B&T recently published this article by me about Facebook’s algorithm update and what it means for users and brands. They’ve been kind enough to let us reproduce it in full below.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about Facebook’s algorithm change. The tireless team at Facebook is “always looking for ways to optimize how content is discovered and consumed” in order to show users what really matters to them in their News Feed.
The aim is to serve users with “the right mix of updates from friends and public figures, publishers, businesses and local organizations”.
What are the changes and what do they mean for users and brands?
More content from the same friends and pages
In order to improve the experience for people who don’t have a lot of content to see in the News Feed, Facebook will allow users to see multiple posts from the same friend or page in a row.
This is a good opportunity for brands: they need to understand how to optimize their frequency of posting, always maintaining high quality standards for each content piece.
Friends come first
FOMO? Not anymore. Content posted by friends will now have greater priority and be displayed higher up in the News Feed. Which means, content shared by brand pages will be shown less prominently, or in a lower position.
In this scenario, creating content that people would share will be even more important: it would be a chance for brand to be displayed at the top of users’ News Feed.
However, at the same time, Facebook is testing a new feature for its mobile app, which will allow users to choose which friends and pages will appear at the top of their News Feed. If this feature will be rolled out people will be able to pick what they want to see in a prioritised section atop their feed.
Less engagement stories
According to Facebook, users “don’t enjoy seeing stories about their friends liking or commenting on a post”.
Users will see more updates from friends and pages they follow directly, and fewer stories related to third-parties engagements. This will allow brands to establish a more direct interaction with users who will like their content directly, not via a medium friend. On the flip side, brand pages won’t be able to count on organic reach generated by users liking or commenting on their posts anymore.
How all this is going to affect the organic reach, already suffering around the 2% mark? Cryptically, Facebook says that the impact “will vary considerably depending on the composition of your audience and your posting activity”.
However, with more than 1.44 billion monthly active users, Facebook remains a network that most of the brands can’t turn their back on. To succeed on this channel, marketers need to know more about the users they want to involve in the conversation.
This will allow brands to create insight-driven quality content, to be distributed with the right frequency at the most convenient time, and to amplify it strategically through a meticulous media targeting in order to serve it to the right audience, based on their interests.
Once again, this new update challenges marketers to reevaluate their social strategy at a broader scale, understanding why and how people connect, share, have conversations and influence, creating value for brands and their stakeholders.
This is what we call Social Thinking.
It requires a totally new perspective, which shouldn’t be platform-focused, but people-focused: knowing and understanding people’s interests and social behaviour inside out is the key to define an effective social strategy, able to drive real business value.
GlobalWebIndex’s latest figures show how the world’s major social networks have been faring in 2015 – with Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram the big winners in terms of growth rates. But while Facebook is still the clear number one in terms of overall member and active user numbers, the results make one thing absolutely clear: teens are still Facebook’s biggest problem. Jason Mander, Head of Trends at GWI, exclusively talks us through some of the key findings from the new GWI Social report.
There’s barely a week that goes by at the moment without a headline proclaiming the “end of Facebook”. But the simple truth is that remains top dog: it has (considerably) more members and active users than any other network, and that more than 50% of its users say they’re visiting the site multiple times per day is pretty impressive (by way of comparison, fewer than 20% of Tumblr or Pinterest users say the same).
Nevertheless, that Facebook has an image problem among certain key demographics is clear. Ask all internet users in countries like the US and UK to pick the “coolest” social network and Facebook is still top dog – not bad for a network which is more than a decade old. Yet ask the same question to teens only (defined here as 16-19s) and Facebook’s rating tumbles dramatically. While 37% of all adults name Facebook as the “coolest” network, just 14% of teens agree. In fact, among this much-coveted and trend-setting audience, it’s YouTube that comes top.
Interestingly, Facebook-owned Instagram is the second “coolest” network for teens, giving more vindication for Facebook’s decision to purchase it. Zuckerberg and co. still have a challenge to overcome in the crucial messaging space, however, where Snapchat is notably ahead of either WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. Tumblr also performs much better among teens than it does among the general online population; together with its extremely healthy growth rates, it’s little wonder that Marissa Meyer has been pointing to the blogging platform as a major success story for Yahoo.
