What Facebook marketers need to know
The world's largest social network, almost every business can benefit from advertising on Facebook. But in the rapidly-changing social media landscape, it's important to keep up with the latest changes that can affect how you attract and interact with customers and get you the best return on your marketing dollars.
Facebook updates in 2019 continued to prioritize new privacy and security measures following last year's high-profile data scandal, with the platform being eager to win back the trust of users and businesses. However, there was also more attention paid to improving the platform and its associated services for business users and customers, making it easier to connect with and engage your target audience.
Here are the 10 biggest changes that have impacted on Facebook marketing in 2019.
1. Streamlining Ads Manager and Business Manager
It's now easier to set up and manage ad campaigns following Facebook's redesign of the Ads Manager interface, which started to roll out in April. These changes were aimed at saving time and improving productivity for advertisers, while also giving you more analytical insights than before.
Some of these new features include:
- Streamlined layout with integrated search bar and nested campaign view
- Simpler navigation for switching between ads, ad sets and campaigns with ease
- Auto-naming and copy-paste features to speed up new campaign creation
- Enhanced reporting tools to measure success and find new opportunities
Business Manager has also been updated to make it easier for agencies to onboard clients and manage their ad campaigns on their behalf.
2. Granular ad relevance metrics
Advertisers can now get more detailed information about how their campaigns are performing compared to those of competitors. Facebook has swapped its single ad relevance score for three metrics that measure different aspects of success in finer detail. These are:
- Quality ranking
- Engagement rate ranking
- Conversion rate ranking
Like the old relevance score, these new diagnostic metrics are predictions rather than exact figures, based on results from other marketers targeting the same audience and goals. Their values will adjust as your campaign continues.
Breaking down the single relevance score into these components gives a clearer view of what's working and what needs to be fixed to improve CPC and ROI, taking some of the guesswork out of managing campaigns.
3. Messenger business tools
Offering some of the best open rates of any private messaging app, Facebook Messenger has become even more valuable as a business tool in 2019. New features make it easier for marketers to generate leads and process appointments through the app.
- Lead generation templates – automated workflows and questions that can qualify leads before they're passed on to a human sales rep.
- Appointment booking – by integrating your business calendar and booking software with Messenger, clients can find available dates and make bookings directly through the app.
- Analytics tools – track clicks, bookings and interactions made through Messenger.
This year also saw Facebook launch the Messenger desktop app and revise the smartphone app to be significantly lighter and run faster on lower-spec devices, encouraging wider uptake of the program.
4. Search ads
Marketers now have another option for ad placement – targeting users in search results when they're actively looking for a business similar to yours. As these searchers are already engaged, there's a greater chance of making leads and conversions compared to newsfeed ads.
Search ads are still in the trial phase and customization is very limited at present, but they're expected to roll out fully as an option soon. There's no option to bid on keywords currently, but ads may be triggered when Facebook users search for keywords that are already in your profile.
5. Organic targeted posts
If your Facebook page has more than 10,000 followers, you'll now be able to target your most engaged customers – those with a Top Fan badge – and serve them with bespoke ads.
Offering exclusive discounts, information or other opportunities to the people who are most engaged with your brand can increase conversions. It can also give you the chance to test out new content before advertising it to a wider audience.
6. Stories allows collaboration and monetization
If your brand posts a lot of visual content, recent updates to Facebook Stories could help you to reach a wider audience organically. These include:
- Collaborative features – inviting specific accounts to post their own images or videos to your Stories, whether it's followers, partners or collaborators at an event you're hosting.
- Monetization features – using tags to enable customers to purchase items in Stories through a native checkout process.
7. Groups updates
Facebook's new FB5 interface has placed a new emphasis on Groups, making the Group tab more prominent in the center of the navigation bar and improving search and suggestion functions to make it easier for users to find groups they're interested in.
If your business isn't already sharing content on Groups, you'll be missing out on opportunities to attract and engage audiences as Facebook becomes a more community-focused platform. As with other updated Facebook services, customers can also make in-app purchases from Facebook Marketplace sellers.
8. Stricter regulations for health claims
This applies to businesses advertising health or wellness products and services. Facebook is now taking action against posts that make 'sensational' health claims, with the goal of protecting users against what may be false or misleading information. This is done by identifying common keywords and phrases.
9. Libra cryptocurrency
Facebook launched its own cryptocurrency this year. Libra is based on a number of major global currencies to give it more stability than some other cryptocurrency options. It's also been designed to be easy to use by businesses and customers worldwide, with the upcoming Calibra app opening it up for ecommerce use and sending and receiving funds.
It remains to be seen whether Libra payments will catch on with Facebook users and be worth companies adding to their payment options.
10. Live rehearsals
Businesses that stream video on Facebook Live have the chance to test their streams and make last-minute changes with Live rehearsals. This allows streamers to broadcast to admins and editors only, so you won't have to worry about looking unprofessional or losing viewers when your scheduled livestream begins.
For tips about getting started with Facebook marketing or improving your campaigns, read Limecube's dos and don'ts of Facebook ads.