make Facebook a place for relationships of any sort.
For those of you who have been ignoring the comments on your ads, now is the time to flex your engagement muscles and start interacting with your audience.
Facebook Unveils a New Cryptocurrency
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past ten years, chances are you’ve heard of cryptocurrency and the buzz that surrounds it. Facebook has now decided to get into the crypto game themselves – unveiling their new cryptocurrency called Libra.
Among its many claims, Facebook’s Libra is reported to have three main benefits – simplicity, inclusivity, and a global reach.
In addition to the three benefits above, Facebook plans to make Libra easy to use in your everyday life. This means you’ll be able to shop online, pay bills, and send and receive money within their upcoming Calibra app.
The image below is just a sample from Facebook’s unveiling.
So what makes it so stable? TechCrunch explained it well in their recent article:
Each time you cash in a dollar, that money goes into a big bank account called the Libra Reserve that creates and sends you roughly one Libra token. The Libra Reserve is made up of a collection of the most stable international currencies, like the U.S. dollar, British pound, the euro and the Japanese yen. The idea is that even if one of those currencies goes up or down in price, the value of the Libra will stay stable. That way, shops will accept the Libra as payment without worrying the value of the coin will drop tomorrow.”
What will this mean for advertisers?
At this point, it’s too early to say. However, one can speculate that a business owner could potentially open up their catalog to supporting Libra currency in the future.
Updates to Canadian Political Ads
Last year, Facebook started to roll out special conditions for those who are running political ads or ‘issues of national importance’. These conditions denoted several important changes, including a new political ad authorization, content restrictions, and targeting restrictions.
Among these was also ad transparency – meaning that Facebook would disclose who was paying for the political ads.
On June 25th, Facebook extended these requirements to Canada.
Just like in the US, Canadian politicians will need to comply with the same authorization guidelines in order to run these ads. In addition, any political ads will be stored in the Ad Library for up to 7 years, even if they are disapproved for not complying with Facebook guidelines.
You can read the full release from Facebook here.
As we’ve seen above, although there aren’t many updates this month the ones we see are important to pay attention to.
Out of all of these changes, which impacts you the most? How do you see Libra potentially integrating with Facebook Ads? Sound off in the comments below!
Top Facebook Updates – May 2019
In May, we’ve had so much happen in the world of the Facebook empire– including Messenger and its sister company WhatsApp– that it even surprised me!
In this update, we’ll take a look at all the new changes, what they mean for marketers and businesses, and how you can leverage these novelties for your business. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started.
Facebook Releases Their Q1 2019 Earnings
We all hear people claiming they’ll be swearing off Facebooks, that they’re sick of ads, that they’re worried about privacy. Those are legitimate grievances to those who have them… but they don’t tell the full story.
In Facebook‘s recent report where they shared their Q1 earnings and other relevant data, it’s clear that they’ve seen an increase of usage across its entire family of apps (including Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp).
Even more significantly, they’ve seen a 26% increase in year-over-year advertising revenue. Mobile advertising, in particular, grew, increasing from 91% of the total advertising revenue to 93%.
Some people may be over Facebook. That’s completely fine.
There’s enough usage happening here, however, to still make Facebook ads worthwhile for brands, especially those who want to keep running those ad campaigns.
Facebook’s Algorithm Changes Again
Facebook likes to throw a few curveballs our way, and they’re changing the algorithm once again to keep us on our toes (and, you know, improve the whole user experience and all that).
They just announced two different ranking updates to affect what people are seeing in their feeds.
The first prioritizes friends that the individual user is most likely to want to hear from (based on past engagement) and the second focuses on increasing visibility to the links that the user might find most valuable.
While having more relevant content showing up in users’ feeds sounds like a dream, Facebook’s past algorithms haven’t always been friendly to Pages with their declining organic reach.
Facebook has claimed, however, that these algorithm updates are not designed to impact Pages; they’ve also hinted that if you’re sharing links that your audience will find valuable, it may even help you.
Value really is the name of the game right now in social media, which is why features like groups are so important. We’ll look at this a little more in just a second.
Updated Interface Prioritizes Community & Stories
Last month, Facebook announced an updated interface for both its desktop site and mobile app. It’s a little sleeker and it is a little bit more intuitive. The app is also a tiny bit faster.
There is a big change, though, that can affect brands distinctly: the site is prioritizing Stories, groups, and events now more than ever before.
These features are center stage, which isn’t surprising; they’ve been given increasing visibility over the past year, especially with group content being some of the highest ranked content in the algorithm in many cases.
The mobile app has already rolled out for most users, and the desktop site is slowly being rolled out over the next few months.
If you aren’t up to speed with using Facebook for community-building yet, now is your chance. Consider creating a group surrounding your brand that offers genuine value to your audience; AdEspresso has one for its University members, and I can attest how much value is shared there and how much the community gains not only from our experts like Paul Fairbrother, but from the other members, too. You can recreate this with your own brand.
You should also be making strong use of Stories for heightened visibility (especially since they’re a popular feature that aren’t affected by organic reach), and taking advantage of events every time you’ve got anything you want to promote– even if it’s online. Finding new ways to leverage these changes to stay relevant and visible will be key.
