5 Things Every Marketer Should Understand About The Current State of Facebook

Facebook is an incredible platform that can be used to do everything from growing an interested and passionate audience to efficiently driving direct conversions for your business. But for some reason marketers can’t stop complaining about it. A few weeks ago a video was released calling the whole thing a fraud and I had clients, friends and even relatives asking me about it like my entire career was just discredited (Jon Loomer had a great response). The whole situation got me thinking about some really powerful information that a lot of people seem to be missing.

1. Partner Categories = Real People

In April of 2013 Facebook partnered with Acxiom, Datalogix, and Epsilon to provide targeting information based on users online and offline purchasing behavior. This gave advertisers the ability to target based on very specific interests like people who buy organic health food, or people who are likely to buy an SUV in the next few months. While this may sound a little creepy to the average user, it helps advertisers and users by ensuring that ads are as relevant as possible. This also means that if you’re targeting your ads through partner categories you’re definitely targeting real people and not some click farm. (more on partner categories here)

2. If Your Organic Reach Went Down, It’s Your Own Fault

At the beginning of 2014 Facebook announced some changes to their Newsfeed algorithm that got brands and marketers in a pretty big huff. In short, Facebook said that text status updates from pages weren’t doing anything good for the average user’s experience but text updates from their friends were, so they were going to be showing less of those types of updates from Pages. Most marketers overreacted to this statement and came to the conclusion that you were to have to pay for any Newsfeed exposure.  The actual announcement recommended that pages start using the link preview status updates instead of plain text updates. This goes hand-in-hand with Facebook’s new, bigger, preview images for link posts and their move towards becoming a more worthy news source.

The Reality: Organic reach did drop for many pages on Facebook… because they weren’t engaging their fans with quality content. Pages who were still banking on thoughtless tactics like publishing memes, asking generic questions or posting pictures of kittens saw a huge drop because nobody really cared about the page itself. Pages who were publishing fresh and relevant content or engaging images that resonated with their audience actually saw an increase in organic reach and engagement. 

Larger Facebook Image Posts3. Timeline Images Are Bigger, But No One Is Talking About It

While link posts are receiving a higher organic reach initially, image posts are still receiving more engagement which then leads to a higher total organic reach when it’s all said and done. One of the keys to getting more engagement with your images is to maximize your ‘real estate’ in the Newsfeed and on your Timeline. Facebook’s last redesign left the standard image size at 403×403 pixels, but just recently we’ve seen an increase in height. Without having an exact pixel count, the size should be about 403×450 pixels. It doesn’t seem like much but, when you think about Facebook’s 20% text rule for advertising, it opens up a lot of potential.

4. Quality Over Quantity Is Bigger Than Ever

Many brands, businesses and publishers still feel the need to post on Facebook every time they have something to share or talk about. What we all need to consider is that Facebook’s looking at your average engagement per post when determining how many people are actually going to see your next post in the Newsfeed. This means that it’s better to publish 1-2 posts a day that receive more engagement than it is to post 3-5 times a day with moderate engagement. Even if your total engagement for the day is higher with more posts, your average is going down and you will see a decrease in organic reach.

Note: As you start getting your average engagement to go up, you can start testing whether or not more posts will work for you.

5. Facebook Ads Is A Monster!

Many people never make it beyond the “Boost” button on their Facebook page, which is basically a waste of money. Those who are a little more hands-on will get into the easy editor for Facebook ads. This allows you to do some more advanced targeting using interests, demographics, Facebook categories and even custom audiences. This may seem overwhelming at first but these options are essential to maximizing your ROI on the platform, and we’re only scratching the surface.

Over the last year or so Facebook has rolled out multiple features to empower their advertisers, most of which are only accessible through the Power Editor. Notable additions to the platform’s capabilities include website custom audiences, lookalike audiences and Facebook CTA buttons.

You’re sure to hear more and more people talking about how Facebook is a scam or how you have to pay to reach your own followers, but the reality is that those who actually understand the network and all of its complexities are flourishing. If you’ve hit a wall with some of the obstacles that people can’t stop complaining about, I recommend you dig in and figure out how to leverage the true power of Facebook for your business. Maybe even get started with $1 a day. 

Mike Bal
Mike is the Director of Social Media and Content with Single Grain, one of the fastest growing digital marketing agencies in the country, where he leads strategy development and execution for both services. Connect with Mike on Twitter, Linkedin or Google+ Mike is also the creator and primary author of an in-the-works book project called Marketing Apocalypse: The Brand Survival Guide which features contributions from thought leaders and innovators like Blake Mycoskie (TOMS Shoes) and Guy Kawasaki. Outside of working in the digital space Mike is a husband and father of one, avid Batman fan, and a bit of a fitness nut.
Mike Bal

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3 Comments on "5 Things Every Marketer Should Understand About The Current State of Facebook"

1 year 22 days ago

I think you have to be a marketeer with a degree in economics to understand all this. I only have a postgrad degree in archaeology, so all this is gobbledygook to me! I tried to understand the article – but gave up.

Sherman Smith
1 year 24 days ago

Hey Mike,

You know I've knew a lot of bloggers who were pissed about how facebook changed their newsfeed algorithm. They complained about paying to get their facebook pages to be seen. They even got me mad about it! Now I really see how the whole marketing aspect of facebook work. They want relevant engagement vs. talking about topics people were just not interested in. Relevance and consistence equals organic traffic.

Also I've seen a lot of improvements as far as facebook ppc. You can now really target your market of people with customizes actually who you want to market to to the "T". I had wasted a lot of money on PPC a couple of years ago, but that was my fault. I really didn't know how to target as well, but now it looks like facebook is making sure that you market to the right people for your business! Thanks for the overview of facebook and giving us an understand on how to use it for our business! Have a great week Mike!
My recent post How Do You Generate Traffic From Social Media?

Andrew Healey
1 year 25 days ago

Thanks for the post, Mike.

I must say I find Facebook to be ineffective for my business. However, I suspect this is because I don't know how to use it properly.

From what I've observed, the worst thing that can happen is for your average engagement to drop. Possibly the most common cause for this is having likes for the sake of it. I know of people who have purchased a 1000 likes for something like $5. This is commercial suicide in my view.

What is your advice for a business wanting to get more quality likes? I have read that advertising for likes of Facebook is almost as bad as buying them. What do you think?
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