facebook ads

Why Am I See This Facebook Ad?

Facebook is continuing its momentum in the area of transparency for its users. Over time they have been adding more information on what and why advertisers are doing and why ads are being shown to certain people. Now they are expanding the same functionality to organic posts.

Why Am I Seeing This Post?

Back in 2014 Facebook released a “why am I seeing this ad?” tool. For any sponsored post in your news feed you can click the three dots in the upper right side of the ad and click why am I seeing this ad? On March 31st Facebook announced updates to this tool and the addition of “why am I seeing this post”? Facebook is rolling out the same transparency for why we see certain ads in our news feed to why each post is in our news feed.

Here’s what it will look:

Here’s what you’ll be able to see according to Facebook:

Why you’re seeing a certain post in your News Feed — for example, if the post is from a friend you made, a Group you joined, or a Page you followed.

What information generally has the largest influence over the order of posts, including: (a) how often you interact with posts from people, Pages or Groups; (b) how often you interact with a specific type of post, for example, videos, photos or links; and (c) the popularity of the posts shared by the people, Pages and Groups you follow.

Shortcuts to controls, such as See FirstUnfollowNews Feed Preferences and Privacy Shortcuts, to help you personalize your News Feed.

Why Am I Seeing This Ad?

Since Facebook launched this took back in 2014 you’ve been able to see basic demographic details, which interests and website visits contributed to the ads you are seeing.

Here’s what it looks like now:

 
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Now Facebook will be adding additional details like when the advertiser uploaded the information used for a lookalike or customer audience as well as information about the advertiser or if the advertiser worked with a marketing agency to run the ads.

Here’s what the update will look like:

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What’s Next For Facebook?

Since Facebook has been under intense scrutiny for their data handling, they have been leading the charge on internet transparency. In the past year they have been removing and updating advertiser targeting options, removed all third-party data providers, and have been giving more information on why ads and posts are in your news feed. This is likely to continue across the web and Google and Amazon will likely start to follow.

Update: Instagram Release, Now You Can Add Polls To Stories Ads

Roughly two years ago Instagram released the ability to add interactive elements to Instagram Stories. According to Instagram, now 500 million Instagram accounts are using Stories every day. If you’ve been running Facebook or Instagram ads for any business recently, you’ve likely tested running stories ads. Well 60% of businesses every month are using interactive elements in their organic stories posts. Now these businesses have the opportunity to expand their exposure to these interactive elements using Instagram ads.

What are Interactive elements In Instagram Stories?

The interactive elements according to Instagram are poll stickers, @mentions, or hashtags.

Poll Stickers

Polls allow you to write a question in the story and have answers the viewer can choose from. When you post your followers can vote and you can see real time results. There are a lot of uses for these that are fun and engaging. We’ve had multiple clients use them for product votes. For example, two t-shirt brands we work with run these to decide which t-shirt designs they should produce. They will design between 3-5 variations and let their followers vote for which they like best. The winning design will move onto production. Being able to run ads to these polls will be a great way to increase the number of votes and build exposure to the products.

According to Instagram In 9 out of 10 beta campaigns, the polling sticker increased 3-second video views

Hashtag Stickers

When you create your story you can choose to show multiple hashtags directly on the story that are interactive. When viewers watch the story they’ll be able to tap the hashtag you enter and view the page for that hashtag.

@ Mentions

@Mentions work just like hashtag stickers. Integrate them into your story and users can tap the mentions to go directly to the page.

For more information on Instagram Stories for business check out Instagram.

Contact RelayPM if you’re interested in Instagram Story ads and we’ll work with you to make them successful for your business.

Facebook Ads Frequency Capping : Everything You Need To Know

Does it sometimes feel like you see the same Facebook ad over and over again? Do you wonder if other people feel that way about your Facebook ads?

If you’ve done any display or video advertising before, frequency is a commonly used metric and has been for many years. In the world of advertising frequency is the number of times a unique individual saw your advertising. The method Facebook uses to calculate this number is impressions divided by reach. Impressions is the number of times your ad is shown and reach is the number of people that see your ads.

At RelayPM, we work primarily with performance driven advertisers and while we monitor ad frequency, we don’t typically report this number to clients. However, if you’re running branding campaigns on Facebook this is a commonly used metric to track performance. Recently a client of ours was concerned our frequency was too high because it felt like they were constantly seeing their own ads. We put together this article to clear up the information.

