The Future of Marketing on Facebook
Facebook announced changes to the News Feed algorithm, changes that are intended to better identify click-bait style content. This is on top of penalizing meme-style content that is text-heavy and openly asks for likes, comments, and shares.
What does this mean for marketers? Well, people are already increasingly reluctant to share political and religious views with friends, which means engagement rates and viral distribution will continue to decrease. The other hurdle for marketers is that Facebook also has greater levels of privacy than Twitter, which makes Facebook data analysis is more difficult to achieve. Additionally, various social analytics tools report only on Facebook page data, because app and user profile activity is not available programatically.
However, through Facebook’s graph search, people will soon be able to search historical data that has accumulated over the last few years even if what you’ve said, liked, or commented on isn’t currently public.
Example: Ferguson vs ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
USA Today shared research on how users behave differently on Facebook versus Twitter. Just over 3% of Facebook users in the United States are engaging with Ferguson topics, which is half of the amount engaged in the ALS Ice Bucket challenge at 7.7%. Yet, does it mean that the Ice Bucket Challenge is twice as popular? Or does it mean that Facebook users are less likely to broadcast their feelings about controversial topics, compared to the open atmosphere on Twitter?
4 Takeaways: The Future of Marketing on Facebook
1. We’re competing against a growing mountain of content creation
The same evolution happened in search ten years ago, where we have to “outrank” the growing number of sites and content producers out there.
2. We’ll have to advertise to get the exposure
If only 4-6% of fans see what pages say, then it’s not just a matter of more pages. We have a lot more Ice Bucket Challenges and viral videos hogging the feed. If you’re not more engaging, more interesting, and more relevant than a person’s friend dumping ice water on their heads, then you have a challenge on your hands.
3. We have to get consumers to produce the content The auto-play videos are from consumers posting, not from pages. So if your word-of-mouth marketing efforts are truly awesome, you can get your fans to do the work for you.
4. Traditional marketing is nearly dead
If the algorithms don’t penalize you, the fans will X you out. You know what people are consuming on Facebook. Do you have content that is both interesting and in line with what your business does?
All of these changes have increased the need for self-censorship and how people and businesses will use Facebook for marketing in the future. The ALS Ice Bucket challenge is a success on Facebook because people can promote a cause while being fun, and has viral hooks that please Facebook’s algorithm. It’s possible to go too far (forward this message to 5 people that you love), but Facebook seems to be cracking down only on the truly spammy use cases.
About the author:
Alex Houg is the CEO of Portage, a social tool kit that gives agencies access to a private community with resources to help grow business. An international speaker and writer, Alex has presented at Social Media Marketing World, ICON14, Pubcon, L2E (Learn to earn). A regular contributor to Internet marketing advice publications, Alex gives advice on InsideFacebook, FBPPC, and his company blog at BlitzMetrics.
Alex developed and later sold a successful gaming accessory website. His interests turning to Internet marketing, Alex has managed campaigns for clients such as Adidas, The Golden State Warriors, Fuddruckers, and Jack Daniels.
Alex’s other endeavors include BlitzMetrics – where he works on implementing and tuning Facebook ads with packages available for all levels of business, and The Untern Movement – A program designed to help college students discover what they love and gain valuable job experience in cooperation with universities. With this program, his goal is to provide participants with a certification program built around what they enjoy, free of charge.
Alex’s strives to help others around him succeed, empowering people to do what they are passionate about. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.