Snapchat Shows – How Snapchat Discover is Transforming Social Media

Snapchat Shows Are Game-Changing and The Future is Premium Mobile Video

Snapchat’s Discover section is unique. For the unfamiliar, Discover is made up of daily content produced by professional publishers (think CNN, ESPN, NatGeo, People, New York Times, etc.), exclusive to Snapchat. The content, just likes Snaps themselves, is only available for 24 hours. But Snap, Inc. has a bigger vision for Discover: Snapchat Shows.

Before we dive in to Snapchat Shows, think about the video content you consume on mobile. Twitter is full of GIFs, Instagram is full of memes, Facebook is full of “viral” or political content, YouTube is full of garbage. Yes, you can find great video content on all of these platforms. But Snapchat is aiming to be the premiere hub for mobile video, and their approach is truly a unique one.

planet earth 2 snapchat show

Discover itself has daily editions of interesting content. But “Shows” is what can truly set Snapchat apart.

As of now, there are 15 Shows on Snapchat or in development for Snapchat:

  • The Bachelor: Watch Party – A weekly show on Tuesdays that recaps The Bachelor episode from the previous night – by ABC
  • The Rundown from E!
  • Good Luck America – A Snapchat original show (episode one of the new season had over 6 million viewers)
  • Game Day – A weekly show on Saturdays during college football season – by ESPN
  • The Voice – Additional, exclusive content from the network hit – by NBC
  • The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon – Additional, exclusive content from the late night show – by NBC
  • Saturday Night Live – Additional, exclusive content from the comedy sketch show – by NBC
  • Hungry Hearts with Action Bronson – A reality show about dating – by VICE
  • Second Chance – An unscripted reality TV drama series – by A+E
  • Phone Swap – New original dating show from Vertical
  • Winter Olympics 2018 – Snapchat and NBC announced a partnership for the event

Snap recently announced a deal with Discovery Communications to develop shows for the platform under the Shark Week and Mythbusters properties.

Additionally, MGM Television inked a deal with Snapchat. MGM Television is the first major entertainment studio to sign on as a partner. MGM is involved with popular shows such as Fargo, Survivor, Vikings, and Shark Tank.

Recently, the biggest show of them all premiered: BBC’s Planet Earth II. Planet Earth will also be sponsored by Goldman Sachs, who will be running Snap Ads throughout the episodes.

Raj Mody, vice president of social media at National Geographic (one of Snapchat Discover’s partners), recently told Kerry Flynn at Mashable: “It started out as an experiment, but it’s become really, really real. When you look at our brand we’re a leader in social media and in visual storytelling. The fact that they’re evolving the platform, that’s something that has been enormously helpful.”

Discover has grown to over 40 partners now. And these partners produce more than just the Shows mentioned above. They produce digital magazines, “Editions”, “Our Stories”, and more. In aggregate, this original content on Snapchat is getting hundreds of millions of views per month. Some Discover partners are generating tens of millions in revenue. Vertical Networks’ Discover channel, Brother, now reaches over 1 billion views per month. And that’s not even the largest one.

snapchat shows discover

One of Snapchat’s Originals: Good Luck America

If Snap can continue to build out original content through partnerships, the platform can continue to evolve and be a go-to destination for premium mobile video. Snap has some inherent advantages that will allow them to pursue this venture: being headquartered near Hollywood and the “cool” factor. Snap seems to zig when other social platforms of the past have zagged. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds over time. As we have written before, Snapchat is the future of television. And here at Wallaroo, we believe in Snapchat.

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  :).

Snap Ads for App Downloads

How to Utilize Snapchat Advertising to Drive App Downloads

Last updated: April 6, 2017

When it comes to social advertising, we at Wallaroo Media are constantly looking for what we call “arbitrage opportunities”. These are opportunities where ad rates are lower and ROI is higher than typical market metrics. As such, we are recommending Snap Ads for app downloads right now. The market has not caught up to the opportunity.

In an effort to keep with with Facebook app install ad campaigns, Snapchat is making a big push with their Snap Ads to app install offerings. The first public data was discovered on the Acorns app (who was one of our clients – view our amazing work for them here). Take a look at the screenshot below of their ad, and read on to learn more about the results.

acorns app snap ad

Acorns App Snap Ad

Acorns gained a ton of early traction through Facebook Ads and Twitter Ads. We actually helped them run highly targeted download campaigns on those platforms. Late last year, Acorns wanted to test Snap Ads for their app downloads. According to Acorn’s Chief Commercial Officer, the Snap Ad campaigns actually had 40% higher install rates than those on Facebook. This is an astronomically high number, since the Facebook Ads were already performing superbly. Acorns said that the CPI was a little higher on Snapchat than on Facebook, but that it made up for the higher cost with a greater download rate.

Fullscreen, a video-streaming service, said that Snapchat targeting reduced its cost per installation by 25% because it meant more installations on the same amount of ad spending.

As mobile ad advertising continues to grow, app installs will continue to be a large piece of that pie (Business Insider reported that 25% of mobile ad revenue is from app campaigns).

Snapchat also recently enabled goal-bidding for app install campaigns on the platform. This form of targeting allow advertisers to get in front of Snapchat users who are most likely to download their app. Snapchat is using machine-learning technology it has developed in house to run these campaigns.

“We’ve been listening closely to direct-response advertisers and are excited to announce the ability to ‘bid for installs’ in our auction. This is a new, cost-efficient way to drive app installs right from Snapchat,” Peter Sellis, the director of monetization product at Snap Inc., told Business Insider in a statement.

As we get more data and case studies, we will continue to update this post.

cookie jam app snapchat ad example

Cookie Jam app Snap Ad

 

 

 

snap ads app downloads

Snap Ads for App Downloads Case Study

How Auto Dealers Can Use Facebook Ads to Hyper Target Car Buyers

Using Facebook and Polk Data, Auto Dealers Can Scale Their Revenues with Effective and Hyper-Targeted Digital Ad Campaigns

It’s no question that social advertising and audience targeting is incredibly effective. But now more than ever, Facebook Ads are THE way to go for auto dealers to target car buyers through every step of the purchase process. This post will explain why.

