Does Facebook Hate Marketers?
No More Promotional Posts on Facebook!
Facebook is notorious for sacrificing Page reach to improve overall user experience and its latest update is no exception. Starting in January 2015, pages that organically post “overly promotional content” will have all of their content penalized. The initial instinct for marketers might be to shed a few tears and think about jumping ship, but please read this before you go any further. This can definitely be a good thing as it pushes us to produce higher quality content that will be more intrinsically interesting. The message here is simple—if you want to advertise on Facebook, pay for the ads.
If you want to use Facebook for digital advocacy and to build relationships with people, then you’re already better than 90% of the social marketers out there.
Why Facebook, Why?
In a survey of hundreds of thousands, people overwhelmingly asked for less promotional content in their news feeds, which actually makes a lot of sense if you think about it. Facebook is considered to be the “friends and family” network where people go to connect and converse. If you’re looking to link up with friends, but all you see is super sweet sales on stretchy pants, you would be less inclined to hit up the platform at all. Facebook already filters and limits the number of ads you see on Facebook, so limiting the reach of promotional posts seems like a natural next step for this network.
What is Considered Promotional?
This is the $1,000,000 question. Facebook left the language fairly ambiguous in it’s release, but the content that will be affected (in their words):
- Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
- Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
- Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads
The confusing bits here are “with no real context” regarding contesting, and “reuse the exact same content from ads“. Facebook did, however, provide a couple of examples of Page posts that would be considered promotional:
Do you see the promotional piece on the Tiger post? “Be sure to also buy…” is most likely the culprit in this case and the post would have likely been fine without the added soft sell.
The “Bunny Puzzle” post, is an excellent example of reusing ad content for an organic post and this type will definitely get you penalized starting in January.
Ultimately though, it is best to play things safe until the penalty precedent is set and the new policy is clarified. In Facebook’s words, “Pages that post promotional creative should expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time.” This means that all of your organic content will be penalized if you fail to comply with this policy.
So, What Now?
Now is the time to be nimble with your content and to reevaluate your overall content strategy. If you cannot use your organic posts to promote anymore, you had better use them to inform and/or entertain. We can help with this!
It’s time to evolve your view of Facebook as more than an online publisher. People don’t generally go to Facebook to shop or search for products, they come to this platform to connect, to converse, and to be entertained. Give the people what they want! Not sure where to start? Check out this content from Progressive’s Flo to get you moving:
The engagement on these puppies is incredible and even though there’s no CTA asking you to hit up their site or contact an agent, the brand affinity gained through this activity is undeniable. Produce content that people enjoy and they will keep on coming back!
Do things differently and don’t be afraid to push the limits. Social Media offers brands the unique opportunity to connect directly with individuals and to build and deepen those relationships. Need advice on content strategy in the face of these new changes? Give us a shout, we live for this stuff!