Facebook Reducing Overly Promotional Page Posts in News Feed

2015 Facebook Newsfeed Update

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If you have a Facebook Page for your brand, you should pay close attention to the following as Facebook has just announced a News Feed update. Organic distribution of posts that are promotional in nature will be reduced.

Starting in Q1 of 2015, promotional posts made by brands will see a significant decrease in organic reach. To put this bluntly, if you use Facebook to promote your brand using promotional language, your content will be less likely to show up in peoples’ News Feeds.

 

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If you closely follow Facebook as a business, this should not come as a surprise, given their big algorithm change earlier this year. If you don’t follow it closely, don’t fret, we’ve got you covered.

Let’s break it down:

  • Promotional pieces of content contain strong calls to action that directly drive the reader to download, purchase or click. For example: buy now, 20% off, visit our site, like our page, click here and download now … you get the point.
  • Facebook is doing this for a few reasons:
    • To create the best user experience possible by showing you the most relevant content your community wants to see in their News Feed.
    • To reward brands who create valuable content for the community.
    • To aid Pages with the increase in News Feed competition. According to a recent public Q&A with Zuckerburg, as the number of Pages on Facebook continues to increase, the amount of content available for the News Feed also increases, thus creating more competition for your Page to be seen by your fans.
  • This does not necessarily mean you have to use paid tactics to reach your audience – you simply have to leave promotional content for other channels, OR create more engaging content that resonates with your audience while also keeping your brand’s objectives in mind.

If you have a Facebook Page, here is how to stay in front of your community.

  • Do a deep dive on the types of content your audience prefers – this will guide your new content strategy.
  • Post content your audience wants to see, not solely what your brand wants its audience to see.
  • Engage more with people who engage with your content – this will boost overall organic reach.
  • Your audience wants to see and engage with entertaining content, so explore clever ways to weave in promotional messaging.
  • Meet with your social team or agency soon to discuss your content strategy for 2015.

While this change may affect some brand Pages more than others, you should take the overall message to heart – content should be developed for the brand’s audience, not just for the brand.

Introducing Facebook Rooms

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Introducing Facebook Rooms

Facebook is bringing back message boards. Well, kind of. Today, Facebook introduced a new app called Rooms, from Facebook Creative Labs. Rooms lets you create places for the things you’re interested in and invite others to join you.

 

 

Here’s how they explained it:

 

A room is a feed of photos, videos, and text – not too different from the one you have on Instagram or Facebook – with a topic determined by whoever created the room. Early users have already created rooms for everything from beat boxing videos to parkour to photos of home- cooked meals. There’s even a room called “Kicks From Above” that showcases photographs of cool shoes in cool places.

 

 

In rooms you can:

  • Change the text and emoji on your like button
  • Customize member permissions
  • Set whether or not people can link to your content on the web
  • Be known by whatever name you want

 

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Rooms already has Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. It is available today for iOS users in the U.S., U.K., and some additional English-speaking countries.

 

 

How Larger Phone Screens are Changing Media Consumption

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How Larger Phone Screens are Changing Media Consumption

Is the iPhone 6 going to change the way consumers relate to media? Always an industry leader, Apple is on the cusp once again, with “phablet” phones, measuring much larger than what we’ve come to regard as standard. Are consumers on board? It seems they are, and content providers are jumping on the bandwagon as well.

 

If you think about it, these phones are just encouraging the trend we’ve already noticed across all sorts of media. Everything seems to start smaller with all text, but then the visuals become larger and more prominently featured, and there’s less text involved. It’s not surprising that Apple, largely regarded as the authority in mobile technology, would market phones geared toward this image intensive trend. Apple’s not the only one doing it, of course, as phones across the market have been steadily increasing in size.

 

As indicated by immediate sales, consumers like these new larger sizes. What’s not to like? You can watch Netflix on the bus, play games in the waiting room, and basically take your media with you wherever you go, on a device you’d have with you anyway. It’s all led to a huge jump in mobile use and video traffic – 532% year over year increase between 2012 and 2014 – and it isn’t just an American phenomenon, either. Take a look at how consumers across the globe are using their phones to feed their media addictions:

 

Big-screen-smartphone-demand

Source: Digiday.com

 

These numbers are only going to get bigger, and content providers are all over it. Of course, it’s a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg scenario: users want mobile content, phones become bigger to accommodate all this content, and the content becomes more readily available to keep up with the demand generated by the bigger phones. Still, it’s a savvy company that recognizes the potential. Netflix, for example, announced last week that it plans to chop videos into shorter clips for the sake of mobile users. Short-form video is all the rage among mobile viewers, and video makers across the board are embracing the trend, as everyone from Sports Illustrated to AOL churns out their own video snacks.