Most of the research out there, and if you have ever taken a marketing or advertising class you would be taught this, is that people need to see an advertisement more than once. There is also a law of diminishing return where if you continue to show someone the same ad after so many times if they haven’t taken an action, they aren’t going to. Across all advertising mediums (not just Facebook) generally the consensus from research is somewhere in the realm of 3-7 ad exposures per person is ideal.

A study last year was done by Social Media Today where they looked at data across 10,000 ads and calculated cost per acquisition based on ad frequency. Their data shows the peak ad frequency is shown to be between 1.8 and 4 views on average. See the full article here.

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Can A High Ad Frequency On Facebook Negatively Impact You?

The primary place that ad frequency comes into play with your advertising is with the relevancy score. Facebook users can submit ad feedback on what they are seeing. If they see the same ads over and over again they may choose to let Facebook know. Negative feedback can impact your relevancy score which can drive up the cost you pay to advertise on Facebook. This is something you should keep an eye on in your account. If you see your relevancy scores declining as your frequency increases, you should definitely address this.

Can An Advertiser Control Their Ad Frequency On Facebook?

As mentioned earlier, if you’re used to running traditional video or display advertising, in the vast majority of cases you have complete control over your ad frequency. Unfortunately with Facebook this isn’t the case. If you look at the campaign objectives in Facebook, most of them you cannot control your ad frequency.

If you want to control your ad frequency you must run a reach or brand awareness campaign objective. The campaign types below show which you can control frequency on, but they are all part of the reach or brand awareness campaign objective.

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Here’s what the option looks like on your ad set settings:

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What are some ways to limit frequency for other campaign types?

Facebook’s primary responsibility is to keep their users coming back. If their users get annoyed by their feed, the may lose them. One of the ways Facebook helps with this is since their inception they’ve always limited the frequency of ads automatically. According to a Facebook rep: your page’s fans can see your ad up to 4 times a day, and non-fans could be exposed to an ad up to 2 times a day. Keep in mind this is per ad set. To help limit per advertiser, a person will not see ads from a single page more than once every 2 hours on Facebook and for Instagram a person won’t seen an ad from the same advertiser more than once every 3 hours.

Audience size also plays a major factor in your ad frequency. You’ll notice in most cases the small the audience you’re targeting, the higher than ad frequency will be. Facebook recommends targeting audiences between 1 and 3 million users to help limit frequency.

If you have any other questions about Facebook ad types or ad frequency, feel free to send us a message and we would be happy to help.

Facebook Pixel Update Explained: What Is A First Party Cookie?

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If you run any Facebook advertising you've likely gotten an email in the past few weeks with information on a pixel update.  Here's what it says:

Important Facebook Pixel Update

Hi Tom,

On October 24, Facebook will begin offering businesses a first-party cookie option with the Facebook pixel. This change is in line with updates made by other online platforms, as use of first-party cookies for ads and site analytics is becoming the preferred approach by some browsers.

Businesses have long relied on cookies to serve ads to relevant audiences and understand visits to their sites. Up until now, Facebook has used its pixel — powered by third-party cookies — for website analytics, ad targeting, and ad measurement. This new option will also help advertisers, publishers, and developers continue to get accurate analytics about traffic to their websites.

Businesses can opt out of first-party cookies by updating their pixel settings in Events Manager.

The controls people have over ads on Facebook in Ads Preferences will not change. Our Business Tools Terms also still require businesses to clearly disclose how they use cookies and share data collected on their sites with third parties, so we recommend businesses review their cookie-related disclosures. To learn more about this update, visit the Help Center.

You are registered as an admin of these Facebook Ad Accounts which have Facebook pixels:

None. You aren't registered as an admin of a Facebook Ad Account that owns a pixel. Please check any pixels associated with your Business Manager account.

Thanks,

The Facebook Ads Team

What does this mean for you?

For years now since the inception of cookies most ad and analytics platforms use third-party cookies, but recently certain browsers have blocked or announced plans to block third-party cookies because of all the data privacy concerns that have been circulating.  Facebook's latest update is not only in line with their privacy issues, but also on popular browsers.

