3 ways to make the new Facebook algorithm work for you, not against you

Since the 2016 election, Facebook has been challenged with many crises like the fake news epidemic and the rise of unwanted branded content in the news feed.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Founder, and CEO, deemed this algorithm shift necessary to ultimately better the user experience for Facebook. Here’s his vision:

Our focus in 2018 is making sure Facebook isn’t just fun, but also good for people’s well-being and for society. We’re doing this by encouraging meaningful connections between people rather than passive consumption of content. Already last quarter, we made changes to show fewer viral videos to make sure people’s time is well spent. In total, we made changes that reduced time spent on Facebook by roughly 50 million hours every day. By focusing on meaningful connections, our community and business will be stronger over the long term.

As a business who markets on Facebook, it’s easy to see this change as a threat. But it isn’t, it’s a challenge to adapt and find new, more authentic ways to reach your consumers.

Here are three ways to ensure your Facebook strategy appeals to the Facebook algorithm.

Ask your followers to choose “see first”

At first when this recommendation began flooding the internet in response to the algorithm chaos, it seemed spammy and uncomfortable.

Upon further thought, this is just a new call-to-action to incorporate into your content. If you were asking people to comment to answer a question (which is now frowned upon), you are now asking them to view your content first if they are committed to your brand. This means… more engagement from dedicated brand followers.

One way to casually ask your followers to choose the “see first” option is to use casual rhetoric and offer a vague incentive such as: If you want to see exclusive coupons and specials first, make sure you choose to see (insert brand) first on our page. 

Engagement no-nos

We lightly mentioned not to ask your followers to engage with superficial call-to-actions like: Like, share and comment if you love Sparq Designs! The algorithm is going to demote individual posts from people and Pages that use engagement bait.

Here are other prior engagement hacking tactics that will be demoted by the new algorithm:

  • Clickbait
  • Spammy links in posts
  • Repetitive/repeated posts
  • Posts that ask for likes/comments/shares (ask us for suggestions on new call-t0-actions for Facebook giveaways)
  • Overly promotional content

Local businesses…rejoice!

In an effort to combat fake news, Facebook will be favoring local news content in the algorithm.

On January 29, 2018, Zuckerberg put out a statement highlighting this immediate change:

People consistently tell us they want to see more local news on Facebook. Local news helps us understand the issues that matter in our communities and affect our lives. Research suggests that reading local news is directly correlated with civic engagement. People who know what’s happening around them are more likely to get involved and help make a difference.

If you are trying to reach a geo-targeted audience around your location, it is time to invest in online marketing tactics like: news release distribution, strategic campaign implementation and blogger outreach. These efforts will offer newsworthy content to local sources, which will ultimately be favored in the newsfeed.

Video is your best friend

Facebook has been favoring video for a while now, but uniquely-curated video content will be even more valuable in the new algorithm. Don’t let articles that say “video won’t be favored in the new algorithm” fool you. Now videos from your friends and pages you follow will take precedence over videos from viral, unrelated sources that often get caught up in the everyday news feed.

Facebook’s goal has always been to connect users with each other by creating meaningful interactions. Viral videos don’t necessarily engage users, however, there are other ways to keep the momentum going.

Hack the algorithm with live video

We have been hosting live video events for our client, Bellissimo Plastic Surgery & Medi Spa, since April 2017. This strategic tactic has proved to offer meaningful interaction between Facebook users, and Bellissimo’s board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Antimarino. This emphasis on meaningful interactions is what allows Facebook live events to fit into the algorithm changes.

Choose a spokesperson for your business, and host a live event yourself to see the results, or reach out and we can help you.

At Sparq, one of our main initiatives is to change the way people relate and connect with brands. As the 2018 Facebook algorithm change continues to be implemented, we can help your brand adapt to the changes with authentic content and social media strategy. Learn more.
Sparq Designs is a full-service marketing agency based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Sparq Designs caters to clients of all industries, but specifically in the medical, sports & entertainment, and consumer world. 2018 is Sparq’s fifth year in business. Since 2013, Sparq has grown rapidly into a team of 16+ employees. Sparq Designs’ services include but are not limited to: Web Design, Web Development, Search Engine Optimization, Graphic Design, Social Media Management, Email Marketing and Video Production.


4 Ways Your Business Can Make the Shift into Mobile Marketing

According to a 2016 Mary Meeker Report on Internet Trends, advertisers are still spending most of their marketing budget on print, radio and TV – and not enough on the web, especially on mobile.

In fact, most businesses spend 39% of their advertising on television, 23% on Internet advertising, and 12% on mobile advertising. While it’s still important to use television, print and radio, it’s also necessary to take a look at the amount of total media consumption time. Amount of time spent in television is currently on the decline at 36%, while mobile is at 25% and only increasing usage.

