4 Facebook updates you should know about

In the last few months Facebook updated its news feed algorithm (again), as well as business page and advertising capabilities. Here’s what you need to know.

Are you aware of Facebook’s most recent updates?

If not, I rounded up some of them:

1. News feed algorithm

Facebook recently announced two major changes to the news feed algorithm. Both affect how businesses craft posts.

First, Facebook quietly told advertisers it would allow twice as many ads to appear in users’ news feeds, whether or not users liked the brand running the ad. Technically this is good for businesses, as it will put ads in front of more eyes more often.

More recently Facebook announced it would continue cutting down what users consider spam, including click-bait headlines and posts.

According to Facebook:

“Click-baiting headlines is when a publisher posts a link with a headline that encourages people to click to see more, without telling them much information about what they will see. Posts like these tend to get a lot of clicks, which means that these posts get shown to more people, and get shown higher up in News Feed. Over time, stories with ‘click-bait’ headlines can drown out content from friends and Pages that people really care about.”

Second, Facebook noted it would show preference to links shared within a post. Facebook plans to prioritize links in the link format, and show fewer posts with links in captions or status updates.

My advice: Make sure your links include a large, attractive image that will drive your audience to click. The image size for links is 484 pixels by 252 pixels.

2. Like-gating apps or content

In one of the most significant announcements to date, Facebook said businesses will no longer be able to like- or fan-gate their custom Facebook page apps or content as of Nov. 5, 2014.

While scary for some marketers, this is a big step toward building valuable and engaging online audiences.

According to Facebook:

“You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike.”

Any apps running a like-gate will continue to show it until Nov. 5, 2014. Starting Nov. 5, Facebook will adjust its API to not read whether an app’s visitor is a fan.

If you have questions about this update, read “10 Things to Know about Facebook’s Like-Gate Ban.”

My advice: Turn your like-gate strategies into action-gate strategies. Action-gating is when you reward audience members after they fill out a form, sign up for a newsletter, vote or perform some action. This helps you collect data you can use later to engage with your audience outside of Facebook.

3. Saving articles for later

You may have heard Facebook users would get up to 1,500 posts in their news feeds a day if Facebook didn’t use an algorithm to cut it down to around 300. But 300 posts is still a lot, and a majority of them are links to articles from your favorite brands and pages.

In July, Facebook released a feature that allows you to save items you find on Facebook for later. You can save links, places, movies, TV and music. You can share your saved items with your friends, or keep them private.

My advice: Encourage fans to save your posts. Save interesting articles and links so you can share them with your audience later.

4. Advertising

Facebook has made a variety of changes to its ads platform in the last several months. I could dedicate an article to these changes, but I’ll leave it up to my favorite Facebook ads guy, Jon Loomer. Loomer covers each Facebook ad change, and I recommend his blog.

Here’s a quick run-down of some of the bigger advertising changes:

My advice: If you’re not running Facebook ads, you should! Start with a small daily budget, and increase it as you get more comfortable and learn your target audiences.

Are you a fan of Facebook’s latest changes?

A version of this article originally appeared on Socially Stacked.

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