By Daniel Brophy, Social Media Specialist
“The landscape of social media and digital marketing is constantly evolving.” How many times have you heard that line? Trite as it may seem, it is very true and important to always keep in mind, particularly for any business looking to reach and engage their audience and grow their business online.
On social media platforms especially, there are always new features being tested and rolled out. Likewise, there are frequent tweaks and updates, both big and small, all of which have the potential to change how you can and/or should best utilize the platform. The social team at Page 1 is constantly working to stay ahead of the game by keeping up-to-date with all of the latest news from Facebook and its affiliates. Here are a few recent updates that we believe our clients will find useful.
1. Facebook Prioritizing Faster-Loading Sites in Mobile News Feed
You have likely heard of the importance of page load time on your website. This is especially important on mobile, as more than half of all time spent online, and roughly 80 percent of time spent on social media, is done on mobile devices. Research shows that about half of all mobile users will abandon a site that takes over 3 seconds to load. If you are spending time, energy and money to publish content on social channels, you'll definitely want to make sure that your site loads quickly.
Facebook announced in August: "...we will soon take into account the estimated load time of a webpage that someone clicks to from any link in News Feed on the mobile app. We’re making an update to show people more stories that will load quickly on mobile and fewer stories that might take longer to load, so they can spend more time reading the stories they find relevant."
This is just one part of a larger effort by Facebook to crack down on low-quality websites and spammy content (and so-called "fake news"). It is unclear to what extent this action will impact paid promotions. It's safe to say, however, that when it comes to ads, if you are paying for impressions and clicks but directing people to a slow-loading site, you will very likely see a diminished return on investment.
There are a number of things you can do to optimize your site for mobile and improve site speed. Facebook recommends a few best practices, but your Internet Marketing Consultants will likely be able to provide you with much more detailed and accurate suggestions for your website.
2. Facebook Is No Longer Charging Advertisers for Accidental Clicks
Facebook also announced in August that it will no longer charge advertisers for accidental clicks in Audience Network, or count them in campaign metrics: "[accidental clicks] fail to deliver good experiences for businesses or people. For advertisers, [accidental clicks] can dilute the value of their campaigns." This is big news, and quite frankly, long overdue.
The Audience Network is one of the default placement options for Facebook ads, displaying ads across countless third-party mobile apps and sites. There is great value to be had in extending the reach of your paid promotions beyond the confines of the native Facebook environment on desktop and mobile.
Historically, we've seen a great deal of traffic come from the Audience Network to our clients' sites, and at a low CPC and high CTR. However, we've also often observed that a lot of this traffic is of low-quality, as indicated by high bounce rates and low conversion rates. It is very likely that many of these clicks are/were accidental—someone mistakenly clicked on the ad on an app or mobile site, and then immediately closes out of it and returns to their previous destination.
This update will not only improve ad performance by making sure we are only spending money on people that are actually interested in the ad's content, but also helping to cut down on accidental clicks from happening in the first place, which will minimize the impacts on those key on-page metrics — or perhaps even improve them. Note that the team at Page 1 has made ongoing efforts to block fake traffic and spam on all our clients' sites, which is just one of the many ways a skilled digital marketing agency can give you a leg up on the competition.
3. Facebook Continues to Refine Advertising Features
In order to make effective ad campaigns as quickly and efficiently as possible, we social media advertisers are heavily reliant on Facebook's native advertising tools. Recently, Facebook once again refined and improved the Ads Manager and Power Editor platforms with several major updates. Facebook also continues to develop new ad formats and placements.
Most recently, Facebook announced a new ad placement within its Messenger app, which will soon be rolling out globally. Likewise, advertisers are now able to choose Messenger as a destination after a user clicks on an ad. Rather than being directed to your site, they are prompted to send you a direct message, or initiate a conversation with a pre-constructed chatbot. For certain campaign objectives and/or target demographics, this may be a better campaign structure and one that is more likely to make someone convert, as it doesn't take them away from Facebook, and in some ways feels lower-commitment.
Seeing as how Facebook Messenger just surpassed 1.3 billion monthly active users, these have the potential to become highly viable ad placements. For some people, Messenger Ads may feel obtrusive, but users will be able to hide ads they don't like. Also, much of the rest of the industry is heading in this direction, so it will soon become congruent with users' expectations.