Facebook is making Social Media what it should be – ‘Audience First’

 

Mark Zuckerberg’s 2018 new year resolution post to fix facebook ( in effect social media) has made the best of the digital strategy brains scratch their heads.

In his historic new year post, Zuckerberg wrote:

We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That’s why we’ve always put friends and family at the core of the experience.

I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”

If what he is saying is true, soon we will be looking at a brand new Facebook platform which is ‘AUDIENCE FIRST’.

But are Advertisers ready to match their social strategy for this big change?

Leave that question for a moment, are Advertisers & Agencies even understanding the gravity of this matter?

CONTENT FOR ACTIVE SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT, NOT PASSIVE LIKES, COMMENTS & SHARES

As Zuckerberg has made it absolutely clear, that going forward, Facebook is looking for deeper engagement and hence more immersed audience on their platform.

Having said that, highly engaging branded content would be equally rewarded for its ability to connect with the community.

What this also means is that the metric of CPE (Cost per engagement) needs to be thought through all over again.

Clearly, facebook is not saying that they are stopping paid advertising, just that it needs to become contextually relevant in that environment.

IS FACEBOOK REALLY FAIR TOWARDS BRANDS USING SOCIAL MEDIA?

After Zuck’s speech, here’s what Facebook product team also said:

Instead of determining the ranking of posts based on reactions, comments, and shares, the company will prioritise posts that “spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.

BUT, who would decide what is meaningful & meaningless for the audience?

Everything that brands create is promoted with an intent to sell a product or a service, is that meaningful?

And even if it isn’t, should Facebook decide on the same?

Over the years, as Facebook evolved into more of a paid marketing platform than an organic one, brands around the globe realised, they’re now expected to pay for everything they want their audience to see, even to the newly acquired Fans, and even if those Fans have seemingly elected to see a brand’s posts by liking their Page in the first place.

In one of the interviews published in 2014 by James Del (Ex-Gawker head)

Facebook may be pulling off one of the most lucrative grifts of all time; first, they convinced brands they needed to purchase all their Fans and Likes — even though everyone knows you can’t buy love; then, Facebook continues to charge those same brands money to speak to the Fans they just bought.”

Clearly, Facebook is trying to twist the arm both ways.

Now, would you call it fair?

FROM SOCIAL MEDIA ADVERTISING TO SOCIAL PUBLISHING

Facebook may have told the world it is pushing brands out of its news feed, but it is giving them a workaround behind closed doors.

Facebook is trying to appease advertisers that have voiced concerns by pointing them toward an existing “see first” feature in news-feed settings that Facebook claims could improve their organic reach.

FORGET SOCIAL MEDIA TARGETING, EMBRACE RELEVANCE

For years, digital media agencies have been selling Facebook’s famous interest & behaviour targeting features.

Not anymore!

After the recent algorithm changes, the balance has shifted in favour of content relevance as it is no longer about who advertisers wants to engage with, it is about ‘who wants to engage with the advertiser’.

With these changes, Facebook is also trying to bridge the gap with Google search which is ‘down the funnel channel’ in user’s purchase journey.

IS IT TIME FOR MEDIA OWNERS TO SAY ‘OK GOOGLE’?

There is no doubt that Facebook is putting its short-term money where its mouth is, they are deliberately reducing the presence of viral videos in an effort to boost well-being of users of its site.

Facebook is constantly updating its news feed algorithm and any changes to the way Facebook surfaces stories could have far-reaching effects on publishers.

  • Last year, for example, the social media company tweaked its algorithm to prioritize posts from friends and family over publishers.
  • Facebook’s “Instant Articles” feature, where the service hosted some publishers’ content directly but promised to send more readers to the original site as well, has declined in importance.
  • There’s been a broad move toward publishing video directly on Facebook, which could affect how many links to web stories publishers put on their Facebook pages. Any algorithms on Facebook that prioritize native video over text links could have an effect, too.
Publishers Traffic From Google AMP More Than Facebook
Publishers Traffic From Google AMP More Than Facebook

Google’s AMP — accelerated mobile pages — feature, which also hosts publishers’ content directly on Google’s servers, has become more important. AMP stories — typically from news publishers — are surfaced at the top of mobile search results as “Top Stories,” which drives clicks.

 

Piyush Aggarwal

Piyush Aggarwal is Head of Programmatic Platforms Strategy (APAC) @ Brightcom Singapore | Marketing Technologist | Analytics Specialist | Digital Trainer | Startup Consultant | Kindler | iPhone Photographer...So far So Good!