Facebook

Facebook Implements a Problematic Content Plan: Remove, Reduce, Inform

Scammers, fake news creators, and suggestive content creators will have a range of new Facebook features to deal with in the coming weeks. With attempts to remove contentious content from the site, reduce the reach of those that aren’t taken down, and inform audiences when they’ve encountered such material all in the works, we’re breaking the action items below.

Holding Groups Accountable

As Facebook users and brands shift their conversations away from the news feed and into niche groups, the company is attempting to thwart the spread of offensive, divisive, and inaccurate content that may get shared – even privately. In a blog post, Facebook claims that an unnamed technology allows them to, “proactively detect many types of violating content posted in groups before anyone reports them and sometimes before few people, if any, even see them.”

What group administrators and moderators should know is that they will now be held accountable for posts that violate the platform’s Community Standards. When member posts contain violations, Facebook will look at who approved the content for Group visibility and could remove the entire group if they believe the admins have acted recklessly.

To help keep track of these violations, a new Group Quality feature for admins (similar to the Page Quality tab that was introduced earlier this year) will provide an overview of flagged content and false news found in the group. A group with multiple violations, or one that shares links to malicious or false news websites, will have their reach downgraded.

In addition to these new features, members will soon be able to remove all of their posts and comments from a group should they choose to leave it.

Penalizing Fringe Link Sharing

For years, fringe publishers have been using shocking, divisive, and partisan headlines to provoke engagement on Facebook. Now, articles from those sites will begin to see a decrease in reach as the platform stifles their influence on the news feed.

The new ranking signal, known as Click-Gap, “looks for domains with a disproportionate number of outbound Facebook clicks compared to their place in the web graph. This can be a sign that the domain is succeeding on news feed in a way that doesn’t reflect the authority they’ve built outside it and is producing low-quality content.” In short, the algorithm will now cross-check the performance of links both on and off Facebook in order to determine if its hosting website is reputable.

Moderating Risky Instagram Content

Even if your photo and video content doesn’t unequivocally violate Instagram’s Community Guidelines, that doesn’t mean it’s safe. Posts that the platform finds inappropriate (including sexually or violently suggestive content) will now be excluded from Explore and hashtag search pages.  

Bringing Verification to Messenger

As Messenger use increases, Facebook will begin displaying Verified Badges on conversations with brand pages that have earned the checkmark. The move hopes to help users avoid scammers that use fake accounts to pretend to be someone they are not.

Once those fake accounts are identified, users will be able to easily block them through an updated block option and list of settings that will help them control whether people “such as friends of your friends, people with your phone number or people who follow you on Instagram” can reach users via Messenger at all.

Facebook Removes Ad Relevance Scores

Since 2015, Facebook has provided advertisers with a metric meant to provide insight into how appropriate a given target audience finds the ads they’re being delivered. On April 30th, the Ad Relevance Score, calculated by measuring positive ad interactions compared with negative feedback like hiding or reporting an ad, is being replaced with three new measurements. 

Quality Ranking: How your ad’s perceived quality compared with ads competing for the same audience.

Engagement Rate Ranking: How your ad’s expected engagement rate compared with ads competing for the same audience.

Conversion Rate Ranking: How your ad’s expected conversion rate compared with ads that had the same optimization goal and competed for the same audience.

Unlike the Relevance Score (where higher scores resulted in lower delivery costs), the new metrics will not impact an ad’s delivery performance and are only meant to help marketers review and create ads.

More specific campaign metrics are also being swapped out over the coming months.  

Offers Saved and Cost Per Offers Saved will become Post Saves.

Messaging Replies and Cost Per Messaging Reply will become New Messaging Connections and Messaging Conversations Stated.

Mobile App Purchase Return on Ad Spend and Web Purchase Return on Ad Spend will be condensed into one Purchase Return on Ad Spend data point.

To discuss how these new metrics can improve your company’s ads and save those valuable marketing dollars, contact Deph Digital.

Engagement Baiting Crackdown

As part of Facebook’s on-going effort to curb spam and spark meaningful conversations, the platform has revised a policy that discourages certain posting tactics.

