Facebook Algorithm Changes & What to Expect in 2020

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This is an update to a blog originally published on March 7, 2019. 

Globally, nearly 1.5 billion people log into Facebook every day. The power of the platform to engage and connect people makes it an important resource in the arsenal of any marketer. Those who have paid attention to the news over the past year, however, also know that the platform has made significant changes over the past twelve months, impacting how businesses reach their target audience. The platform has also faced scandals, which led to many users reevaluating how they use the platform.

Brands who want to optimize their opportunity on social media should consider these Facebook advertising changes as well as the anticipated trends for 2020  as they begin to formulate their social media strategy.

As 2020 makes its mark, Facebook has continued to update its algorithm. These changes were made with an emphasis on transparency, privacy and creating an improved user experience. If you have asked yourself, “How does the Facebook algorithm work?” Here is what you should know about these latest changes and updates.

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Ability to Recognize Low-Quality Content

As we discussed in a different blog, Facebook made changes to their algorithm that placed a far greater emphasis on displaying content from friends and connections and less material from brands. The social platform said that they would track ‘meaningful interactions’ of users to get a better idea of what content would actually benefit users. As a result, many brands sought ways to create ‘meaningful interactions’ on their branded content so the material they posted would still appear in their followers’ feeds.

Facebook, however, has become increasingly sophisticated in their ability to recognize spam-like content and clickbait. They do not want this type of low-quality content to invade the feeds of their users.

In 2020, as the algorithm continues to improve in this area, brands should focus on creating content that naturally engages users and taps into their genuine interests without creating clickbait. At Ballantine, we can help you create campaign ideas and ad strategies that will meet the criteria from the Facebook algorithm change.

Limit How Many Ads Brand Can Run

Facebook has announced that it will limit the number of ads a page can run at once in 2020. At the same time, the social platform has said that this new rule would only impact a small percentage of pages. It is likely that this limit will be high enough for many brands to not notice.

However, as brands begin to plan their campaigns for 2020, prioritizing the most valuable campaigns will be beneficial. If the limitations do impact your organization, understanding your internal prioritization will help you adapt more seamlessly to this 2020 Facebook update.

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Creator Studio Offers Video Insight

Facebook first released Creator Studio a few years ago to help people track engagement with the content they created for Facebook and Instagram. Facebook has continued to add more features, which brands should note heading into 2020.

Specifically, brands can now gain better insight into the traffic sources for their content as well as see how long people spend watching their videos.

This will provide users with valuable insight because Facebook appears to continue to place an increasing emphasis on video content in its algorithm and adjusting how the videos themselves are ranked. To better rank videos, Facebook has updated its ranking criteria to focus on the loyalty of users towards the brand and their videos, how long people spend watching a particular video, and the originality of the content in the video.

Live videos offer a great way to produce original content, and Facebook says that live videos get 6 times the interaction of regular videos. Considering that a few years ago Facebook videos had already hit 8 billion daily video views, taking these changes in video ranking under advisement– along with utilizing the ability to track some of this data through the Creator Studio– should be a top priority for brands on the platform.

Optimizing Your Facebook Strategy

Facebook continues to update their algorithm and ranking factors to improve the experience they offer users. Keep these new 2020 Facebook rules in mind as you build a Facebook strategy.

  1. Facebook has improved its ability to sift out low-quality content, so make sure that your content engages users without resorting to click baits.
  2. Begin to prioritize the ads you create, as Facebook may limit the number of campaigns that can be run at once in 2020.
  3. Facebook has updated how they rank videos, but they have also added additional features to Creator Studio to help you track valuable data. In 2020, take advantage of these insights so that you can keep your videos ranking highly.

If you would like additional help creating an optimal Facebook strategy, please reach out to us at Ballantine. We will help you take control of these Facebook changes in 2020 to create campaigns that will build and emphasize your brand’s digital presence.

Biggest Facebook and Instagram Updates 2018- 2020

Facebook’s new ad disclosure policy

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Facebook’s new ad disclosure feature will let users see why they’re being targeted by certain ads, including the whole trail of how their information got to that point. The trail will indicate whether they’re on a customer list or their information was sold to advertisers through a third-party, and will even identify the agency that uploaded the data. This good faith gesture is a part of Facebook’s new transparency efforts. Armed with this information, users can then remove the unwanted advertiser in their Facebook account ad preferences or request their data to be removed from a list. This is something you should keep in mind when advertising, especially if purchasing third-party data.