Let's start from the beginning.

What is a browser cookie?

A cookie is just a small text file that is dropped on your device (typically browser) when you visit a website.  There are many uses for cookies: saved logins, shopping carts, game scores, user profiles, analytics, advertising, ad frequency capping, ad targeting and retargeting.  There is nothing inherently wrong with cookies, but they can be used for shady purposes in regards to user data.  Imagine every time you add a product to your shopping cart on an e-commerce website, you then close your browser and open it back up.  Without cookies you would lose what was in your shopping cart every time.  Imagine logging onto your email app and every single time typing your user-name and password.  That data is all stored through the use of cookies.  

Cookies simplify and customize your web experience.  This also allows advertisers to better target products and services.  This can be as simple as only showing ads regarding pregnancy products to women vs men.

What is the difference between a first-party cookie and a third-party cookie?

From a technical standpoint there is no difference in how they work or the data they can track.  First-party cookies are issues directly by the website a user is visiting while third-party cookies are created by someone else.  For example, if you visited amazon.com and they cookied your browser to track your shopping behavior that would be a first-party cookie.  If they were using a Facebook pixel, historically a Facebook owned cookie would be dropped in your browser.  That's a third-party cookie because you visited Amazon.com, not Facebook.com.  

From a user standpoint, it's difficult to know who's doing what with your data.  Cookies can be blocked as well through private/incognito windows, Safari and Firefox by default blocks third-party cookies, most browsers allow you to customize cookie settings, software to block cookies, and ad blockers.  Relying on third-party cookies is becoming more of a challenge as these blockers are increasing in usage based on the media bringing light to privacy concerns and not necessarily doing the best job in explaining.

Because cookies store user data they have been recognized as a threat to user privacy.  Recently there was a lot of talk about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe which took effect on May 25th this year.  You'll notice a lot of websites you go to now have a privacy/cookie policy announcement which is as a result of this initiative.  

Now back to Facebook the and recent notification all advertising account admins are getting about the latest pixel update to first-party cookies.  The primary driver of this changes is Safari and Firefox changing how they handle third-party cookies where they are automatically blocked, but you can manually opt into them.  This potentially resulted in a lot of lost data for Facebook advertisers.  Facebook switching to first-party cookies eliminates that issue as well as many privacy concerns users may have.  Google and Microsoft already made the change earlier this year.  

How does the Facebook first-party cookie solution work?

When a user clicks on a Facebook served ad a unique string gets added to the URL.  If there are pixels on the website that are opted in to share first-party cookie data with Facebook, the URL parameter will get written into the browser as a first-party cookie.  In the events manager on Facebook ads you'll be able to manage this setting and opt out if you'd like.  This officially launches on October 24th. For the vast majority of advertisers receiving this notification, there is no further action needed.  You may even see improvements in the retargeting data.



If you’d like more information on this or any help with Facebook advertising and pixel management calls us or send us a message. We’re here to help.

Final Notice: Facebook Partner Categories, Less Than 2 Weeks Left

The final notification has been sent and the days are numbered with less than 2 weeks left to use Facebook partner categories.

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For those Facebook advertisers that have either been living under a rock for the past 6 months or have just pretended the announcement didn't happen, we're officially only days away from partner categories being completely gone from Facebook advertising.  Facebook gave us until August 15 to create new ad sets using these targeting options, but as of October 1, no ad sets will deliver to partner categories.  

Since 2013 Facebook has provided access to customer data provided by a select group of third-party partners.  Here is the official list pulled from Facebook:

  • Acxiom, which can provide data from Australia, France, Germany, the UK and the US

  • Acxiom Japan, which can provide data from Japan.

  • CCC Marketing, which can provide data from Japan.

  • Epsilon, which can provide data from the US

  • Experian, which can provide data from Australia, Brazil, the UK and the US

  • Oracle Data Cloud (formerly Datalogix), which can provide data from the UK and the US

  • Quantium, which can provide data from Australia

While there were hundreds of different targeting options that came from these, some of the most popular were: in-market car buyers, purchase history, financial data (income and net worth), likely to move and job roles.  Depending on what you advertise on Facebook you will hear of varying degrees of success.  For example, if you are an auto dealer you are likely feeling this the most. You could literally target people in marketing for a new Honda.  That's going to be difficult to replicate.  If you are a real estate agent or mortgage broker, while you could target those likely to move competition was extremely high and the performance wasn't always great.  

