Everyone seems to be getting a little uptight about news reports that Facebook is changing it's algorithm to take non promoted posts out of the main newsfeed and onto a new feed, called the Explore Feed.
The Guardian had the rather frightening byline:
New system could destroy smaller publishers if implemented, after journalists report drop in organic reach – but users will still see their friends’ posts (Guardian 2017)
A new system being trialled in six countries including Slovakia, Serbia and Sri Lanka sees almost all non-promoted posts shifted over to the new 'Explore Feed', leaving the main feed focused entirely on original content from friends, and adverts.
Facebook has admitted they are trialling the new feed in six countries:
…the goal of this test is to understand if people prefer to have separate places for personal and public content. ~Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed (October 23, 2017)
So, where does all this talk and panic actually leave us; the business page owner?
First we have to understand what the new 'Explore Feed' is all about
Big shout out to Mari Smith for her amazing article at MariSmith.com for helping me with the research on this article.
What is Facebook's new Explore Feed?
The new Facebook Explore Feed can be found on Mobile and Desktop. On desktop it can be found on the left hand side of your profile page. To find it, go to your profile page, click on 'Home' button and on the left hand side click on 'Explore' and scroll down to find 'Explore Feed'. You will then be taken to a page like this:
Okay so what is it all about?
Well, at the moment, the new Explore Feed is actually a way of discovering new content from pages you have not yet liked. So this should, in theory, provide a boost for some pages.
The feed is based on the your use of social graph, pages and posts that your friends have liked, and pages similar to ones you already liked.
Surely this is good news for page owners?
Well, not quite.
The tests that Facebook carried out in the six countries previously mentioned here, a lot of page owners noted a dramatic decrease in reach on their pages:
In an article on Medium from Filip Struhárik it was noted that:
Sixty biggest Slovak media pages have 4 times fewer interactions (likes, comments, shares) since the test. It looks like the effect in Guatemala and Cambodia is the same. (October 21st, 2017)
[full_width]The test in these six countries apparently took out all of the main newsfeed posts and put them in the new Explore Feed, which is what caused the massive drop in reach.[/full_width]
Facebook explained that:
Some have interpreted this test as a future product we plan to deliver globally. We currently have no plans to roll this test out further. ~Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed (October 23, 2017)
I think time will tell if the new feed will house all posts from the pages we like and follow with the main news feed being for posts from friends and for promoted posts.
Why does Facebook need a new feed?
Facebook's main source of income now comes from advertising, with the main source being from mobile. They cannot insert more ads into the already clogged mobile feed, so they need a new way of getting more ads onto the platform without annoying it's readers.
Think of all the different places Facebook has ads in just now:
- The main newsfeed
- Messenger ads
- Possibly groups – Facebook tested this last year but nothing came of it so far.
- Ad breaks in video
- Ad breaks on Facebook live
- Facebook workplace
As a business Facebook needs more ad space as more and more advertisers come on board, but it needs to fill those ad spaces without annoying their most important asset: Their readers.
What Can Page Owners Do Just Now?
My thinking on this might be a little contrarian as I see this as a good thing.
If Facebook do eventually have a 'Zero Reach' for page owners what is going to happen? more and more page owners are going to drop Facebook and move on.
We have to remember that we do not own our Facebook page, Facebook owns it. We've had all this attention, if we've been doing it right, for the last few years and it's all been free. My pages: Change Your Thoughts Today, now at 3.7 Million Followers, Your Digital Formula now at 185k Followers and Positive Life Affirmations at 417k Followers have all been grown organically and have made me a lot of money. What I teach in the Your Digital Formula program has also made the members a lot of money as well. So, I can't really complain if Facebook were ever going to go the Zero Reach route.
However, Zero reach has not happened yet, and may never happen, so the best thing we can do now is focus on growing our pages and monetising it as best we can before Z Day comes.
How to Grow Your Page Now
Before going on to show you what you can do you can read our other blog posts which will help you to grow your page:
Videos, Videos, Videos
Videos are THE main way to get more eyes on your page and to get people to follow you. If you can create engaging videos that people like, share and comment on then just keep creating more of the same.