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Get started and nail those mobile ads now, and get a head start before everyone else shifts their spend there.

Here are four simple ways to dominate the mobile market, and prepare for the mobile advertising revolution:

1. Study Your Market. Market research is essential to not only learn who your audience is, but what they do and where they are at any given point in the day. I think as consumers in the digital media age, we are coming around to the fact that these platforms play Big Brother. The more we give away information to sites like Facebook and Google, or update our status to say “I’m sad, who wants to go to Taco Bell?”, the more we browse on our phones with our location settings on, the more we shop online, order Ubers from downtown to our homes, download apps, or overplay Justin Bieber’s new single on iTunes, big data is cracking it’s proverbial knuckles and jotting down our every last move. And this is OKAY to us.

As marketers, it becomes our job to access this information and use it to our advantage. No longer are we paying for billboards to potentially be seen and then forgotten by our target market. No longer should we be dishing out spend on print magazines when more and more people read a majority of their content online on a daily basis. Take advantage of Facebook for Business Audience Insights when determining your audience. Use mobile advertising to target them by how much money they spend online, what they search for, what artists they listen to, what days they are around your place of business.

2. Get a Beacon. Using the Bluetooth low energy signal, small, wireless broadcasting devices called “Beacons” trigger an app to deliver targeted offers that are meant to encourage customers to buy more during their visit to your retail store, restaurant or business. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, Beacon marketing can also be used to reward frequent customers and deliver helpful content to consumers while they shop or wait for service.

You may already be familiar with Shopkick, an app that users “opted-in” to receive notifications and deals from their favorite store. When users walk into a business, they are greeted with a mobile notification with an offer from the store or restaurant. As they continue through the store, they can browse the Shopkick app for sales, or can allow them to see products they may have “liked” online. It can even work as a personal shopper providing them with ideas for what to gift their friends and families.

Facebook’s Beacon allows mobile Facebook users to see Place Tips from your business at the top of their news feed, providing increased reach and engagement. Ultimately, if users can see photos that their friends have posted at your business or can read tips from others, then quality conversations can be generated. The usage of the Beacon in tandem with Place Tips will allow marketers and small businesses to determine whether people who saw an ad on its site actually turned up in their store. The wait list for Beacons is slow, as the demand is pretty high, but with the way marketing is moving, it is definitely worth ordering one.

3. In-app Advertising. As consumers, in-app advertising drives us crazy, but as marketers, we understand the value of this strategic marketing element. In-app advertising is enhanced by location data, which is the first step in understanding context and increasing engagement. In-app advertising also allows us to determine which platforms prove to be the most successful in obtaining our goals for online marketing.

In-app advertisements don’t have to be the AdWords Display Ads that pop-up while we are playing Candy Crush (or whatever the trending game is this week!). These ads can be mobile Twitter ads, or Facebook ads built solely for cellular devices. They can also be an ad in the Starbucks app that says, “It’s Free Coffee Tuesday! Click Here to Redeem Your Free Cafe Mocha.” These can be especially beneficial for your business if you can use them in conjunction with Facebook’s Custom Audience Pixels. If you are taking an “inbound marketing” approach on your site, and collecting data such as email addresses, keep track of which devices your signups come in through. Create a “Mobile User” list and advertise your Facebook content solely on mobile to these users. Use this platform to give them incentives and drive online sales from mobile.

4. Interactive Ads. Interactive ads are video ads that require some participation from the audience. Interactive elements make room for viewers to engage with your content beyond just watching your ad and praying it’s short so they can get back to whatever they were streaming. Interactive ads can also drive visits to your site, encourage viewers to download your app or buy your products and drives web visits. This is something that YouTube has taken advantage for awhile now – how could they not? However, in 2016, this is still one of the most underused forms of advertising.

With that being said, YouTube has taken it upon itself to create an app for businesses. Marketers can create their own interactive ad right from their cellular device. YouTube even provides templates to make these videos. Your project can then be uploaded right to YouTube. If you live in a major metropolitan area and have the eye, but not the hands, you can hire a professional filmmaker to shoot your ad for a $150 fee. Download the app and check it out for yourself!

See you guys, it’s that simple. I’ve provided you with the tools, it’s up to you to use them! If you have any questions on where to begin, contact Sparq Designs! Digital marketing is our bread and butter, and we understand the importance of quickly adapting to the ever changing realm of mobile advertising. Email me at adele.stewart@sparqdesigns.com and let’s talk!


Adele Stewart is a Marketing Account Manager & Designer at Sparq Designs, a digital marketing agency in Pittsburgh. Learn more about her, here. If you have questions about building a relationship, contact the  Sparq team today.

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