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Do More With Less: Get Reach + Drive Loyalty on Facebook

Is Facebook Still Worth It?

It's been more than three years since Facebook's fake news fallout of 2016, and more than one year since the friends-and-family algorithm update that deprioritized updates from Facebook Pages. Now more than ever, publishers are left wondering where they stand on the platform, and more importantly, how much effort they should devote to it.


Facebook's shaky ground over the years has created space for Instagram, search engine optimization, and YouTube to fill in the gaps and stir more audience growth. Still, Facebook owns much of the world's social audience with 69% of adults in the U.S. reporting to actively use the platform, and 2.38 billion monthly active users worldwide.

How to tap into Facebook's massive, but seemingly complex, audience remains a puzzle for most publishers. While there certainly is less dependency on the platform than ever before, opportunity exists to make bountiful strides on the network without making it part of your core strategy. And given that every digital media team is dealing with less resources, Facebook is a good place to simplify and strike a narrowed focus on what works. Let's take a look at what's new at Facebook and what kind of content is generating the reach publishers need.

What's New on Facebook

Facebook continues to make frequent tweaks and updates to improve its transparency practices as a result of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Worldwide, political ads must now go through a transparency process before approval. On the other side, the platform has expanded its "Why am I see this ad?" function on sponsored content so that users can see how they were targeted by marketers. Users also have more control over what appears in their News Feed.

The more data Facebook can provide to both its marketers and its users has certainly been the platform's priority in 2019. After fixing a vulnerable bug, Facebook brought back its Custom Audiences feature, which allows marketers to see an estimate of their campaign's reach so they can better determine bids and budget. The function was previously deactivated for more than a year. The return of Custom Audiences, and the platform's continuing efforts to open up data distribution, is a great segue into how publishers can get the most out of the platform without exerting too much time and effort.

Leverage Where You Can: Simple Strategy Steps

The hidden treasure of Facebook continues to be its massive audience. When shaping a strategy for the platform, it's now better to do more with less. Instead of trying to achieve massive engagement like in 2015, it's more fruitful to aim for targeted wins through audience discovery. Learning more about who consumes your content on Facebook and what they like to read, rather than casting a wide content net and hoping it sticks, is what matters.

Know Your Audience: The return of Facebook's Custom Audiences is a great reminder that you can learn a lot about your Facebook followers, and people like them, through the network's tools. Small ad spends on Custom Audiences by engagement and customer lists, and corresponding Lookalike Audiences, can teach you a lot about what kind of content works on your page and the makeup of who is interacting with it.

Similar ad buys that target interests or basic demographics can also be beneficial for audience discovery at a reasonable cost. Learning more about your audience is knowledge that can transcend Facebook and help shape your organization's holistic growth strategy.

Pay Attention to What Is Trending: Distributed publishing isn't linear. Different content and content mediums perform differently across platforms. Analyze your Page's data, understand what your best-performing posts are, and devote energy to creating similar content.

News and politics tend to dominate referral traffic on the platform. Even though you may not be a news publisher, think of what kind of content you can create that can spark emotion and conversation in a similar manner.

Don't Be Afraid to Mix It Up: While it's important to stick to what resonates with your audience, it's not bad to beta test new ways to reach them, especially if your numbers are plateauing. For example, social and native videos can still generate millions of shares on the platform. If you decide to try something experimental, like say a video or a custom image, remember it's all about doing more with less. Spending extra time on a new type of post can be the entirety of your efforts on Facebook for the week and still see big returns.

For example, RebelMouse-powered Higher Perspectives ranked in the top 25 publishers on Facebook in June 2019 with just 80 articles published, according to NewsWhip:

So while your efforts on Facebook don't have to be reminiscent of what they were several years ago, it's still a place for growth.

Less Is More

Data from the social listening tool Parse.ly found that referral traffic was roughly the same between Facebook and direct traffic sources. Direct traffic is acquired through communication methods such as text messages and email. While direct traffic can prompt users to view a wider range of content, like in an email marketing campaign, Facebook referrals usually come from one single article.

"The chances of you 'going viral' on Facebook are smaller, but the impact from a Facebook referral boost can be much bigger on a per article basis." —Parse.ly Data Summary

Parse.ly data from March 2018–March 2019.

Lessons From Our Data

Thanks to the massive scale of our platform, we live close to data-driven content from media properties of all sizes. Because of this, we are often able to identify social trends like algorithm changes before they even happen. When we spot major shifts or small swings in what's creating movement, we're able to help guide our clients' strategy to make sure they're seeing success across social. This means sites on RebelMouse often avoid any tanks or plateaus in growth.

Here are some social strategy lessons we've learned from monitoring data closely:

Utilize Instant Articles: If you want to grow website traffic seriously, your content needs to travel across channels easily. Facebook Instant Articles is an elegant format, particularly given the use of videos in the splash media. Instant Articles may not direct readers to your website immediately, but it's a tool that provides an unobtrusive, memorable experience to users that fuels loyalty. Click here to learn more.

Take Advantage of Facebook Live: Facebook still favors native video on the platform. Facebook Live is a great opportunity to amplify reach and create video material that can be repurposed into new and evergreen content. We have a client on our platform that repurposes live videos as the main subject of articles on their site, and the posts perform extremely well.