One thing many advertisers didn't know about the third party data is you were paying for its usage.  Just like when you mail postcards or run programmatic advertising using this data, there is a data fee Facebook is passing on. One advantage you might see now is lower CPM's when you are unable to use the partner categories.

No matter what level of success you did have, it will soon be over.  Here are your 3 options moving forward:

  1. This data is still available for programmatic advertising through many vendors, but more than likely you will have a hard time getting anywhere near the results that you had on Facebook. 

  2. There are ways to buy this data from Acxiom, Experian and Oracle, but it gets expensive.  To get a list of 100k people which would be a small list compared to what many advertisers were targeting on Facebook, will cost anywhere from $15-25k.  Could that be the last resort?  Yeah, likely. 

  3. The best option (our opinion) now and that's testing other targeting options within Facebook.  Many advertisers using third party data targeting have already begun this process as soon as the changed was announced by Facebook.

If you've started testing with limited success or you haven't begun yet, before you panic.  Let's start with a simple question.  Facebook as a company is driven entirely by advertising revenue.  If Facebook thought there was going to be a mass exodus of advertising dollars would they have voluntarily done this?  Probably not.  Their data likely shows a couple of different things:

  • A small portion of Facebook's overall ad revenue was from advertisers campaigns using third party data targeting

  • Their targeting options have improved enough since 2013 when they added third-party data targeting in the first place that they don't see the same need anymore

  • Facebook's algorithm has improved (which we know it has) to find the right target audience for advertisers and continue increasing performance based on that

Yes likely some advertisers will leave Facebook, but not many and mostly just smaller advertisers and many that were either self-managed or managed by marketers that don't really know what they were doing.  Now it's time to think outside of the box.

Here are some ideas:

  • If you were targeting "Likely to move" here are just a sample of other options for Facebook interest targeting: Mortgage calculator, Keller Williams Realty, House Hunting, Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia.  There are dozens more just as good.  Think in terms of "if I were looking to buy a house, what else would I be interested in?"

  • If you were targeting in marketing car buying behavior here are some options for Facebook interest targeting: used car, car dealership, consumer reports, Honda (plus a variety of exact models), Motor Trend.  Again, what other things would you be interested in while doing research to buy a car?

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While there are many more to get into, my goal is really just to spark a mindset change from the obvious to the less obvious, but just as good.  Yeah, wouldn't it be great if we knew the exact people that are today looking to buy a Honda Accord.  You also have to think that every Honda dealer you compete with also has access to the same targeting.  We have to get more creative as marketers which will separate the experts from the followers and also drive a competitive advantage that you didn't have before.

At RelayPM we were only using partner categories for about 10% of our Facebook budget and we only have one client using them still, but we've already honed in on some other audiences that work just as good.  If you need any help with your advertising and would like us to review please reach out.  

Messenger For eCommerce: The One Reason You Should Forget About Every Other Chat Provider

Messenger bots for e-commerce are nothing new.  I get it.  If you search "messenger bots for e-commerce" on Google, you get 1.98 million results.

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If we all know about them by now, why are most eCommerce websites only scratching the surface of their potential?  That is if they are even using a messenger bot.


Let's check the top 5 e-commerce sites right now (I'll skip Amazon).  I'm going to go with mobile too.  
 

Walmart.com

Newly redesigned website, first time I'm actually seeing this.  Found a nearly hidden live chat box.  Oh, nevermind clicked into it, and they only want to know if I liked their website.  Gave them a 5 thinking a chatbot might open up, but they continue to ask me about the website.
 

Homedepot.com

They've got a little live chat box on all pages I found, although it seems to open up late.  First question: name.  No problem.  Second question: email.  I'm out.  (We'll come back to this later)
 

Bestbuy.com

3 minutes in looking at category pages, product pages, even adding a product to my cart.  No live chat anywhere.  I was looking for a recommendation on a Samsung or Sony TV.  I'm out.
 

Target.com

Same as BestBuy.com.  No live chat anywhere.
 

Costco.com

Nothing here either.