According to a recent study, 27% of people in the US do most of their vehicle research on a mobile device. That number is 45% for Millennials, and 41% for households with incomes over $200,000. And the percentage of people that use mobile during any point of the purchase process? 71%. Keep in mind, this data is just for mobile consumers. Almost 100% of vehicle buyers use online research at some point of their purchase decision.

Facebook Ads + Datalogix + Polk Data = Lots of money for Auto Dealers

Facebook has two key partnerships that enable it to get the data it needs to provide super powerful ad targeting: 1) Datalogix, 2) Polk. Datalogix connects offline purchasing data to enhance online advertising campaigns. Datalogix also has 200+ syndicated audiences that allow for deeper targeting. Polk (which also owns Carfax) aggregates online and offline data around auto buyer personas and DMV registration data. These two partnerships, when combined with Facebook’s ultra targeted ad product, can drive car-buying consumers to the doorsteps of auto dealers, ready to purchase a new vehicle right away.

insights into facebook ads for car buyers

How Targeted Can You Get?

If you know your way around the Facebook Ad platform, you can get incredibly targeted on vehicle-buyers. How targeted you ask? Here’s an example flow that you can create:

You start with “Automotive” behavior targeting.

From there, you have these sub-categories:

  • Motorcycle
  • New Vehicle Buyers (Near Market – which means people who will be considering a new vehicle purchase within the next 365 days)
  • New Vehicle Buyers (In Market – people considering a new vehicle purchase within the next 180 days)
  • Owners
  • Purchase Type
  • Used Vehicle Buyers (In Market)

If you click “Owners”, you’ll be able to target Facebook users based on the actual vehicle they drive.

If you click on the “Purchase Type” sub-category, you’ll be able to target based on how recently the user purchased a vehicle.

If you click on “New Vehicle Buyers (Near Market)”, you can target by style, for example:

  • Crossover
  • Economy/Compact
  • Full-Size SUV
  • Full-Size Sedan
  • Hybrid/Alt Fuel
  • Luxury SUV
  • Luxury Sedan
  • Midsize Car
  • Minivan
  • Pickup Truck
  • Small/Midsize SUV
  • Sports Car/Convertible

If you click on the “New Vehicle Buyers (In Market)” section, you then choose among the actual make, model, and style of vehicle. How amazing is that?! You can specifically target people shopping for Jeep Grand Cherokees or Suburu Foresters or Chevrolet Cameros.

You can also target people looking for specific auto parts or auto service. You can target by the age of vehicle in their current household, vehicle price, and much more.

There are many ways to target car buyers with Facebook Ads. You can do video ads, custom audiences, carousel ads, lookalike audiences, conversion lift, TRP buying (extend and augment your TV campaigns on Facebook), regular Facebook Newsfeed ads, right rail ads, and more.

If you’re interested in utilizing Facebook Ads to dramatically increase sales at your auto dealership, contact us today!

facebook ads management agency

 

How to Use “Snapisodes” to Market on Snapchat

“Snapisodes” Is A New Snapchat Marketing Strategy That Works Very Well

Marriott International just launched what they call “Snapisodes”, and we are thoroughly impressed.

First reported by Kerry Flynn at Mashable, Marriott created this new campaign to target millennials on Snapchat with the goal to convince young travelers that the Marriott Rewards program is awesome.

This new “Snapisode” strategy is different from Snap Ads (Snap’s official ad product). Marriott’s Snapisodes are three minutes long and the content is created and posted by influencers. It’s a four-part series, each featuring a different social media influencer talking to the camera (or sometimes, through Snapchat Spectacles) and sharing stories about their travels.

From Snapchat’s perspective, this is a dream come true. Brands are already spending big money to run advertising on the platform, and now they are putting cash towards high quality organic content. From a brand perspective, this is a no-brainer. “The idea originally was to mimic television. We wanted to create a TV series and mimic it as such,” said Amanda Moore, senior director of social and digital marketing at Marriott International. “Snapchat provided us with a lot of best practices, speaking to camera. We knew we needed someone authentic, relatable.”

Creating effective Snapisode-type content can be more costly than other forms of organic Snapchat marketing (i.e. “Snaphacking“, local geofilters, or regular influencer campaigns), but the ROI is definitely there.

Want to advertise on Snapchat? Contact us today!

How We Utilized Evergreen Content to Increase Our Traffic 1,800% in 14 Months

SEO Has Been The Single Largest Driver of Business for Wallaroo Since Our Inception

Last updated: April 1, 2017.

Through our evergreen content strategy we’ve grown our traffic over 1,800% in 14 months. The first half of this article will show you how we did it. The second half will teach you how to do it for your company.

Wallaroo Media was founded in mid-2012. When we formed our company, we wanted a name that was unique, fun, and brand-able. We also wanted it to have a word in it that got a lot of monthly searches that we felt we could rank for fairly quickly. So we chose Wallaroo. Soon enough, we got to #1 for the word “Wallaroo” and could tell all our prospective clients that we knew how to do SEO  :). This keyword targeting strategy also reflected the types of clients we were going after. With a resume like this, and with no case studies and little experience, we could really only get local clients like restaurants, dentists, auto repair shops, etc. And when we did get those types of companies as clients, we hustled hard to do everything we could to help them succeed.

how to use SEO to grow business

That was back in the early days. We don’t care about ranking for “Wallaroo” anymore (although we’re still on page one); we moved on to bigger and better things. Like most SEO companies, we started by targeting localized keyword phrases related to “SEO”, or “Utah SEO company“, or “Provo Utah SEO”. This keyword strategy also reflected the types of clients we were able to get. If someone Googled “Utah SEO Company” and found us, chances were that they were interested in SEO, maybe some content marketing, and not much else. We got a lot of great clients this way, and still do, but we wanted to level up as a company. Once we achieved amazing rankings for those keywords, we continued to set our sights on higher revenue-generating keywords and bigger clients…

Enter: The “Evergreen Content” Strategy

With a firm hold on SEO-related keywords in our market, we wanted to expand our services and offerings at our company. We wanted to diversify. We wanted to get more into social media advertising management and PR. So we created a content marketing plan.

