Subscribe to Our Newsletter

x

What the Latest Algorithm Change Means for Your Facebook Strategy

The dust is finally settling after Facebook's latest News Feed restructuring announcement. The initial shock has waned, and brands are now figuring out how to approach the unavoidable shift. And while it (still) may seem like the death of organic reach to many, there's more opportunity to be had than ever before.

Facebook has always had a leg up on other platforms. While users on most social platforms are typically passive in nature, Facebook's users have always been active contributors — whether it be by posting baby pictures, making a personal announcement, changing a relationship status, etc. But over time, the social giant started seeing a trend toward more passive, lazy content consumption. Video only exacerbated this laziness as users began scrolling through content without purpose, and certainly avoiding anything with a three-second pre-roll ad.


This made it harder for brands to get any kind of real loyalty from their audiences. Even when publishers saw a large spike in reach, chances are that their users engaged without taking the time to note who posted the content. This vicious cycle is what forced the social network to re-prioritize the way we consume content in the News Feed. But instead of cursing Facebook for it, it's time to focus on creating real, lasting loyalty that can withstand unexpected algorithm updates. Here's how:

Create Engagement

We must rethink how we engage with users moving forward. It's not enough to post and pray for engagement. You have to ask for it with every post. And not in a spammy way, but rather by posting thoughtful content that solicits organic reactions. Content that fosters conversation and creates a community of people you respect. Posts that generate meaningful comments and discussion are going to rank better in the News Feed than those that only receive reactions. Conversation is key.

Facebook invested heavily in its Group feature in 2017, and even rolled out new functionality that let brands and media companies create their own groups within Pages. We all know group discussions are engagement catalysts, so using Group is a no-brainer. It's an easy way to connect and boost engagement and control. Post algorithm update, brands should hone in on creating niche Facebook groups to build engagement with new and existing audiences.

In early 2018, Facebook introduced a version of WhatsApp for businesses, intended to make it easier for companies to connect with customers. The app, called WhatsApp Business, features smart messaging tools similar to Facebook's Messenger. Communication channels and tactics such as these are becoming more commonplace, and they're key to creating conversation, engagement, and loyal audiences.

Understand Organic Distribution

You can't buy fans anymore. The pay-to-play mentality won't get you the kind of organic reach you need to make it long term. You have to understand how to connect to likeminded Pages to create lasting communities. Dive into niche, relevant, and great-quality content that attracts new, loyal followers — and do so at scale and on a consistent basis. This is what will help you build a sustainable content model that drives repeat, direct visits.

Build Loyalty

If you aren't creating loyalty, your Facebook reach will decline quickly. Our CEO Paul Berry and Greylock's Josh Elman collaborated on a piece last year discussing how and why you must develop a front page audience. It's become more relevant now than ever. Facebook is forcing us, as creatives, to produce content that people want to return for. Content that has the same effect as Game of Thrones — the type that's worth enduring ads for.

To do this, your brand or media site has to feel personal, and its voice has to be crystal clear. Your audience wants a social experience where the content has both consistency and pattern. Scroll depth is the difference between whether you can monetize your content or not.

Axios is a perfect example. They continue to create reputable content in a format that mimics the social feeds, and the results they've experienced have been outstanding. They've figured out the key to organic loyalty, and people are now making Axios their home screen.

The importance of each individual particle within a given article is a content model we've been championing for quite a while. When we use the term "particle," we're referring to each individual component of your content — a tweet, an image, an infographic, etc. All of these individual pieces should be used to create engagement on their own. And when they're strung together, they create context and voice, which in turn creates loyalty.

Organic Loyalty, FTW

All of this boils down to the overarching theme of organic loyalty. Companies who banked on the pay-to-play model, abandoning the priority of building a loyal audience, are now up the creek without a paddle. To build an ambitious, sustainable business, it takes many shining moments to nurture your followers into a loyal partnership with your content.

For a thorough explanation on how to build organic loyalty, you can download our free white paper here.

Page Speed Is Crucial to Your Marketing Efforts

Most marketers don't prioritize page speed because they don't think it impacts their bottom line. However, page load has a direct impact on conversions and revenue.

Here's a very simple scenario, supported by industry data, to underscore why the way pages are built and powered is crucial for paid media initiatives and your overall business:

Let's say a paid media campaign drives 100,000 new visitors to a landing page that takes five seconds to load. Google says that 53% of mobile site visitors will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. So of the 100K mobile site visitors you paid to bring to the page, ~50K are leaving immediately due to poor page performance alone.

Some studies even show that bounce rate increases approximately 100% for every two-second delay. So, if site load jumps to seven seconds, you'll pretty much lose all of the visitors your paid strategies brought in.

A Poor Site Experience Costs More Than You Realize

Page load plays a huge part in customer dissatisfaction, too. Continuing on with our previous example, let's classify the ~50K that didn't abandon the page as dissatisfied due to poor page performance. As HubSpot points out, 79% of them are less likely to buy again from the same website. That's ~40K visitors never coming back to the site due to poor page speed. The loss is even greater when you consider how valuable returning visitors are: They represent up to 48% of all transactions and spend almost 2x more than new visitors, according to Business Insider.

Plus, people love to spread the word about a bad experience, probably more than a good one. 40% of visitors who had a bad experience with a website's performance would tell a friend or a family member. So of your 50K dissatisfied visitors, 20K are talking negatively about your brand. If they tell only one person each, that's an opportunity cost of another 20K potential site visitors and customers.

The main takeaway? Your paid media has to work much, much harder when you neglect to optimize your site for performance.