Messenger Gets an Update, Too
Facebook gets an update, so it only makes sense that Messenger does, too, right? According to Facebook, Messenger will be getting a “lighter, faster” mobile app and desktop site at some point later this year.
We know that Facebook has expressed interest in integrating three of its messaging apps– Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram direct– so that they stay three standalone apps but are relatively seamlessly integrated. This could be one step towards that, as they’re re-engineering the architecture of the platform completely. They want it to be faster and easier for users to use, focusing on chat but also offering video co-watching abilities.
It looks like they’re trying to make Messenger more immersive for users in multiple ways, encouraging usage across the board. This is good news for advertisers with success running different styles of Messenger Ads, because more usage could mean more potential placements on the board.
New Updates to Video Ranking
In early May, Facebook shared that they’re updating how videos are ranked in the platform, and thus distributed in the newsfeed. Now, they’ll be prioritizing three factors:
- Loyalty and intent, which includes intent and repeat viewership. If people are watching videos, seeking them out, and returning to watch them week after week (in terms of a video series or content from a creator), that’ll gain priority.
- Viewing duration. Facebook wants to see that videos are capturing users’ attention for at least one minute, so those that keep viewers engaged (especially if they’re at least three minutes long) will see a bump in the rankings.
- Originality. Unoriginal or repurposed content may see limited distribution, especially if you’re sharing content from other sources and not adding much value of your own. Content involved in sharing schemes (which typically involve programs, unofficial or otherwise, that are relatively easy to spot) will also be lowered in the ranks.
When you’re creating video, make sure that you’re offering value. Are you keeping your audience entertained? Do your videos contain enough information or entertainment that you’re not losing people left and right? Video content takes time and energy to create, so focus on quality over quantity first.
New Business Tools Are Rolling Out for Messenger
Facebook is rolling out some new business tools alongside these new interfaces. Messenger, in particular, is going to get a new set of drop-in options like appointment-booking functions, lead generation templates, and easy authentication that will make it easier for brands to provide customer care and drive actions like lead generation or even in-store traffic.
More users than ever are connecting with businesses on social media, so the ability to streamline this process in a way that’s valuable to both the customer and the brand is outstanding news. Integrations of appointment creation and lead generation will be hugely helpful, because native features are always good. Users can even add appointments directly to their calendars with a single click of the button, increasing the likelihood of a follow through.
These features are still in beta-testing, but we’re hoping to see them later this year.
Messenger Codes Are Being Faded Out
Messenger’s camera currently has the capability to scan “Messenger Codes,” which are essential QR codes designed for Messenger’s app. Facebook will be ending this capability as of August 15th of this year.
This is a bit of a disappointment for brands who use this feature to drive users to get in touch on Messenger, but it’s not the end of the world. If you’re willing to invest in Facebook Ads, you can run ads designed to encourage users to message you directly, too, giving you new ways to generate more conversations with your target audience.
You can use Messenger Codes up until the August deadline, so feel free to be using them up until then and start considering other methods to get users in touch on the platform.
WhatsApp’s Business Catalog is Expanding Globally
WhatsApp– which is a sister company of Facebook, which is why we’re including it here– has an incredible update coming in the near future. Their users will soon be able to see the brand’s Business Catalog when chatting with them in-app, allowing businesses to showcase more of their products in a highly visible way.
The catalog will include descriptions and images of products, similar to what you see on Shoppable posts that Facebook and Instagram already offer. It will be exciting to see how these features businesses advertising on the platform, so we’ll keep you tuned as they start to roll out.
See, told you there were a ton of changes coming our way. Most of these align with Facebook’s big push towards giving users the content they’re most likely to want to see and interact with, which is ultimately good for brands wanting to connect with them. Sure, it sets the bar high for content that can make it through the ring, but if you adapt and focus on genuinely connecting with your audience instead of just shouting sale information at them, you’ll be in good shape (or at least better than your competition, which is what matters most!).
What do you think? How do you feel about this month’s Facebook changes? What are you most excited about, and how will it affect your marketing strategy? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
Top Facebook Updates – April 2019
In this month’s edition of our Facebook Updates post, we’re going to take a look at the soon-to-be-improved ads and business managers, the cost cap bidding option, new inventory filters, and more!
New Ads Manager & Business Manager Announced
Facebook just announced that by the end of the year, we’ll have a new and improved Ads Manager and Business Manager.
Earlier this month, they started rolling out the new Ads Manager interface. This new design has simplified navigation, a cleaner design, and improved campaign management thanks to easier-to-access reporting.
The campaign creation process is also getting an upgrade, with a new copy and paste feature that will help you speed up the time it takes to build your ads.
There will also be an auto-naming feature so that you don’t need to come up with your own campaign names (though how well this works for organizational purposes will remain to be seen).
These features will likely roll out later this year.
As for the Business Manager, one of the biggest updates will come in the next few months and involve an improved, faster, and seamless process that will make it easy for agencies to onboard new clients.
