2018 Social Advertising Opportunities—Following Facebook’s Algorithm Changes

Publishers and advertisers alike called ‘organic reach armageddon’ last week, as Facebook announced it would soon prioritize posts from your family and friends over publicly spread content. So, what’s next for brands? These 2018 Social Advertising opportunities are worth looking at, especially for advertisers that rely heavily on the social space.

On January 11th, the world’s biggest social platform announced significant changes to the algorithm, prioritizing posts coming from user accounts over public content. So, where does that leave brands? In a Facebook post accompanying the press release, Mark Zuckerberg calls the move an answer to increasing feedback from their community. Public content, being the posts from businesses, brands, and media, are deemed to blame for crowding out the Facebook space, leaving too little room for personal moments. Zuckerberg: “As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard—it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.” Good news for people you would say, although not everyone is waiting for more cat videos coming from that serial posting aunt, for instance. This is bad news for brands, in any case. So let’s look at where these changes actually came from, and what opportunities will arise from them. 


Facebook’s 2018 algorithm changes in a nutshell

Facebook users will more likely see your Facebook content if their friends and family are commenting on it. As Zuckerberg states, Facebook’s focus will shift more towards “meaningful interaction”. As this is still quite vague and open to interpretation, the KPI they will use to define it is not: comments. In his Facebook post, he calls out content makers on interaction: “Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”

This is a direct call for brands to focus on creating quality content that sparks conversations between users. Think about asking relevant questions in your content for your Facebook audience to answer, or jump on heavily opinionated topics and be part of the conversation. Also, you could actively ask your Facebook audience to check the ‘view first’ button. For instance, if you would like to see our follow-up article on these 2018 Social Advertising opportunities pop up in your feed, or other news on this topic for that matter, be sure to check the View First option on our Facebook page.


2018 Social Advertising Opportunities

1. Increase organic reach, adopt an Influencer strategy.

Number one on our 2018 Social Advertising Opportunities list is a direct response to the update newsfeed mechanics. As Facebook now prioritizes people content over public content, influencer strategies might be the way to go to get your brand message across. It might sound weird, but with both Instagram and Facebook now having introduced ways to recognize endorsed content, the authenticity debate should eventually die out. And as Influencer Marketing has now grown up from being seen as a temporary hype practiced by underaged, amateur marketers into a recognized marketing practice, we are seeing more and more use cases of Influencer Marketing playing a unique part in the customer journey. Last week, however, the discussion also arose on the control social platforms (should) have over the Influencers that are active there—and earn their living on, with popular YouTuber Paul Logan being dropped from the Google Preferred program over a tasteless video.


2. Increase your ad budget

This may sound harsh, and as no surprise coming from a digital marketing agency, but shifting budgets from making generic content and hoping for the best towards more targeted content with guaranteed, controllable reach does make sense. Considering that organic reach was already declining across all social platforms, Facebook’s new changes are merely an acceleration of a trend that is already happening for years now.

‘Where organic reach falls, paid can step in’ has always been a successful best practice in our Search activities. For most brands, shifting budget from organic to paid will merely be a relocation of funds, and a reprioritization of assets. Knowing who to target with what message and when, however, will be increasingly important. Of course, we can help you do that.  One way can be to increase your in-house skill level, to ensure brand marketers and their agency counterparts can play their A-game. In the press release, VP of News Feed Adam Mosseri literally states that “Overall time on Facebook will decrease, but we think this is the right thing to do.” This means it’s even more important to get your targeting right. He adds: “Now, I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable.” So that means an increased relevancy mission for ads, too.

3. Facebook Live videos & Groups

Is organic a must-have in your 2018 Facebook strategy? Go live with Facebook Live Video, or community-based with Facebook Groups. Video posts are still being favored over static posts in the new algorithm, but live video wins them all. In fact, Zuckerberg sees Live as one of their main conversation drivers: “Live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook—in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.”

The Facebook Groups feature already operated based on audience engagement, so any investments in that area are sure to pay off this year. As use cases are limited here (think of customer service, product testing, etc.) adding page activity and advertising rather than a stand-alone tactic.


4. Welcome back, Twitter.

As Facebook has demoted itself from being a news sharing platform, one social network instantly comes to mind to fill the gap: Twitter. The past year has already seen more and more publishers flock to Twitter, and this new move by Facebook might just open the floodgates. In a surprising move, news publisher Bloomberg recently launched their live video news platform on Twitter instead of Facebook, so there already is a lot going on there. We’re going to keep a keen eye on user activity on the controversial social platform, as there is a good possibility that social news feed lovers will embrace the controversial medium once more. Even though Twitter’s Analytics feature still has some catching up to do, being where your audience is is what counts for advertisers. 


5. Augmented Reality as a user-generated content driver

With Facebook and Snapchat opening up their dev kits to the general public late last year, every brand can now construct cool, interactive experience on within these social networks. As the opportunities for users to create their own content are endless in the augmented realm (with a little help from a well thought through experience, of course), we look at Augmented Reality as one of the most promising angles as a 2018 Social Advertising strategy, with regards to user-brand engagement. Provide your audience with some cool building blocks, be it in the form of a virtual product experience or a playful angle like puzzles or fun things to do, and you might just see staggering referral rates. And the best thing is: your audience will play the main part!

From a people perspective, seeing your friends act cool, funny or nerdy with pre-built filters or objects never gets old. Invest in creating a fun, engaging experience for those who choose to interact with it, and you might have a potential comment cannon on your hands. Take into account a news feed that is mostly free of competition in the form of other brands, and Augmented Reality could be the 2018 Social Advertising opportunity to bet big on!