Episode Transcript — Facebook Algorithm Update - Less Brand Content in the Newsfeed
00:01 Announcer: You're listening to The Spend $10K a Day podcast. Brought to you by the performance marketing experts at MuteSix. This is your source for cutting edge insight into the world of online advertising. From the team with more Facebook case studies than any other agency on the planet. Here are your hosts, Steve Weiss and Stewart Anderson.
00:26 Stewart Anderson: Welcome back to the Spend 10k a Day Podcast. I'm Stewart Anderson. With me, as always, my good friend, Steve Weiss. We're talking about Facebook ads, our favorite topic. We actually have a big topic today. I'm sure everybody has heard Mark Zuckerberg's recent comments about big changes coming to Facebook. You're gonna get to see a lot more of your friends and families' posts versus brands, publishers, and other Facebook page content. A lot of companies has been asking us about how this is gonna change the game for advertisers. Steve, tell me what you think is gonna happen as a result of these changes.
01:03 Steve Weiss: So, number one, just to be perfectly clear, the changes are based to the algorithms. The algorithm is the basis point of which specific post you see on your news feed and then what I see on my news feed. Obviously, what I see on my news feed, what Stewart sees on his are two totally different things. And what governs what we see on our news feed is the Facebook algorithm. Not the ad algorithm, but just the algorithm. Obviously, Facebook, their goal is to connect the world. They wanna... Mark's passion, you could just tell from reading the press releases and reading all the... All his quotes, his earnings call, his goal, number one, is not to make money. No. As much as everyone's like, "He wants to make money. They're a publicly traded company." No. His goal is to connect people. And his goal is to figure out ways to enlighten connections between people, 'cause that's... If you connect people and you have a platform for connections, for staying in touch, then you're gonna increase engagement, and then the ads will come. But number one, this algorithm is to enhance connections between people. So, what's gonna happen is, you have been seeing it already. You're gonna start seeing more and more moments of people's lives, friends, friends that you've never caught with up in a while.
02:16 SW: You're gonna start seeing stuff populated to the top of your news feed that you've never... That you haven't seen before. You might've seen someone from high school, some from college, that you've never seen their actual post. And the goal of Facebook and the goal that everyone sets out to is two things. Number one, obviously, enhance connections and connect the world. But number two, provide content specifically, whether that's ad content, whether that's any type of content. Content that resonates with your interests and your prior habits that you use Facebook with. I don't think it's gonna have any negative impact from a paid marketing perspective. I think that, obviously, the very simplistic where impact it's gonna have is that if you are a page owner, and you earn you rely on influencers, or you rely on creating organic content that resonates with a large audience, you're gonna start seeing that your organic reach, obviously, go down and down and down, because Facebook priority is not showing content from business owners, from publishers. That's not what people connect for. They're not on Facebook to see free publisher... To see information from news as much as they are. They have the news trending on the side now. So literally, you're gonna start seeing more stuff that pushes people in to having closer connections with their friends and family.
03:39 SA: Yeah, I think one of the things that a lot people have missed that, correct me if I'm wrong, I'm seeing this in some of the stuff that Facebook has put out about this. They actually specifically say, "This isn't going to affect the ads side of things, this is about the organic side of our business." It's a pretty clear statement that at least high level, the Facebook updates are not going to directly affect an advertiser's ability to reach its audience. Now obviously, there could be follow-on effects. There could be ripple effects from this change in to the ad side. But I think it's good that they are making it clear that they're not changing things, at least algorithmically, on the advertising side.
04:12 SW: I think, just from talking to people that I know at Facebook, they are making changes to the ad algorithm too. You can't gamify engagement, and I think that's the big thing now is connections used to be around engagement. They used to judge, are people connecting, are people interacting, based on engagement? And you can't use, "Like this status if you agree." We used to run ads four five years ago.
04:40 SA: Oh yeah... Facebook is already putting an end to engagement bait. That started changing before this even happened. I guess this is a drawn out kinda...
04:50 SW: Yeah. That just shows that you can't do that. And I think this just overrides all of that. Number two, there's no such thing as ad content versus regular content. I think that everything is gonna look native to the feed. Whether you have an ad, whether you have a video, you're gonna always have to sponsor that content to reach your audience. I think that the word organic's gonna go away. It's all gonna be called sponsored content. I don't even like calling Facebook ads anymore. The word Facebook ads is not gonna be here anymore. It's just gonna be sponsored content, 'cause everyone has a different objective on what they want with that content. So, if you want to just reach people that you've went to an event with. That's gonna be sponsored content. Obviously it won't be... You're not gonna run conversion ads, you just want to get that content in front of a lot of people that you went to an event with. So, I think just change up the methodology of how we think. Facebook's goal is to provide the most relevant content to the user, whether it's from a brand, whether it's from their friends and family. They wanna enhance connections.
05:57 SA: Yeah. I really like your approach there. We talked about it's not really about ads anymore its all sponsored content around engagements, actions, and things like that. It's a really good point, and it kind of changes the way that advertisers need to be thinking about the stuff that they put on Facebook.