This will make it easier for them to access historical reporting and more efficiently run their clients’ ad campaigns.
As someone who has worked with a number of clients on social media to manage their overall Pages along with their ads, I can say that this could be a huge game changer in terms of client onboarding in the best way.
Anything that speeds up our process and saves us time is good, but it also makes the clients’ experience significantly better, too.
New Cost Cap Bidding Option
Facebook has given us a new way to get the most out of our bids, releasing their Cost Cap Bidding strategy, which is a new strategy that focuses on maximizing conversion volume while maintaining cost predictability. This optimization strategy will seek to strike a balance between getting results while still being cost-and-budget-friendly.
According to Facebook, the cost cap strategy will be the way to go when you want to maximize volume conversions while maintaining budget.
Bid cap, on the other hand, will be best when you want to set a strict limit on how high you’re willing to bid, and target cost is the right choice when you want to keep costs consistent even as your budget goes up.
Facebook Adds Inventory Filter
Facebook has just introduced a new inventory filter, which allows advertisers to have more control over where their ads will appear and what content they could be associated with. This is part of their new brand safety control measures, which are designed to protect brands.
Here’s how it works. You can have your content excluded from moderate and sensitive content for a “limited inventory,” which goes as far as possible to protect your brand even though it may lower your reach and impact costs. You can also choose a “standard inventory,” which excludes only sensitive content, or a “full inventory” which pretty much excludes nothing.
This applies to Instant Articles, Audience Network, and In-Stream video placements. If you want to control what content your brand may be associated with, this is a chance to increase your protection and control further than ever before in a quick, convenient way.
New Steps Taken to Manage “Problematic” Content
It’s no secret that Facebook has been hit with some major transparency issues from every direction, and with false news spreading from every direction, it’s negatively affecting users and Facebook’s reputation.
Facebook wants to put a stop to it, and they’ve recently announced that they’ll be working to clean up users’ feeds by attempting to promote higher quality, trustworthy news organizations while halting or slowing down content that may not be so reliable.
They’ve said they’ll be removing content that doesn’t meet their policies, and even launching quality control features, including one for groups.
They’ll be reducing the reach of groups that repeatedly share misinformation, and inform users by adding trust indicators to the news feed context buttons on news to hopefully help guide users to more reliable (and non-parody) information.
3-D Photos Features Released
Last fall, Facebook released the option to create 3-D photos on Facebook, and now we’ve gotten more features along these lines.
You can now share 3-D photos to Stories, giving them new reach, and you can upload them through the web or your mobile device.
Here’s what Facebook says about how to upload these images through www flow:
- “You’ll need two (2) files for this to work: an image and a depth map, either in .png or .jpg format.
- File names matter! Make sure the depth map has _depth appended to the file name. For example: myImage.png + myImage_depth.png would be what your two files might be named to use this flow.
- While the aspect ratio of your depth map and your image must match, they don’t need to be the same resolution.
- As shown below, to create a 3D photo from the web, drag an image and its depth map and drop them into the composer.”
While this may seem like a complicated process, the new upload features will speed things up for marketers who are taking advantage of 3-D photos, making it more accessible and convenient to us all as a result.
And more good news: Starting in May, Android users will have the option to create 3-D photos if they have dual cameras on select smartphones. Keep an eye out for this, too.
Facebook has given us a lot of really incredible new features this month. I’m particularly excited about the cost cap bidding option, and it will be fascinating to see how this works to keep us at target bids while hopefully maximizing the conversions.
The 3D photo capabilities are also astonishing, and will certainly be unbelievably valuable to the brands that can leverage it well.
And if you’re interested in seeing the first look at the new business manager and native ad manager, you’re not alone– we’re dying to get our hands on it, too.
Keep an eye on our blog and we’ll let you know when more of those features and updates start rolling out!
What do you think? Which updates are you most excited about? Which are you planning to use the second you gain access? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
Top Facebook Updates – March 2019
Ready to see what’s new on Facebook this month?
Some of the biggest changes are a switch up to the relevance score, new premium video advertising, and information about how subscription fees might work, and we’re excited to talk about it all.
Let’s start where I know you all want to: Facebook’s new relevance score metrics.
The Single Relevance Score is Divided Into Three
Facebook’s relevance score has been a huge focus for advertisers for a long time; that single number could tell you a lot about your campaigns, including the estimated quality and predicted success, and it could directly impact your CPCs and overall ROI.
Facebook just announced that they’re replacing their single ad relevance score with three new “granular ad relevance diagnostics metrics.” These three new metrics are:
Which tells you the perceived quality of your ad compared with those that are trying to reach the same audience. This means that this metric isn’t totally in your control, and it’s a comparative metric.
Engagement rate ranking
Which will tell you the expected engagement rate Facebook thinks your ad will get compared with ads targeting the same audience.
Conversion rate ranking
Which looks at the expected conversion rate compared to ads that are targeting the same optimization goal and audience.
Facebook’s algorithms still play a big role in relevance score, which is why you’re seeing the term “expected” pop up so much here, and the relevance score metrics can be impacted as your campaign progresses.
