The Facebook algorithm update is creating quite a stir among advertisers. Organic reach has been in decline for years, and many fear the new update will completely kill unpaid advertising on the platform. But is it really as bad as everyone believes? Let’s take a closer look at what this really means for your Facebook ad campaigns.

What is the Facebook Algorithm Update in 2018 Exactly?

Facebook has always controlled the amount of paid advertisements that show on the platform. But there has been little oversight for unpaid advertising from company pages using organic reach. The new Facebook algorithm update essentially gives priority to posts that are shared by family and friends instead of the pages a user likes and follows. Second priority goes to “trustworthy publishers” who deliver relevant and accurate information.

The Main Complaint from Advertisers

Facebook predicts that their update will result in people spending less time in their news feeds. So, not only will fewer ads show, people won't spend as long scrolling through content. This means previously unpaid campaigns may have to begin spending money to get their ads seen. However, limited paid advertising space means the cost will likely go up as competition increases. When you look at it this way it seems tragic, but there's another way to see it.

 

A screen capture of Facebook's main homepage before login

Why Did Facebook Do This

Ultimately, the company aims to funnel users to pages. Fewer organic ads may show, but the endgame is to encourage more page traffic with longer durations. More time on a page means more exposure to the brand and increased chances for engagement and conversion. So, more people may have to pay to get their ads seen, but the rewards will be worth it.

The company is also responding to user feedback that the news feed is becoming too spammy. At the end of the day, Facebook is a business and a business serves the needs of its customers. Advertisers are customers too, but what’s the use of advertising on a platform that people have abandoned?

So, while this will affect advertising on Facebook, it’s ultimately a good thing. For one, anyone taking the long view should have seen this coming. Facebook ads got out of hand, and it was only a matter of time before the company took measures to fix the problem. 

What You Can Do to Stay Competitive on Facebook

There are ways you can save your organic reach from the dreaded Facebook algorithm update. However, you have to change the way you think about social media marketing to stay competitive. Honestly, this is a good rule to apply for all of your social media accounts. Here are the main things you need to do to stay competitive with your social media campaigns:

Stop Focusing on the Sale

A mobile phone displaying social media network icons

People’s major complaint is spam in the news feeds. Many companies have been abusing the news feeds by constantly posting sales-oriented content. This really isn’t the best way to market on a social media platform.

Social media is a great tool for branding image and identity. So, do you really want people getting annoyed with your company’s sales tactics? Think about that. When a person logs into Facebook and sees their news feed is clogged with advertising they don’t care about, you know what they notice: your company logo. But they don’t feel good about it.

That’s not good for your image! In fact, it may even lead some people to put you on their “no-buy” list. If a person is annoyed by your advertising, they aren’t going to buy your products.

Focus on Building Customer Relationships Instead

That’s what social media is for. Nurturing and building customer relationships. Your ultimate goal should be to drive customers to your sales pages, whether that is a Facebook page or external website.

Instead of creating posts that focus on selling a specific product, use your social media reach to deliver valuable content. Focus your posts on things that are of interest to your followers, and limit the number of times you relate those things to your products and services.

This shows your target audience that you have value, and it makes them feel like you care about them and what is relevant to their lives. A person who feels this way is far more likely to think well of your company and visit your sales pages. The Facebook update addresses this issue directly by tailoring their news feeds to what people actually want to see. That's where your focus should be too.

The art of selling is about creating brand loyalty by nurturing customers relationships. You cannot create loyalty if you are only focused on your end-goal. Think about what will serve the needs of your target audience and you’ll be on your way to creating lasting brand loyalty. 

Become a Trustworthy Publisher

Facebook gives priority to posts from “trustworthy publishers”. But who exactly is considered trustworthy? That all comes down to how people interact with pages. If you have a large and loyal following with good interactions, you will show up in news feeds more often.

So, the Facebook update doesn't entirely destroy your advertising efforts. It just asks you to reconsider your methods. Build a following based on engagement with other pages and Facebook users. As more people interact with your page, you will be considered more trustworthy.

The idea of the trustworthy publisher is actually really beneficial to advertising. Fake news is quickly becoming a concern for many Americans. So, if you can earn the status of being a trustworthy publisher, that will give you more authority in the eyes of your audience. Not only that, but you can focus your efforts regionally and earn more exposure in local news feeds concentrated in a specific area. This takes longer to build, and it means starting with a narrow audience and growing to a wider one, but it can be done.

Use Missinglettr to Ramp Up Your Posting Schedule

A Man with a bullhorn sits atop the word marketing (illustration)

Missinglettr is an amazing tool for social media. It allows you to create campaigns that will automatically run throughout the year. Not only that, but it will automatically create new social media posts based from your blog posts. Once you publish, Missinglettr goes to work putting together a campaign. They email you when this is finished. You review and adjust the campaign, then turn it on and watch it work.

If you combine this with better posts that focus less on sales, you are going to stand out. Automating with Missinglettr is a great way to increase the frequency of your posting schedule without a lot of work. So, you still have a fighting chance of getting your ads placed in organic reach. Creating posts that align with audience interests instead of sales will seal the deal because they will encourage the kind of loyalty that turns you into a “trustworthy publisher”.

Advertisers Created this Problem

It’s easy to point fingers at the Facebook update and paint this as a way to increase ad revenues. But that’s really not fair. Facebook is, first and foremost, a social media network. Advertising in organic news feeds got out of hand. Basically, companies abused this feature left and right. If Facebook users were happy with this, they wouldn’t be complaining about it. This update was based on user feedback collected by Facebook in a study.

You can’t argue with data. If users saw this as a problem, you can bet Facebook will address it. It’s a little bit like SEO. If you optimize without considering future changes, you’re doing it wrong. So, the problem here is not that Facebook just ruined social media marketing: it’s that social media marketing was ruining Facebook.

The Facebook Update is Actually Kind of Genius

If you think about it, the Facebook update has just changed the entire game in one move. They gave the platform back to the users, but they didn’t take it away from advertisers. They just forced our hands a little bit. Marketing is changing rapidly, and sometimes it’s easy to get lost to the noise. When that happens, marketers become too focused on conversions.

But the marketplace is saturated, so a short-term conversion with no sense of brand loyalty hurts your marketing efforts in the long run. So, instead of complaining, put that energy towards fixing your strategies. Bring your focus back to the value you can deliver to your consumers, and remember that your value goes beyond what you sell.

How do you think this update will affect your business? Do you think advertising should focus less on sales and more on nurturing customer relationships and brand loyalty? Let us know in the comments!

 

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