Digital Dash: Facebook algorithm update & more

1. Facebook tinkers with algorithm – can you guess which content type will benefit?

After last week’s flurry of F8 news, you might have thought Facebook would take it easy on the updates front.


Product management director David Miller just revealed that some algorithm tweaks are on the way.

These tweaks will each improve the ranking of “original videos that people seek out.”

Instead of introducing brand new ranking factors, Facebook is simply updating 3 existing ones to strengthen their influence among the many factors that determine video distribution. These 3 new factors are:

Loyalty and intent: videos that people actively seek out and return to week after week will rise up the rankings.

Video and viewing duration: videos that keep people engaged (for at least a minute) will be prioritised by the algorithm, especially if they are at least 3 minutes long.

Originality: basically, you should focus on original content if you want to get more News Feed coverage. Facebook will be demoting video content from pages involved in sharing schemes.

The long and short of this is that creating great original video has just become even more important.

With News Feed reach already heavily limited, it’s a good idea to do everything you can to work with the algorithm – which ultimately just aims to put amazing content in front of its users to keep them on the platfrom.


2. Victim of an undeserved Instagram takedown? Now you can appeal the decision

When social media platforms remove posts, it’s often for a good reason. Offensive content and that kind of thing.

But moderation teams, and AI tech, do get it wrong.

Many of us have had content unfairly hidden for “violating” one obscure reason or another.

Understanding how frustrating this can be, Instagram is introducing an appeals feature for takedowns (announced at a briefing this week in NYC, story via Engadget).

It will allow you to request a review (which will be conducted by a different moderator) and your content will spring back to life if Instagram deems the initial decision to have been a mistake.

This is good news for marketers, advertisers and basically anyone who uses social media all the time.

While none of us want to put out content that blatantly violates platform rules, we do want the opportunity to address and correct bad judgement calls.


3. Facebook launches 3 new tools for small businesses

Like I said, no shortage of Facebook updates this week!

The company has also just announced 3 new tools, all designed to make life easier for small businesses.

Here’s the lowdown:

Automated Ads: from what I can see this is an evolution of the (dreaded) Boost button. Page owners will be asked a few questions and then walked step-by-step through the ad set-up process. This is really geared towards people with limited knowledge of Facebook ads. It will help them do things like:

  • Set up multiple versions of an ad
  • Choose a suitable audience
  • Select an appropriate budget
  • Receive timely notifications about ads

Book appointments: you can now use appointments to enable new and existing customers to book services with your business on Facebook and Instagram. You’ll be able to accept appointments, send reminders, display availability, manage appointments and more, all through the business page.

Photo: Facebook

New editing tools for video: 3 new tools are arriving to make editing existing videos easier than ever: automatic cropping, video trimming and text overlays. Again, this is mainly aimed at people without in-house/agency creative teams – but then again, you never know when it might come in handy.


4. Study: these brands are closest to their customers, and here’s why it matters

Here are two words that might make you feel a bit funny: brand intimacy.

It’s one of those terms that feels a bit… creepy, right? Luckily, it’s really not so bad.

Brand intimacy essentially just refers to the emotional connection and relationships brands build with customers, and the affect of this on decision-making.

In the most extreme scenarios, brand intimacy will be so intense that people feel they can’t live without the brand. Case in point: me and Netflix.

This week MBLM, an agency dedicated to the subject, released its latest annual report. It examines how 6,200 customers, across 3 countries (US, Mexico and the UAE) bond with the brands they use and love.

In the Apps and Social Platforms category, US consumers ranked Pinterest top. It beat the likes of Spotify, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat.

In the same category in Mexico, WhatsApp took the no.1 spot.

A trend that was mirrored in the UAE too.

Photos: MBLM

This is just something to consider when planning your future digital strategy. You’d think the more connected people feel to a platform, the more engaged they might be with businesses on that platform.

So if brand intimacy is something you want to prioritise, these top ranking platforms would could be worth adding into your social media mix.


5. WhatsApp expands London team to push native payments

As reported by the Financial Times, WhatsApp is expanding its UK & Ireland team by 25% (to around 500 people) to focus specifically on pushing native payments.

The feature has been in testing in India recently, and – judging by this recruitment drive news – it has been successful.

This subject was mentioned during last week’s F8 Conference, where Mark Zuckerberg said that sending money to someone via WhatsApp should be as easy as sending a photo.

Adding this feature makes perfect sense for the platform, and I can see the app becoming an even more essential part of users’ lives because of it.

What’s also interesting is the news regarding WhatsApp for businesses revealed last week. We now know you will soon be able to display a product catalogue within the app for easy discovery.

And all I’m thinking now is this: will these two features potentially merge at some point in the near future to allow native shopping on WhatsApp?

Realistically, we’re probably a while off that happening. But it’s worth keeping an eye on.