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BizReport : Social Marketing : January 15, 2018


Experts weigh in on Facebook's 'no ad' announcement

On Friday, Facebook's Mark Zuckerburg announced a change that has many small and large business owners scratching their heads. The big change? That social networkers will see more content from friends and family and less content from businesses and marketers.

by Kristina Knight

Facebook's full announcement can be read here.

The announcement itself is rather vague in what consumers can expect - will they see all posts from friends/family members? will they see some ad posts, from brands they regularly interact with? what happens to sponsored and other advertisement type posts? what might this move mean for publishers, who are increasingly using Facebook to drive traffic to their sites?

"Facebook moving publishers and companies to the secondary News Feed is a bid to keep users happy and active on the platform. An improved user experience will ultimately benefit advertisers, too," said Amir Shub, GM, Americas at Smartly.io. "The News Feed will become less cluttered; paid content is more likely to be noticed and consequently, command a higher performance. The News Feed will become a premium placement, cost-wise, as the competition increases, and this will likely drive brands and companies to focus on the creative idea to stand out. Advertisers will increasingly adopt alternative ad placements such as in-stream video, Instagram and its Stories feature, sponsored messages and the audience network. Facebook is transforming into a fully pay-to-play platform which will drive ad adoption in industries that may not have been so active on the platform previously. Traditional brick and mortar, for one, would benefit immensely from Facebook's advanced targeting and optimization features as well as its mobile-first ad formats, such as Collection and Canvas, that recreate the physical storefront online."

And, according to experts, the move is in-line with how Facebook sees itself: as a place where people connect with one another.

"From a publisher's perspective, this move to divert mainstream media reporting and news in the general public interest away from Facebook will have a few downsides," said David Speer, Industry Consultant of Media and Publishing, North American, MPP Global. "Analysts believe publishers are going to lose web traffic because of Facebook's new algorithms and that will make it even more imperative to engage readers directly with their content. Readers loyally pay for news they can trust and will be forced to get it directly from those trusted source, rather than third parties. While Facebook may want to get away from heated political debates and recover some of the credibility lost by 'fake news' hacks, many publishers are correct in feeling that the algorithms controlling the News Feeds are not as independent as advertised. These equations work off parameters human beings set and any assumptions or biases inherent will factor in as well. If you're trying to sell content to people who want it and are willing to pay for it, a publisher's chances of making that sales are severely diminished if the target audience may or may not even see the article."

Vipul Mistry believes this is a signal to publishers and other businesses to push more of the content - and websites - that they own.

"In response to all the recent changes from Facebook, publishers are doubling down on channels they can more directly influence such as direct, referral and email. We always recommend publishers have a well-rounded and diverse footprint for distributing content -- whether it's Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple News, partnerships, email, search or another route. We expect to see a resurgence of pre-social era strategies which emphasize the power of the brand and trust. Publishers creating engaging content and meaningful relationships with their readers will have the greatest success," said Mistry, Senior Business Development Manager, InterMarkets. Mistry also sees the move as potentially pushing more news to consumers who consistently interact - like, share, or comment - on news items that are shared to Facebook from legitimate news sources.

As to what marketers should do with the social profiles, Animoto's CVO believes this announcement sends a clear signal: brands that are on Facebook need to refocus on the quality of their posts rather than throwing up multiple posts simply to have 'new content'.

"This change does not mean business pages will not be in the newsfeed outright. As long as you're focusing on creating content and a message that your community cares about, you will win. And yes, video will still outperform other forms of content," said Jason Hsiao, Chief Video Officer & Co-Founder, Animoto. "Facebook has always emphasized that content which inspires engagement and conversations will be preferred over clickbait or content that is purely advertorial. Most small businesses aren't the perpetrators of flooding the newsfeed with tons of content every day that may or may not be clickbait or questionable in nature. Small businesses can still focus on what makes them unique and deliver quality video content to their niche audiences."

In all, the experts agree: Quality over quantity will be increasingly important for brands in the social space.

Tags: advertising, Animoto, Facebook marketing, Facebook no ad announcement, Intermarkets, mobile marketing, MPP Global, Smartly.io, social marketing, social marketing tips, social marketing trends










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