The number 2, 4, 5, and 6 eCommerce websites in the United States don't have live chat functionality (that I can find).  There has been article after article and test after test of the importance of chatbots increasing eCommerce sales for at least the past 1-2 years, but it seems that most of the top eCommerce websites in the country haven't even implemented this yet.
This could be a significant opportunity for smaller e-commerce companies to have an advantage over the big guys.


While there's a lot of opportunities to leverage Facebook messager for e-commerce websites within Facebook, what is more often neglected is leveraging Facebook messenger directly on your website.  This newer feature is rarely found on any website. 

That brings us to the question I'm here to answer: why integrate Facebook messenger on your website over any of the other dozens of live chat platforms on the market?  One reason.  As soon as a potential customer engages with your company on Facebook messenger, whether it's within Facebook or on your website, you can message them from that point on.  You can't do this with any other chat platform on the market.  This is a huge opportunity to take advantage of.


Back to the Home Depot example.  I couldn't even ask a question without entering my email.  I'm not ready to make that kind of commitment to them, but I completely understand why they believe the should ask and their data likely proves it as well.  Home Depot wants to have the ability to contact the individual after the conversation.  If that were done through Facebook messenger though, they would have access to message me anytime they wanted, without ever asking me for my email address.  Pretty amazing right?  Imagine the number of potential customers that drop off because they require an email address.

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Are we all familiar with email open rates right?  At 20% we're jumping for joy.  Say out of 100 people Home Depot loses 50% on live chat because they don't want to enter their email address (it's likely much higher).  Of the 50 that entered their email address at best 20% open, the email Home Depot sent.  That's 10 out of 100.  If they were running Facebook messenger, they would have a 0% drop off because they wouldn't need to ask for their email address.  So out of 100, they chat with all 100.  After the chat session, they message all 100 people.  Facebook messenger open rate is over 80%.  


With the current method, Home Depot is using they get 10 out of 100 people to open the follow-up email.  If they switched to using Facebook messenger that number would increase to 80!  That's an 800% increase.

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What are you all waiting for?  Often the mindset of small e-commerce companies is how we can compete with the big guys?  Here is a golden opportunity.


Now that I've shown you why you should implement Facebook messenger within our e-commerce website, what are the practical use cases?  Here are three I'll go over.


Engage with a potential customer early on in their sales cycle.  

This is where you have the opportunity to replace the customer service of a brick and mortar store.  While this has the most opportunity with a more consultative sale, like a TV or a washer & dryer, it can still work with clothing and any other item as well.  A great example would be a couple of months back I was in the marketing for a new washer & dryer.  I spent some time doing my research online, but I hit a wall where there was too much information out there for me to decipher and I didn't have the time to spend on it.  In the end, I was forced to go into a brick and mortar location to consult with an expert.  I wanted to make this entire purchase online, but I was missing the sales support I truly needed online and knew I could get in a store.  There are some e-commerce sites out there doing an outstanding job of this, like Crutchfield, but too many fall short.  Again an excellent opportunity for smaller up and coming companies to take the lead.

Closing The Deal

After you engaged with the visitor on your website to help consult them through the sale, if they leave unexpectedly or abandon their cart, you then have the opportunity to reach back out and close the deal.  This could be anything from offering a discount to answering any further questions they may have.  With less than 2% of visitors on average making a purchase the first time they visit your site, this is a perfect opportunity to increase that number.

After Sales Support

There was a study done where at least 80% of customers responded to order notifications on Facebook messenger whereas very few replied to an email.  What if your customers have questions after they receive their purchase?  This is where you get an opportunity to get them into your messenger list when you don't have them.  If you direct them to ask their questions using messenger, now you have that option to contact them in the future.  HP has a fully automated bot that walks customers through setting up a printer until they can print their first document.  Not only does it increase your customer satisfaction, but it also gets your customers onto your messenger list to reach out in the future.


Now there are indeed cases where a fully automated bot won't be enough.  For instance, on the consultative sale, you will likely get to a point where you need human interaction, but you can at least get through initial questions to judge the quality of the visitor and timing to have a human interject in the messenger.  The way we set these up variest by client.  Some we have only one or two questions and answers before a human interjects while others we have it set up to have a full conversation lasting up to 15 minutes.  You might find there are a lot of common issues that can be automated with a bot that will significantly cut down on the real human intervention.  In the beginning, as your learning, you will need more human interaction, but as you learn common questions and solutions, you can begin to automate more and more and cut down on the level of human support needed.  In the end this will incurease customer satisfaction, sales and reduce human interaction needed in customer service.