Grow Organically: Facebook's ability to spread content organically through Pages with high engagement is still one of its golden features. Users who love to share content on high-engagement Pages help spread quality content without spending a dime. This sharing economy is how media companies like The Dodo was able to create an empire. Click here to learn more.

Make Page Speed a Priority: You can't get the same traffic out of Facebook's algorithms without better site performance scores, and a slow page speed can tank your overall SEO ranking. Google's PageSpeed Insights remains the gold standard when it comes to page speed measurement tools. Click here to learn more.

Spark Conversation: Engagement is the key metric for social, not impressions. Make sure your content strategy is built around an ongoing conversation about your brand or company's core objectives. This means always engaging in post comments, asking questions in captions or at the end of articles, and following up on popular topics.

If you would like to see a boost in your Facebook referral traffic, or learn how you can better optimize your social strategy, request a proposal today. We would love to start working together.

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Meet RebelMouse

Build on a better platform that supports far-reaching content distribution, impactful conversion, and unparalleled loyalty.

The world's largest companies trust us to power their global, multiplatform content experience. As a platform, we're now one of the largest in the world, reaching 50+ million people every month. As a creative agency, we build mass pop culture hits that grow organically to become household names — Axios and The Dodo, for example.

We work strategically with United Airlines and many other brands to establish the new media roadmap for their future and implement it. RebelMouse was founded by the CTO who built The Huffington Post. The founding vision and mission is still the same today: to be the right new media platform for both media companies and brands. It's working exceedingly well, and we're delivering some staggering results for our clients.

Read our latest deck here!

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Publishers No Longer Have to Submit Their Site to Google News

Google's Publisher Center creates new opportunities for audience growth

Just before the start of the next decade, Google announced an important change to its Google News offering with the launch of Google Publisher Center. The new interface merges Google News Producer and Google News Publisher into one to streamline the partnership process for publishers.

Overall, the change should make it easier for publishers to manage their Google News settings, including updating themes, directing URLs to section pages, and configuring user permissions. Read the full list of features here.

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Custom HTML Class Names for Rows and Columns

Assign attributes to your site's rows and columns

You can now add custom HTML class names to rows and columns in RebelMouse's Layout & Design tool. HTML classes can be used for many things, particularly to style elements within a wrapper that has a certain set of CSS properties, or to trigger JavaScript.

This feature eliminates the need to use a separate Element Wrapper to add a class to a set of elements, because the row or column itself can call that specific ID you would typically assign to the Element Wrapper. This creates cleaner, more efficient code in our Layout & Design tool.

You can find the HTML Class within the Properties card of your row or column:

You can also highlight more than one row or column at a time to assign it to the same HTML Class.

This is how it looks in Document Object Model (DOM):

For a refresher on all of the elements available in our Layout & Design tool, click here. If you have any questions about this feature, email support@rebelmouse.com or talk with your account manager today.

How to Create Author Badges

Customize every author profile for a personalized approach

The digital publishing ecosystem is a universe of creators. At RebelMouse, we've created a collaborative publishing experience that allows creators, editors, and influencers to work together in a community-style, customizable workflow.

We recently updated our community features with Author Badges, a feature that gives authors on your site a unique image to compliment their avatar. For example, if an author tends to write about "Trending" topics, you could assign a "Trending" badge to them.

To add an Author Badge from our Badges Dashboard, first navigate to /core/r_dashboard/badges on your site. From there, click the blue ⨁ icon in the bottom right-hand corner to create a new Author Badge.

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What You Need to Know About Facebook News

The social platform's dedicated news tab is now being offered to select publishers

It's estimated that 43% of American adults get their news on Facebook. With an upcoming U.S. presidential election in 2020, the massive social platform has an opportunity to mend fences with its reputation after 2016's fake news fallout and corresponding Cambridge Analytica scandal. In October 2019, Facebook announced the launch of Facebook News, a dedicated tab for news on the platform that aims to give users more control over the news they read.

Facebook News launched to only about 200,000 U.S. users, with articles from local publications in major cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington D.C., and Houston. Roughly 200 publishers are working with Facebook on the initial rollout. The feature is still being tested and is currently only available on mobile.

According to an announcement from Facebook on the feature, users can expect to find a wide range of content on Facebook News, including:

  • Today's Stories chosen by a team of journalists to catch you up on the news throughout the day.
  • Personalization based on the news you read, share, and follow, so you can find new interests and topics, and so Facebook News is fresh and interesting every time you open it.
  • Topic sections to dive deeper into business, entertainment, health, science & tech, and sports.
  • Your Subscriptions, a section for people who have linked their paid news subscriptions to their Facebook account.
  • Controls to hide articles, topics, and publishers you don't want to see.

Some of the articles served to users on Facebook will be curated by humans, but the feed will mostly be organized through an algorithm that should become more personalized based on each reader's behavior.

Currently there are several hoops to jump through to become a Facebook News publisher. Pages must serve a large audience, follow Facebook's integrity standards, and be registered in the platform's News Page Index to be considered.

Click here to begin the registration process for your Page to become part of Facebook News.

At RebelMouse, we're dedicated to sustainable growth across the entire digital publishing ecosystem. We power sites with a rich user experience, but also enable our publishers to create content that easily travels across platforms, including Facebook. We're closely monitoring this newest feature from Facebook, particularly the screening process for publishers to be accepted into the program. If you have any questions about Facebook News and its current rollout, please email support@rebelmouse.com or talk to your account manager today.

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Organize your text with horizontal rules

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