What's New on Facebook

It's officially the month of love! My way of showing you love in February will be by sharing the latest news and important updates of the major social media platforms. Why this is important? So you can keep doing the right things and avoid mistakes that can slow down your business development. It's only fair to begin the What's New series with the social media giant - Facebook.

The Create Button

Whenever Facebook rolls out a new feature or an algorithm update, they don't do it for all accounts at once. They always like having test groups who receive the newest tools and changes first. So, the button Create has been available for some users for 1-2 months and for others, it may have appeared yesterday. You will find that button on the desktop version of Facebook on the top blue ribbon, right after Home. The reason why Facebook introduced it is to make navigation to important business tools easier. Once you click on Create, you are presented with several options - Page, Ad, Group, Event, Marketplace Listing, Fundraiser. You can pick the item you want to create pretty straightforward and just customise it to your needs.

The Groups Icon

Have you noticed that Facebook has been playing a lot with the lower bar on the mobile app recently? First we saw the addition of the Watchlist, which by the way, is a great tool for vloggers and brands with a lot of video content. A bit like IGTV, but not quite. Then, there was the introduction of the Profile shortcut. I, personally, am not so sure why we needed that button, but hey, we have it! And now, just a couple of days ago, there was a new addition to the bar - the Groups icon. That, I find extremely useful! It instantly gives me access to all the groups I'm most active in and to be honest, I needed a shortcut like this, having in mind how much time networking I spent online. The Groups icon replaced the Marketplace for me as I rarely ever use it. If I clicked on it once or twice, it was surely by mistake.

The Cleaning Algorithm

No, this isn't related to actual cleaning. It's a clean up of inactive accounts. In the last week of January Facebook users, especially those administrating large groups, went through a meltdown. Facebook had "deleted" their members! Oh, but it didn't. It actually did you a favour. Here's why. Similar algorithm was released in the first half of 2018, but its role was to clean up Business Pages from fake or inactive accounts and remove them as fans from your page. Some people thought it's the end of the world, because their page likes decreased by a few hundreds. In reality, it was a good thing. Why do you need 200 inactive or fake profiles to be counted as your follower base, when you know Facebook want people to engage with your posts, in order to push your page to be discovered by more people? The bots or inactive accounts won't like or comment on your posts, therefore, Facebook thinks your content is rubbish. They won't show it to genuine accounts and you are at a loss. Same thing happens with groups now. Facebook's new algorithm detects people who have joined a group but have never been active in it or haven't participated in any way in a discussion for a long time. It also removes people who have been invited by others, but have not accepted the invitation. This is also good! If you don't take part in the discussions of a certain group you are most likely not interested (logically speaking) in the content. Then it's better to leave. Even as a business you don't need a silent audience. You want group members who will contribute to the conversation and the community you've formed. So, don't be mad at Facebook for getting rid of the bad apples. It means, your bowl of fruits will stay healthy for longer!

The Video Reach and Engagement Rate

Videos were the best form of content for any digital channel up until Christmas. That was the time when we noticed significant decrease on reach and engagement for videos on Facebook. Images were performing 25% to 30% better than videos! This, of course, does not apply to Live Videos, which are still The Thing and no matter how uncomfortable you may think you are doing them, you must get over it and get on it!

The Facebook Story Ads

We know that ads can be displayed in Instagram Stories. When I first saw that I thought it was genius! I mean, you are watching people's Stories, they roll one after the other without you even noticing and all of a sudden the next one is an ad. There's no way you won't see it! Even better, when you are trying to skip through to the next person's Story, you are not even careful on what and where you click. Before you know it, you end up clicking on an ad that's been placed on the Stories feature. Now all this is transferred to Facebook Stories too!

The Instagram Boosting of Posts through Facebook

You can boost your insta posts directly from the Instagram app. However, now you can do that from Facebook too, if you have connected your Business account to your Facebook page. It's always best when you centralise processes. It allows you to manage them better.

The Budget for Ads

As anything that sees increase in demand, Facebook raises the price on ads. That said, even with the increasing prices, in 2019 Facebook ads are still much cheaper than Google ads and way more effective. Speaking in numbers, a good daily budget for a successful conversion ad would be £20-£30 and the ad must run for a minimum of 10 days. Let me make it very clear that your advertising budget will also be highly dependent on the value or price of your product/service. You can't aim to sell something for £20,000 with a budget of £20. Heck, you can't even sell a product that costs £200 with a total ad budget of £20. You need to spend roughly 1/3 of your product price on an ad to see decent results. If you are looking for leads - phone calls, emails, direct messages, link clicks to a booking page, you can set a much lower budget. Facebook suggests £5 a day and to run the ad continuously, i.e. without an end date. You can decide if this is going to be feasible for your business.

The Better Lookalike Audience for Ads

The best way, or rather the most effective way, of creating a conversion ad is by using a lookalike audience. What's that? It's built of people similar to those who visit your website and make purchases there. But how does Facebook know about that? Through the Facebook Pixel, which you install on your website and it passes data to Facebook, which it then uses to match with existing profiles on the platform. That way your ad is shown to people, highly likely to be interested in your products and services. What's new and better about the Lookalike audiences on Facebook is that now it takes into consideration offline events, as well as online events. But more about it, you can read directly from the source.

Watch Out for...

Augmented Reality Ads

Facebook never rests when it comes to development and giving new tools to advertisers to market their products/services better. Once we see the augmented reality ads in action, this will change everything! A limited group of bid brands with Facebook pages were given a test trial and it looks amazing. So let me explain what an augmented reality ad enables you to do. Ultimately, this will be a hit for product selling businesses and especially those in the fashion and beauty industry. It will allow the customers to try the advertised product on their own computer generated face or body as they are looking at the screen. That's like a virtual dressing room, but even cooler. Personally, I can't wait to have access to that feature, even though I don't sell products, but would be absolutely thrilled to create an ad like that for clients who do.

The Merge of Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp

Facebook announced its plans to merge the direct messaging of the three major platforms it owns. They said this will make the communication of Businesses and customers from different platforms seamless. I am not particularly excited about this idea for a number of reasons, but above all, potential massive privacy issues. I won't go too much into this now, but will keep you updated with more information as Facebook decides how they want to implement this idea and what exactly they want to achieve with it.

Just before I go for today, I must share for those of you who haven't received an email from Google in the past few days, Google+ is shutting down in April, not in August as we previously expected. Some functionalities will stop working today. So, if you ever created a profile on the platform, perhaps, go on there to check if you need to save some of your information and content and say Goodbye.

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