There were three key steps in our approach to our Evergreen Content Strategy:

Step 1: Evergreen Content 

evergreen content seo strategy

We wanted evergreen content to be the backbone of our strategy. What is evergreen content you ask? We define it as timeless content that continually stays fresh for readers. We felt that this was an under-utilized tactic with the keywords we wanted to rank for. We wanted to get more clients who wanted to hire us to manage Facebook Ads. So we took a page out of Moz’s book (with their Google Algorithm Change History piece) and decided to create the Facebook Algorithm Change History with the purpose of using it as a Trojan horse to get social ads clients. We created the Facebook Algorithm piece over 2 years ago, and have been updating it every month or so since. That content ranks #1 for “Facebook algorithm change”, #3 for “Facebook algorithm”, #4 for “Facebook changes”, and #5 for “New Facebook update”. It also ranks on page one of Google for another ~100 keyword phrases! The content piece has had almost 60,000 visits since its launch with an average time on page of about 4 minutes.

Step 2: Consistent Updates

As I briefly mentioned in Step 1, we have been updating that Facebook Algorithm piece every month or so for over two years now. Every time we update it, we do three things: Change the publish date in WordPress, change the “Last updated” phrase at the beginning of the piece, and share it on Google Plus (and other social networks as well). Correlation does not equal causation, but we have found this sequence to be crucial in our rankings.

A little more on “evergreen content”: I would highly recommend that unless you are writing on a topic that is time-sensitive or newsworthy in nature, that all your content is evergreen. We update our Facebook piece all the time (because it needs to be updated constantly). But if you publish a piece titled, “How to do SEO for B2B Companies,” update it all the time! Seek out ways to do so. Update the case studies you cite. If you figure out new, applicable strategies, add those. Did Google or Facebook or something else change since you first wrote the piece that now changes things? Add that and update it! Be creative, it shouldn’t be difficult to add to a piece every couple months and thus make it evergreen.

Step 3: Being The First-Mover Helps

Being the first-mover to go after a keyword helps with future ranking ability. It is by no means a requirement, though. But in our experience, being the first to publish an in-depth, well-optimized piece on the subject can do wonders. And if you are consistently updating it, you can stay ahead of the competition. There isn’t any more secret sauce here.

utah seo growth at wallaroo media

Note: Some here may bring up the “Skypscraper Technique” from Brian Dean (who is awesome and whom I greatly respect). Yes, that strategy works very well, and yes, the Skyscraper Technique is designed to overtake first-movers. But if you follow steps 1 and 2 well enough, then being the first-mover will obviously help you. And if you’re always working to build links to your content, then you should be immune to competitors. Theoretically, they wouldn’t want to compete. Who would want to compete with amazing content that’s always being added to and has a consistent flow of quality backlinks pouring in?

Case Study: “Snapchat Advertising”

We shared a mini case study in Step 1 with our Facebook piece. Now we’ll spill the beans on what we’ve been up to lately: targeting all keyword phrases related to Snapchat Advertising, and using the Evergreen SEO strategy to do so.

We were early adopters internally of all things Snapchat. We have a team that skews toward the younger side, and many of us have thoroughly enjoyed the popular social network since its inception.

When Snapchat started rolling out ads last year, we began thinking about offering ads management for the social app as a service. One problem though: Snapchat wasn’t letting anyone in. No agencies, no public access, nothing. They were working directly with brands to create and run the ad campaigns. So we dragged our feet.

snap ads campaign management

But in November of 2016 we published version 1.0 of “Snapchat Advertising Costs” on our website. From there, we continued to update that piece according to steps 1-3 outlined above. We also wrote a lot about Snapchat marketing strategies in general. What are the results you ask? Here they are:

  • “Snapchat advertising” – #2 (after Snapchat.com)
  • “Snapchat ads” – #2 (after Snapchat.com)
  • “Snapchat cost” – #1
  • “Advertise on Snapchat” – #2 (after Snapchat.com)
  • “Ads on Snapchat” – #3 (after Snapchat.com and Snap.com)
  • “Advertising on Snapchat” – #2 (after Snapchat.com)
  • And over 200 more keyword phrases

If you pull up the search volume for those phrases, you will see that none are huge (each phrase ranges from a few hundred to the low thousands in monthly searches). But, as you can imagine, they convert to actual business for us very well. And with SEO, the true measure of success is conversion (at least in our minds). Does your SEO strategy get your website the right traffic and interested users/customers/clients in the target demographic? This is a key component for any effective SEO campaign. For most of our website visitors that come to our site through these keywords, we’re the first agency they come in contact with that does Snapchat advertising. Our content, combined with some retargeting ads every now and then (we spend less than $100/month in paid advertising for ourselves), helps convert these visitors into paying clients.

Take a look at our website traffic in the screenshot below. In an 14-month period, we’ve increased our traffic from under 400 visitors per week to over 8,000 visitors per week. That’s an increase of over 1,800%! Evergreen content works very well  :).

evergreen content example

Evergreen content marketing in action

Each time we wanted to “level up” as an agency, we leveled up the keywords we targeted. Consequently, our client roster has evolved from local clients to larger, but largely unknown, nationwide clients, to publicly-traded companies and household brands.

At Wallaroo, we absolutely love SEO. It was the first service we ever offered, and it will always be part of our core. It has helped grow our business immensely. If you do it right, SEO can do the same for your brand. Want to grow your business through SEO? Contact us today!

Step by Step Process for Creating Evergreen Content

Now that you see how we used the evergreen content strategy to grow our business, let us show you how to do the same for yours.

First, you need to decide which type of evergreen content you want to create. There are many different types of evergreen content. Here’s a quick list:

  • Original research
  • Statistic collection
  • In-depth case study
  • Checklist
  • Resource content (see our content marketing resource)
  • List of free/paid tools
  • Top influencers/experts in a niche
  • Best books for X
  • Glossary of terms in a niche
  • “Everything you need to know” style
  • History of a topic/product (see our Facebook algorithm history)
  • How to do something over time
  • How-to article or tutorial

Keep in mind for whichever type you choose – it either needs to be written in a way to where it will never go out of date, or you need to be consistently updating the piece over time.

