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Digital Latest News Social Media

Facebook’s News Feed Changes In 2018 – What We Know

“It’s the end of days for Pages, the Facebook apocalypse” – Social Media Examiner

“the end of the Facebook News Feed as we know it” – Mobile Monkey

“Facebook feed change sacrifices time spent and news outlets for “well-being”” – Tech Crunch

These are just a few of the headlines from my social media news and insight sources that have appeared after Mark Zuckerberg announced that his first move to ‘Fix Facebook’ in 2018 is to change how the News Feed works.

Is it as bad as all that? Well, as Jon Loomer put it – we just don’t know yet.

What are the changes?

Breaking it down, here’s what Zuckerberg is saying:

  1. People are better than Pages – he wants to encourage us to post more personal content, rather than just sharing videos and links, which he sees will create ‘meaningful’ conversation
  2. He thinks the passive content consumption of videos and links is bad for our well-being
  3. Posts from Pages and Publishers aren’t going to appear as much in News Feeds, even if they have a lot of clicks and Reactions

What does this mean for communicators using social media?

If you read through the announcements from Facebook, Mr Zuckerberg himself, and the more optimistic articles – it shouldn’t mean much. If you are posting content that is meaningful and will trigger conversation, your content should still appear in the News Feed.

If you read the analysis from other blogs (ones – it is important to point out – that rely heavily on Facebook for organic traffic to their websites), we’ve been backed into a corner where we can’t talk to our audience any more.

Here are 4 key things I’m taking out of this announcement:

  1. General day-to-day performance of our page posts will go down. We will see our organic reach decline further
  2. Comments will become the most valuable interaction on Facebook, clicks will not be ‘valued’ the same way in terms of engagement rate (BUT ‘comment bait i.e. ‘comment on this, tag a mate who does this’ will be punished)
  3. Advertising will become more expensive. As the reach for Page Posts reduces, there’ll be more demand for the already jam-packed advertising spots available on the News Feed
  4. Other platforms may become the best avenue for our campaigns. It may be that we find Twitter or LinkedIn offer a better alternative when it comes to talking to our audiences.

The important thing for us, as communicators, is that we remain flexible and adaptable in our strategies and campaigns so we make sure we get the most from social media to help achieve our objectives.

My thoughts

As marketers, this shouldn’t be a surprise, organic reach of page posts is next to nothing now anyway, but it’s always been pretty obvious that was Facebook’s way of forcing Pages to pay to have their posts seen. Is this another tactic to have us spend more money?

Most likely, but I think it is something more. Social networks evolve as user behaviour evolves. To me, it seems Mr Zuck wants to turn back the clock on Facebook and have it as it used to be… status updates about what we’re watching on TV, photos of our activity – back when Facebook was a platform for university students. But here’s the thing:  we are still sharing that content, just not on Facebook. We use the likes of Instagram and WhatsApp (which Facebook owns) to talk about our favourite TV show with our friends, and document the story of a great day out to our friends and followers.

I think Zuckerberg needs to stop trying to manipulate user behaviour, these things evolve. Facebook has evolved into a content discovery platform where we enjoy videos of cute wild cats, or interesting facts and articles about topics we’re interested in. Let it be that, Mr Zuckerberg. Let the users do and share what they want.

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Digital Latest News Social Media

Mobile First – Making your video ads stand out on mobile

Last week Facebook released some new research it has carried out around the performance of video ads on its platform. <link to https://www.facebook.com/iq/articles/stand-out-in-feed-optimizing-video-creative-on-mobile>

The report makes for some interesting reading and highlights many of the things we already knew – such as video ads developed with a structure and narrative that caters for the way that users consume video on social media outperform content that has been developed for other platforms or has been adapted to try and make it a better fit for posting.

So, what can you do to make your video ads work on social?