 

What does it mean for the average social media marketer? While there’s not really a need for immediate change, it’s good to note that marketing trends are blowing in the direction of larger visual delivery, with less text and more images and video. Does that resonate with you? How will this shift impact your marketing strategies in the future?

 

top photo by Hadrian / Shutterstock.com

 

 

Instagram banned in China

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Instagram banned in China

Social media is a prominent force in this day and age that is both necessary and essential for the success of a brand’s image. The ALS Association wouldn’t have been able to generate a much needed $79.7 million for the treatment of ALS patients without the help of social media. Although the challenge was first aired on the Golf Channel, the challenge didn’t go viral until after Pat Quinn, a 31-year-old New Yorker diagnosed with ALS, shared his video, and it was seen by Pete Frates, also diagnosed with ALS, who shared it among his Twitter followers.

 

Here is a small collection of a few of the more notable ALS ice bucket challenges:

 

[su_youtube url="http://youtu.be/HijWH72p7c0" width="740" height="420"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v69RuwsGv_I[/su_youtube]

 

I was curious how much influence celebrities had participating in the ALS ice bucket challenge, so I decided to compile data from their social media profiles.

 

 

 

The data consists of 17 celebrities and Splash Media taking the ALS ice bucket challenge, their Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram community sizes, as well as their engagement criteria. Though some of the celebrities uploaded their videos on specific social media channels, the videos ended up being shared throughout all of social media by users or news’ channels.

 

The various engagement metrics listed for the channels are as follows:

 

[unordered_list style="green-dot"]

  • Facebook – Likes, Comments and Shares
  • Twitter – Impressions, Retweets and Replies
  • YouTube – Like, Dislike and Views
  • Instagram – Favorite and Comment

[/unordered_list]

 

The values of these metrics were only those that had been observed on posts, videos and images of the personalities doing the ice bucket challenge.

 

Brandwatch was useful in extracting the Twitter metrics, as well as the Facebook community sizes, while the remaining metrics were obtained from everyone’s individual channel. To perform any kind of data operations or visualizations, we needed to fill in the data in columns as shown below:

 

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As seen above, each person and channel was filled individually, and since there wasn’t much of an overlap, we left the uncommon fields blank. I combined the similar metric names under the same column – for example, Facebook Comments and Twitter Replies indicated the same thing, so the values were written under the same column. The only differentiating factor was the Channel Filter, and that was useful for further data analysis.

 

The filter column corresponded to the social channel of each person, and this sort of arrangement gave us a holistic idea of what our graphs would look like. As we have four social channels and 18 people, we get 4*18=72 rows, and we included the community size and engagement metrics as columns.

 

Then, we used an excel functionality called the Pivot Table, which allows for better data visualization. Every Pivot table needs four fields – mainly the Axis Fields (rows), Legend Fields (columns), Values and Filters. Clicking on the Pivot Table option, we were given a blank pivot table with the column headers as drag/drop fields, shown below:

 

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To view the community of size of each personality, we had to drag the Name, Channel Filter and Community Size fields into the “Axis”, “Legend” and “Values” fields respectively, as shown below:

 

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The output was in the form of a table:

 

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We then used a Pivot Chart option to generate a graphical visualization of the tabulated data to get this:

 

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We see that the highest Facebook community size is somewhere around 73 million and belonged to Justin Bieber. We confirmed this fact by hovering over the bar which gives us a pop out window as shown:

 

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And sure enough it was Justin Bieber. This graph looked a bit clustered with the various channels. So, to view the overall community size across all channels, we simply remove the Channel Filter field from the “Legend” Pivot field to get:

 

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We concluded, from the above graph, that Justin Bieber had the highest community size among the list of people we’d considered for our analysis, while Britney Spears had the second highest community size across the four social channels. Considering that Bieber has a large community size and is leagues ahead of the remaining personalities, we considered him to be an outlier since his engagement metrics were the highest out of everyone. Therefore we can remove his metrics from our analysis. This was done by selecting the filter option in the Pivot Table and deselecting him:

 

 

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To view the engagement rates in lieu of the community size, we simply dragged and dropped the desired columns in the “Values” Pivot field. To view the metrics for Facebook, we had to drag the Channel Filter field into the “Filter” Pivot field and select only Facebook, as shown below:

 

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We ended up with the following graph depicting the total sum of the Facebook Likes, Shares and Comments:

 

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We observed that David Beckham had the highest number of Likes while Bill Gates hds the second highest number of Shares for their videos doing the ALS ice bucket challenge. It was interesting that they have higher engagement rates compared to Britney Spears, who has the third highest community size in Facebook.

 

To view the Twitter metrics, we chose only Twitter from the Filter and dragged the Impression, Re-tweets and Replies fields into the Values Pivot fields:

 

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We removed Justin Bieber and Bill Gates, since they were outliers for Twitter with very high impression values. As for the rest, we observed that Iggy Azalea had the highest impressions, even though her Twitter community size ranked 11th.

 

To view each channel’s metrics, it got a bit tedious to keep selecting the desired personalities and channels. Excel came to the rescue with an interactive filter called “Slicer” and it was present in the Insert ribbon. This allowed for a quicker and much easier way of filtering the data. We inserted two Slicers for “Name” and “Filter (Channel)” respectively to allow for easier viewing of data. Here is a small clip of how slicers helped us in view the data:

 

[su_youtube url="http://youtu.be/vLS0VYAMuFs" width="740" height="420"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v69RuwsGv_I[/su_youtube]

 

The overall engagement rates across the social channels were summarized as follows:

 

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The engagement rates divided by their community sizes gave us an overall engagement % of the top influencers and here were the top 10 influencers among our selected sample size:

 

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Excel allowed for a lot of data analysis and visualization but the most important factor to keep in mind was to visualize what you wanted the output to be and to format your data accordingly. The raw data was formatted in a precise format to ensure a desired output was obtained. Another interesting thing we received from Excel was creating a dashboard.

 

Keep on the look out for another article on how to create Dashboards using Excel. Hope this was useful!

 

 

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You can learn more about the data services Splash Media offers by visiting their website at splashmedia.com or calling 877.768.8317

This post is sponsored by Splash Media

 

 

How is the Scottish Vote Playing Out on Social Media?

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How is the Scottish Vote Playing Out on Social Media?

Scotland voters hit the polls today. Will they vote “Yes Scotland” and declare independence from Great Britain, or will they vote “Better Together” in favor of sustaining the more than 300-year union between the two countries? While both sides are neck and neck in the polls, from a social media standpoint, it seems that voters are leaning toward independence.

 

During the five-week period leading up to the Scottish vote, more than 10 million referendum-inspired interactions took place – including writing posts, sharing videos, commenting on images, ‘liking’ content and joining campaign groups on Facebook. Here’s how some of the numbers stack up:

 

  • Around 275,000 interactions inspired by the referendum occurred each day. The vast majority of interactions came from the Scots themselves.
  • 2.05 million interactions have been in favor of the “yes” vote.
  • 1.95 million interactions have been on the “no” side.
  • As of Thursday morning, the official “Yes Scotland” campaign page has over 325,000 likes and the official “Better Together” campaign page has over 220,000 likes.

 

If these numbers showed up at the polls, it would be clear what the majority of Scots think, but just how reliable is social media when it comes to predicting votes? After all, the most active demographics on Facebook and Twitter are 16 to 25 year olds. While this age group does get to participate at the polls this year, older generations are underrepresented on social media.

 

This is certainly worth considering, but social media has an interesting effect on anyone who uses it. According to Elizabeth Linder, Facebook’s politics and government specialist for Europe and MENA, “When people see their Facebook friends talking about voting, they are more likely to vote themselves.”

 

There may not be a direct relationship between activism on social media and actual voter turnout, but “there’s no denying that it’s influential,” says Carl Miller, a Centre of Social Media Analysis researcher. After all, he adds, “a lot of the literature looking at elections and why we vote point to a person’s immediate social network as being the most influential factor.”

 

In the end, only time will tell how Scots decide to vote on the issue of their union with or independence from Great Britain.