Given that younger internet users – and teens in particular – are the biggest multi-networkers of all (typically having accounts on over six different networks), it’s hardly surprising that so many of them now look at other platforms as being “cooler” than Facebook. But this trend also permeates their behaviors while on Facebook: across the 20+ platform-specific actions tracked in the GWI survey, teens are typically slightly behind average for sharing behaviors while being in line with, or ahead of average, for passive ones.
So, teens over-index for actions like clicking the “like” button (75% did this last month), reading articles, visiting pages and, crucially, for logging in to see what’s happening without doing anything themselves. But they under-index for behaviors such as posting comments, updating their status or uploading photos.
Certainly, differences between teens and older users are hardly sizeable. And there’s still much good news here for Facebook: that three quarters of teens are “liking” things – thus helping Facebook to refine its targeted advertising – is particularly noteworthy. But it does nevertheless illustrate how behaviors are evolving, with photos and active contributions migrating elsewhere. Quite simply, Facebook still leads the field but it’s not quite the all-conquering, all-dominating force that it once was.
Note: GlobalWebIndex conducts quarterly research across 33 markets, representing 90% of the global internet audience. It surveys 200,000 internet users per year, including 30,000 in both the US and UK. Download a free summary of the new GWI Social report here.
Since we first stepped foot on the island of Manhattan in 2012, We Are Social’s New York team has made a big splash. We’re working with some of the most exciting, forward-thinking brands in the US, including National Geographic and Banana Republic.
But while our client list has expanded, so has our team. In the past three years, we’ve grown from just six social media pioneers to a crew of 50. Our original Soho home was the perfect place to grow and to work, to play ping pong and to spend late nights, to make friends and to make progress. But as space steadily ran out, we knew it was time to bid adieu and move on to the next chapter of our amazing journey.
Our move has taken us to an office space that is just a stone’s throw away, but a world apart in terms of the potential it has for future growth. When we first saw the space we knew it was perfect. It’s almost double the size of our old office, allowing our team to work flexibly, and affording us more privacy when we need it.
Our multiple themed conference rooms provide space for ongoing meetings, surprise birthday ambushes, or even just a place to hide out and focus on a pressing task.
Our boardroom now has the capacity to host more than 30 people, and is a perfect place to introduce clients to our unique We Are Social personality.
With a breakfast cafe, two phone booths, and a picnic-themed breakout area for casual sitting, our new space provides a comfortable environment for when we need to step away from our desks and take a breath.
The new We Are Social New York home feels like just that – a home. It’s modern, funky, and primed for bursts of creativity – just like us. Best of all, the office provides us the opportunity to grow from our scrappy roots into an agency poised to make its mark on the Big Apple. There’s room to nurture, to develop new skills (we haven’t mentioned our full in-house photography studio yet!), and make new memories.
Check out our fantastic interior designer Tina’s work on Homepolish for more photos.
Snapchat launches video ads
Snapchat has updated its offering for advertisers by unveiling 10-second ads that cost two cents per view, creating a way for publishers using the ‘Snapchat Discover’ feature to generate revenue. Announced at the Daily Mail/Elite Daily Digital Content NewFronts presentation last week, Daily Mail North America CEO Jon Steinberg described the move as “the next iteration of social content”. OK, Jon…
LinkedIn introduces analytics tool
LinkedIn has added a number of new features in recent years to enhance its offering, most notably a publishing platform which allows users to write and share blog posts about their industry or working lives. This week, LinkedIn announced this feature is getting an update in the form of an analytics tool to allow authors to better track the traffic their posts receive. Content creators will be able to see demographic information of their readers, as well as who liked and shared their posts.
Google+ launches ‘collections’ feature
The Google-owned social network Google+ has launched a new feature, ‘Collections’. It will allow users to curate and collect content around a chosen topic or interest, in a similar style to a Pinterest board. The company says the decision to launch the feature came from observing user behaviour; people were connecting around shared interests and wanted a better way to organise content relating to these. Early testers have created collections about video games, make-up and hacks.
