On January 11, 2018, Facebook announced major changes to the way they serve content to the News Feed. The company's decision will shift more stories from your friends and family into your News Feed, which means less content from publishers and businesses. The official reason came with a statement of concern for people who use Facebook. As Mark Zuckerberg wrote on a Facebook post to announce the decision, "The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely."
Reasons for Facebook to Change the News Feed
The timing sure is interesting. Facebook has been in the hot seat for more than a year over Russia's involvement with United States elections. For many months leading up to the elections in November 2016, thousands of Facebook ads were created to influence U.S. voters by the Internet Research Agency, a troll farm in St. Petersburg. The Washington Post has reported that Russian troll pages paid to promote about 3,000 Facebook ads.
Reshaping the News Feed is seen by some as an attempt to get ahead of their PR problems with some good news. By lowering the number of ads, Facebook may appear to care more about the quality of their audience's experience. It's still unclear if the changes to Facebook's News Feed will do anything to deter the spread of the kind of fake news Russia engaged in, but changes are ahead for businesses.
The Threat to Businesses on Facebook
"This is a big threat for businesses that use Facebook as their primary social medium," according to Social Media Examiner Founder Mike Stelzner in an interview with Boss Magazine. "Pages began seeing declines over the past several months that have amounted to massive declines recently. Now they're going to have to come to the table willing to pay for content to be seen."
More publishers buying ads will serve to drive up the price, but businesses may have no other choice, according to Meg Coffey, managing director at Coffey & Tea in Adweek. "Advertising will become the only way to get your messages through to people."
Is It All Bad News for Advertisers?
"As ad prices on Facebook continue to increase, it invariably squeezes out businesses with less money to spend," said James Cakmak, an analyst at Monness Crespi Hardt & Co., in an interview with Bloomberg. "That means smaller brands and startups would look for other advertising avenues," Cakmak continued.
If more publishers are competing for fewer ad spots and that drives up prices, you've got two options: 1) Pay more, or 2) lower the price you pay for your Facebook advertising by increasing the effectiveness of your ads. (We recommend option number two.)
What Does It Mean for Your Strategy?
Here are a few steps you can take to start driving costs down now on your Facebook campaigns, and improving overall quality and engagement:
Take More Risks
Using dramatically different creative strategies on your Facebook ads can move the needle more than trying to micromanage small details, such as changing the time of day it runs by 15 minutes.
Make Big Creative Moves
Try out Facebook's Dynamic Creative tool and start with the most important elements of your ad. Your images, text and call-to-action can each have a profound effect on conversion rates and the results you get in your campaigns.
If you've been avoiding localizing your Facebook ads because they've been running fairly okay up till now, now's the time to get serious about connecting with your audience - in their language.
Root Out Underperforming Ads
Ads that were borderline effective will no longer make the cut with higher ad rates. Cut out underperforming ads dragging down your results.
Roll Out Fresh Creative
It will be more expensive than ever to suffer from Facebook ad fatigue. Get some fresh creative into the mix pronto and start working to lower conversion rates.
Test More Intelligently
With artificial intelligence, you'll get help from predictive tools that can quickly guide you in the right direction. Without needing to compile the massive amounts of data and the big budget needed to run statistically significant A/B tests.
Stop Asking People to Like You
The changes to the News Feed are designed to encourage meaningful conversations and actual comments by real live human beings, not superficial likes that are easy to make with one click, according Wired Magazine.
Get Seriously Lean and Mean About Facebook Ads in 2018
It remains to be seen whether the Facebook News Feed is just slightly being tweaked or whether it will undergo radical change. But one thing is for sure: Change is coming to Facebook. Since even small changes can add up to big numbers when it comes to Facebook advertising costs; it's up to advertisers to take the smart steps needed to protect their investments.
Book a free demo with us to find out how ReFUEL4's AI-powered solutions can help your Facebook ads stay relevant and cost-effective amidst these changes.