Facebook’s Newsfeed, Content, and Social Media Algorithms…

Facebook Makes Sweeping Changes – Here’s What it Means for Ads and Content

Last updated: February 13, 2018.

Facebook has made some huge changes to its Newsfeed algorithm in 2018. Facebook has stated that it wants to “increase meaningful interactions between people“. To accomplish this, there will be less video and news. Facebook makes a TON of changes to its product, on a constant basis. And although they said less news, they also created caveats for “trusted news” and “local news”. They’re also increasing their Stories product on desktop and mobile.

Facebook Advertising

First, let’s briefly address how all these changes are affecting Facebook Ads. In two words: they’re not. Facebook Ads are here to stay, and potentially stronger than ever. Below is a note from a Facebook Ads representative:

facebook algorithm changes on facebook ads

Now that that’s out of the way (although it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add some influencer marketing strategies into your mix)…

Facebook Newsfeed and Content

Businesses, both large and small, have been built off Facebook and its algorithm. Those times have officially come to an end. Organic reach of posts has been declining for years (it’s now around 2-4%, sometimes much less). Facebook DOES NOT CARE if you use their platform. Still, some well-known publishers are doing everything they can:

While others seem to finally feel free:

A sage tweet from Matthew Ingram of Columbia Journalism Review sums up the thoughts of many:

I think we can all agree on this: Facebook is done with quality journalism. They’re tired of fake news and bad PR. Controlling it would be too costly. So they’re just phasing it out. Here’s a quote from Mark Zuckerberg:

“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, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they’re entertaining or informative — may not be as good. Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”

Still want news on Facebook? Go to the Watch tab.

Anyone who counted on website traffic from organic Facebook posts needs to move on, especially publishers. Internally, we’ve adjusted how we manage our clients’ Facebook pages. Instead of doing 10 posts/week (years ago) or 5 posts/week (last year), we just try and do 1-2 high quality, engaging posts each week.

You know what’s not going down in the midst of all these updates? Facebook’s profits:

Image via mondaynote.com

Why is that the case? Facebook (and Instagram) ads of course. Those will still be growing strong.

What You Should Do

With the new and future landscape set in stone, I recommend four things:

  1. Post less, but make every post as high quality as possible
  2. Facebook Ads (which include Instagram and Messenger) are still gold mines – focus on those
  3. As Facebook increases human relationships, utilize influencers more
  4. Invest heavily in Groups (Facebook continues to prioritize Groups content)

Also, NEVER build your business in a way that it’s dependent on a singular social platform. First off, focus on all social platforms. Secondly, create consistent, quality content on your website. Lastly, build your email list. Those last two tips are things that cannot be taken away from you.

Finally, good luck! Need help with marketing strategy? Contact us today!

Instagram Adds Hashtag Following; Facebook Opens Up AR Platform

Facebook/Instagram Make Big Changes (and What Those Mean for Marketers)

Facebook made three important announcements today…

  1. The Facebook AR Studio is now open to all

Facebook now has over 2,000 creators using AR Studio. They are using the platform to build fun, animated frames, masks, and interactive augmented reality experiences.

facebook ar studio

As of today, the AR Studio creative tools are open to everyone. In the next week or so, Facebook will also enable ‘world effect technology’ within AR Studio. Creators will soon be able to develop 3D digital objects for people to place onto surfaces and interact with in their physical space. This tech is akin to what Snapchat has been doing for quite a while now.

2. Hashtag followings on Instagram

Today Instagram introduced the ability to follow hashtags in the app. Below is a statement from the announcement:

“Now it’s even easier to stay connected with the interests, hobbies, passions and communities you care about. Every day, millions of people share photos and videos and tag them with relevant hashtags. #onthetable#slime and #floralnails are just a few examples of hashtags that represent the many interests and passions of our community. To make these posts even more discoverable, we’re introducing hashtags you can follow.

