Though it’s hard to believe, those pesky news feed algorithm tweaks that seem to dwindle the reach of your Facebook posts are for the good — they’re Facebook’s attempts to put the content that matters most in front of Facebook users. Take a moment to think about what would happen if these changes didn’t occur.
Consumers would lose interest in their news feed and slowly abandon the social network (moment of silence for Myspace) — then there wouldn’t be an audience for anyone.
Unlike Myspace, Facebook’s longevity is attributed to its swift adaptation to its end users — both consumers and brands.
As more people and pages are sharing more content, the competition for news feed real estate grows. Brands need to continue to work hard to create unique, entertaining content people want to see in their feeds. However, Facebook released three features during Q2 that will make digital marketers’ lives a bit easier.
Let’s explore these recent Facebook changes that can boost your page tactics, as well as share which retailers — despite the increasing competition — saw exceptional audience growth during Q2 2015. For more background on the charts below, read this introductory blog post.
CHANGES THAT AFFECT YOUR PAGE STRATEGY
Constantly evolving and forever adjusting to consumer trends, Facebook continually rolls out new features for its users, which can affect the way you manage your Facebook page. Listed below are three updates from Q2 and how they’re set to impact retailers.
1. Autofill Forms
Overview: Facebook’s latest ads automatically populate contact information that people have previously given Facebook, like email addresses, phone numbers, address, company name, job title, etc.
Details: Facebook has dubbed its new ad type as “lead ads” and hopes that their existence will make the mobile signup process easier. Lead ads take the friction out of the clunky experience associated with responding to mobile ads and filling out forms. Instead of leaving one app to start a form in another app and then entering all the information again from scratch, lead ads allow users to stay within their news feed.
Retailer Opportunities: Removing clicks and manual data entry can greatly boost conversion rates for those brands advertising on Facebook.
What You Should Know: Lead ads aren’t currently available to everyone. Facebook is testing them with a small group of businesses around the world to gain feedback before rolling them out to the wider public.
2. Improved Customer Service
Overview: Facebook’s latest step toward enhancing customer service for pages is “saved replies” — a feature allowing page admins to write, save and reuse canned messages when they receive an inquiry via Facebook Messenger.
Details: When responding to a message, saved replies appear in a list to the left. Simply click on your desired response from the list and it will automatically display in the message body and auto-populate with personalization features, such as the respondent’s name, admin’s name and company website.
Retailer Opportunities: Customer service via social media is increasingly becoming more common. Why would consumers want to spend an extended amount of time waiting on the phone when they can quickly shoot the brand a message? This new feature will save businesses time when handling incoming customer service inquiries.
What You Should Know: Some page admins are also seeing a response rate highlighting just how fast they answer incoming Facebook inquiries. If the rate is high, the rate is displayed to page visitors via an icon below the cover photo. Facebook released official documentation on how the feature works, so our guess is that this response rate feature will be rolled out to all pages in the near future.
3. Enhanced Video Analytics
Overview: Video metrics have been added to page insights.
Details: On the new dedicated video tab, page admins can track total views, 30-second views, top videos and metrics for videos shared by other pages. In addition to customizing the date ranges, you can slice the data into various segments, such as organic vs. paid, auto-played vs. click-to-play and unique vs. repeat.
Retailer Opportunities: Page admins can better understand the performance of their videos, as well as attain a better grasp on their audience’s viewing behavior.
What You Should Know: Video is the king of content — so Facebook thinks. A recent news feed algorithm now shows you more videos similar to the ones you expand to full screen, enable the sound on, or opt to watch in HD — even if you don’t Like, share or comment on them.
TOP 25 FACEBOOK PAGES
We’ve hand-curated a database of over 500 online retailers with Facebook pages. We’ve been tracking their fan counts for the last two years and have realized that there’s an abundance of insights to be gained from that data.
From our list of 500 retailers, the chart below lists the top 25 by total fan count at the end of Q2. Notice the decrease in page Likes, as discussed previously.
(We’ve color coded this so that blue shows a move UP, orange shows a move DOWN and a lack of color indicates no movement.)
TOP 25 PAGES WITH THE MOST GROWTH
The following online retailers added the most fans during Q2.
TOP 25 PAGES WITH THE MOST GROWTH BY PERCENTAGE
Finally, let’s take a look at fan percentage growth for online retailers with more than 2,000 fans during Q2.
A Facebook business page isn’t something that you can glance at every once in a while — it demands continuous attention, engaging content and the ability to adapt. If executed properly, a well-managed page can be an impressive platform for introducing, promoting and growing your brand.
As always, look for our update next quarter, when we’ll share the latest Facebook changes that you need to be aware of, as well as announce the top 25 retailers of Q3 2015 that have successfully grown their business page audiences.
Blog post by Jordan Nowlin, social media and blog manager, ChannelAdvisor