Another key component of successful evergreen content is constant promotion. Many forget to do this. Once your content is live, you need to be promoting it on a consistent basis. Not every day, but at least a couple times a month. And for sure every time you update it. Promote it on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Depending on the purpose of the content, paid advertising can be a good solution as well.

Do you have any questions about this strategy? Don’t hesitate to contact us!

Snapchat Launches Search for Stories

Snapchat Launches “Search” for Stories, Changing the Game for Real-time Video Content

Today Snapchat announced the new Search function for Stories. Snapchat stated that they will be rolling this out slowly. Currently, over 1 million professionally curated and unique Stories are available in search. Snap says in their announcement that these Stories include “…a local basketball game, check out the scene at your favorite bar, view your favorite Fashion Week shows, get inspired by a faraway place, or simply tap through a Story full of puppies — there’s a Story for everything!” Here’s their explainer:

How Search for Stories Changes the Game

Josh Constine from TechCrunch has a great take on this. He wrote: “Snapchat is shifting from a social network limited to content shared by people you follow to an ephemeral, real-time database of what’s going on now everywhere…It makes Snapchat as deep as whatever the world is sharing, creating near-infinite rabbit holes to go down, and a stronger competitor for YouTube & Twitter.”

What this also changes is the length of time a Snap is available. From its inception until yesterday, Snaps have had a 24 hour lifespan. But with the introduction of Search, Snap said that some Snaps will be available for less than 24 hours, while others will be visible for weeks or even a few months.

snapchat stories youtube twitter competitor

As of now, Snapchat is pulling from captions or visual recognition via machine learning to add Snaps to categories and into Stories Search. But down the road, they could utilize music in the background or voice recognition as further classification methods.

Snapchat vs. YouTube

YouTube was originally built for the web. As such, most of its videos are long-form (30 seconds to several minutes) in comparison to Snaps (7-10 seconds). YouTube’s videos are also generally delayed at least a few hours, if not more, from when they’re recorded. Snapchat’s video content is posted in real-time.

Because of how YouTube’s platform is designed, and the fact that videos hosted there never disappear, it incentivizes its users to take more time on the production and editing side of things. Since Snapchat is focused on what is happening in real-time (and a 24-hour lifespan), its users are more accustomed to sharing raw, instant content.

Another good point by Josh at TechCrunch in the same article is that this could potentially position Snapchat as a competitor to Twitter. “If you want to read what people are saying around a topic in real time, today you search Twitter. But now if you want to SEE what people are capturing with their cameras around a topic in real time, you can search Snapchat.” I don’t totally agree with that, as video clips are posted to Twitter constantly, but we’ll see how this progresses.

At Wallaroo, we’re extremely bullish on Snapchat. This new Search feature only increases that. As Kerry Flynn wrote on Mashable today, “Snapchat is where my friends are – yes, my real friends.” What better place to market and advertise?! If you want to learn more about Snapchat advertising, click here. Want to run some ads there? Contact us today!

Facebook Algorithm Change History

Facebook
Algorithm Changes

Facebook’s News Feed algorithm is in a constant state of flux. In the below timeline, we mark the major changes both marketers and businesses need to be aware of. With Facebook’s 1.71 billion monthly active users, it continues to be critical for businesses to have a presence on the platform.

If your company needs help staying up to date with the newest Facebook trends or maximizing its reach on the network, give us a call and we can schedule a no-cost consultation!

Last Updated: March 28, 2017

March
2017

Facebook Stories Now Available in Mobile App

Facebook Stories

In the effort to duplicate Snapchat’s success, Facebook has now brought Stories to the main Facebook app. With this latest app update, users will now see circular icons with their friends’ profile pictures at the top of the News Feed. These icons represent recent “stories” that friends have published, which may contain images, video, drawings, and special camera effects. After 24 hours, these stories will disappear and be replaced with new ones. With Facebook Stories, users can become more visual in how they choose to share their activities and personality with their friends. The inclusion of Stories essentially creates a second News Feed within the app.

March
2017

Seasonal Greetings Atop the News Feed

Beginning March 20, Facebook will place an animated seasonal greeting to mark the change in seasons. Depending on where you live in the world, this animated greeting will reflect the current season, spring or fall. If the user clicks on the animation, a Facebook post will appear in which the user can share their feelings about the change in seasons. Facebook has noticed a drop in personal posts, and this new feature is meant to help encourage users to share posts with their friends and followers. Currently, the animated seasonal greeting can only be viewed on mobile devices.

March
2017

News Feed to Weigh “Reactions” More Than “Likes”

Facebook Reactions

It has been one year since Facebook introduced Reactions for increased user engagement, and over the past year Facebook has learned that any Reaction left on a post is a strong indicator that the user was more interested in that post than any other “liked” posts. Currently, any Reaction is weighed the same as a Like; however, Facebook is revamping the News Feed to weigh Reactions more than Likes. If a user selects a Reaction on a post, even an “Angry” Reaction, Facebook will begin showing similar stories in the News Feed. If you wish to see less posts of a certain variety, then it’s best to do nothing; don’t Like or React to that post. For marketers, you’ll want to create posts that elicit a Reaction over a Like.

February
2017

News Feed Videos Will Play with Sound On by Default

Facebook video with sound

After running a series of tests, Facebook discovered that many users responded positively to having videos play with sound automatically within the News Feed. This features will only occur if your phone has its sound on. If your phone is set to “Silent” or “Vibrate,” then you will still need to manually activate the sound on the video. Other changes that come with this update include vertical videos automatically expanding to full screen, as well as having a video continue playing down in the bottom of the screen while the user continues to scroll through the News Feed.

