As Facebook executives absorb the significance of meeting and exceeding Wall Street’s expectations, they are showing even more attention to ad revenue in the coming year. In turn, they are leading with a discussion of content and relevance, and are using this argument to hint about what 2015 will be bringing for marketers on their social platform.
Matching Content to News Feeds
A recent announcement by Facebook explains that its algorithms are being updated to curtail the total reach of unpaid, organic posts by brands and businesses. The goal, they say, is to deal with complaints from users about “overly promotional” posts that are essentially unpaid ads. While the move may serve to please some users, the added benefit to the company is the probability that many companies wanting the exposure will now purchase more paid ads. This will, in the end, please Wall Street… and their shareholders.
According to a discussion in the New York Times, this move may also be one way to satisfy analysts and stakeholders concerning some recent investment decisions. The company has announced that billions of company capital will be allocated to a range of “visionary projects,” some of which may never generate revenue or profits. To finance these decisions and maintain its soaring stock price, Rebecca Lieb of Altimeter Group points to the consequences in 2015. She notes, “It’s a clear message to brands: If you want to sound like an advertiser, buy an ad.”
To further justify its actions, Facebook posted a more detailed explanation about the actions that will affect marketers next year. They point out three key characteristics that make a post seem like an ad. These include posts that:
- Reuse the exact copy/content from ads.
- Push entries into sweepstakes and promotions that don’t seem to relate to a specific purpose other than to make a sale.
- Make direct appeals to purchase a product, service, or app.
As marketing budgets for 2015 near final approval, it’s worth evaluating the impact of these changes if Facebook is a major part of a company’s marketing strategy. One way to address this issue is to focus on offering original and useful content in your posts. While many companies find it difficult to add to their ad budgets, quality content is quite affordable and often results in increased likes and shares. Beyond this, it is important to carefully consider the specific content of your posts and ensure they are not simply recast ads.
Of course, the biggest consideration will be matching the audience to a business’s target. Let’s face it, Facebook is not the be all, end all for every business in the social media scene, and the most important decision to make is finding your buying audience’s social preference and connect with them on that turf.
To your success online!