We’re only halfway through 2019, and Facebook has announced an incredible number of changes to its apps. We cover this news as it comes out, but the number of changes can get a little overwhelming. So we’re taking time to go throughout the most important upcoming changes for businesses on Facebook, and what your brand should consider doing.
New Public Comment Rankings
Facebook is changing what comments are easily seen on public posts. This is particularly important for posts that tend to get quite a few comments and may attract new viewers to brands, so there are plenty of implications for businesses in this change. Overall, Facebook wants the first comments to be relevant and interesting, so it’s taking a close look at:
- Surveys: Facebook is surveying people on what comments they like best
- How people interact with comments: They’re looking at signals, how people like comments, and what comments get the most positive reactions.
- Poster agency: Facebook is only turning on its new ranking for comments with lots of posts, and it’s allow people to hide or delete comments if they want.
- Integrity signals: Facebook is going to crack down harder on “engagement-bait” comments looking for a response and comments that violate community standards.
New Video Rankings
Facebook videos are also getting new rankings! Facebook is trying to cut down on video spamming and generally make videos more interesting and easier to consume quickly. Pay attention to Facebook’s new focus, which includes:
- Loyalty and intent: This is a little vague, but Facebook will apparently be awarding videos that people search for, and videos that people watch multiple times, as signs that video deserves a high ranking. What videos could you make that people would watch multiple times?
- Video and viewing duration: Short videos are excellent for quick consumption and extremely popular…but Facebook wants to nudge things in the opposite direction. The new rankings will favor videos that are at least three minutes long, and that keep people watching for at least one minute. If nothing else, this means that your longer videos should do just fine on Facebook – remember to capture interest early on, though!
- Originally: Facebook doesn’t want to give too much rank to videos that are spammed or shared repeatedly from other sites. That’s great news for businesses, especially smaller businesses, that are creating their own content.
New Group Rankings
Facebook is putting more of a focus on Groups overall, and one of the most important changes is new Group rankings. Basically, this means big Group updates, like a Group news post or a particularly popular Group discussion is likely to get highly ranked, and members of that Group are more likely to see it in their news feed. Facebook is also placing priority on Groups that it thinks a user would enjoy, which may well include Group suggestions for Groups people haven’t joined yet. There’s more reason than ever to create or get involved in a Facebook Group!
New Page Rankings
Facebook’s Pages are getting updates similar to Groups. Basically, Facebook is going to try to predict what Pages a person is most likely to be interested in, and focus on content for that Page. This tends to reward brand loyalty and particular interests, so there could be some synergy with Business Pages here, although we’ll have to see how it works in practice.
More Focus on Community and Stories
Facebook has reiterated that it wants its changes to focus more on Community and Stories. Community appears to be a general term for encouraging more interaction, more Group activity, more focus on what your friends/family are doing, and so on. Facebook wants to get people together – literally, in the case of its plans for a Facebook dating app. The company sees this is as its path to further growth.
There’s also another area where Facebook is seeing growth: Stories. Stories have become a casual way to link videos into a flexible, 24-hour updates that can be used in many innovative ways on both Facebook and Instagram. Facebook intends to encourage the use of Stories, and will hopefully make Stories more visible and easier to use. It’s worth considering how you can use Stories more frequently in your marketing.
Brand New Messenger and Mobile App
Facebook is redoing the Messenger app to make it more streamlined (and easy for businesses to communicate on, which is great). It’s also creating a new mobile app that should be easier to use on your phone, which is a big deal for managing Facebook Pages on the go, as well as encouraging more Facebook use across its user base.
Merging Business Page Information Fields
In a noteworthy change, Facebook is removing several fields in Business Pages. When the change goes into effect, Facebook will remove the Mission, Company Overview, Biography, Affiliation, and Personal Interest sections.
This is too bad, because businesses could fill out these sections with detailed descriptions that had a good chance of helping their SEO. But Facebook most likely found that all these fields were being used for the same thing, and didn’t serve much purpose apart from each other. So now, you can simply post all that information in the general Page description. On the plus side, new visitors will now only have to look at one field to find out about your businesses.
New Business Tools
Facebook is experimenting with several new and exciting business tools. One of the tools will businesses to set appointments right from Messenger. Another will help with authentication to build trust. One may help you quickly create CTAs via templates. Facebook hasn’t confirmed which of its tools will be making it as a permanent addition, but it’s still important to watch out for them.
Want to know how some of these updates shake out? Check out our 21 Handshake Marketing Podcast where we cover the weekly social media news and more. Available on your favorite podcasting platform.