While the three new metrics give users even more to keep track of, it will also provide much more specific feedback that advertisers can use to improve their campaigns moving forward.
This will be useful for troubleshooting purposes, and you won’t be left wondering why your high-engagement campaign is hovering at a 6 in terms of relevance; you’ll have answers right there.
The new relevance score will start rolling out at the end of next month, so keep an eye out.
Clear History Feature Launching in Late 2019
Earlier this month, CFO David Wehner announced that Facebook will be launching a Clear History tool later the year, likely around the end of 2019. This feature has been heavily requested, and will allow users to essentially clear their browsing history on the platform, just like they would in their internet browser.
Here’s why advertisers are freaking out: This could potentially make it significantly harder to accurately target the right audience. If users are regularly wiping out their browser history and activity on Facebook, it could take away advertisers’ ability to target them. This, in turn, can make the targeting system a little less effective.
Right now, I don’t think there’s a huge reason to worry.
We’ll still have the ability to retarget based on site activity or custom audiences, and I don’t believe enough users are going to be regularly clearing their browsing history on a daily or weekly basis, so there will still be potential to reach your audience (though people can choose to not have this information stored at all, which would cause advertisers to take a bigger hit).
The audience sizes may be smaller, but I don’t think this will make Facebook Ads obsolete– just a tiny bit more limited.
This news is still pretty early, so we’ll keep you updated as we find out more throughout the year.
Showcase for Premium Ad Program Announced
Facebook has just announced “Facebook Showcase,” which is a new premium ad program. Online video and even TV ad buyers participating in the upfront selling cycle will get new opportunities to connect with their target audience on high-quality ads.
It will include the following ad types:
Which allows advertisers to reach people watching videos from the most high quality, high-viewership publishers on the platform. The placements will be purchased at a fixed cost in advance and delivered to in-target audiences. This could take place in eligible videos across Watch, Pages, and Newsfeeds– anywhere your audience is watching those premium quality videos.
Posted by Facebook Business on Friday, September 28, 2018
In-stream reserve categories
Which include the features of In-Stream Reserve, but gives advertisers more control over appearing in contextually relevant content. You can choose to have your ad only shown in categories like entertainment, sports, fashion, food, news, and beauty. You can use this to increase the likelihood that your ad will appear in relevant placements that your audience will respond to.
Which allow advertisers to act as the exclusive sponsor for a US program, not unlike conventional TV advertising. This will give them the opportunity to place their ads exclusively in specific shows, increasing brand awareness.
As of right now, Showcase will only be available for campaigns targeting US audiences, though this will likely expand overtime, and Facebook believes that they’ll be particularly helpful in reaching younger-skewing audience members who are most likely to watch the video content that will attract users in the first place.
Policy Documents Establish Subscription Fees
TechCrunch recently accessed Facebook policy documents, giving us more information about the fan subscriptions feature, which allow users to pay a monthly fixed-rate fee to access exclusive content of influencers. The document shows that Facebook plans to take as much of a 30% fee from the net subscription revenue (after fees are taken out).
This is a pretty big percentage, especially when you consider that Patreon only charges 5%. That being said, it’s in line with the fees from other social networks; YouTube charges 30%, and Twitch charges 50%.
The fan subscription feature is still relatively new and in experimental stages, so it will be interesting to see if this affects whether or not creators are willing to take part in the program given the higher fees. If their audience is most active here, the answer will still be probably yes; if not, they might resort to other platforms instead.
Reduction in News Programming
Facebook has just announced that news programming on Facebook Watch is going to be getting a shakeup and that they’ll be “more selective and careful” about the news content it funds moving forward.
They’ve currently opted to discontinue funding for two-thirds of all of its news programming content.
There are some reports that suggest this could be due to the content struggling to keep up in terms of viewership, and the political controversy and transparency issues may be playing a part here, too.
They did say that they’ll still be continuing to experiment with new types of content in Watch, and investing in that part of the platform.
Expect to see more long-form, Watch-oriented videos… just less of it that’s news-oriented. This could open the door for more creators looking to establish a viewership on the platform.
Last month’s updates were a little slow, so I wasn’t surprised to see a lot of big new features being announced this month.
Facebook’s relevance score is easily the biggest update on this list, and it will be interesting to see how much the granular metrics fluctuate and how CPCs are affected as a result.
The premium video advertising is also a great new potential tool, and I’m personally excited to get my hands on it.
As we move into April, keep an eye out for these changes (especially the relevance score updates!), and let us know what you think!
What do you think so far? How do you feel about the new relevance score metrics? Are you excited about premium video advertising? Do you think the subscription fees will be too high? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
Top Facebook Updates – February 2019
We’re only two months into 2019, but you wouldn’t know it based on the Facebook updates that have already been released and announced even within the past four weeks. Zuckerberg has big plans for this year, so this isn’t shocking.
In a public Facebook post, he recently proclaimed that this year will be focusing on improving the user experience and safety, increasing authenticity, and working hard to tackle social issues. Since the company was in hot water throughout most of 2018 with concerns about privacy and transparency issues, they’ve worked hard to address these concerns and overcome them. They’re still working hard to do so today.