Net-A-Porter creates new fashion social network
Luxury fashion website, Net-A-Porter, has created ‘Net Set’, a fashion focused social network allowing users to build personal profiles as well as follow celebrities, friends and popular trends. Users can also buy Net-A-Porter products through the network and upload their own images to be matched with products on the site. Related brands will be given their own profiles to create one-to-one conversations with their potential customers as well as personalised content.
Making milk a digital brand for Mother’s Day
The California Milk Processor Board, who brought us the well-known ‘Got Milk?’ campaign from 1993, has launched a modern-day celebration of milk and its association with Mums. #SongsForMums campaign ran this Sunday for Mother’s Day, asking fans to tweet the reason they loved their mum using the hashtag to receive a personalised short song response. They even recruited Ray Parker Jr. of Ghostbusters theme song fame to record the song clips, which were uploaded to SoundCloud and then pushed to social media.
Fisher Price creates awards to celebrate Mums
Also this Mother’s Day, Fisher Price gave fans a different way to show appreciation for their Moms in the form of #TheMOMMYS, a global parenting online awards festival. Fans could champion their deserving Mums by virtually nominating them via Twitter or Facebook and then choosing one of six toy-like 3D printed trophies to share.
Free pints for tweeting Londoners
To celebrate the brand’s local heritage, Fuller’s has launched a social media campaign offering free pints of London Pride beer to those living in the capital. For two weeks, fans who tweet at midday to @London_Pride and use the hashtag ‘#TweetAt12’ will receive a code, which they can take to any Fuller pub in the city to claim their reward. You can probably guess where we’ll be after work this week!
UK Brands keep it quiet on Election Day
Last week was the general election in the UK, but unlike most trending topics on Twitter, brands pretty much steered clear of the conversation. With politics such a controversial topic, it’s a sensible move by UK brands to stay quiet. However, that’s not to say a few didn’t have a go:
Today is the day. Don’t forget to vote! pic.twitter.com/aibjfKWXra
— Specsavers (@Specsavers) May 7, 2015
— Waterstones (@Waterstones) May 7, 2015
— Cath Kidston (@Cath_Kidston) May 7, 2015
One of our recent projects for Bulmers Cider has been to design and build their very first website. But they didn’t just want a bog standard website – they wanted a socially led site that reflected their personality, while showcasing their colourful range of ciders, and the rich history behind this exquisitely British brand.
Being colourful is an important part of Bulmers’ brand identity, with its ‘Live Colourful’ ethos, so we knew this would play a huge part in the site. For months before the site launched, we asked Bulmers’ fans and followers to send us their most colourful pictures using the #livecolourful hashtag, which we collated from multiple social channels. This gave us a huge bank of UGC – as well as a continuing pipeline of new content – allowing us to place social at the heart of this website, and provide our design and creative technology teams, guided by Jake Lee and Matthew Payne, with a host of beautiful and unique assets to use.
We focused heavily on the attitude of the brand. Aside from the homepage, two key sections push the brand’s content and activities – the blog and campaign pages (‘Fun Stuff’). The blog allows Bulmers to post not just content on social platforms but within the site as well, helping push its SEO too.
The campaign pages have been designed to live not just within the site but also in social platforms such as Facebook and YouTube. Instead of having to build duplicate experiences for each social network the pages can adapt to their environment, and show/hide content depending on where it is being viewed, allowing for more users to see the content.
The site has been designed to be as lightweight as possible due to the responsive requirements of today’s mobile user base. As well as this underlying mobile backbone, it’s easily adaptable to upcoming campaigns and brand initiatives based on an updatable, modular front-end and structured information layout. The clean minimal style reflects the modern, fresh and predominant audience of young adults that Bulmers attracts.
This brand site is a true innovation in web builds, it has the flexibility of working in conjunction with major social media platforms, whilst still maintaining the creative integrity of a beautifully designed website. Putting social thinking at the heart of the site allows Bulmers to demonstrate that it is an innovative digital brand, and the modular UX design ensures that this site will be future proof for a very long time.