On March 28th 2019, Facebook was charged by The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for discriminatory practices against some of its users in ad targeting practices. The charge, which has backing in allegations made against the social media company in 2016, states that Facebook’s AI excluded users from certain real estate ads based on data relating to their race, gender or culture. This violates the Fair Housing Act of 1968.  Facebook has faced this type of issue recently, and responded that it was making an effort to ban discriminatory tools and targeting practices on its platform.

Using Facebook ads banned words

Are you tired of seeing the email about your Facebook ads being disapproved? Your Facebook ads can be denied for many different reasons. Besides advertising something that is prohibited from the platform (weapons, cryptocurrency, marketing schemes that fall into the Facebook MLM policy, tobacco, certain body parts etc.), your ads can be denied for including words or phrases. Some words are obvious – profanity facebook ads will not fly on the platform – but some of the prohibited words/wordings are tricky and unexpected. Please contact us for assistance with Facebook ads that are being denied for the copy, and we can provide a strategy to help.

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Policy Changes

On March 27th 2019, the company declared it would ban all white nationalist content. An earlier policy banning this type of content left room for question between what defined as white supremacy, white nationalism and white separatism. The company’s new policy change was in response to the racially motivated mass killing in two mosques in New Zealand, which was streamed live on Facebook. 

On April 1st, 2019, Facebook announced that users will now be able to see why a certain post is appearing on their News Feed, and if their profile lines up with what a specific advertiser is targeting. Facebook will do this through a “Why am I seeing this?” button at the top right of every post. It will provide insight and information that has never been accessible directly within the platform before. This transition is in line with Facebook’s other changes, to make it more transparent and responsible with personal data.

Facebook algorithm changes

Facebook announced early in 2018 that they had updated their algorithm so that users’ news feeds would focus more on posts from friends, family, and groups. This made it harder for brands to get their material in front of the desired audience and sent many brands scrambling to update their strategies.

Facebook’s security breach

In mid- 2018, Facebook faced an incredible scandal when a data breach that impacted the personal information of over 80 million people was made public. Facebook was heavily criticized for having inadequate security measures as well as overly-broad terms and conditions given to users.

On March 6th 2019, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the platform would be shifting towards more temporary private messaging and less permanent public sharing to combat its current trademark news-feed style. This major change comes after Facebook’s tough year of privacy issues and scandals, forcing leadership to reevaluate how Facebook handles user information. These changes extend to social media platforms WhatsApp and Instagram as well. Moreover, this development will potentially affect Facebook’s monetization; advertisers who use Facebook’s data to target specific customers can pay billions of dollars for the information.

In all the uncertainty surrounding the platform nowadays, one thing is for sure: Facebook’s future will focus on encrypted, private messaging.

Instagram’s push towards authenticity

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In response to the scandals, Facebook as been working towards creating a greater degree of transparency for users, and Instagram is following suit. They platform announced a crackdown on ‘inauthentic content’ such as purchased likes.

Instagram lets you promote your IGTV through Stories

On the image sharing platform, you can also now share previews of your favorite IGTV videos. This makes it easier for brands to promote their unique content and attract attention.

Facebook’s new features

Facebook launched new features, such as their Portal, which allows people to make video calls through Messenger on mobile devices. The platform also released updates to help business owners and job seekers connect, and even created Learn with Facebook, where job seekers can learn more about valuable skills needed in the digital workplace.

Where Facebook and Instagram are going in 2019

Ads will become more interactive.

Look for opportunities from Facebook and Instagram to create more interactive ads. This includes Shop with Instagram updates, Playable Ads for Facebook games, and Augmented Reality Ads, which allow customers the chance to interact more with the ad within the Facebook platform.

Greater emphasis on personal connections

With Facebook marketing updates and the algorithm update, it will be much harder to reach customers unless they truly want to be reached. This trend began in 2018 in response the the changes, but will gain even more momentum in 2019. Brands will need to create content that builds relationships and encourages people to heavily engage with the Facebook page.

Build a strong PPC strategy for Facebook and Instagram

With the size of their audience, Facebook and Instagram remain key factors in reaching a social audience. With the greater emphasis on direct connections and less on commerce within the platform, many brands will find that a robust PPC strategy will be critical to maintaining a strong relationship and engagement with their users.

News and trends on Facebook and Instagram

  • Facebook has updated their algorithm to emphasize personal relationships
  • Facebook faced a major data scandal that led many to reevaluate their security
  • Instagram has followed Facebook’s push towards transparency
  • You can promote IGTV videos with snippets on Instagram Stories
  • Facebook as released new features, such as the Portal, which allows for video calls

Facebook, Instagram, and the rest of the major social media platforms should be well-planned aspects of the brand’s social strategy, but the rapid changes can confuse site managers. Trust the experienced marketers at Ballantine to help you navigate social media and drive organizational success. Contact us for more information.