You can create videos relatively easy now using software like Camtasia, Keynote, Animoto or apps such as VideoShop so there's no reason not to be doing them. One video from theChange Your Thoughts Today page has had over 43 Million Views on it, which has brought in thousands of new followers to my page:
[two_fifth_last]This video was relatively easy to make and took around 40 minutes to make. That might sound a lot however when you consider how many new followers you could get from this,
that 40 minutes spent on creation is well worth it.[/two_fifth_last]
When you create video make sure you are catering to your core audience, which you will be able to find in the insights section of your page. No point in creating a funny video about how women are so bad at parking cars when your core audience is women aged between 24 – 54.
Types of videos
Make sure you mix up the types of videos that you do to maximise engagement on your page.
If readers see too many of the same types of videos it will put them off and they'll eventually skip over your videos in their news feeds.
Snackable Videos –
In an effort to publish great quality content Facebook is pushing for premium content however they also want to include 'Snackable' videos, 15 seconds or less. In an article from TheDrum.com it was reported that Mark Zuckerberg stated:
"We're focusing more on shorter form content to start. So the thesis that we have now is that there are different parts of short-term content. There is the type of content that people produce socially for friends," he told investors.
These types of videos will work well for advertising. So if you create 'snackable' videos you will get more reach and engagement if you were to advertise them in the Facebook network of advertisers.
Creating longer videos
I know I just said create short videos, but it's also important to mix things up as mentioned earlier. Creating longer videos, which is 90 seconds or longer is good digestible content in the readers news feeds. We know that Facebook wants to overtake Youtube to be the number 1 video platform so there has to be lots of different types and lengths of videos out there.
Again advertising these types of videos is good for you and Facebook want mid roll ads in other longer videos so 90 seconds to 180 seconds is good.
Add captions to your videos
I have added captions in the past to my Facebook lives but you'll see more and more videos with captions as lot of people want to watch a video without sound, so having music in videos doesn't always cut it. Adding captions is relatively easy using a service like Rev.com
With 85% of videos being played on Facebook with the sound off (Hootsuite.com, 2017) it's more important that you think about using captions.
Captions on your videos are going to be especially important if you are advertising:
Create Square Videos
We have been square videos for over two years now on our pages and something I recommend everyone do to add to their repertoire of videos.
Why do this: Simply because your get more newsfeed real estate. Compare these two types of videos:
Essentially with square videos you're getting about 33% more newsfeed real estate than the landscape videos.
In a great article from buffer when testing video formats:
In some cases, square video resulted in 30-35% higher video views and an 80-100% increase in engagement.
The takeaway: Video format, regardless of the content, seems to play a huge roll in how many people watch your video, how long they watch it, and how willing they are to engage with it.
We have been given a great opportunity to massively increase our KiLT factor (Know, Like, Trust) by doing live videos, where our knowledge is the main content and we are the main attraction.
Facebook, in the beginning, rewarded people who were doing Facebook live shows.
I remember the very first time I tried Facebook Mentions in San Diego, whilst at a ClickFunnels conference. I expected around 50 – 100 people to come on an watch me chat with them. It was around 7pm at night and I had just finished day 2 of the conference. I hadn't a clue what I was going to be talking about and just wanted to jump on and test it.
I was shocked and amazed when around 10,000 people were on at the one time, I couldn't believe it:
Here is my very first Facebook Live video:
You see video is extremely important to Facebook and I cannot emphasise enough that you need to be creating more video content.
Sometimes it saddens me to think that the written word is disappearing on social media and people want visual, quick, bytes of information, we have to go with the flow and give readers and Facebook what they want, and that is video.
Take advantage of Instant Articles
If you have a blog with more than 10 blog posts on it and the content is good, then make sure you are using Instant Articles.