Following a hashtag is just like following a friend. To get started, search for a topic you’re interested in or tap on a hashtag from any post. You’ll see relevant hashtags displayed in your search results along with related accounts. When you find a hashtag you like, open the hashtag page and tap on the follow button. You’ll begin seeing top posts from that hashtag in your feed and some of the latest stories in your stories bar. You can always unfollow a hashtag at any time.”

instagram hashtag followings

To us, this is big news for Instagram. Incorporating hashtags has been crucial aspect of marketing strategy. They’ve been very effective for organically growing your following. With this new feature, that strategy can be accelerated if done correctly.

From an advertising perspective, expect to see ads in these hashtag sections by the end of 2018.

3. Update to the Facebook Newsfeed algorithm

According to Mashable, it was confirmed that Facebook quietly killed an old feature that gave users the choice to somewhat control the order of posts in the Newsfeed. News Ticker, the official feature introduced alongside Facebook’s algorithmic feed years ago, is no more. Get the full breakdown of Facebook’s latest Newsfeed algorithm changes here.

Facebook is Going All In on High Quality Video and Content Creators

Facebook Launches “Facebook for Creators”; Renewed Focus on High-Quality Video

Facebook is going all in on high-quality video and is doing its best to take on YouTube. Facebook officially launches a new app last week called “Facebook for Creators”. The app allows creators/influencers to make and promote videos, as well as the ability to connect with their viewers and fans.

There is a new website as well.

The app is open to everyone. Facebook is encouraging all to create high-quality video content.

“It has never been a better time to be a creator on Facebook,” Facebook product director Daniel Danker said at VidCon this year. “With Facebook we can connect and create community with your audience and tell stories that are social, personal, and authentic.”

The app lets users easily add intros and outros to live videos as well as stickers and frames. The community tab in the app pulls together comments from Facebook and Instagram and messages from Messenger into one inbox. The app even includes analytics about a user’s Page and individual videos. Additional features will be released soon.

“We’ve gathered feedback from creators as we’ve built these resources, and will continue to take cues from the community as we try to make the Facebook experience fun and easy for creators – so they can do what they do best,” wrote Fidji Simo, Facebook’s VP of Product.

facebook creators

Facebook for Creators

As a brand, this is definitely something to keep an eye on. Facebook has put a lot of effort behind this venture, and they’re marketing the heck out of it. Creators will be pushing content through this new app onto Facebook (a platform that creators have neglected for a while). Creators always test new apps/platforms, and stick with what works best. If Facebook for Creators can do that, then creators/influencers will add it to their repertoire.

From an ads perspective, expect Facebook to monetize these quickly. They’ve already begun testing mid-roll video ads, and rumor has it that they’ll be adding pre-roll ads soon too.

Keep an eye on this app…

Snapchat Copycats Haven’t Copied One Thing: Snap’s Userbase

App Annie just released a report today around Snapchat’s user base and exclusivity. The numbers are very interesting. Here’s a quick graphic of the main highlight (we’ll explain why it matters to marketers/advertisers below):

snapchat userbase exclusivity

First off, that data proves that Snapchat users are extremely loyal to Snapchat itself. What does that mean for you? That means that reaching them outside of Snapchat requires working with multiple apps, which can add degrees of difficulty depending on the type of ads and/or content. Moving beyond “audience volume” and more towards factoring in metrics like “audience exclusivity” can help you more effectively and efficiently reach the audiences you want to target.

In short, Snapchat may be the place to be for your brand, depending on your audience and your daily goals.

Snap’s ad targeting capabilities are improving quickly as well. They are rolling out context cards and a new pixel. They are also moving towards a new algorithmic feed which should improve engagement and stimulate growth. CEO Evan Spiegel teased more interesting things in the pipeline as well.

Fun sidenote: Snap just announced the Snap Accelerate program. It’s a program for growth-stage mobile startups where if approved, the startup gets to ad spend, creative assistance, media coupons, and more. Apply here.

