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31 Jul 2012

Facebook Promoted Posts and Other Recent Updates of 2012

facebook promoted posts recent updates 2012

Facebook can be an efficacious marketing tool for businesses if the brand managers controlling the pages are able to use it effectively. To do this, they must have a clear understanding of the platform’s functionality and how it’s evolving. Earlier this year when brand pages were switched to Facebook timeline, we provided you with 15 tips to bring you up to speed. Since then, Facebook has had many more significant updates and seems to be more focused on business pages than ever before. In today’s post you will learn what those updates were, and how to use them to your advantage.

Promoted Posts

You may have recently noticed the button labeled Promote when you go to post an update as your brand. That is, if your brand has at least 400 fans. That is the minimum number needed in order to see and use this feature. Overall, promoted posts exist to assist brands in extending their reach, so that more of their fans see their posts.

Page administrators can set the budget, based on the number of fans and the desired reach, and the post will run for three days. Currently, you have the option to promote posts at the rates of $10, $20 or $30. During the three days that the post runs, you have the ability to stop it if you wish to. Usually brand managers do this because they’ve decided they do not want to spend the full amount, or it is not getting as much engagement as they’d hoped. It’s also good to note that you may change the budget from here as well.

Facebook Promoted Posts

Promoted posts are a great way to remind fans “We’re still here”, and to spark up that engagement again. You can also think of them as a way to override Edge Rank, and by doing so you can actually increase your Edge Rank. Remember though, the post will show a sponsored tag, so fans will be aware that it’s not an organic posting.

After you’ve posted the update, it’s a good idea to head over to the ads management section and take a look at the targetted demographic. This includes location, age, gender, interests, categories, language, education, relationship status and more. Pay special attention to the targeted location. If you are a company that only ships your products or offers your services in the United States, then it’s a good idea to get rid of all the other countries it lists by default. There is no reason not to take advantage of these specifications. You can edit it at anytime during the 3 day campaign.

From the ads platform, you can also take control of the naming structure. Facebook automatically generates a name for the posts using the post ID number. To keep yourself organized, you have the option of re-naming the posts for consistency and easy reference in the future.

As far as analytics go, you can monitor the performance of the post while it’s running, as well as reviewing the data afterwards. The data shows how many viral vs. organic views there were, which is information that’s never been made available before. There is also the theory that promoted posts are taking over the normal side bar advertisements. Many page admins favor promoted posts over the side bar advertisements because unlike regular Facebook ads, promoted posts will show up in the mobile newsfeed. I believe they should be used as a compliment, and not in place of the familiar sidebar ads. However, as always, I advise that you do some testing and see what works best for your brand.

Bonus tip: Brand managers can opt to promote a post after it’s already been posted, as long as it’s not more than 3 days old.

Voice

Facebook voice is a new feature (or button, rather) that easily allows page administrators to post as themselves, instead of as the brand. Simply visit your page and look for the text at the top that reads “You are posting, commenting, and liking as Brand XYZ — Change to Your Name”, and click on the linkable text. It is interesting to note that this has always been an option within the page settings. However, this feature just makes it more obvious which voice you are using.

Links within Status Updates

Page admins (and personal pages, for that matter) no longer have the convenient button prompting them to insert a link into their page posts.  In the image below, you’ll see an updated screenshot with the link button missing. Links are still allowed within the posts, but the functionality such as the image preview, is just not as attractive. It seems as though it’s just one more step for Facebook to encourage page admins to keep their community inside Facebook, and not drive the traffic to external sites. Nice try Facebook, nice try!

Facebook links missing

Edit Comments

Mistakes are made, it’s inevitable. A typo here and there is one thing, but a brand manager saying the wrong thing while posting on behalf of the brand is another. Lucky for you, comments can now be edited. So next time you or one of your page admins slips up and says something they weren’t supposed to, just hover your mouse over the top right hand corner of the comment box and click on the little pencil button that says edit. Beware though; old versions of comments are still available for viewing even after they’ve been edited. So if it’s a major slip up, consider deleting the comment and trying again.

Groups Read Receipts

This update concerns Facebook groups, a feature many of you may not be too familiar with yet. Although brand pages cannot join groups, page admins may facilitate or join groups in an attempt to promote or drive traffic to their brand page. The latest update with groups is that Facebook is now offering “read receipts”. Depending on how the administrator sets the permissions, group members or admins may see these receipts. Look for a checkmark below the posting, and next to it will display a count of the total number of impressions. Click on this, and you’ll be able to see a drop-down list of the members’ names who have viewed the post. If every person in the group has viewed the post, it will instead just say “Seen by everyone”. This feature will allow you to see how many, and which of its members are active within the group even if they are not creating posts themselves.

Timeline for Brands on Mobile Devices

Fans are now able to view your timeline, instead of the old layout, on their mobile devices. The new look is very clean, and fans are able to immediately see the brand’s cover photo, the page’s about section, the number of fans, a ‘like’ button, and a phone number. The phone number is clickable, and allows fans to easily call the business via their mobile device. This update seems to currently only be available to fans using Android devices.

 

Facebook Timeline for Mobile Phones

 

Events

Brand pages have had the ability to create events for awhile now. Many page admins are waiting for the day when Facebook allows you to invite all of your fans to events. However, to keep spamming to a minimum, Facebook has chosen to not allow this option. As page admins we have found ways to get around this, such as inviting friends from our personal accounts, or asking fans to join and invite friends to the event. If it’s a fun event or worthy cause, it usually grows organically the way it should.

Recently though, in attempts improve the user experience, Facebook has inadvertently helped us out a bit with this dilemma. This update, which was developed at their latest hackathon, is an improvement to the evens section. They have integrated suggested events into the layout of our events section on our personal accounts. This means that your fans will now see all of your page’s events listed right there with all of the events they were invited to. They will have the option to press join, maybe, or click the x to delete it from their list. They will not be notified of these events, like they are with ones they are personally invited to, but these events will still appear on the same list. Not only does this give users the chance to learn about new events they are connected to, but it significantly increases exposure for brand events.

Reach Metric

Facebook has changed the way they calculate your brand’s reach. Facebook now defines their reach metric as “the number of people who have seen your post. Figures are for the first 28 days after a post’s publication and include people viewing your post on both desktop and mobile. Your post counts as having reached someone when it is loaded and shown in news feed. Note that data from before July 2, 2012 only includes people viewing your post on desktop.”

Yes, you read that correctly, and no, we didn’t know it neglected to account for mobile data either. Just like everyone else, we assumed mobile views were included in the reach score. Now that you are aware of this, it will explain why your reach numbers have most likely increased dramatically.

But wait, there’s more! According to Inside Facebook, the “desktop News Feed will no longer count reach until a user scrolls and loads the page’s story”. Because of this change, you’ll notice that fewer stories are loaded in the newsfeed. The reason for these updates is to improve the accuracy of your reach score.

Shareable Ads – Coming Soon!

Shareable ads will give companies the opportunity to buy advertising space on other websites that will include a “share on Facebook” link. That link would lead to the company’s website, at which time users could share the ad on their timelines. Basically, it would empower fans to become brand ambassadors and help them advertise. The pricing structure or release date for shareable ads has not yet been made public.

So as you can see, Facebook has been busy. Which changes do you find the most effective for marketing? What else does Facebook need to improve on?