Instant Articles boosts your page and income in a number of ways. With my own testing and speaking to many other page owners using Instant Articles we have noticed a jump in reach on blog post articles from anywhere between 100 – 300%
This is huge, but not only do you get a boost in reach on your blog posts you can get a huge boost in income using Facebook's Audience Network ad platform, so why not utilise this to your advantage. The other great thing about Instant Articles is that not only do you get a boost in Facebook reach you get a boost in blog traffic as well, which is another boost in income if you have monetised your blog the right way.
In a post on my personal profile I reported the following
With the Instant Articles platform this post went viral and was viewed on Instant Articles platform over 990,000 times and on my own blog 1.5 million views. See below for more details
Instant Article Views on post above
Blog Views on post above
Source Google Analytics
When I read a post about making money with Instant Articles I was blown away when I read an article from Stream-seo.com where the author advised he was making $22,000 per month from Instant Articles. I didn't fully believe this at first.
Then I received a message from one our YDF Members Ane Anence who has a page called Self Develop Shop which had 20,000 likes at the time. She advised she had earned around $500 for that week. Now I had tried to install Instant Articles last year and couldn't quite get it to work but when Ane showed me her stats and after reading that blog post above I knew I had to figure Instant Articles out and get it to work. It turns out I actually had only one little issue that had messed up the whole thing. However I got it set up on September the 10th and here's what happened with my earnings in October 2017:
How does this help to grow your page:
As I mentioned earlier the reach increase on the Instant Articles compared with normal blog post links is around 150% to 300% which helps you to grow your page and your audience. The money you can earn from Instant Articles can also help you to use part of that income for advertising. I would advertise videos to increase reach further and get more people to your page.
You can find out more how to grow your Facebook page with this free training
Grow Your Email List
You've heard this before but now more so than ever it's important to grow your email list for a number of reasons:
- You own your list
- More social media followers with email campaigns
- More blog post traffic with email campaigns
- Higher 'Know, Like Trust' factor
Amy Porterfield in a post on Social Media Examiner stated:
Your email marketing and social media need to go hand in hand, though. Not everybody will open up your email (a good average open rate is 20%). However, the people who do open your emails are typically your best customers and repeat buyers.
There are hundreds of articles online about how to grow your email list and there are a lot of great courses on it as well. If you've not already donw so, learn as much as you can about growing your list, AND also how to nurture your list.
You email list can help you increase your followers on Facebook dramatically just by adding a link to your FB page in the bottom of every email you send. You can also have a dedicated email campaign to get readers to follow your page.
This is extremely important to remember:
We do not own our Facebook page, Facebook does and as such we should be building assets that we own, such as our email list.
See more here:
Grow Your Messenger Bot List
A lot of people are still not utilising the power of the messenger bot on their pages and it's a shame as it is a really powerful tool.
In a post I wrote about Messenger Bots I explained that Facebook Messenger could take over email as the no1 to communicate. I also shared stats like:
- Over 900 million people actively using Facebook Messenger monthly worldwide.
- An average of 2 billion messages are sent monthly between users and businesses on Facebook Messenger
- 60 million businesses use Facebook Messenger
- 64% of Facebook users use Facebook Messenger
A messenger bot is a piece of software that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and converse with you. The more you chat with a bot, the more it will learn and the more useful it responses should get.
A bot is like an app, but the interface is a conversation rather than a menu. At least, that was the original intention when bots came onto the scene in 2016. Many bots today also use menus with preset phrases, such as “Tell me what’s new.”
With the messenger bot you open rate, and clickthrough rate is generally much higher than that of emails.
Example of open rates and clickthrough on my bot at CYT Page
The image above shows 1 way you can use the bot, to create a sequence of automated messages going to your list. There is so much more you can do here.
You can find out more about the Messenger bot and how to fully utilise it in our program: Messenger Masterclass
To conclude this article I would like to say that I cannot see Facebook ever going to Zero reach, however we have to prepare for that eventuality. When we prepare for this happening we will not only focus much more on growing our audience on Facebook, but we will be ahead of the game if it ever does happen.
Focus on the assets that you own like your blog, your email list and your contacts and nurture these like your business depended on it.