Video Is The Paradigm Shift

Facebook’s VP of Product Adam Mosseri shared today the following quote at an event:

“We believe that video is the paradigm shift, as large as the shift to mobile…We’re trying to figure out how to support that.”

Facebook is going all in on video. They recently started pushing vertical video. They debuted “Watch“, a tab that houses video content in the Newsfeed. They are testing 4K video uploads. This all makes sense, too. Take a look at the data:

  • Cisco predicts that by 2020, 75% of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video
  • Daily watch time of Facebook Live broadcasts have quadrupled in the last year
  • Time spent watching video on Instagram has increased 80%
  • Social video content is 3X more likely to help people feel connected to friends and family

(See more data here).

From an advertising perspective, video content is more engaging and converts at a higher rate.

video paradigm shift

Image via TechCrunch

In short, if you don’t have a video strategy, you need one ASAP.

Facebook Stories Available to Pages; Adds “Sets”; 3D and VR In the Newsfeed Too; TBH…

Facebook is Beefing Up Its Platform…

Facebook has been busy these last couple weeks. They made five large announcements. We’ll cover each, and why you should care, below.

  1. Facebook Stories for Pages
facebook stories for pages

Facebook Stories for Pages – Image via TechCrunch

People will officially be seeing Facebook Stories from Pages they follow or Like in the Stories section on mobile and desktop. Facebook announced last week that you can port over stories to FB from Instagram. Now, Page admins will see a “Create Story” button on the mobile app when viewing their Pages.

Facebook has yet to share a daily user metric for Facebook Stories, but we do know that Instagram Stories hit 100 million users just two months after launching.

We’ll see how Stories on Facebook performs, but what we do know is that Facebook is pushing it hard. That’s why, as a brand, you should be utilizing Facebook Stories in your own social strategy. That, and Groups of course (more to come on that in a future blog post).

2. Facebook 3D Posts – Virtual Reality in the News Feed

facebook 3d posts vr

Facebook 3D Posts – Image via TechCrunch

Facebook just announced 3D posts, a new type of News Feed post where users can grab, spin and interact with a 3D object to look at it from all angles. Facebook acquired Oculus a couple years ago and wants to push creators to make virtual objects using the Oculus platform. In the near future, Facebook is working on an API to let third-party VR app developers give users the option to share their creations to the News Feed. Take a look at the video below.

We’ve updated our Facebook Newsfeed algorithm piece with the change.

3. Facebook to Launch ‘Venues’ for VR Programming

facebook venues virtual reality

Facebook Venues for VR – Image via TechCrunch

Facebook also announced plans to launch a virtual reality “Venues” app next year that Zuckerberg said will allow people to “watch live concerts, and live sports, and premieres of movies and TV shows, all around the world with friends” and other people.

4. Facebook “Sets”

facebook sets

Facebook just announced that they are testing a feature called “Sets” that allows you select several status updates, photos or videos and share them as a themed collection to everyone or specific friends. Sound familiar, Pinterest?

It appears that links will be able to be included as well.

5. Facebook acquires popular teen app “TBH”

facebook acquires tbh

Facebook just bought the popular app “tbh” (slang for to be honest) for an undisclosed amount. Why is this important? Two primary reasons. One – Facebook’s weakness is teens, and tbh is extremely popular among teens. Two – tbh only launched a few months ago and is approaching 6 million loyal users. Check out the screenshot of the top App Store rankings below, courtesy of Product Hunt:

With all these announcements, Facebook is clearly looking to separate itself from their competitors and become the one-stop destination for social, content, video, and VR.

Brands – prepare accordingly.

Facebook Ads Targeting Offline Events Now Available

Facebook is finally releasing something advertisers have wanted for years…

The world’s largest social network is officially rolling out offline ad targeting options. This includes things like targeting ads to people who have visited brick-and-mortar locations, in-store purchases, and calls to a business’ office.

The new offline-to-online retargeting options are being added to Facebook’s Custom Audiences ad-targeting portfolio. Advertisers will also be able to retarget lookalike audiences of people who share similar characteristics to those who interact with the brand in the real world.