The Facebook updates from this month really reflect these goals, and they improve not only the user experience but marketers’ experience as a result.
And with all that being said, it feels like the best place to start is with Facebook’s Q4’s report.
Facebook Shares 2018 Q4 Report
Facebook recently released its Q4 2018 earnings report. Here are the highlights worth taking away:
- Revenue increased $3 billion from the following quarter, coming in at $16.6 billion.
- More than $2 billion of the revenue growth came from Stories Ads, which are available on both Facebook and Instagram.
- More than 2 billion people use at least one of Facebook’s services each day (which include WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger), and 2.7 billion monthly users.
Despite the ever-present reports that Facebook is dead and gone for good (which have pretty much been circulating since before I even started content writing in 2013), clearly the platform is alive and well, and only strengthened with their new offerings and sister companies.
New Group Features, Formatting, & Management Tools
There are some big additions for Facebook Groups, all of which are either rolling out very soon or have already been released.
These new changes include:
Expansion of subscription groups, which has been rolled out to more partners.
Certain Pages can create groups that require paid subscriptions to maintain membership, giving them a new way to monetize their social accounts. As a note, businesses should be careful when using this option unless they’re offering value in the form of courses or education, or they risk alienating their audience.
New guidelines about adding members to your group.
Now, members are no longer automatically added to your group when they’re simply invited by other members or admins; they’re listed under an “invited” tab until they choose to accept and join themselves. This prevents groups from artificially inflating their numbers, and it actually works in your favor by ensuring that only people who want to engage with your content are seeing it.
New management tools.
Like those that allow admins to semi-anonymously notify users when one of their posts have violated the group’s guidelines or searching through new membership requests with specific names.
Mentorship is coming to all groups.
This will allow interested mentors and mentees to partner up in groups, offering more value with your brand at the center.
Last year there was an enormous push for new features in Facebook Groups, making it easier for brands to find new ways to establish communities and offer value to their target audience that nurtures relationships.
We saw additions like courses being added, allowing brands to create in-group course materials and modules to educate and even train their members, and now the mentor programs expand that possibility further.
There’s a good chance we’ll be seeing a lot more group features this year, and you know as soon as we do, we’ll be here to let you know about them.
Facebook Admins Can Respond to Instagram Messages Through Inbox
Last year, Facebook released the ability for admins to view and answer comments on their Instagram posts through their Page inboxes. This streamlined the process for accounts who didn’t have social management software yet.
Now, Facebook is taking this a step further, allowing admins to even access and respond to Instagram’s private messages.
This is a capability that hasn’t been released yet on third-party tools, and it aligns with Facebook’s plan to integrate Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram Direct in order to let users reach each other cross-platform.
As of right now, the only other access to Instagram’s direct messaging is through the mobile app.
It’s not otherwise available on desktop or through third-party tools, though this will likely change soon, especially with rumors that Instagram is testing direct messaging online.
New Brand Safety Certification Program for Marketing Partners
Facebook Marketing Partners are companies that have established partnerships with Facebook, and essentially their seal of approval as a result. AdEspresso, for example, has been a marketing partner for several years.
In light of the issues Facebook faced in 2018, they’ve worked hard to improve on-site safety, but they’re also encouraging their marketing partners to develop third-party brand safety features, too, and they’re doing so with a new brand safety certification program.
The first two companies to receive certification are OpenSlate and DoubleVerify, and you can expect that more companies may release tools in the future to help keep the platform secure.
This month, Facebook has focused on improving the user experience partially by giving Pages and marketers more functionality to serve their followers well.
We’re seeing this with the increase in group features and new placement control, which certainly benefit marketers in the most obvious way, but improve the experience for your followers, too.
What do you think? How do you feel about these changes? Which update are you most excited to see? What do you hope comes to the platform in 2019? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
Top Facebook Updates – January 2019
Happy New Year from everyone at AdEspresso!
The most interesting update for the first month of the new year is the improved Automotive Inventory Ads. These freshly refined ads enable car dealerships to use dynamic product ads catered towards vehicle sales.
There are also more enhancements to privacy and political ads, as well as some very interesting updated tools for Facebook Group administrators.
Here’s what we will review for the top updates for Facebook in January 2019:
- Reach More Interested Car Shoppers with Automotive Inventory Ads
- Expanding Our Efforts to Protect Elections in 2019
- Making Pages More Transparent and Accountable
- Charting a Course for an Oversight Board for Content Decisions
- New updates for Facebook Groups
While it may seem there was not a lot going on for the Month, Facebook has some seriously awesome stuff planned for the new year. Let’s dive in to review this month’s updates!
Auto Inventory Ads simplify selling cars using Facebook ads
Data suggests that 63% of car buyers discover new vehicles online. This is great news for advertisers and has been addressed by Facebook with improvements to Auto Inventory Ads. The improved ads make it easier to find the right audiences to advertise specific cars to.
Your catalog can include such details as car make, model, year and location. Then, Facebook automatically creates ads that show the most relevant vehicles to their audience.