January
2017

Video Prioritized in News Feed Based on Completion Rate

Facebook Video Completion

In an effort to improve the prioritization of video in the News Feed, Facebook will now be analyzing the “percent completion” rate for every video the user watches. If the user watches all or most of a video, then Facebook will prioritize similar videos in the user’s future News Feed. This is a benefit for Pages that produce longer videos that captivate their audience. A longer, more engaging video may see a boost in News Feed prioritization if the user watches most of that video. Videos, both long and short, that do not have high completion rates will likely see a dip in distribution and prioritization.

January
2017

Facebook Adds “Stories” to News Feed

Snapchat has changed how people share their lives on social media. Instagram has already cloned Snapchat’s story feature, and now its parent company, Facebook, is looking to do the same. Facebook Stories will now launch in Ireland on iOS and Android and looks to hit other international markets in the coming months. The “Stories” feature allows users to share photos and video that disappear from the News Feed 24 hours later.

December
2016

Share “Moments” at Top of News Feed

Shareable moments and cards on Facebook

Facebook will begin placing messages at the top of the News Feed to encourage user engagement, such as sharing a holiday-themed card with friends and followers. This update has already been seen in the past but will become more prevalent in the future. These messages and cards may promote a holiday, a historical or cultural event, or even the change of seasons. Time will tell if this new feature will become a marketing tool for brands and advertisers, but as of now, advertisers cannot sponsor these messages.

December
2016

Facebook Adds Color Backgrounds to Text-Only Posts

Facebook Colored Background

Facebook announced that it will roll out a new update that will allow some mobile users to add a colored background to their text-only status updates and posts. The update is only available for use on Android devices; however, all mobile users (including iOS users) will be able to see the colored backgrounds when they are posted. With this update, many text-only posts will be as eye-catching as photos.

November
2016

Facebook Bans Fake News Sites from Using Ads

facebook-logo

Following Google’s lead, Facebook announced that fake news sites will now be banned from using the platform’s Audience Network ads. Facebook recently came under fire with users perpetuating fake news stories regarding this year’s presidential candidates, so this update is a step towards diminishing these fake news publishers’ ability to advertise their posts. While this will not completely eliminate fake stories from the News Feed, it does mean users will see fewer ads promoting stories from fake news sites.

October
2016

News Feed Improves with Slow Connections

Facebook instant articles

In Facebook’s ongoing effort to reach that “next billion users,” News Feed will now display pre-cached stories as well as new stories straight from Facebook’s servers for users with slow network connections. This update will not only help improve the user’s experience in areas where network connection may be sparse, but it will also incentivize users who live in such areas to sign up for, and more regularly use, Facebook.

August
2016

News Feed to Predict & Highlight Informative Posts

Facebook Engage thumbs up

This latest update is a small change to the algorithm after Facebook surveyed many users. Based on this survey, Facebook will now predict which posts a user may find “informative” and prioritize said posts in the user’s News Feed. “Informative” could relate to a variety of posts based on the user’s likes and engagement with other posts, in addition to the results found in this recent survey. For one user, this could mean more posts that are news-related or that feature recipes. For others, it could be news about a favorite celebrity or a movie review. Facebook does not anticipate much change in post distribution from Pages, though some could see slight increases or decreases in referral traffic.

August
2016

News Feed to Show Fewer Clickbait Headlines

scam2

Facebook receives thousands of complaints everyday regarding “clickbait” links and headlines. Previous changes in the News Feed algorithm have attempted to reduce the number of clickbait posts that appear on users’ News Feeds. This newest update allows Facebook to recognize and classify clickbait-like headlines, much like a spam filter in email. This system update will also help Facebook identify Pages and accounts that regularly post clickbait links and headlines, reducing their rankings in the News Feed.

June
2016

Algorithm Prioritizes Friends, Family, & Other Core Values

Facebook instant articles

The secret behind Facebook’s News Feed algorithm has been guessed at for years, with published algorithm updates that help support the various theories out there. However, Facebook recently opened the curtain on the “core values” it uses when determining what shows up in a user’s feed. Facebook became known as the social platform to connect friends and family, which is why most of the News Feed is filled with posts from those users care about most. Now, Facebook states that posts from friends and family will get top priority on users’ News Feeds. After posts from friends and family, Facebook prioritizes posts that “inform” and posts that “entertain.” Other core values include posts that represent all ideas and posts with “authentic communication.” Facebook also emphasized the user’s ability to hide posts, unfollow other users and Pages, and the user’s ability to prioritize their own feed with the “See First” function. Lastly, Facebook reiterated the goal to always improve the News Feed and user experience.

April
2016

Facebook to Fight Clickbait Links

facebook-logo

Facebook has been known to be filled with clickbait links to articles and websites, but thanks to Facebook’s intent to improve the type of content being shared on its platform, this may slowly come to an end. There are sites out there who only care about clicks on their links, even if it the user leaves the page immediately after clicking the link. Now, Facebook will measure how much time you spend on a shared link, whether it’s an Instant Article or on another site. This should begin to filter out clickbait links that don’t actually provide useful content. In addition, Facebook is also looking to penalize Pages that post too often. This will be useful for marketers when creating their Facebook posting strategies.

April
2016

News Feed to Highlight Links You’re Actually Interested In

Facebook instant articles

Yet another update to the News Feed that’ll change the prioritization of what you see at
the top of your News Feed. Interacting with a post (liking, commenting, or sharing) is a good indicator for what users are interested in; however, it is not the only way of gauging interest. Users are less likely to interact with a sad news-related post or a serious current event, but that does not mean they do not want these stories in their News Feeds. Facebook will now measure the potential interest in a post based on the following criteria: user interest in the creator, post performance among other users, past content performance of the creator, type of post the user prefers, and how recent the post is. When you click on a post or link, Facebook will measure how much time you spend on post, even if you don’t like, comment, or share. This will help Facebook in its algorithm when predicting and prioritizing which posts you are most interested in.

March
2016

Facebook Prioritizes Live Videos In News Feed

expanded criteria for movies in Facebook

Facebook has been paying attention to how much longer users watch live streaming videos in their News Feeds, and it turns out live videos are viewed 3x longer than a previously recorded and uploaded video. Based on this information, Facebook will begin prioritizing live video in users’ News Feeds. Facebook previously prioritized stories that it deemed “best,” not necessarily the most current. This live video update changes that. This update helps Facebook keep up with Twitter’s real-time posts, including Periscope videos.

