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.
We’ve got one more list of Facebook updates for 2019, and Facebook clearly had no intention of slowing down just because we’re almost at year’s end.
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.