The audience is automatically generated and dynamically updated, saving time for dealers looking to reach audiences ready to buy a new car.
Election Protections Continue Into the New Year
Facebook’s focus on protecting the integrity of presidential elections is ongoing in January 2019. They have employed numerous tactics to combat this issue, such as removing fake accounts, bad actors, limiting the spread of fake news as well as bringing transparency to political advertisements.
They have tripled staff to work on these initiatives since 2017. Efforts have also been made to improve machine learning algorithms that find and remove offending content and users from the Facebook platform. They have also addressed the privacy and security issues by providing more information about publishers that are on Facebook, expanding third-part fact-checkers, and banning accounts that advertise false news repeatedly from promoting their content using Facebook ads.
Increased Accountability for Pages on Facebook
Facebook has announced new steps to address prohibited content in January with the introduction of the new “Quality” tab. This new tab is available to anyone that manages a page. With this new tab, page managers can see when Facebook removes content that goes against the Community Standards. They can also see when the distribution of posts that have been rated “False,” “Mixture” or “False Headline” by a third-party fact-checker have been a reduced.
They have also made changes to the recidivism policy that limits the ability for banned content creators to create new Pages, groups, events, or accounts. The updated policy states that when Facebook removes a Page or group for violating policies, they may also remove other Pages and Groups even if that specific Page or Group has not met the threshold to be unpublished on its own. Facebook is considering whether the Page has the same people administering it, or has a similar name to enforce the new policy.
Content Decisions Board
Facebook is continuing to flesh out an independent board that will be heavily involved in deciding what content should stay and what content should be removed from Facebook.
Over the next 6 months, we can expect Facebook to identify more details about the content board as they travel around the globe to consult on how to best design their board.
Updates for Facebook Group Admins
The Facebook Communities Summit took place in January, which was the perfect vehicle to announce several cool updates for group admins. Admins can now:
- Inform members when they violate the rules of the group
- Membership requests can be sorted by name
- Filtering by date range can now be done via the admin activity log
- Expanded testing of subscription groups
- Facebook page administrators can now respond to Instagram Direct messages via their page inboxes
A lot of attention is on Facebook groups in 2019 as their popularity gains steadily with Facebook users. We can’t wait to see what Facebook has planned for February 2019!
Now that we’ve covered the top Facebook updates for this month, let us know how you feel about these topics in the comments below!
Top Facebook Updates – December 2018 (Special Edition)
Just a couple of weeks ago we published our November edition, full of announcements regarding new and improved features. Since then not much has changed, and the December edition would have been skinny, not festive enough!
So we decided to create this special 12-months selection of the most important changes, addition, and improvement that Facebook has made to their Ads platform.
We won’t just refresh your memory, we’ll also have our Head of Education, Paul Fairbrother explain why he selected those specific updates as Top of the Top, an absolute must-know for all smart marketers!
Are you ready to discover the Top of The Top Facebook Updates in 2018?
Top of the Top Facebook Updates: January 2018
- What we wrote at the time:
In the next few months, Facebook will prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.
These changes in the algorithm will have a significant impact on Pages, advertisers, and marketers since it will basically become more difficult to reach your perfect audiences and their attention.
For what organic content is concerned, Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease. The impact will vary from page to page, depending on different elements, like the type of content they produce and how people interact with it.
- What our expert says:
Although organic reach for business pages has been declining for years this was a wake up call right at the start of the year for social media managers.
The so called “Facebook Zero” moment made many brands realise that they have to “pay to play” to get success on Facebook and invest in ads.
- What we wrote at the time:
Campaign Budget Optimization, according to Facebook, may be a good solution under these conditions:
- Set a campaign-level budget and have some flexibility in how that budget is spent across the AdSets in the campaign;
- Get the most results possible from your campaign;
- Simplify campaign set up and save time by reducing the number of budgets you have to manage manually.
- What our expert says:
Campaign Budget Optimization allows advertisers to let Facebook do more of the heavy lifting by setting a budget at campaign level and then Facebook can decide what to allocate to each adset in real time.
The less time we spend on optimization the more time we can spend on creating highly engaging ads.
Top of the Top Facebook Updates: February 2018
- What we wrote at the time:
Waiting for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to become effective (as of 25 May 2018) Facebook, Instagram, Oculus, and WhatsApp, will take all the necessary steps to make sure that their products and services comply with the GDPR (a regulation that creates consistent data protection rules across the EU).
Businesses will keep on using Facebook services in the same way they do today, but they are responsible for ensuring their own compliance with the GDPR. There are some key instances in which Facebook may serve as a data processor. In these cases, businesses are responsible for ensuring that data they share with FB complies with the GDPR.
Oh, if you think that you’re not involved because your company is not based in the EU, you’re wrong. The GDPR applies to companies based in the EU as well as companies around the world who provide or offer goods or services, and who process data from or about, people in the EU.
- What our expert says:
User privacy has been the overarching theme for Facebook this year and every month we’ve seen initiatives to protect user data.
