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Our Conversation About All The Facebook Changes

Over the past six months there have been a stupid amount of Facebook changes. It can be difficult to figure out everything that is going on, a fact that our Co-CEO and Creative Director, Brandt brought to my attention. So we sat down and talked about how these changes will affect our own social media efforts at TIV as well as those of our clients.

Brandt: In January you mentioned an algorithm change at Facebook. How has this changed our approach?

Beau: Mark Zuckerberg made a huge announcement about changes to come to your Facebook news feed. Facebook has suppressed organic content from brands, businesses and media.

Brandt: The fact that you used “suppressed” and “brands” in the same sentence makes me nervous…

Beau: Well, Facebook claims their ultimate goal is to encourage people to connect with each other, but I’m pretty sure their bottom line disagrees with that. The big change is that Facebook is trying to promote engagement with content (likes, comments, and shares) while trying to mitigate the notorious news feed scroll. This was change number one. This had a bunch of brands scared about what to do next… However, we found that our approach of brand building through compelling content weathered the storm. Most of our clients who focus on brand above all actually benefited from these changes.

Brandt: Nice. That makes sense. What about the Cambridge Analytica Bomb Shell that was Dropped in March?

Beau: I remember it like it was yesterday. January and February, I was ripping my hair out trying to come up with a new social media strategy to help increase brand exposure on social and how to best pivot our overall social strategy, then in March the Cambridge Analytica story dropped and suppressed branded content didn’t seem like such a big deal after we found out that 87 million people had their data jacked.

Brandt: What really happened?

Beau: This quote sums it up: “So the firm harvested private information from the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without their permission, according to former Cambridge employees, associates and documents, making it one of the largest data leaks in the social network’s history.” – By Matthew Rosenberg, Nicholas Confessore and Carole Cadwalladr

Brandt: Okay, so how did we get to the point where this could happen?

Beau: March was a busy month in terms of updates on Facebook. The Facebook team updated their privacy settings, making it easier to find…aka making it capable of being found. Two of the bigger pieces of advertising updates were the partner categories were removed from Facebook. This was a targeting ability that Facebook utilized from data mining companies, meaning, this wasn’t information Facebook had on people, but third-party data. The information was obtained when people left Facebook and then the third part companies would send this info to Facebook.

The other big change was that Facebook announced it is creating some sort of certification process for advertisers to ensure that email custom audiences are being used ethically, and that your consumers are aware that you are using their email for advertising purposes outside of sending emails. This, in my mind has the biggest impact for marketers. The ethical marketer has nothing to worry about. If you collect emails through your site and have a clear privacy policy page you will be just fine. For all you shady marketers out there… watch out.

Brandt: That sounds like another positive for TIV and our approach with our own social media and clients’ campaigns.

Beau: It is. And in addition to the changes above, Facebook has made it easier to delete apps that are connected to your Facebook page, which removes additional information for these marketers to use. Facebook did a full rewrite of their Terms & Conditions, and made changes to their Messenger app.

Brandt: The number of clients that ask me “Is Facebook dead?” is staggering.

Beau: Out of all this information, the most hilarious/scary/ridiculous thing I have learned is that Facebook has actually grown its audience. “This past quarter, Facebook added 49 million new daily active users for a total of 1.45 billion daily users, or a 3.5 percent increase compared to the previous quarter. The number of daily active users in the US and Canada also jumped back up to 185 million, following that historic downturn last quarter. The company posted revenue of $12 billion, which is a 50 percent jump year over year compared to last year’s $8 billion. Those metrics beat analyst expectations, and Facebook’s stock is up nearly seven percent in after-hours trading.” – The Verge. I literally Lol’d when I first read this.

Even with 87 million people having their data stolen directly from Facebook, they grew their audience by 49 million people. To me, this is the answer to everyone’s question about the future of Facebook. Yes, some targeting options have been removed, branded content is being suppressed, and additional updates are to come; but people are still on Facebook and having a strong brand that practices ethical marketing tactics will cut through the clutter and continue to reach their audience.

Brandt: So big picture, what you’re saying is we’ll keep going as we were on social media because our focus is on building a brand through outstanding content? The money we’re spending is money well spent?

Beau: Yessir! CPM and PPC may climb in some cases, but overall strong brands will weather the storm. Our internal marketing efforts have remained steady because we’re speaking to the right audience and we’re providing content that our audience cares about. Isn’t it funny how that works?


Brandt Hoekenga is the Co-CEO and Creative Director for TIV Branding
Beau Baumbach is the Marketing and Social Media Strategist for TIV Branding
TIV Branding is a boutique branding firm in Sonoma County, California. We specialize in building brands by using traditional, social and digital channels in unison. If you would like to discuss a project or find out more about how we do what we do, please email us at info@TIVbranding.com.