On January 11th, 2018 Facebook announced big changes to the news feed as we know it. With this update, content from brands and groups will now appear in a separate news feed entirely, called the "Explore Feed". This essentially creates two news feeds now - the main feed where we all will continue to see content from family and friends, and the Explore feed where content from everybody else will appear.
"We are testing having one dedicated space for people to keep up with their friends and family, and another separate space, called Explore, with posts from pages" - Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed, Facebook
These dual feeds will undoubtedly cut organic reach even further for pages. Organic reach is only around 2% currently. In dual feed testing that began in European markets in October 2017, businesses saw organic reach drop again by two-thirds and with four times fewer interactions.
But not all is doom-and-gloom. Here are 7 key tips you should begin implementing now to stay ahead, maintain (or even improve) organic reach, and make the most out of your Facebook dollars.
Tips for Organic Reach
#1: Facebook will reward posts that encourage meaningful engagement
Save promotional content for paid ads. Contests, giveaways and posts containing links to external websites are all posts Facebook considers as "overly promotional" and will therefore drop the organic reach these posts would normally have.
Post less, but offer more. Posting multiple times a day will be less important and posting things of substance - usually things that entertain or educate - will be well-rewarded.
#2: Target posts to specific audiences
While targeting posts is nothing new to the paid side of the Facebook house, it will be introduced to organic posts for the first time. For example, a clothing brand could target their organic posts in such a way where their page would appear be male-focused for a male user viewing that page and women-focused for women following that page.
These posts should follow much of the same best practices for targeting as their paid counterparts, and will be rewarded with higher placement based off engagement and relevancy.
- Make sure the content of your organic post is closely matched to audience you target.
- Run different versions of posts to different segments of your audience.
- Focus on relevancy.
#3: Think mobile first
Mobile makes up 88% of Facebook impressions. With more daily users on the mobile platform than ever before, it is becoming absolutely essential to make sure everything from your post content to your image or video to your website landing page displays comfortably on mobile devices. Content that is optimized for mobile will get stronger engagement and secure more time at the top of the feed.
If Facebook has been telling us anything, it is that it cares about video. With the launch of “Facebook Live” and “Facebook Watch” over the past couple years, Facebook has been pushing video more than ever, and that does not slow down with this update. Video posts garner by far the most engagement for pages, and will make up the majority of content we will see at the top of the Explore Feed.
- Facebook Live is a free spot at the top of the feed. Live videos appear in the “stories” bar at the top of the feed along with being announced in the feed itself. Facebook has been pushing this medium over recent updates and will continue to reward successful use of the feature. Find creative ways to go Live often and encourage your followers to get involved.
- Video completion rates will now determine how successful Facebook deems your video. A 30 second video that people are watching for 20 seconds is far more valuable than a 5 minute video people watch for a minute. Think short, sweet and communicate your message right off the bat.
- Optimize for no-sound. With more people viewing content on-the-go in public spaces, the vast majority of content is being watched without sound. Adapt videos to make sense with sound needing to be played and utilize subtitles for higher completion rates.
- Videos with square aspect rations perform better than landscape or portrait videos as they are easier to consume on the mobile platform.
Tips for Paid Dollars
With organic reach falling by as much as two-thirds of its previous reach, Facebook is making advertising more important than ever for pages to get in front of their audience. This makes strategic sense for Facebook - their ad revenue alone increased by 47% last year. With the new update we can certainly expect to see ad costs increase as more advertisers enter the paid space. So how can we make the most of our advertising budgets? Here are a couple a strategies and tips that will be increasingly important:
#5: Optimize and manage ads for specific placements
While advertisements will still appear in people’s newsfeeds, Facebook has more ad placement options than ever before. Sidebar ads and messenger ads being some examples of frequent places for promotional content to display to users. By optimizing various versions of ads to fit specific placements, advertisers can prioritize themselves in these spots by being the most engaging ad for that placement. This will ensure that ads appear in as many locations in the platform as possible.
#6: Encourage people to communicate with you directly via Messenger
A new ad objective that Facebook released late last year is the ability to have people message your page directly in Facebook Messenger via a call to action button in your ad. This feature will be increasingly important as it becomes harder and harder for pages to organically get their brand in front of people. This type of personalization is also exactly what Facebook is hoping will improve it’s user experience, and these types of ads will place very well when used correctly.
#7: Hyper segmentation will be key to control costs
Facebook ads run on an auction system and that auction system is what creates the costs we all pay as advertisers. With this dual-feeds update, there will undoubtedly be more bidders entering the ad space, driving up costs for everyone. For our ad budgets to go just as far as they have in the past, or ideally even further, advertisers will need to manage their campaigns, ad sets, ads and audiences with a hyper-segmented approach. Think lots of small well-defined audiences, lots of creative optimized for the various placements (mobile, Instagram, Stories, etc), lots of well-crafted messages tailored specifically to audiences. This approach is in contrast to a "broadcast approach" many advertisers have gotten away with in the past, where one message/ad/creative unit could serve many masters with very little segmentation.
On a final note, we should except the dual-feeds to roll out first for Facebook in the coming months and then for Instagram in late 2018.
We love talking shop. Reach out to us at email@example.com and let's strategize on your approach to social this year to leverage this change to stay ahead.