Facebook is at it again! Making life more difficult for marketers. Or are they? Two new announcements are sure to have change the way companies use this powerful tool. Both changes will impact businesses that market on their news feeds.
The New Unfollow Feature
The first change is rather subtle: when someone opens the drop down menu on a post and “unfollows” an account, they will be now automatically directed to their news feed settings page. The settings will show users the pages and people they have interacted with most over the past week and will allow them to unfollow anyone. People who are not regularly posting, over sharing or not sharing anything of value can be banished with a click of the mouse (or finger tap). Businesses that publish boring or repetitive posts, or who fill their pages with advertising content may be the biggest losers.
Ads Disappear from the New Feed
The second change is even more stunning. Facebook has announced that beginning in January, posts that include sales pitches or announcements of a special offer or big sale may disappear from the audience’s news feed altogether. In other words, fewer fans of retailers will see advertising content published in the news feed.
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Facebook insists that these changes are being made to provide viewers with the type of quality content that they want to see. The end result is that the “free lunch” is over for businesses using their pages as billboards for their products. Facebook does assert that creative and engaging posts will still attract attention and bubble up into the feed.
Why Quitting Facebook is Not the Answer
Not only does Facebook have more than 1.35 billion active users, but it has one of the most comprehensive collections of consumer data in the world. They have diligently been collecting demographic, geographic and psychographic information on their users. This information has been collected not only through user profiles, but also from the Pages and posts most liked and shared. Their sophisticated algorithms understand who their members are, where they are, what they do, and what they want.
Facebook is now telling us, “If you want to advertise to our members, you must pay for the ad.” At the same time, Facebook has added new features to its advertising arsenal that are designed to help companies with their marketing efforts. For example, the new Local Awareness Ads and Audience Network are both aimed at helping marketers better reach their customers.
Although the ad space is sure to become pricier, the bottom line is that it is still the most economical way to target the exact group of people who will be most interested in what the business has to offer.
Make no mistake – Facebook is no longer just a “social” site where people catch up with high school chums. It has become one of the most powerful marketing tools on the planet. It is time for companies to recognize his fact and get the marketing help they need in order to take full advantage of what it has to offer.