February
2016

High Ranking Posts and Engagement Probability

Facebook Engage thumbs up

This update proves that Facebook is continually listening to its users and attempting to improve the user experience by prioritizing and improving News Feed. With this latest update, Facebook will gauge the likelihood that users will highly rate a post or the probability that users will interact with a post by liking, commenting, or sharing. These posts will then be placed at the top of the user’s News Feed. These two criteria were discovered after Facebook conducted an extensive survey in which users indicated what they prefer to see at the top of their News Feeds. The update should have little impact on Pages; however, some Pages may notice a slight increase in referral traffic while other Pages may experience a decrease in referral traffic. How this update affects the majority of Pages in the long run will be better measured over time.

January
2016

Organic Audience Optimization

audience optimization for engagement on Facebook

Historically, publishers on Facebook struggled to organically reach their target audience, mostly due to Facebook’s algorithm. Known as the Audience Optimization tool, this new update allows publishers to set preferences to target a specific audience based on interests, demographics, and geographic location. Using this new tool, publishers and marketers on Facebook can organically reach their intended audience and then see how well their posts perform.

October
2015

Real-Time News Search Expanded

real time search in Facebook

In an effort to rival Google and Twitter with trending news stories, you can now search any news story through Facebook and access a variety of search results, including posts from other users not on your Friends lists and Pages that you haven’t liked. The search results will pull information from Facebook’s 2 trillion posts. This update will likely encourage users to post more frequently about human and world events, much like on Twitter.

October
2015

Facebook Improves News Feed for Slower Connections

Facebook improved for slower connections

In many parts of the world, mobile users still use a 2G connection for their internet use. In the attempt to reach millions more users worldwide, Facebook is improving the News Feed load time for mobile users with a slower connection. If your connection is extremely weak, Facebook will bring up your previously loaded News Feed or cached stories. With a limited connection, Facebook will now focus on stories and posts you’re actively looking at, as opposed to simultaneously loading multiple stories all at once. Lastly, Facebook will avoid showing content that is too much for your connection to handle, which includes video playback among other types of interactive or media-heavy content. For now, this update only applies to those on mobile devices.

October
2015

How “See First” Affects Pages

Facebook Video Changes

When Facebook updated its News Feed Preferences with See First, they claimed the update would have little impact on marketers, which may not be entirely true. If Pages can somehow be selected in a user’s See First preferences, then there’s enormous potential for increased sales, site traffic and activity, and brand awareness. However, for mid-level Pages who employ paid ad campaigns in the quest for more Likes, there may be some damage. The value of a Like for Pages may be diminishing, especially if those Pages are not frequently prioritized in users’ See First. Marketers will most likely need to revamp their strategies in order to make it into more users’ See First preferences.

June
2015

Facebook Updates User Preferences on See First

Facebook for business page

Facebook is keenly aware that their News Feed algorithm isn’t perfect. In an attempt to give users more control over who appears atop their News Feeds, Facebook has updated its settings, allowing the user to select who they’d prefer to “See First.” This new setting, found under News Feed Preferences, is broken up into four sections: Prioritize Who to See First, Unfollow People to Hide Their Posts, Reconnect with People You Unfollowed, and Discover New Pages. These new sections allow the user to easily select who should and should not get priority in their News Feed.

June
2015

Expanded Criteria for Video Rankings

expanded criteria for movies in Facebook

Over the next few weeks, Facebook will roll out this new update that will account for videos being viewed with audio or in full-screen mode. After a recent survey, Facebook learned that many users will find a video of interest without liking, commenting, or sharing with their friends. Therefore, Facebook will monitor other forms of video engagement, such as turning on the audio or switching to full-screen. There is no indication that Pages will “see significant changes in distribution as a result of this update.” Also, this update does not mean that users will see more videos in their News Feed, only those who already engage more with video-related content.

June
2015

Prioritize News Feed with See First

prioritize see first in Facebook news feeds

Facebook is continually working to improve its News Feed, allowing the user more control over the types of posts that appear at the top. Until now, Facebook has only granted options for users to filter out posts they do not want to see. With the introduction of See First, users can now choose which accounts, whether friends or followed Pages, they wish to see first at the top of their News Feeds. Once on the account’s page, the user can select “See First” under the Following button. The account that you follow will not be notified if the user has selected them for See First. This update is yet another example of Facebook listening to its users and their desires to have more control over the types of posts they see.

June
2015

Buy Button for Shopify Merchants

buy button for shopify merchants in Facebook

Facebook announced that it will be attaching a Buy Button to merchants who utilize Shopify’s ecommerce platform. This means that users will be able to purchase an item directly from the Facebook News Feed without having to open a different app or webpage. Those who run their ecommerce through Shopify will have the option of sharing their merchandise organically through their Facebook Pages or through a paid ad campaign. The inclusion of a Buy Button should entice Shopify merchants with a quick and simple way for their customers to buy a product within Facebook. Users can pay using the same payment method already filed with Facebook or they can enter their payment information during checkout. The Buy Button now places Facebook in competition with Pinterest and Google who are already offering similar features for their pins and ads, respectively.

June
2015

Time Spent on Story

time spent on a Facebook story

Historically, Facebook has formatted users’ News Feeds based on the likes, comments, and shares of others. However, Facebook recently learned through a study that many users would like to see current news stories that may not necessarily receive likes, comments, or shares from the users’ friends. Now, Facebook will also be monitoring how much time is spent viewing certain stories. Though time spent on a story can have various factors (internet speed, length of post, etc.), Facebook will gauge how much time you spend on story compared to other stories you view within your News Feed. If you spend more time on a particular story or post, then Facebook will likely show this story on your friends’ News Feeds.

