The Facebook Changes of 2014
One thing you can rely on with any aspect of online marketing is that it’s going to change all the time, sometimes it seems even from day to day. Facebook is no different, and part of the reason they stay at the top of the social media marketing (and social media advertising) world is because of their commitment to creating the best platform possible by continually improving it.
We’ve seen a couple big changes that have happened or will be happening through the year of 2014 and the very beginning of 2015. Some of them are only relevant to the content you’re posting on your Facebook Page, and some focus on Facebook Ads itself. Either way, there have been some big Facebook changes of 2014.
It’s important to make sure you’ve updated your marketing for the changes that have happened that you may have missed, that you’re ready for the changes still to come. Adapting quickly will result in success in marketing on both your Page and your Ads.
Here’s the list of what’s changed and changing in 2014 on Facebook…
Updated Bidding and Pricing Interface in Facebook Ads
We’ll start small with this one, because it’s not a doozy like some of the others. Facebook changed their bidding and pricing interface in their create-an-ad tool in October of this year.
This is more of a cosmetic change than an actual overhaul of the system, something I know I was grateful for. Instead of calling their bidding strategies “CPC” and “CPM,” Facebook now calls them “optimize for clicks” and “optimize for impressions.”
The default bidding option is now always OCPM, now titled “Optimize for Objective.” Facebook will actually still recommend optimizing for your objective if you click away to something else (see above). If you’re running a campaign for Page likes, that’s the objective, and Facebook prioritizes your objective above all else.
Facebook’s reason for doing this was to simplify the process and make it more accurate. They said they noticed a lot of advertisers weren’t choosing what they thought were the most efficient and effective choices in bidding strategies, which ultimately harmed their campaigns. Facebook changed the system to guide them to what they thought would help advertisers make better decisions.
To see more about the updated bidding and pricing interface, you can see our blog post on it here.
Updated Facebook Ad Campaign Structure
Just as with the update to the bidding and pricing interface, Facebook updated to a new campaign structure in March and, more recently and importantly now, again in October of this year.
The change from March to October wasn’t a massive jump, either, fortunately. The current campaign structure is as follows:
Campaign: your objective
Ad Sets: scheduling, budgeting, bidding, targeting, and placement
Previously, ad sets only consisted of scheduling and budgeting, and everything else fell under the “ads” category. You can see the comparison of what’s changed in the chart below.
The updated structure doesn’t come as a huge surprise and may not affect anyone as a change at all, as it was Facebook’s previously recommended structure they’re just now enforcing.
For more information about Facebook’s updated ad campaign structure, and the affect it could have, you can read our blog post on it here.
Facebook has attempted to reduce and cut back on the practice of click-baiting from Pages.
For those unfamiliar with the term “click-baiting,” I’m sure you’ve seen it in practice too many times to count. Click-baiting is the practice of enticing readers to click on a link to your page (like a blog post or story) by not explicitly stating what it’s about or leaving out a key piece of information.
For example: “You’ll never guess which celebrity built a school in Africa!” would consist of click baiting, because users will click long enough to see who the celebrity was out of curiosity. Some will stay and read the rest of the article, but a lot will leave the page immediately after seeing the answer.
Click baiting as a practice is faulty for a lot of reasons, so it’s one I’m personally extremely glad to see gone on Facebook. While yes, you are likely to get more clicks, your post is turning your article into a quick trivia question instead of actually spiking their interest in the post itself.
One of the ways Facebook detects click-baiting is a post with a lot of clicks but extremely low engagement and a high bounce rate. If this starts happening with a lot of your posts, you can expect your reach to decline even more than it has naturally along with everyone else’s.
For more information about the cut back on click-baiting, make sure you read our post on it here.
In addition to click baiting, Facebook has banned the practice of like-gating in 2014, with the full change taking place last month in November.
Like-gating, sometimes referred to as “fan-gating” is the practice of offering incentives for users like either like their Page or use their social plug-ins. These incentives can be things like a free giveaway.
Facebook is getting rid of like-gating in hopes that users will be more likely to only connect with the Pages they really want to connect with, instead of anything that offers them a freebie. This, like all other changes, it designed to improve the users’ experience by helping deliver content that is most relevant to the user and weed out the stuff that isn’t.
To see more about the ban on like-gating, see our post on it here.
Strict, Clear Rules about UID Scraping
There’s been a decent amount of controversy and confusion in the recent past about user ID (UID) scraping to target as an audience on Facebook Ads.
Facebook has banned the practice of scraping UIDs to create a custom audience to target in their Ads system, even if you’re using their API.
You can only use and target users with their UIDs if they download or use your Facebook app. That is the only acceptable circumstance that Facebook will allow you to target them via UID, and this is essentially because users opt-in to your list when they download and use your app.
For more information on the ban on UID scraping and what it means for you, make sure you read our blog post—written and explained by Ryan—here.
Reduction in Promotional Posts in the Newsfeed
This is the most recent change, and this change takes hold just around the corner in January of 2015.
Again, to improve the user experience, Facebook is focusing on delivering users the content they most want to see, and based on surveys and research, users don’t want to see your promotional posts that push them to purchase.
This does not include Ads, which are obviously going to be promotional in nature. This change is only taking place on a Page’s posts.
From what we’ve come up with from Facebook’s examples, it’s fine to feature your product or your site in your posts, but you should not be pushing users to either make a purchase or download your app. A call to action of “buy now” is not what you’re looking for in this case.
For more information about the reduction in promotional posts, make sure you read our blog post—especially since this change is coming soon—here at our site.
What It Means
These are the Facebook changes of 2014, and they all revolve around improving the Facebook experience– the updated campaign structure and bidding interface changes are designed to improve the experience for advertisers, and the other changes were inspired by enhancing the users’ experience.
The changes aren’t going to stop, and all the articles out there finding “loopholes” to avoid adapting to the changes are pointless, because Facebook is going to keep changing and you can either adapt or get left behind (and get left out of users’ newsfeeds via ads and posts).
All in all, I think the changes Facebook made are better for both the advertisers and the users. It will be interesting to see what changes happen next year.
What changes do you think will impact us as marketers the most? Are you ready for the changes still coming? Leave us a comment and let us know!