Although this has impacted a few targeting options usually available to advertisers, it’s worth keeping in mind that the more trust there is in the platform the better it will be for advertisers (and customersd alike) in the long term.
Top of the Top Facebook Updates: March 2018
- What we wrote at the time:
Grouping with Warner Music Group, Facebook not only recognizes the value that music creates on social networks but it also empowers songwriters to reach audiences around the world.
The partnership includes licensing agreements covering the music company’s recorded music and music publishing catalogs for use in social experiences such as videos and messages.
The deal paves the way for fans to create, upload and share videos with licensed music from their favorite artists and songwriters.
This partnership also bears positive and important implications for advertisers as it opens the chance to add Music to shared Memories and Moments.
- What our expert says:
Facebook has always lagged years behind Youtube in music licensing deals and they’re finally catching up.
We used to find that a high number of video ads got rejected due to the background music and it caused a lot of confusion for advertisers as the tracks were readily available to use on Youtube.
A number of licensing deals this year, not just with Warner, has virtually eliminated ad rejections due to music copyright restrictions so it’s a welcome move.
Top of the Top Facebook Updates: April 2018
- What we wrote at the time:
With the goal of increasing transparency, Facebook is testing a feature that lets users see all of the ads business is running on their Page, even if they’re not in the ad’s audience.
This was meant to help protect users with political ads in particular, but it could end up applying to all ads and Pages.
This is already being tested in Canada where users can see all ads a page has run, not just political ads. Feedback so far has been minimal, it doesn’t seem to have had any major impact for either advertisers or users.
- What our expert says:
Cambridge Analytica and similar controversies have caused a lot of issues for Facebook this year, but understandably they don’t want to ban political advertising altogether due to the high levels of spending on political ads.
The new verification process for political advertisers, the creation of a political ads archive and generally more transparency was long overdue.
- What we wrote at the time:
The “Partner categories” targeting feature has previously allowed advertisers to use info obtained from third-party data companies to target users through Facebook Ads. Now, Facebook is shutting down partner categories.
If advertisers want to target certain users, they’ll have to use Facebook’s behavior targeting, interest targeting, or custom audience, with email addresses obtained “Facebook legally.”
Fortunately, Partner categories are not a key component of targeting for most advertisers, with lookalikes and interest targeting often providing better results. Data partners such as Experian and Acxiom are focused on the US market so outside of the US the effect of removing partner categories will be negligible”.
- What our expert says:
A lot of third party targeting data is now unavailable due to the effects of GDPR and general user privacy concerns.
It’s not bad, IMHO!
It has made advertisers think more about customer personas and how to use funnels, starting with a broader audience at the top of the funnel.
Top of the Top Facebook Updates: May 2018
- What we wrote at the time:
In addition to the recent updates for Facebook Live and Video Retention Metrics, Facebook has also released an updated guide to video best practices and even included a few thought-provoking questions to ask yourself.
Among the recommendations, 3 seem to stand out and reconfirm Facebook’s ultimate goal of connecting people:
- Create content that is likely to drive discussion
- Look closely at engagement around each video
- Encourage your social team to communicate directly with your audience.
You can find a full list of their recommendations here.
- What our expert says:
Just as we’ve seen for several years, video is a key focus for Facebook.
This year has seen new video optimization options for advertisers, namely optimizing for 10 second video views and ThruPlay.
Expect video to be just as important in 2019.
Top of the Top Facebook Updates: June 2018
- What we wrote at the time:
Facebook has just launched an eCommerce review tool inside the Recent Ads Activity dashboard. Here, users can give feedback on products that are being advertised on Facebook. By clicking the “Leave Feedback” button users will be asked to complete a brief questionnaire to tell Facebook about their experience.
Negative responses will be shared directly with the advertisers, giving them a chance to make changes if needed. If Facebook continues to get the negative reviews, though, the untrustworthy ad account will be at risk.
Keep in mind that almost all businesses will have some negative reviews at some point. Facebook isn’t going to penalize you for one unhappy customer out of a thousand. If the patterns are consistent and flagrant problems aren’t rectified, however, that’s where you’d be in a world of hurt.
- What we wrote at the time:
Facebook understands that sometimes their 5-star rating system doesn’t quite cut it, so they’re testing a new system that would allow businesses to turn on “review scores” instead of the current rating system. The new system will be based on a 10-point rating scale, and it will weigh ratings, reviews, and recommendations users made of your business.
This could be great for businesses, especially those who have overall positive interactions on the platform but one negative review weighing them down a bit. Some users, after all, won’t leave a review or even interact with your Page, but will recommend you to their friends.
- What our expert says:
One of the reasons for Facebook’s incredible growth over the years has been due to focusing on quality over quantity.
We’ve seen this organically with the algorithmic newsfeed and for paid ads with their strict approval process.
Now Facebook is taking a high-level approach, and instead of looking at just one post or one ad they’re now taking into account user feedback for each business as a whole.
Over time this should be of benefit to the best businesses that give exceptional customer service.