The Custom Audience list can be created using anyone that Facebook has tracked as having visited a brand’s location, such as a retail store, restaurant or auto dealership, within the past 30 days. For Facebook to get this data, the user needs to have the location tracking feature enabled through the app’s mobile settings.

In order for the location data to be as accurate as possible, Facebook will only include people in an in-store visitor audience when it has a “high confidence” that the person has visited that location, and not just passed it by.

A natural question is whether Facebook could consider a person as having visited a store when in reality that person only passed by the store or the phone’s GPS inaccurately pegged their location as being inside a store. To mitigate that risk, Facebook will only include people in a store visitor audience when it has a “high confidence” that a person visited a given location, Francis said.

The ability to create a Custom Audience of store visitors is only available to businesses that meet Facebook’s eligibility requirements. Among those requirements, a brand must operate at least 10 separate locations.

Need help running a Facebook Ads campaign? Contact us today!

Facebook Debuts “Watch”, a New Platform for Shows on Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg has been predicting the video boom for years. Today, he launches “Watch”, a new platform on Facebook for shows.

Facebook will debut original shows made by media partners exclusively for the social network. Amazon, Netflix, Google, Snapchat, and Apple are all also beefing up their original video content. Now Facebook gets into the game. Online video, especially on mobile, is here to stay.

The video tab in Facebook’s mobile app will feature a new section called “Watch” to highlight the initiative. “Watch” will also appear on desktop and Facebook’s TV apps. Facebook will roll out “Watch” to a small group of users today before expanding it more widely in the weeks to come.

From the Facebook Newsroom:

“We’re introducing Watch, a new platform for shows on Facebook. Watch will be available on mobile, on desktop and laptop, and in our TV apps. Shows are made up of episodes — live or recorded — and follow a theme or storyline. To help you keep up with the shows you follow, Watch has a Watchlist so you never miss out on the latest episodes.

Watch is personalized to help you discover new shows, organized around what your friends and communities are watching. For example, you’ll find sections like “Most Talked About,” which highlights shows that spark conversation, “What’s Making People Laugh,” which includes shows where many people have used the “Haha” reaction, and “What Friends Are Watching,” which helps you connect with friends about shows they too are following.”

facebook debuts shows in watch

Facebook debuts “Watch”, for shows

Here’s a list of some of the original programming that will be available on “Watch”:

  • Tastemade’s Kitchen Little – This cooking show sees kids watch a how-to recipe video, then instruct a pro chef how to make the dish with comedic results
  • Major League Baseball – The MLB will broadcast one game a week live on Facebook
  • Major League Baseball “12:25 Live” –  A comedic look at baseball with help from the fans
  • Mike Rowe – Rowe finds people who’ve done great things for their community and gives them a special experience in return
  • Nas Daily – Vlogger Nas (Correction: Not the rapper) makes videos with his biggest friends each day
  • Gabby Bernstein – Motivational speaker and author answers fans’ life questions in live and recorded segments
  • A&E’s “Bae or Bail:” – Reality TV game show where couples face their fears and see who runs
  • All Def Digital’s “Inside the Office” – A look inside the office life at Russel Simmons’ hip-hop media empire
  • Billboard’s “How it Went Down” – A documentary series of musicians sharing crazy stories
  • David Lopez’s “My Social Media Life”  – A reality show about the social media star’s life
  • Golden State Warriors’ “Championship Rewind”  – A behind-the-scenes look at the Bay Area’s NBA championship 2016-2017 season
  • Univision Deportes’ “Liga MX” – Live coverage of LigaMX soccer matches
  • National Geographic’s “We’re Wired that Way:” – Mini-documentaries about weird quirks of humanity like songs you can’t get out of your head
  • National Geographic’s “Safari Live” – Watch live safaris led by National Geographic’s guides
  • NASA’s “Science @ NASA” – Explore science topics in quick four to five-minute episodes
  • NBA’s “WNBA All-Access” – A behind the scenes show with women’s basketball stars
  • The Dodo’s “Comeback Kids: Animal Edition” features determined animals facing difficult conditions or challenges meet people who refuse to give up on them.
  • Tommy Mac – A master woodworker gives live tutorials on how to make furniture

We think this is going to be HUGE. If you are not creating video content for your brand, you need to be. Need help? Contact us today.