  1. Keep it short – the content that performs best on mobile according to the research is under 20 seconds in duration.
  2. Early use of branding – in the age of the thumb stopping creative, we also need to ensure that branding is positioned prominently in the first two seconds. The research shows that there was a much higher recall of an ad where the brand was featured prominently in the first couple of seconds as opposed to an adapted ad which might utilise a logo watermark to convey the brand.
  3. Know your audience – this isn’t necessarily a finding of the research, but it should go without saying that you should ensure you tailor your approach and creative to your audience (as well as making use of the tools available to target them).
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Digital Latest News Social Media

Saying Farewell to Facebook Organic Posts

The internet is awash with rumours. And we, at DTW HQ, are 90% certain they are true: Facebook will (we think) be removing organic page posts from the news feed (but not yet).

What is an organic page post?

Currently, when you log into Facebook, your news feed is populated with posts from both profiles (your friends) and pages (brands or businesses). Some of the posts from brands or businesses are organic posts – these are from pages you have liked or followed, others are paid posts – these are from pages who have paid Facebook to show their content in more news feeds. Guess who Facebook likes more…

Since 2013, organic posts have been hitting fewer news feeds, triggering marketers to pay Facebook more and more for the privilege of having their content appear in these feeds.

What’s happening now?

Facebook are currently testing moving those organic (non-paid) posts to a new ‘Explore’ feed only in some countries, freeing up the news feed for posts shared only by profiles and people.They claim they have no current plans to roll this out globally. However, it would be more of a surprise if they don’t do this for everyone.

Facebook’s ad spend ‘only’ increased by 27% last quarter, as opposed to Instagram’s 55% and Snapchat’s 73%.

What does this mean?

At the moment, there’s nothing to do but carry on as normal. Facebook have stated they aren’t planning any major changes to the feeds, but we all need to be keeping a close watch on that organic reach.

It does mean marketing budgets will need to consider more money for paid promotion on Facebook should they want to keep a similar level of interaction and reach that they’re used to.

We don’t know if or when this will happen, but, as they say in the Cub Scouts, always be prepared – and hang on to your Facebook budget – you’re going to need it.

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#teamDTW Digital News Social Media

Social Regulators Roundtable – 6th December 2016

A good turnout

Communications professionals from a wide variety of regulatory organisations gathered in London yesterday for the first ever Social Regulators Roundtable.

DTW and Digital Allies were honoured to be invited by the hosts – the Solicitors Regulation Authority – to help facilitate the day. Collectively, we explored the issues and challenges facing regulators on social media, including senior management involvement, employee advocacy, engaging stakeholders, tone of voice, measurement and social media policy.

The purpose of the day was to share ideas and issues commonly faced by people in a team or on their own, working at the sharp end as communicators for regulators. And certainly, by the end of the day, connections had been made and smiles were on faces.

It was a great day of discussion following introductions from SRA Chief Executive Paul Philip and Executive Director, External Affairs, Jane Malcolm.

Attendees from the SRA, ASA, RICS, BSB, PSR, FRR, ARB, Ofwat, CAP and the Homes and Communities Agency discussed the challenges they faced and what they hoped to learn from each other.

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Key takeaways from the day included:

  • There is a real desire and a drive from regulators towards engagement and away from using social just to broadcast – and that means posting content that is suitable for a social media audience (including light-hearted content) without compromising the authoritative voice of a regulatory body.
  • Employee engagement and advocacy is seen as a very exciting area – but one with pitfalls and there is a need to prove to senior management teams that the risk is worth it. Social media policies are often placed in the disciplinary sections of staff handbooks – is this the right place for it? It adds a negative tone to the use of social.
  • Evaluation and measurement is very important, but determining a significant ROI for a regulator is very difficult as there is no key conversion or call to action. As ever, the key with evaluation is focusing first on identifying what is REALLY important and understanding WHY you want to measure it.

Everyone recognised and sympathised with each other and we all enjoyed and learned a lot from the day.


We received great feedback from attendees with talk of further meetings and of course some social networking and online sharing to back it up.

A huge thanks to John Rieger and the Digital Communications team at the SRA for organising an excellent day.

