In the past few months, Facebook has made a lot of changes. These include:
- News feed updates
- Control the ads you see
- Blocking ad blockers
- New video metrics
- Redesigned pages
- Custom audiences based on time on websites
- Updates to lead ads
News feed updates
Showing more personally informative stories
Your news feed will now favour stories that are “personally informative”; determined by your own actions.
What is “informative”? Generally, anything that is related to your interests, contains news about the world around you, and engages people in broader discussions. Facebook says:
“That could be anything from recipes, to local issues, to global current events. The stories rate as informative and help create a new prediction about how informative we think you’ll find each story.”
Facebook then looks at how that story might be “personally” relevant to you:
- What is your relationship with the person who clicked on it?
- What do you click on, comment on, and share?
This adjustment could bring back some of the reach and engagement that news and media companies lost during other news feed changes.
Control the ads you see
Facebook has officially announced improved control over the ads you see. You can now view what interests advertisers can use to target you with ads via your ad preferences. You can remove or add interests to improve the relevance of ads you see.
This does not mean that users can completely opt out of ads, it just means they have more control of what ads they see.
Blocking ad blockers
In the same announcement as controlling the ads you see, Facebook also announced that ad blocker software would no longer work when users accessed the social network from desktops:
“As we offer more powerful controls, we’ll also begin showing ads on Facebook desktop for people who currently use ad blocking software.”
If you aren’t aware, software like Adblock Plus has been created for people to add a plugin to hide ads from their newsfeed. This certainly affected Facebook’s revenues, but it also impacts the advertisers who leverage its audience to drive their business.
Within two days, Adblock Plus came up with a workaround – although Facebook immediately addressed it. This is like a cat-and-mouse game between the two companies, but one where Facebook is the cat.
How does this affect advertisers? Well if Facebook is successful, it means increasing distribution on desktop placements. With increased distribution, costs may lower.
New video metrics
Facebook has brought out several new metrics to help publishers measure the impact of their videos.
Publishers can now see metrics for minutes viewed by gender and age, as well as geographic locations. In each case, they can compare demographic engagement of a video to that of the typical video posted by that page.
View engagement with live video
Publishers get a graphical view of engagement as it happens during a video. See at which points there are the most reactions, comments or shares.
Video viewing from shares
Publishers now have access to reports of views and minutes views from their original video from those connected to the page, versus those who viewed it from a share.
After testing changes to the page layout all year, Facebook has made an official update. Here are the main changes to expect:
Your profile picture no longer overlaps with your cover photo. So if you’ve done something creative that links the two, this is a heads up – your profile picture is now positioned on its own at the top left of the page.
The cover photo dimensions are the same (828px x 315px) with the profile picture being square (160px x 160px). The page name and username are now underneath the profile photo instead of being an overlay on top of the cover photo.
More prominent buttons
If you’re using the call-to-action button, it is now bigger, brighter and more prominent.
Tabs now appear as a list of links down the left hand side.
Overall, this design is much cleaner. Other items that were on the left side previously are now on the right. Facebook has also removed ads from the right side of pages.
Custom audiences based on time on websites
An exciting update: publishers can now create audiences of people who are most active on their websites.
This was previously only available through the ads API, but some advertisers now have access via the Facebook Ads Manager interface.
Updates to lead ads
These are the following updates to lead ads:
Download links in Power Editor and Ads Manager: One complaint from advertisers is not knowing how to find the lead once lead ads are running. They are otherwise buried within the Facebook page publisher tools.
Download only new leads: Instead of having to download the entire file again, advertisers will now have the ability to download only the new leads captured during a specific date range.
Lead ad custom audiences generated automatically: Facebook recently introduced lead ad custom audiences. These are brilliant, allowing advertisers to create audiences who have opened, submitted or opened but didn’t submit a form. But now these people will be generated automatically.
Scrollable forms: A user engaging with a lead ad form used to need to click multiple times before submitting. But now with the scrollable form, Facebook say this will result in an improved user experience and a higher conversion rate.
Not all of these updates are available to everybody yet. But they will be soon!
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