I usually try to ignore online trends that are well covered in main stream media, but because I have had so many inquiries from our customers and friends, I want to write to share my thoughts on the recent drama surrounding Facebook and the changes brought about as facts have come to life regarding Cambridge Analytica. The following are answers to the main 2 questions that I have been hearing.
Question 1: How do I find out if my data has been breached?
I am a firm believer in starting out with the simple stuff. This feature is listed in Facebook’s help center. Doing a search for “Cambridge” or “Cambridge Analytica” on Facebook’s help center search bar will display the following page: “How can I tell if my info was shared with Cambridge Analytica?”
If you are logged into your Facebook account, the page will automatically tell you if your data was given to Cambridge Analytics via the “This is your digital life” app.
Question 2: How does this affect my advertising on Facebook?
This one requires a bit more explanation.
On January 11th, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be changing its news feed algorithm to prioritize content from “friends, family and groups.”
This was done to encourage “meaningful interactions between people.”
Because of the de emphasis of business posts, businesses will most likely see a significant decrease in organic reach. This means news feeds will likely start to show more pictures of your best friend’s vacation to Hawaii and fewer notices of weekend sales at Kohls. If your business relies on Facebook advertising, this is obviously a troubling development.
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No one knows exactly what the impact of these news feed algorithm changes will be, but it is clear that businesses on Facebook will have to work hard to continue reaching their customers through “meaningful interactions.” Here are some preliminary thoughts on how this might work.
1. Post Engaging, Valuable Content That Prompts Comments
Mr. Zuckerberg wrote in his announcement that “Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”
Brands must focus on creative content that starts conversations between users. To accomplish this, try including questions in your posts, or write about timely topics that users are sure to have an opinion on. (Like finding out if Cambridge Analytica has your data…see how this works?)
The bottom line is that users will be more likely to see your Facebook posts if their friends and family are engaged by and commenting on it.
2. Ask Your Customers to Follow Your Facebook Page
One thing that’s not likely to change about the Facebook news feed is the ability for users to choose “See First” in their news feed preferences. Businesses should be asking customers to follow their page on Facebook and remind them about the “See First” option.
3. Post Video, Especially Facebook Live Videos
This is actually one of the “sure things” to implement to continue momentum under the new Facebook news feed algorithm. Videos are still favored, but live videos will be even more important. In his announcement, Zuckerberg wrote that “live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook—in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.”
4. Intelligently Increase Your Ad Budget
Once you have implemented the first 3 suggestions, consider increasing your ad budget. Facebook is reprioritizing content from brands and publishers, and knowing how to target the right audiences will be an important key to success.
Bottom Line: For online marketers, “algorithm change” is usually equivalent to “the more organic approach wins.” Facebook, Google and others are in a competition to provide the very best user experience. When that happens, traffic growth and use of the product take care of themselves. Google and Facebook represent two of the most successful online entities ever created. My suggestion is to follow their lead and put UX first.