Chat with us on our Facebook messenger bot if you have any questions on implementing this feature.  We would love to help and show examples on successful implementations.

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Which Facebook Metrics Are Going Bye-Bye?

Some of you may have recently noticed a little information bar running across the top of your screen in Facebook Ads Manager and Power Editor

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Initially, Facebook’s phrase "removing some metrics" comes off as a bit of a surprise. However, no one should really be alarmed. Yes, they are taking away some metrics, but only ones that are redundant and can still be measured by other metrics remaining in Facebook. Below we will go through each metric Facebook is removing and discuss what alternative we recommend. 

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Actions, People Taking Action, Cost per Any Action:

The Actions metric is a composite of various actions and events such as engagement, clicks or conversions. Recently, Facebook has been adding more and more actions that people can take on an ad. Therefore, the Actions metric is becoming less relevant. We recommend customizing your own composite metric reflecting actions that are meaningful to your business

Amount Spent Today:

We recommend using the dynamic date selector on the top right of Ads Manager and Power Editor. You can then click on "Today" and use the Amount Spent metric. 

Button Clicks:

Currently, this metric shows the number of times people clicked the call-to-action button on your ad. These clicks are also reflected in the Link Clicks, Event Responses and Offers Saved metrics. 

Canvas Component Time Percentage:

Overall, this metric hasn't been very popular. However, if you do use it, Canvas View Time and Canvas View Percentage metrics can be a helpful alternative. 

Carousel Card:

Now, this one comes as a bit of a surprise. Facebook says "We're no longer supporting the Carousel Card breakdown for conversion metrics (ex: Website Conversions) and for any calculated metrics such as CTR because these insights have been infrequently used." When running a carousel ad, we do like to reflect on which cards are performing better by looking at the highest CTR or most purchases, etc. Facebook is leaving the ability to see Link Clicks by each Carousel Card, and you can still see overall conversion results without the card breakdown. 

Link Click Destination:

Facebook has had some trouble with deep links and backup link destinations. Alternatives are Outbound Clicks and Landing Page Views that can measure which clicks lead people to destinations off Facebook.  In the future, Facebook plans to explore other ways of providing more granular app deep link or app store destination insights.

Mobile App Actions Conversion Value:

We recommend using specific app event conversion values such as Mobile App Purchase Conversion Value.

Page Mentions, Cost per Page Mention:

Because these metrics are not as relevant anymore, they are not very helpful to understand positive or negative sentiment towards your brand. Alternatives to seeing the success of a Page Likes campaign are Page Likes and Page Engagement.

Page Tab Views, Cost per Page Tab View:

This metric measures the number of views of tabs on your Facebook Page that are attributed to your ads. Similar, to Page Mentions, there is a better way to see success of a Page Likes campaign and that is through Page Likes and Page Engagement.

Positive Feedback, Negative Feedback:

This metric is already incorporated into the Relevance Score metric. Instead of breaking them out positively and negatively, which can sometimes be confusing, Facebook is just sticking with the Relevance Score. 

Social Reach, Social Impressions, Social Clicks (All), Unique Social Clicks  (All):

These metrics show the number of people who saw an ad when displayed with social information. Facebook has said "The Social Reach metric isn't meaningfully different from the Reach and Impressions metrics and the insights provided aren't actionable, since advertisers don't have control over when ads are/aren't shown with social information." Overall, we’re not losing too much on this one. We recommend forgetting about the social aspect and sticking to Reach and Impressions to evaluate campaign performance. 

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How do you feel about losing some of these Facebook metrics? Is it just a healthy Facebook update? Or are you dreading the start of July 2018? 

Our team at RelayPM understands the impact of this update, especially if you are using these metrics for analysis and reporting. 

We are excited to see the forward direction Facebook is moving. “Measure What Matters” is a program Facebook is launching in March to help marketers learn more about measurement principles. One track will offer programming for branding oriented campaigns and another will focus on measurement for direct response campaigns. This program will be offered on the Facebook Business website and on Facebook Live and in-person events.