06:10 SW: Yeah, and it goes back to... I had a discussion with a friend and we talked about how companies that wanna sell products, they're gonna go to Amazon. They are. If you wanna move a ton of product, you're gonna go to Amazon. But if you wanna build a brand, you're always gonna go to Facebook. Facebook is the place where people discover brands. It's not a place you go to just sell products, sell, sell, sell. I mean, they obviously do sell product on Facebook ads. We sell a lot of product on Facebook ads, but the way Facebook's platform will be two years from now, in my opinion, will be more... People will come here to build a brand, 'cause this is where your message is gonna resonate, and your gonna have a targeted set of people that you can speak to in an ad or a message.
06:56 SA: I think it's also worth repeating that you'll still be selling lots of product on Facebook in two years. [chuckle]
07:01 SW: I think it's only gonna get better, I think that this change kind of weeds out a lot of the noise. Remember, Facebook's goal is not to make more money in the ads, that's not their goal. Their goal is to continuously enhance the user experience. They're looking at engagement numbers, they're not looking at how much ads per person... They might be, but what they're looking at specifically is, "How do we increase the engagement? How do we help users of our platform for form forge better connections moving forward?" I think that this is a change in... The news feed, I think is gonna continuously evolve. I mean, I think it's gonna... We'll probably hear more updates, but this... I don't think this has any negative impact on the paid acquisitions side, or the paid social side, if you are an e-commerce brand. I think it's actually gonna enhance it, 'cause it could take away a lot of the noise which already encompasses the news feed and it's gonna increase engagement rates. They wanna increase engagement rates, and that's only gonna be great for advertisers.
08:00 SA: Yeah, these are those positive ripple effects. Now, if you're an advertiser and you're thinking about this upcoming change, how might you be altering your strategy to best take advantage of the new landscape on Facebook? If I'm trying to get people to buy my products, what am I doing differently?
08:15 SW: Remember, you're competing with advertisers that are very sophisticated. If you're a brand, whether you're a watch brand, whether you're apparel brand, cosmetics brand, you're competing with super sophisticated advertisers right now. And I think the future of digital marketing on Facebook is, I always say this, is to making your ad look native to the feed. Your ad has to look... It can't look like an ad. Because at the end of the day, it's a sponsored post, it's a post that's being sponsored to a specific set of audience. So, as you come further in the process, brands are gonna have to start creating content that resonates with their audience. Not every piece of content is gonna be able to drive a conversion. Piece of content is gonna build trust to eventually drive a conversion, whether it's on Facebook or another platform.
08:58 SW: So the way to think about it... The way to think about Facebook, it's the best top-of-funnel discovery platform on earth, Facebook and Instagram. People are gonna discover your product or brand on Facebook, but they might consume your product on another platform. They might consume your product on search, they might consume your product on Amazon, or they might consume your product on Facebook. You might get a last click conversion on Facebook. But I always say, "Discovery and intent." Facebook is the best discovery platform. And I think building content, that's gonna make your brand stand out and allow consumers to discover your product in a simplistic way and resonate. That's what you wanna really focus on in your direct response acquisition strategy.
09:39 SA: I love that, love that. That's a very good lesson. I think it's a good takeaway for any advertisers. Steve, do you have any other last thoughts before we sum up here for everybody's who's wondering about this upcoming change? Any parting thoughts?
09:54 SW: I mean, Instagram's coming. If your business model is on Instagram marketing and you're relying on just influencers to drive the bottom line. I mean, these changes are being made to Facebook, but eventually they're gonna take these learnings that they're learning from Facebook to increase engagement, and they're gonna take those learnings and associate them in Instagram. I think that very soon you're gonna start seeing Instagram really prioritize specific people on your Instagram feed. I think that if you do generate most of your revenue from Instagram, start thinking of strategies from a paid acquisition to really engage your audience in a new way. Because people just posting images and links to the outfits they're wearing, that's gonna evolve. I think the landscape on Instagram is the next big disruption, because Facebook is aiming to really enhance that user experience 'cause there is a lot of link-outs to questionable products, questionable advertisers. And that's all gonna get cleaned up. I mean, they really wanna build a transparent platform, and I think they're gonna do it. They're one of the best companies in the world.
11:00 SA: Awesome. I hope we shed some light today on these upcoming changes. I know a lot of people are really nervous anytime Facebook puts out an announcement that things are gonna be changing, people get a little bit skittish. The takeaway is, this is gonna be an opportunity not a problem for advertisers.
11:15 SW: I think it's gonna be a tremendous opportunity. I think that this is gonna enhance conversion rates. I think that there's gonna be a lot less noise in the news feed, a lot less distraction. And I think you're gonna start seeing advertisers really... And I say this in the most honest way, I think you start seeing advertisers really start forging closer relationships with their consumers.
11:33 SA: And that's a good thing, a very good thing. This has been another episode of the Spend 10K a Day Podcast. If you have any questions about Facebook ads, e-commerce, or anything else we've talked about on the podcast, you can always e-mail us, firstname.lastname@example.org, that's S-T-E-V-E at mutesix dot com, or me, email@example.com, S-T-E-W-A-R-T at mutesix dot com. We'll see you again soon for more great Facebook ads and e-commerce content.