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Ch-ch-ch-changes on Facebook


Dearest Blog Readers,

As you’ve probably noticed, Facebook is in the midst of some major changes. As always, we are diligently reading, monitoring, experimenting and analyzing to be on top of the channel updates and ahead of the curve when it comes to impact for our clients. We’ve put together a short point of view so you can get a glimpse into what’s coming and what it means. We’ll be in touch as we further develop our ideas and strategies, and as these changes come into play.

BACKGROUND

Each year, Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference brings major changes to its platform. This year, that trend continued and Facebook introduced a series of changes to users’ profiles, its Open Graph protocol, and the News Feed. These changes present marketers with an opportunity to connect with their customers’ lives in an engaging, and more meaningful way.

PERSPECTIVE

The Internet is inundated with complaints every time Facebook changes are released. Users threaten to deactivate their accounts, and create pages encouraging friends to boycott and turn to competitors like Diaspora. The fact remains that Facebook is still growing, and with more than 800 million users it’s a marketing tool unlike any other and implications of these changes cannot be ignored.

In a nutshell, Facebook is making inroads into artificial intelligence and is now thinking for users as its EdgeRank algorithm becomes more and more sophisticated. Elasticity believes that engagement will continue to reign supreme, and this latest round of changes offers additional opportunities for brands and marketers alike to capitalize and further integrate themselves into their customers’ lives.

ANALYSIS

  • Open Graph Protocol: For the past year, users could only “Like” content across the web. Facebook’s Open Graph is taking the next step and now users will be able to read, buy, watch, etc. – – any verb can be used the content publisher desires.
  • Timeline Profile: User profiles will soon be redesigned into a timeline creating a digital scrapbook of a user’s entire life. Facebook applications can request permission from users to add actions taken within their app or website to their personal timeline.
  • Timeline2

  • News Feed Updates and Ticker: Users view their News Feed by “Top Stories” and “Most Recent” now all in one stream. Top Stories are the result of what Facebook deems most important to the specific users based on their past interactions with friends and pages. In addition a Twitter-like “Ticker” now appears in the upper-right hand corner of the News Feed. All updates appear in the Ticker, and those updates Facebook grants greater significance will break out of the Ticker and appear in the News Feed.

OPPORTUNITIES

The ramifications of these Facebook changes won’t be fully realized until they are all rolled out in the coming months. Ultimately, these changes represent a great opportunity for content publishers and marketers to become a more important part of their customers’ lives.

  • Timeline
    • Gaining approval to publish content to a user’s News Feed doesn’t simply create a post that will die out quickly, but instead, it becomes a permanent part of that user’s life on Facebook.
    • Brand pages will also have the opportunity to publish more content and more pictures. The large picture is great real estate for brands to change and update.
    • Timeline



  • Open Graph
    • Will allow the content publisher to have full control over how interactions within their application or website are published back to Facebook.
    • Users can watch a movie On Demand with their friends, order a new pair of shoes, listen to their favorite song, etc. The possibilities are endless.
  • Ticker
    • Marketers will have to ensure their content is as social and engaging as possible to break through the clutter of the Ticker. If people are not engaging with Open Graph stories or page updates, then the publisher’s content will suffer because of the EdgeRank algorithm.
    • This week a study by EdgeRank Checker revealed that brand posts received 33 percent less impressions since the Facebook changes went live, but Likes on the posts increased 18 percent, and comments increased 17 percent.
    • Ticker

NEXT STEPS

These changes are shifting away from gimmicks and marketing and toward a real sense of community, a more genuine experience. Walk the walk by following these recommendations:

  • Create an experience – Don’t just give a coupon for diet drinks, host a live chat with a nutritionist, create an app to track caloric intake. Innovate so that your content lives prominently on peoples’ Timelines.
  • More than ever before, make each post count – This is no longer a platform to push out marketing messages. They will get lost in the Ticker and be buried. Every single post must be something that will be liked and commented on.
  • Strategically manage – When you can, make your voice heard by having brand advocates or staff mark posts as “top stories” and kick off the liking or commenting. Figure out what times of day your posts are best received and when they get buried.
  • Think outside the “like” – Think about how you want people to interact with your brand. Now with Open Graph, you should choose your verbs carefully (maybe even brand them) and encourage types of interactions that will enhance your message.

For additional help building your brand’s Facebook presence, contact Elasticity at ElasticStrategy@GOELASTIC.com.

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