Top of the Top Facebook Updates: July 2018
- What we wrote at the time:
Facebook is currently testing a new paid subscription group model that will give admins the ability to create subscriber-only subgroups that grant members access (and exclusive content) for a monthly fee. Members can sign-up and manage the subscriptions to these groups through the mobile app, and they can leave the groups at any time.
The ability to offer exclusive paid content to certain groups is a great way to monetize an active Facebook community that you’ve built.
That being said, It’s something that will have to be tested carefully. You don’t want to risk losing a connection with your core customers who are happily engaged but may feel betrayed if you start charging them just for group membership.
- What our expert says:
Social media has always relied on user-generated content but this comes with a downside.
If content is being given away from free there is no incentive to produce high-quality engaging content.
Facebook is testing a number of initiatives to reward content creators, it works well for Youtube so expect to see more of it on Facebook in 2019.
Top of the Top Facebook Updates: August 2018
- What we wrote at the time:
The ads manager mobile app now lets users edit their photos on the go, including cropping, utilizing templates, adding color filters, and slapping on new shapes, stickers, and even logos. This will speed the process up significantly and reduce the number of tools brands need to use before running their ads.
There’s also a really handy text overlay tool that allows you to add text to an image, and then immediately check to make sure it isn’t violating the 20% rule.
Make sure to get good use out of that text overlay too, too; that will work in your favor.
- What our expert says:
Facebook provides us with powerful optimization options for our ad campaigns but for small businesses the pain point has always been creating the ads in the first place. Now Facebook is turning their attention to providing a range of ad creation tools and we can expect to see more initiative along these lines in 2019.
Just be careful when using these tools to ensure that all your ads don’t end up using the same generic template.
Top of the Top Facebook Updates: September 2018
- What we wrote at the time:
Plenty of businesses (AdEspresso included) have their own exclusive groups to build relationships with and help their customers in some way. Now, thanks to a new update, Admins of groups with more than 250 members are going to be able to get real and quantifiable data about how their groups are driving specific actions.
They’ll be able to track their groups with the help of a pixel and see information on user growth, in-group activity, and engagement with their websites. This will be a big enhancement on the data we get from groups, and being able to get on-platform insights about off-platform actions will make it just a little easier to determine how our groups are affecting our actual businesses.
- What our expert says:
As adverts aren’t allowed in Groups it has always been difficult to monetize them, therefore the option to place a pixel in a business group to allow future ad targeting will be of benefit to any brand that runs their own Group.
Unfortunately, we haven’t seen this feature rolled out to many Groups so fingers crossed it gets released to everyone in 2019.
Top of the Top Facebook Updates: October 2018
- What we wrote at the time:
Facebook just rolled out Attribution, a new free measurement tool that’s will give marketers a holistic view of how their digital advertising is doing.
Thanks to Facebook new data-driven attribution model, you can see how your ads on Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network and Messenger are working, and measure the estimated incremental impact of all your marketing efforts on improving your business results (compared to if you were not running ads).
Furthermore, you can discover on which device your customers engaged with your ads, as well as where they converted.
- What our expert says:
Facebook Attribution is Facebook’s answer to Google Analytics.
Researches prove that 45% of digital touchpoints are missed by traditional measurement. This new feature could really change the way marketers approach their digital advertising efforts.
It still needs some polish but eventually, we should see widespread adoption.
Top of the Top Facebook Updates: November 2018
- What we wrote at the time:
Facebook’s VP of Social Good, Naomi Gleit, released a statement announcing that Facebook Causes has raised over $1 Billion for non-profit and personal causes with their Cause product and the Donate call to action, and now they’re planning to extend this program to Canada and Australia. This means that another 100,000 businesses will now be eligible to create fundraisers on the most-used social platform – this alone is a big win for many non-profits.
In an ever charitable mood, Facebook also announced a special gift for Giving Tuesday – a partnership with PayPal to match up to $7 million in donations made on Facebook to eligible US nonprofits.
- What our expert says:
Over $1 Billion has been raised for non-profit and personal causes via Facebook’s donation option and yet it has been a relatively minor part of Facebook up until recently.
As more and more people get used to donating via Facebook we could see the platform being of major importance to charities.
This is social media at it’s best.
Top of the Top Facebook Updates: December 2018
Facebook Brings Watch to Desktop and Facebook Lite, Expands Ad Breaks
- What we wrote at the time:
Three months since the global launch, there are already more than 400 million people monthly and 75 million people daily who spend at least one minute on Facebook Watch — and on average, these 75 million daily visitors spend more than 20 minutes in Watch.
After the global launch of Watch, now available also for Desktop and Facebook Lite, the platform is working hard to support publishers and creators worldwide monetize their videos on Facebook. To do so, they expanded Ad Breaks to eligible Pages in 40 countries around the globe, and will test new Ad Breaks placements, like in livestreams from gaming creators. And it’s not enough, Facebook will also give marketers enhanced tools in Creator Studio to understand how their content is performing.
- What our expert says:
To enable brands to generate meaningful revenue from their engaged, loyal audiences on its platform, Facebook must continue focusing on enhancing these tools.
For monetization products to work, they must balance the unique needs of video creators, people, and advertisers, providing value for all parties.