Another week another change at Facebook. This time they have majorly revised the Newsfeed.
Facebook has made a number of serious changes over the past 12 months, some of which are still rolling out, which impact everything from the way that you absorb content to the way that you search for content to the way that content is displayed on your profile. For Social Media Marketers like myself it can be a combination of exciting and frustrating to have to constantly stay up to date with everything that Facebook decides to change. Whenever Facebook makes a change such as the new Newsfeed we are forced to adapt our posting methods, our copy, our links or even the time that we post content in order to adhere to the new algorithm or search function.
Let’s take the new Newsfeed as an example:
Here’s the old Newsfeed and the updated Newsfeed
As you can see they’re radically different. From a user perspective I absolutely LOVE it (though I will admit I am yet to try it…come on Facebook…grrr). It is substantially cleaner than the old Newsfeed and it highlights media to a much greater extent than the old one. This means that my friend’s photos and videos will be larger, brighter and a pleasure to look at.
But from a Social Media Marketer perspective I feel that Facebook is Lucy and I’m Charlie Brown. Every time that I run to kick that damn football she snatches it away and I’m flat on my butt.
I’m not blaming Facebook for evolving their UI. I like the new UI. I want the new UI. It’s just that they do this so often that sometimes you think to yourself “what’s the point? Why should I learn all about new technologies, algorithms, posting methods etc when they’re just going to up and change it in a month or two?”. It’s a fair question to ask ourselves. It’s truly difficult to capitalise on a social network when that network seeks to change everything so often. Facebook’s mantra is still ‘move fast and break things’ and, admittedly, they’ve stuck true to that core belief. A Social Media Marketer’s love-hate relationship with Facebook is far more love than it is hate. Yes, we get annoyed when they change things and we are shocked when their new Edgerank algorithm means that our posts aren’t being seen as much (trust me…that’s more serious that it sounds and it was also very annoying) But we also know that Facebook offers us an incredible opportunity to target our demographics. This is where the love part of the relationship comes in.
Facebook is primarily a user focused company. They care deeply about their users and this is reflected in their desire to improve the user experience as much as possible. More often than not when Facebook rolls out a major change there is a substantial backlash from the community which eventually dies down because people not only get used to the changes but they accept that, in the end, they are better off with them.
Yet where do marketers come in? Well we get access to Facebook’s data. There are over a billion people on Facebook and all of them have said where they’re living, how old they are, what they like, who their friends are and everything else in between. This data gives marketers an enormous amount of flexibility when targeting ads at these users. No longer are we forced to take out massive one page ads in national newspapers, at a huge cost, to target our customers, Now we can pay a minimal amount of money and ensure that our ads are seen by our customers based on their age, location, political beliefs, favourite shows and movies, hobbies etc. This is how marketers win. This data is invaluable.
Yes. I will admit that I have grumbled now and then when Facebook makes changes but I also know that Facebook is THE platform to communicate with my audience. That is worth far more than having to relearn what the best posting methods are.
Pull that football away Facebook. When I get up off the ground I’ll still have a smile on my face.