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Digital Latest News News Social Media

Twitter introduces customer service bots

Twitter launches customer service bots in direct messages.

There are many brands and accounts on Twitter that pride themselves in great customer service on the social network. This is usually because they invest time and money in staff and equipment that can enable them to provide such a service; examples of this include KLM and train networks.

Now, in theory at least, it will be easier for smaller companies to provide a similar level of service as those larger brands with Twitter’s new tool.

So, how does it work?

As a twitter user, you can set up an automated welcome message that greets the customer before they’ve even started typing. The customer can then select different categories of queries that have automated responses; or request to speak directly to an agent.

new_twitter_dm

 

Think automated telephone systems without the painful dictation (“AGENT…” “Putting you through to…payments”) or dreadful hold music.

Sounds good, so what’s the catch?

Aha – you did ask. You need to open your DMs to everybody (not just mutual follower/followees), which means if you are a brand likely to get bombarded with irrelevant messages, tread carefully and ask the following questions:

  • Does the level of genuine queries warrant a system like this?
  • Do I get a lot of the same queries that have the same answer?
  • Would a system like this contribute to my overall customer service level?

So should my organisation sign up?

If the answer to any of the questions above is yes, then exploring this tool further is worth it. We would still recommend a third party customer service system like Sprout Social or Hootsuite, in addition to this to help you filter through the noise and answer questions as efficiently as possible.

It is also worth keeping in mind that Twitter isn’t revolutionising social customer service automation as Facebook launched a very similar tool for their Messenger app earlier this year. At least this way customers and brands that lean towards either Facebook or Twitter have a level playing field in which to implement good customer service.

Ultimately its good to see Twitter recognising this growing area and trying to do something for help, but more fundamentally there are still too many people and brands using social media without defining why they are there or thinking about how they’re going to measure success.

Don’t forget the big picture

My advice is to sit down and challenge yourself or your organisation’s presence on social and get all existentialist and ask the big questions.

  • Why am I here?
  • What am I trying to achieve?
  • How am I going to measure success?

Thanks for reading

Jess

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Digital Latest News Uncategorized

A Guide To Pokemon Go For Business

Is Pokemon Go a new marketing platform for business?

There’s a neDTW on Pokemon Gow craze on the loose. You may have observed groups of people walking around your town talking about ‘gyms’ and ‘Pokestops’ and teams.  They’ll all be looking at their phones. Or you may have seen videos of stampedes of crowds in New York running into a dark Central Park as they seek a rare ‘monster’.

This is Pokemon Go: a new app from Nintendo’s Niantic that, in its very short life, has more downloads than Tinder, more UK users than Twitter, and has sent Nintendo’s shares through the roof.

Naturally, businesses want to know how they can utilise this craze for marketing purposes.

The way the game works is through geolocation, it uses your phone location to allow you to play Pokemon in the ‘real world’ through augmented reality. It also uses local places as key locations in the game where you can pick up items and play against other players. 

It is these locations that businesses want to get their hands on. Well, here are the key things around that:

  • The app uses Google for its mapping data, not necessarily the location data
  • The locations of gyms and Pokestops are crowdsourced: busier areas will generally have more activity.
  • The locations are inherited from Niantic’s previous game called Ingress; its developers prioritising the public attractions and points of interest they learnt from that.

The key thing about Pokemon Go is the more users and people about, the more activity there will be on the app. This is why Niantic has been put into hot water as more sensitive locations like Auschwitz and the Holocaust Museum in the US have increasing gaming activity due to the number of visitors these places get.

Pokemon No Go

Pokemon No Go areas have appeared across the world

This all leads to the question: how can brands get themselves into the game?

The short answer is: they can’t.

The long answer is: they can’t at the moment, but there are discussions about sponsored locations within the game at some point, but not yet. McDonald’s is already pursuing this with branded locations in the game, but for smaller, local businesses this is a long way off. Remember, it’s only a few days old at the moment!

