With almost half of the world’s population logged-in, it’s fair to say that social media has become a part of everyday life. There are about 3.5 billion active users globally, making social media marketing an integral part of any marketing strategy. These social platforms are constantly evolving and there have been a few updates recently we should all know about to continue marketing effectively. #letsgetsocial
Despite the news regarding data privacy concerns in recent times (did someone say Cambridge Analytica?), Facebook still wins the popularity contest amongst its social media platform peers with around 65% of market share in Australia. The social media giant is a great tool for businesses to target specific audiences to promote products or services. The following platform updates are likely to influence your Facebook marketing strategy, so let’s take a look at what’s changed for Facebook.
If you’ve been an active Facebook user recently you would have noticed a new-ish feature called Facebook Watch. Facebook Watch launched in the U.S. back in 2017 but has only just made its way down under. Watch is a free video-on-demand service that you can access through Facebook, giving businesses a new opportunity for video content and advertising. The inclusion of Ad Breaks allows in-stream ads to be included pre-roll or mid-roll for up to fifteen seconds.
Facebook Watch is along the same lines as YouTubeTV, rather than YouTube and it seems unlikely to be in the running to become the next NetFlix (sorry Facebook). It does feature popular programs (like Jada Pinkett-Smith’s ‘Red Table Talk’) but it is mostly home to user content with some professionally-produced content sprinkled throughout courtesy of Facebook advertising.
So, how is this different from the usual videos uploaded to Facebook? Well, the algorithms and viewability which determine what you see as a priority, much the same as the Newsfeed, include -
- Loyalty & Intent: Videos that people seek out and return to are prioritized
- Video Viewing Duration: Videos that capture the user’s attention for at least one minute are prioritized
- Originality: Unoriginal and repurposed content will be limited, as well as the content of the Pages involved in the sharing schemes
- Length: Longer (three minutes or more) videos are favoured
The second addition you may have noticed on Facebook recently are the tiny icons that appear next to user names, these are Facebook Badges. There are currently four types of badges; Top Fan, Anniversary Follower, Follower and Milestone Follower.
The beauty (in theory) around Facebook Badges is that they will encourage engagement with pages - who doesn’t love a little recognition? But the best part is that page owners will be able to target posts to connect with their most devoted audience members, making your personal buyer journey THAT much better. Think of exclusive discounts and offers, special news or sneak previews for your most loyal fans. At the moment the Badges feature is only available to Pages with 10,000 followers or more so it’s not applicable for everyone, but something to think about for the future if you’re not there yet.
Those 2 updates are certainly exciting for us marketers to sink our teeth into, however, now for the not-so-great news. (Don’t shoot the messenger).
Facebook Ad formats have changed. The text accompanying imagery will now be shorter and limited to only three visible lines before the dreaded ‘see more’. The creative aspect ratio has also changed, now reflecting 4:5. Previously Facebook Ads ran at an aspect of 2:3 which allowed advertisers to fill an entire mobile screen with their ad creative.
New targeting restrictions have been implemented as well, including the removal of a lot of ‘interests’ from targeting options by Facebook, emphasizing the need to use Custom Audiences. Facebook has also restricted categories that relate to housing, employment and credit ads. This is more relevant to marketers in the U.S. as they have a lot more options for targeting than we do here in Australia.
Facebook’s little (but arguably more popular) sister, Instagram, has also had some noteworthy changes recently which may affect the way you use this platform to market to your audience.
Creator Studio Scheduling
Enter, Instagram Creator Studio scheduling tool. You can now schedule your Instagram feed content, as well as IGTV Video - woohoo!. To access this you just need to ensure that your Facebook Business Page and Instagram account are linked first and then link both to the Creator Studio.
The main benefits of this feature are that you can add paragraph breaks, geotags and, drumroll please...image carousels (which most scheduling platforms don’t have the ability to do). Yay! On the flip side, the feature is lacking the ability to add ‘first comment’ for those who like to hide their hashtags here (rats!), and, unfortunately, the ability to tag products in posts like you can directly through Facebook is yet to be launched.
AR Filter Creation Tool
For the lovers of Instagram stories the AR Filter Creation Tool, Spark AR Studio, is now available to everyone. Previously for users to publish their own custom AR effects on Instagram, they had to be accepted into the program. This is an exciting opportunity for all brands and businesses to jump on board. Spark AR Studio are the creators of Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories and Messenger effects (p.s they are also owned by Facebook).
To discover new effects, users will now find a new “Browse Effects” option at the end of the effects tray in the Instagram Camera, which will take them to the library of audience-originated visual tools. Look out Snapchat!
Instagram will also be getting its own version of the Messenger application. 'Threads' will look to focus on building a stronger, more constant connection between smaller, enclosed groups. Threads will regularly update your status, giving your friends a real-time view of information about your location, speed, and more - essentially posting updates on your behalf. So, really, it's an amped-up version of DMs, with less of the need to ‘slide in’.
Story Ads Popularity
With Story Ads becoming more popular recently thanks to increased visibility, more businesses are creating Story-specific content which generally has high click-through rates and conversions. This, however, is making it harder to get cut through in this format. Brands and businesses need to put a greater emphasis on creative design and less on ad copy in order to be seen (and not skipped).
There’s so much going on in the evolving world of Facebook and Instagram, and their social media cousins aren’t being left behind either.
- Snapchat has released new updates that are giving users more capacity to build their own experiences and further connect themselves with the app.
- Advertisers are leveraging TikTok’s current popularity by asking users to participate in challenges and therefore engaging with a wider audience (thank you user-generated content).
- LinkedIn introduced Interests Targeting and integration with Bing, allowing marketers to target their audience based on a combination of professional interests and topics, as well as content they engage with through Bing searches.
- Pinterest has introduced a ‘shop a brand’ feature so users can now view a new section with more products from a specific brand, personalised shopping recommendations, and brands can now upload their full catalogue and turn their products into shoppable Pins.
If you’re interested to find out how social media can work effectively as a part of your marketing strategy get in contact with our specialists today via phone, email or live chat.