Facebook's Doing What?

Since the now infamous Facebook post from Mark Zuckerburg on January 10th the latest change coming to the Facebook news feed has taken of the news.  From criticism to confusion, who should really be concerned? 

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Let's break down the Facebook news feed for starters.  You have three kinds of posts you will encounter at any given time in the news feed.  The first kind are posts from friends and family.  These are from anyone that is considered your friend on Facebook.  Either you accepted a friend request from them or they accepted one from you.  The second kind of posts are those from pages you follow.  These are typically business pages, either private or public that you have chosen to follow.  When they post updates to their timelines a certain percentage of followers will see their post chosen by Facebook's complex algorithm, but most having to do with the post engagement.  The third kind are sponsored posts.  These are from businesses that pay Facebook to show their advertisements in front of people that the business chooses through Facebook's targeting.  Facebook has to constantly balance their algorithm so keep people engaged and logging in as many times of day as possible.  

The latest change to the Facebook news feed will affect two of the three types of posts mentioned above.  Posts from friends and family and posts from businesses you follow.  Here's what Zuckerberg said in his post:

“Recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other."  (see the full post here)  

Out of this change Facebook is shifting their algorithm to give greater exposure to posts from friends and family.  The only way to give greater exposure to one of the three kinds of posts is to give less exposure to another.  Well Facebook certainly is not going to show less paid advertisements so what will potentially take a hit are the business pages that you follow.  If you have a business page (which most reading this post will) you will potentially see less reach on your posts.  This is similar to the change Facebook made a couple years ago which was to give more room for sponsored ads.  At the time Facebook needed to bring in more revenue.  

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Before going into a panic we certainly want to wait and see what happens as this is implemented.  Continue to monitor the reach of your organic posts for a decline in reach.  Most likely publishers posts with lower engagement will take the biggest hit.  Facebook said the reason for this change was from a study where they found people who aimlessly scroll through their news feed without interacting with the content walk away feeling unfulfilled and that they wasted their time.  

As a business what you can do to limit the effect?  Post highly engaging content.  Do not just post to post.  Make it count.  Maybe this means posting less, but posting more high quality content.  As much as Facebook needs to make money, they have always valued engagement as the highest priority.  Businesses should shift their focus from getting as many eyes as possible to posting something their followers will truly want to engage in.

 

No More Ad Text Character Limit On Facebook?

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Facebook has been making some big changes lately. If you’ve been keeping up with them, then you know that they removed the 20% text limitation for ad images. Historically, if you created an image ad with more than 20% text, Facebook would disapprove the ad. In most cases, this wasn’t a big deal, but I’ve seen ads get disapproved because of unreadable background text. Even with the removal of text ad limitations, Facebook is still recommending that advertisers stay below the limit due to their “audience preference”. Instead of giving you a statistical grid to show you where exactly the ad text starts to lose reach, they simply state that the more text your ad contains, it will come at a higher cost and experience less distribution. 

Facebook’s ad text limit has always been a 25-character headline and 90-character description. The only way to overcome this limitation was to create a post on your page to boost the ad. From there, you can go into ad manager and modify the target audience as you please. 

With this limitation, the only campaign objective an advertiser can have is page post engagement. Sure, you can add a link to the text, and you have a “like” button, but that leaves too many competing options for the viewer. 

Last night, I was creating an ad for a client when I noticed that the character limit disappeared. Typically, when you start typing, there’s a character countdown on the right side. With the character countdown missing, I was able to type as much text as I wanted. See example:

 
 

At first, I thought there was some sort of glitch. I decided to try saving the ad. No issues. I scoured the internet for information on the change. There was nothing. I wanted to make sure that I could activate the ad, have it approved, and get impressions before jumping to conclusions. At this point, it was 1 a.m., so I decided to check back in the morning. 

I woke up the next day, and this is what I saw:

facebook character limit 2.png

Impressions, spend, and a 3 relevancy score (right in the client’s range before I extended the text). After looking deeper into Facebook’s ad specs, I found this:

 
 

The most important statement is, "The recommended text length is how many characters of ad copy could be displayed on smaller screens." I checked a couple different sized screens, and my ad saw the full text in every case. I recommend testing to see what kind of results you get.

Now it is time to expand and test…