Rethink Facebook marketing or lose business in 2015

Traffic cuts?

In January 2015, a lot of brands will be pushed out of the Facebook newsfeed. If your business or your client relies heavily on social media as part of the marketing mix, the latest update announcement from Facebook is something to pay attention to.

 

What Facebook says it is:

Facebook is continually throwing curveballs, and this is no exception. The advertising platform and arm of Facebook relies on user engagement – likes, shares, comments. The only way this happens is if people feel strongly enough about a particular post to actually respond and give their two cents.

The announcement contained the following quote:

Our goal with News Feed has always been to show people the things they want to see.

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The Unsuitable Characteristics

To give people more of what Facebook thinks they want to see, it has announced three characteristics which it will use to determine the suitability of business posts:

  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

They’ve also provided an example of these posts which will be penalised come Jan 2015:

These guidelines seem pretty straightforward – anything which provides direct attribution to potential financial gain seems to be out.

 

What Facebook doesn’t tell us:

Remember the Atlas update which is coming out soon? If you missed that, read about it here.

In brief, Atlas is Facebook’s new advertising platform.

How this relates is that by eliminating any kind of free promotion from businesses and their pages, Facebook will galvanise the segmentation of channels of promotion to:

1. Value based organic content which doesn’t directly contribute sales and online conversions

2. Purchased ads

If you have a page for your business or client, you will essentially be forced to choose between the two. It’s not a terrible choice by any means, and this still leaves room for marketing applications.

Marketers will have no choice with their organic posts but to educate or entertain.

However, by forcing brands and businesses to promote through paid advertising, one could argue that this is a phasing-in of the new Atlas system, and funnelling of all existing Facebook marketing into it.

 

What could go wrong?

If the value of posts is gauged by user engagement, here are the potential conflicts I see:

– What if the two categories overlap – if the post is both informative and valuable, and provides a call-to-action to buy?

– What if the purpose of a page is solely to give people daily discounts?

 

If your Facebook marketing strategy relies on organic posts which drive people to perform a a financially valuable action, you do need to rethink your strategy leading up to 2015. These are important updates to be aware of, and it is also important to realise how they fit into the larger scheme of your marketing mix and how it interacts with Facebook.

Contact us to find out how this will impact you specifically. 

 

 

 

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