June
2015

Support for GIFs

Facebook support for GIFs

Facebook has officially confirmed that the News Feed will now support GIFs. Originally, Facebook made a strong effort to avoid GIF support as they felt it would clutter the News Feed page. Now, users can paste a GIF link from external sites (Giphy, Imgur, Tumblr, and others) in their post, and Facebook will animate the GIF once the post has been published in the News Feed. GIFs will automatically play in the News Feed according to your current video playback settings. Though this announcement was made near the end of May, the update will not be immediately available to all users and Pages. Instead, the update is still slowly rolling out throughout June.

May
2015

Instant Articles

Facebook instant articles

Beginning in May, iPhone users will see a new feature from Facebook: Instant Articles. Popular publishers like BuzzFeed, New York Times, National Geographic, and others will have their articles visible and mobile-friendly within the Facebook app. This means that users will no longer have to follow a link to these articles while waiting for the site to load. Instant Articles will be instantly accessed once the user clicks the post. The article will be completely coded and formatted for mobile devices. Publishers will also have the ability to create their own cover for their articles that will appear in News Feeds. Facebook will not favor Instant Article publishers over other posts and articles; however, these articles are more likely to get shares and interaction due to their easy access and mobile compatibility.

May
2015

Search and Add Shareable Links in Your Posts

Facebook Video Changes

Facebook is now implementing a new function that allows users to quickly and easily share links in their posts and status updates, particularly on mobile devices. This new addition is currently only available for a small number of users, but it is expected to roll out for all users very soon. Instead of copying and pasting a link, users can now select the “Add Link” button and then search keywords to find the article or post they wish to share. Results are listed based on popularity of the article or post on Facebook, which incorporates data not used by Google in their search results. Facebook is now a major influence in referral traffic, so it only makes sense that the social media juggernaut would simplify its link sharing process.

April
2015

News Feed Prioritizes Friends

Facebook Video Changes

In 2015, Facebook has made an effort to listen to its users who prefer seeing their friends’ posts over Pages or promotional posts. In January, Facebook began cracking down on Pages who publish “click-bait” posts or posts with the sole intent of selling a product. Now, Facebook is focusing on giving priority to the posts from the friends you care about the most. Simply put, users will now see more posts from close friends in their News Feed than posts made from the Pages they follow.
There are some who believe Facebook is making these changes to encourage businesses to use paid ads on Facebook as opposed to just the free Pages accounts. However, Facebook users have been vocal about their disdain for the priority given to posts from Pages. Facebook understands that if its users are dissatisfied, then it is unlikely there will be any users in the future. In order to retain users and continue to grow, this change was inevitable.

January
2015

Fewer Hoaxes

Facebook Video Changes

Facebook has now implemented a strong effort to reduce the number of hoax links that appear in your News Feed. This includes posts you make yourself or links you share that appear to be a scam. When you see a questionable post you now have the option to report that post or link as “a false news story.” Once a post has been reported by many users as being “false,” then its distribution will be significantly reduced. Facebook will not attempt to delete false posts or evaluate the veracity of their content; however, a frequently false-reported post will come with an annotation at the top indicating that many users have reported that the post is false.
This update should not affect most publishers on Facebook. If you tend to publish or share satirical articles, most users will not report such posts as “false news.” However, those accounts that frequently use hoax or scam posts to increase their traffic will see a strong decrease in their post distribution.

January
2015

Promotional Posts

Facebook Video Changes

Facebook recently surveyed 500,000 users and discovered that the vast majority of those users wished to see more posts from friends and family as opposed to promotional posts, even if they originate from a Page the user likes. As of January, Facebook will begin cracking down on Pages who publish posts that push followers to either buy a product or download an app, enter a contest or sweepstakes with no context, or publish posts that use the same wording as published ads. Facebook said the following about the change, “While Pages that post a lot of the content we mention above will see a significant decrease in distribution, the majority of Pages will not be impacted by this change.”
Facebook remained fairly vague about which kind of Pages this will affect the most, but marketers would be wise to reevaluate their posting strategy so that they will not be punished by Facebook with a significant fall in organic distribution. The good news is that this change does not affect paid ads.

December
2014

App Ad Feed

Facebook Video Changes

Facebook introduces a new search function specifically for finding the apps you want. In the mobile navigation menu there is now a “Find Apps” bookmark that presents a special feed of paid app advertisements. App stores, such as Apple and Google, have failed to provide a feed of apps that is catered to the interests of the user. Facebook’s new App Ad Feed displays ads that are targeted towards Facebook users based on their habits, likes, and activity. App discovery in most app stores is extremely flawed. With Facebook’s new App Ad Feed you can now search through apps that have been selected with you in mind.

December
2014

Keyword Search

Keyword Search

Facebook implements a keyword search that allows users to search for previous posts using keywords and names of friends. Now users can access old archived posts that were previously shared with them through a simple search. The search results will only display posts and photos that have been shared with you, for example, on your News Feed. Likewise, only posts you’ve shared with friends will be displayed in their searches. You can select your audience with any post you make; if your post is set to be Public then anyone who searches for it can find it. If only your friends can see your posts then only your friends can find your posts with general searches. You can also be found if others have tagged you in their posts and photos. If you wish to remove yourself from another’s post you can edit the post and request to remove your tag or that the post be removed from Facebook altogether.

September
2014

Video Updates

Facebook Video Changes

Facebook announces that view counts will now be posted with their videos. Facebook wants the world to know that YouTube is not the only dominant presence in online videos. The video views on Facebook have been growing over the years, now reaching 1 billion views per day. The recent ALS Ice Bucket Challenge trend has also contributed immensely to Facebook’s video views. Facebook hopes to show digital video advertisers that Facebook is a great place to run video ads. Videos on Facebook come from a variety of sources: users, pages, and public figures.
Facebook also announced that in addition to adding view counts to their videos, recommended videos will now appear once a user has finished watching a video. This will only help increase the amount of video views on Facebook further establishing the social media platform as one of the premiere destinations for online videos.