RICS tweet

 

What businesses can do is utilise the game through other marketing platforms. The RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) recently tweeted that they were a Pokestop. Our office at DTW is a Pokemon Go Gym, therefore, as a business, see what’s around you in the app and market your location in relation to these places. That way, hopefully, you’ll be able to see some footfall benefit from this new craze.

Weedle

Catch a Weedle outside DTW

 
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Digital Latest News Social Media Uncategorized

#FacebookDown

Facebook-Down

The Facebook website and mobile apps went offline for 40 minutes on Monday afternoon, the second short outage in a week and the third in three weeks, blaming, engineers tinkering, which was the reported cause for the previous outages.

Now what is a minor annoyance or disruption for the ordinary user, or benefit if it gives you the chance to have a cuppa and catch up on work, has real-world consequences for organisations.  Starting with Facebook themselves, their share price took a 4% hit (£56 a share) or 1% for every ten minutes. Then there are the cascading consequences for other apps and websites that use Facebook as their primary login method or are built on Facebook’s structure. Tinder, the popular dating app, is the highest profile example. There are also the hundreds of thousands of Facebook advertisers whose campaigns may have been postponed or lost as a result of the unscheduled stoppage – Facebook has to take their concerns seriously and make amends in short order.

Other social networks, primarily Twitter, had a lot of fun at their expense, providing an outlet for frustration and also underlining their own robust systems but the little blue bird and others are just as susceptible to a malfunctioning algorithm or even something as minimal as a 0 retyped as an O.  Computers are unlike people in that there is no shade of grey regarding their operating parameters. A program either runs or it doesn’t – there is no nearly right here.

Such rare events also illustrate the danger of building a business model or primary presence on a platform that is ultimately out of your control – both proprietary and technically.  If you have a website, it is very unlikely that the internet will go down as there are a myriad of redundancies and work round’s to avoid it. A single site or platform is much narrower and easier to disable no matter how popular or famous.

Facebook has a lot of engineers and data scientists who can solve and fix issues and game plan for likely future offline incidents. In honour of #FacebookDown, maybe you should game plan your own social survival strategy if your main showroom simply vanishes into thin air…

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Creative Digital

Are you mobile friendly?

It’s the end of SEO as we know it. On 21 April 2015, Google rolled out its new algorithm for non-mobile-friendly websites. In a statement the company said: “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

So what does this really mean and why should you care?

You need to make sure your website is mobile optimised.

If your website is not optimised to be viewed on a smartphone or tablet, then you will not appear high in the search results, it will be harder for people to find you, and you’ll be losing out against your competitors who do have a mobile-optimised website. You are either mobile-friendly or not, there are no degrees of mobile-friendliness in this algorithm.

This means that in the case where websites that do accommodate for mobile, they would be getting an additional rankings boost.

Keeping Google happy is one reason to make sure you are mobile friendly, but the biggest reason is to keep your customers happy.

The latest 2015 digital device stats from the Global Web Index show that of 40,000 Internet users surveyed, 80% own a smartphone.

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 08.41.42

 

It also showed that the majority of adults (16-64) now personally own a desktop or laptop AND a smartphone with nearly half owning a tablet.

This shows the importance of providing great online experiences across multiple devices. Your customers are expecting it – and Google will punish you if it isn’t.

Next steps…

There are two ways for you to check whether your website is mobile-friendly

  1. Use this mobile-friendly testing tool from Google and enter your URL.
  2. Just Google your brand using a smartphone. If you see a grey “mobile-friendly” label next to your site, then you’re all fine and don’t need to worry.

In today’s world, if your website is not fully responsive to allow your visitors to visit your website via their computer, their tablet, or their mobile, at a time and a place when they want to, then they will go elsewhere and you will lose their custom.

Whether you like it or not, it is all about the customer experience and more importantly consumer behaviour!

So, if you’ve tested your website to see if it’s mobile-friendly, and – shock horror! – it’s not, then get in touch with us today to have a chat and see how we can help.

Drop Lorna a line if you want to know more.