Owned and Paid Media Should Work Together for Better Efficiency

And speaking of site improvements to help the bottom line, marketers can't overlook the value of owned content (e.g., articles, reviews, social feeds, etc.) and its impact on overall traffic and lead generation strategies. Sites tend to see significant lift in audience reach and conversion when content is paired with commerce: For e-commerce companies, content can account for up to 69% of total organic traffic. And, even more compelling, conversion rates have been 6x higher for companies that adopt content marketing.

RebelMouse's CMS makes it easy for brands to systematically optimize page speed performance and organic reach, which allows paid media to be more efficient.

RebelMouse allows clients to easily manage website layouts and components at any time, ensuring sites remain fast and are rewarded by Google and Facebook. Our platform features proprietary SEO tools designed to help clients optimize organic search with every post and better align paid and organic search strategies for increased efficiency. Similarly, our platform also includes proprietary social tools to organically build community and growth, and our data helps clients spot winning organic trends that can inform paid social media.

RebelMouse Is a Partner That Can Guide You

When it comes to content marketing, it's important to be mindful of the relationship between owned, earned, and paid media — it will only help your teams engage and convert more audiences into customers and brand loyalists. At RebelMouse, we're proud of how we work with brands and our ability to provide the expertise, best practices, and modern technology that help teams become better content marketers. If you're a brand marketer, feel free to reach out to us to learn how RebelMouse can help you be more strategic and effective in your content marketing efforts.

Related Articles

Target High-Value Users With Affinity Categories

Unlock valuable audience data and shape a new strategy

In today's landscape, quality content isn't enough — it's half the battle. Publishers need to produce shareable content backed by data to experience sustainable growth. At RebelMouse, we have a unique pageview methodology that provides an innovative user experience for every reader without sacrificing revenue and growth opportunities for publishers.

To do this, we track massive amounts of data across our platform through the use of custom-built Google Data Studio dashboards.

Click here to see the kind of growth our clients experience every day.

One of the best ways to discover more about your audience is by taking advantage of Affinity Categories. This feature breaks down audience demographics, including age, location, interests, and more. Affinity Categories are usually used to target audiences for ads, but we also use them to gain insights on what topics a site's visitors are interested in overall.

Normally, each category is listed out separately in Google Analytics. In the example shown above, our data experts split categories into separate levels to reveal different levels of audience depth. For instance, by splitting up the category News & Politics, we can better explore the detailed distribution of users interested in specific types of news:

  • News & Politics/Avid News Readers/Avid Political News Readers
  • News & Politics/Avid News Readers/Entertainment News Enthusiasts

From an editorial standpoint, this is useful because it allows publishers to determine and target varying levels of high-value users, improving the efficacy of a new content strategy or ad campaign.

If your site is already powered by RebelMouse, email support@rebelmouse.com to get a breakdown of your audience's Affinity Categories. If you aren't powered by RebelMouse yet, request a proposal today and start receiving the data you need to grow loyal followers at scale.

Related Articles

Infinite Scroll: An Innovative + Intuitive UX

There is a common misconception that publishers have to sacrifice monetization and professional design to deliver a high-performing, quality user experience to its readers. But in today's modern publishing environment, websites can deliver an unobtrusive site experience that's intuitive, elegant, and prosperous.

To do this consistently, RebelMouse supports infinite scroll as part of our bigger design strategy called Social UX for Media. Much like the news feeds of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, infinite scroll provides an endless stream of articles to its readers so they never reach the "end" of your content.

Infinite scroll is an innovative approach, but it is also a widely adopted standard that has been endorsed and is supported officially by Google, Comscore, Nielsen, and many other industry giants. It's part of a new media strategy deployed by companies with massive valuations and the highest level of visibility in the U.S. market, including Axios, Vice, and The Verge.

In fact, RebelMouse built and launched news powerhouse Axios, now one of the biggest new media companies to date, with our Social UX for Media design featuring infinite scroll. It's still a core part of Axios' successful publishing strategy today. The feature has also been key to the growth of many other RebelMouse-powered properties, including La Verità, Dance Magazine, and United Airlines.

RebelMouse's Social UX for Media design, featuring infinite scroll on hub.united.com.

The primary reason infinite scroll is so successful is because it mimics user behavior in an innovative, yet familiar way, thanks to its similarity to social feeds. On mobile, expandable posts make it easy for users to read "before the jump" and quickly expand to the rest of the article with one click, rather than being taken to another article page. This is similar to when a user expands a caption on Instagram. It's these simple design details that bring massive growth to key stats like return visits and time on site.

Our page view methodology not only keeps the user experience intact, it also includes robust ad serving technology. We use industry standard rules for page views that require at least 50% of the screen space to change before it counts as a new page view. So whether you use Comscore or Nielsen to verify your site traffic, infinite scroll will not have a negative impact on your insights.

If you're interested in launching a site with our game-changing Social UX for Media design, request a proposal today and let's start working together. If your site is already powered by RebelMouse, and you have questions about infinite scroll, email support@rebelmouse.com.

Related Articles

Particle Assembler: Ads in Slideshows Now Supported

You can now insert ads between slides in a slideshow!

Monetizing users' engagement and page views is pivotal to most digital businesses, and our Particle Assembler has been an invaluable tool in helping RebelMouse clients to insert native ads seamlessly into their content. Now we've taken this functionality one step further by introducing support for ads between slides in Assembler's slideshow layout.

Keep reading... Show less
Subscribe to Our Newsletter