I was asked to join a VentureApp web chat this week to talk about some of the “big news” that just came out about Facebook. Oh wait - you haven’t heard? Quick synopsis then:
Facebook recently announced that it is testing some things around the new Explore Tab. The part that’s got businesses and social media managers concerned? They’re looking at excluding Facebook Page posts from the regular News Feed and keeping them all in the Explore Tab. That is, unless businesses “pay to play”.
“Facebook Explore Feed is rolling out globally this week. Most people around the world can see it in their bookmarks and they can discover new content here. But in Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Bolivia, Guatemala and Cambodia it works differently: all posts by pages are moved from newsfeed to Explore Feed. In main newsfeed are now just friend and sponsored posts.”
“I personally like it” he said. “It changes a lot of marketers (mostly bad) where you have to pay to play (get your content in front of these folks) but here's why I think it's better for marketers. I think the feed is sacred for users. Facebook is trying to declutter it for the younger audience after buying TBH. So similar to snapchat's discover feed, you'll see either sponsored content or really viral pieces make it to the feed. Reason why that's interesting is because Facebook is still the best ad network. So it realizes that it can charge people for this, because as marketers, we'll pay for that sacred space in the feed.”
I loved Ryan’s perspective here. And it’s true - Facebook is there to serve it’s users and it’s going to do that. We, as businesses, have to figure out how to access this big audience.
I had a few thoughts of my own that I shared throughout our chat:
1. First off - don’t panic! Facebook is testing. So until we know the results and what they’re going to roll out, the only thing we need to do is stay tuned in and be ready to get creative.
2. This shouldn’t be a shock for anyone. They have been leaning into a “pay to play” style for businesses for awhile now with changes to their algorithm making it harder for us to reach audiences without investing dollars.
3. Our world is changing at an exceptional pace, and that makes marketing very challenging to keep up with. It’s not for the faint of heart. You’re constantly dreaming up new ideas, trying, testing, evaluating and re-learning. It’s exciting - but exhausting. But if you’re in this space, you better be up for it or you’ll get left behind.
4. In the beginnings of social media, people often thought of it as free and that’s just not the truth. Making an impact in this space takes investment in both smart people who know and understand it and the platforms you want to execute in. In the days of traditional marketing, no one balked at the idea of paying for radio advertising or print or bus or billboard. And those gave us almost zero true measurable results in the way of impressions and clicks. Now we can see results much more sophisticated and yet we don’t want to pay. That has to shift.
5. And finally, if Facebook does get too expensive or not very impactful for your business, try somewhere else! There are more options. FB seems to be the first place people think of in terms of where their business needs to be and that’s fine - but what about Pinterest - one of the largest shopping networks out there. Or if you’re niche is interior design, Houzz is showing up more and more. Heck I’ve even heard that “kicking it old school” with some traditional marketing efforts has gained traction because these days - it’s less common and actually allows you to stand out. So don’t be afraid of a mail out! We’ve got to get out and continue to think outside the box with our brands.
It was great to be able to chat with some industry people around this and ensure we’re all prepared for the changes that could be coming our way. And we’d better get used to change! It’s the only constant they say.
Read the full chat here.