Digital Marketing Weekly Update – Snapchat, Google Algorithm, Instagram, & More

This week has been full of news in the digital marketing world. Here are the highlights:

  • Snapchat releases “Custom Stories”. You can Geofence a story to a custom location, send it to certain people, and more. Watch the video:

  • James Corden gets his own Snapchat Show, called “James Corden’s Next James Corden”, where he will chronicle finding his predecessor.
  • Mozcast is showing a high of 119 degrees today, indicating that the Google algorithm is highly in flux. We will expand on this as we learn more information.

mozcast google algorithm










  • Facebook adds social chat features to its Live video features.

facebook live video social chat










  • Twitter enables chatbot promotion for the first time.
  • How does content marketing work? Read this.
  • Instagram launches story search for hashtags and locations.
  • More original Snapchat Shows are launching.
  • Great timely content from Lego on their Snapchat about fidget spinners.

Facebook & Instagram Continue to Copy Snapchat

Over the last few months, three new announcements came out about Facebook. Each of them points to Mark Zuckerberg taking pages straight out of Evan Spiegel’s book. The three announcements were covered here, here, and here.

First, Facebook is tweaking their live video section to look more like Snapchat’s. Simple enough.

Second, it’s been reported by multiple outlets that Facebook is prepping a competitor for Snapchat’s “Discover” section. It will reportedly be named “Collections”. Everyone wants in on the content game. See side by side examples here (with Snapchat on the left and Facebook on the right):

Third, and the most blatant of all, Facebook has introduced camera effects called “location frames”, which work just like Snapchat’s geofilters. Just like geofilters, users can create and submit illustrations tied to specific locations. Users can also submit more general designs with illustrations not tied to a specific location. No word on if Facebook will create pay-to-play versions of their Location Frames yet. Check out an example below.

Facebook Location Frames

So, it will be interesting to follow along as these two tech titans continue to battle in 2017. One thing is clear – Facebook does not want to relinquish its lead as the go-to social platform.

Update on 12/21/16: Instagram just added a stickers feature, in yet another copy of Snapchat. You can now add “contextual stickers” and “location based stickers” on Instagram. See an example below from Instagram.

instagram adds location and contextual stickers

Instagram Location Stickers

Update on 3/8/17: Instagram Stories launches geostickers. Snapchat launched their geostickers in 2014. Below are screenshots of Instagram’s new geostickers, courtesy of TechCrunch. Take a look at how blatant the copy is…

instagram stories geostickers

Instagram Stories Geosticker

instagram stories launches geostickers


Update on 3/10/17: Facebook launches a new feature inside of Messenger called “Messenger Day”. Take a look at the screenshot of the new feature below.

facebook messenger day snapchat clone

Be honest with yourself – is that not an exact clone of Snapchat?! Facebook’s executives are saying no. But I think we can all agree, it’s a clone. Yet another example of Facebook’s inability to innovate. The new feature is only available in the U.S. for now, but it is said to be rolled out to other countries soon.

UPDATE on March 28, 2017: Facebook launches Stories on its mobile app to the whole world. It essentially creates a second Newsfeed for mobile users. This form of “Stories” is basically a straight copy of Snapchat. See below:

facebook stories

UPDATE on April 13, 2017: Instagram announces three(!) new Snapchat feature copies: Geostickers (custom designed stickers at local landmarks), Sticker pinning (just like Snapchat’s motion-tracking emoji feature), and Selfie stickers (quite similar to Snapchat’s scissors tool).

P.S. – If you need custom Snapchat geofilters, we got you  :).