August
2014

Clickbait Control

click bait

Once again, Facebook listened to complaints from users and created this update that made a substantial effort to eliminate “click-bait” posts as well as help users to see shared links in the best format. “Click baiting” involves posts that feature a headline made to get the user to click on the link. A common headline found on “click baiting” links may sound like “You won’t believe what happens next!” Users have quickly become annoyed by such obvious schemes to increase web traffic. Facebook now analyzes how much time a user spends on a link they click. If the user quickly returns to Facebook after clicking a link, this tells Facebook that the link was not what the user wanted, which is frequently the case with “clickbait” links. The weeding of these links will also be aided by how much a link is liked and shared on Facebook. Liked and shared links are typically not “clickbait” links.
Shared links will now be displayed in the traditional link format, instead of being buried in photo captions or status updates. This link format will also preview the beginning of the article that will better inform users if they want to click the link.

April
2014

Instagram

Instagram-logo

Instagram (owned by Facebook) had its first algorithm update this month. The “Explore” (or “Popular”) tab was tweaked to display photos and videos specifically tailored for each user. Previously the tab only showed the most popular posts across all Instagram users.

August
2013

News Feed Update

algorithm

Facebook announced new changes to the News Feed ranking algorithm. One key change gave posts not seen by users a second chance at being viewed. Another important update gave more weight to each user’s most 50 interactions on the network in determining what they see in their feed.

March
2013

Design

FB-Cover-Template-2014

Facebook changed the design of the News Feed to improve its visual appearance for the purpose of increasing user engagement.

September
2011

Combined News Feed

Scrollable-News-Feed1

Facebook responds to users’ outcries about the 2009 update and instead of separating the two types of News Feeds, both are consolidated into one News Feed. Facebook wanted its users to be able to see exactly what they logged on to see. Facebook themselves stated at the time: “When you visit Facebook, you should see the things you’re most interested in, like status updates from your family and closest friends.” They knew that people didn’t log in all the time, so they adjusted their News Feed accordingly. Using an updated News Feed algorithm, they aimed to show all people the most relevant posts at all times. Users, having somewhat acclimated to the last update, had some difficulty adjusting once again to the new update. The changes were pretty complicated for the average user and only computer-savvy users fully understood the changes. The News Ticker is also introduced on the right side-bar which was meant to display other friends’ activity on Facebook such as likes, comments, and so on.

October
2009

News Feed Prioritizes Popular Posts

Facebook-Engagement

This update marked the largest change to date. Facebook debuted a new type of default sorting order. Previously, it had been a reverse chronological listing of updates/photos. The new order was based on popularity. Popularity was quantified by engagement on each post. The more engaging the post, the higher it appeared in the News Feed. This update did create some backlash from users who preferred the original chronological default and for those not wanting their relationship status updates to be cycled through multiple News Feeds based on the growing popularity of the post.

March
2009

News Feed Filters

edit-news-feed

Facebook introduced filters into their platform. This allowed people to have more control over what they saw. The filters were new and slightly complicated which led to many users neglecting to use them, although gradual adoption of use of the filters took place over the next several months. . This update also included the ability to make fine tunes to your status updates and include multimedia with your posts. You could also makes specific lists of friends that would allow you to only see updates from certain friends.

November
2007

The “Like” Button Is Introduced

facebook_like

The Like Button feature is added. This is the first time that Facebook started experimenting with an algorithm. With the introduction of the “Like” button, users have a simplified way of interacting with others’ posts. Prior to the addition of the “Like” button, users had to comment on a status or post to interact with the other user. Also, with the inclusion of the X out feature, Facebook could evolve according to what you “like” and what you X out. This algorithm made it so your News Feed would eventually highlight posts that Facebook thinks would interest the individual user.

September
2006

News Feed Launch & Status Updates

Facebook-News-Feed

Facebook officially launches News Feed, and with it, status updates. Prior to the News Feed, logging in to Facebook would solely access your profile page which you could update and personalize, but in order to see others’ pages, you had to manually search for those profiles. With the introduction of the News Feed, the homepage was redesigned to show you others’ status updates and uploaded photos. The profile page would also show a mini-feed of updates and became known as “the wall.”

February
2004

Launch

Facebook launches as a directory of individual profile pages that users could update. No News Feed yet.

How Facebook Algorithm Changes Affect Marketers

Along with Facebook’s ever-evolving algorithm changes, the digital marketing opportunities have increased as well. As the News Feed was introduced and updated, advertising increasingly found its way into users’ News Feeds. Now, whenever a user brings up their News Feed, Facebook’s algorithm determines which advertisements are best catered to the user based on their Likes, Reactions, listed interests, and interaction with other Pages. This means that in order to fully take advantage of advertising through Facebook, marketers must create their ads with a focused and targeted audience campaign. Marketers will also determine the amount they are willing to spend on their ads which will directly affect the probability that their ad will reach the intended audiences.

Users are now able to dictate which ads they want to see on their News Feed. If a user hides an ad from their feed, they are essentially telling Facebook that that ad does not apply to them. Facebook is more engaged to considering user feedback concerning ads which will ultimately lead to more ads users want to see and less ads that are not applicable. What this means for marketers is that their ads will more likely reach the audience that wants to see those types of ads, which should inevitably lead to more interaction and conversion rates.

What Marketers Need To Know About Advertising Through Facebook In 2017

Advertising through Facebook will continue to evolve just as it always has in the past. What marketers need to know going forward in 2017 is that engaged conversations will get their posts and advertisements shown more regularly in others’ News Feeds. Also, News Feed will begin weighing Reactions more than Likes on a post or ad. This increases the need for quality content that will make users want to engage in the conversation. Your post has the ability to recycle through News Feeds as users comment and interact causing more and more users and friends of friends to see the post.

Mobile devices are now more popular than ever, especially when it comes to interacting on Facebook. Marketers not only need to worry about producing quality content, but they must make sure that anything they post (including links to articles) must be optimized for mobile devices.

One of the most important things marketers must do is stay up-to-date with every algorithm change. What worked in the past does not necessarily work now, and what works now may not work in the future. Stay current on how social media evolves and be prepared to evolve with it.

Sources

  1. Facebook – How Newsfeed Works
  2. Facebook – Newsfeed FYI
  3. EdgeRank.net