Posts that engagement bait (an activity Facebook defines as one that seeks to take advantage of the “News Feed algorithm by boosting engagement in order to get greater reach”) began receiving limited distribution in December of 2017. Since then, the company has outlined additional examples of prohibited behavior, the full list of which is below.

Reaction Baiting: Explicitly asking followers to like, love, or react to a page post. (Ex: LIKE this if you’re an Aries!) 

Vote Baiting: Using Facebook reactions to conduct a poll. (Ex: Vote for your favorite pet!)

Share Baiting: Telling users to a share a post for any reason. (Ex: Share with 5 friends for your chance to win!)

Tag Baiting: Explicitly directing people to tag their Facebook friends in post comments. (Ex: Tag a friend who would do this!)

Comment Baiting: Encouraging users to reply to a post with specific wording. (Ex: If you’re excited for the weekend, comment “TGIF”!)

Comments that Engagement Bait: Applying any of the practices listed above in a post comment, as opposed to within the post caption itself.

Videos that Audibly Engagement Bait: Asking users to partake in any of the above practices verbally with a video posted to Facebook.

Understanding Your Facebook Page's Customer Satisfaction Score

Businesses that advertise on Facebook will soon be assigned a customer satisfaction score. The scores, expected to have a full rollout by the end of Q1, range from zero to five and can impact a page’s ad cost and delivery performance. Consistently poor customer feedback will result in penalty periods (some lasting upward of six months) where ads will cost more and reach fewer people during that time.

How is a customer satisfaction score generated?

In June of 2018, Facebook began collecting feedback from customers who had interacted with or purchased products from a company whose ads they had been delivered. The feedback asks users to rate their satisfaction with the company by selecting a smiley, neutral, or disappointed face. Alternatively, users can actively provide feedback by selecting an ad from their history in the Ads Activity tab and completing a more detailed questionnaire about their experience.

How are score penalties implemented?

Once a page has access to their customer satisfaction dashboard, they can view their score as well as individual comments left by customers. If the page score falls under three, ads associated with the corresponding ad account will see an increase in cost and a decrease in reach.

According to information provided to AdvertiseMint, “If a business maintains a low score, Facebook will increase penalties each month until that score is improved. If the score drops to one or less, the business will be unable to run ads on Facebook’s platform.”

What can I do to improve my customer satisfaction score?

While little is known about how pages will be able to combat unfair or biased feedback, screenshots of the dashboard reveal several tips on maintaining high scores via Facebook. In full, these include:

  • Set better expectations with your customers: “Low customer satisfaction ratings are often caused by a mismatch in customer expectations and what they experience. This includes making sure the product matches what’s depicted in your ads, and that shipping times displayed are accurate. Honor any return and exchange policies advertised on your website. If you're operating in a different time zone than your customers, be clear about how long it takes to reply back to customer inquiries.”

  • Be clear about what you’re selling or offering: “Pictures, videos and all other ad creative should accurately represent what’s being sold. Ensure dimensions, sizes, materials and all other aspects of your product are accurately shown and stated. If you're selling apparel, ensure the size charts you're using work for other countries you're selling to (ex, United States sizing may be different than sizing in China).”

  • Ensure the quality of goods from suppliers: “If you’re sourcing goods from suppliers, ensure you maintain quality control and that the goods are shipped on time and as stated on your website and ads.”

  • Set clear expectations for shipping: “Door-to-door shipping time should be accurately conveyed. The shipping information you provide should be inclusive of processing times, item availability, shipping costs and any other factors that may impact the amount of time an item takes to ship. If possible, provide tracking information about the shipment so that the customer can track their package.” 

  • Make sure you can meet customer demand: “Scale your advertising with your businesses' ability to deliver products. If your inventory is limited, you may want to consider running fewer ads, or make it clear to customers before they purchase when the products are expected to be in stock and shipped. Be proactive about telling customers when you can't fulfill what was promised (ex, you've run out of inventory, and it will now take longer than expected to replace an order).”

Why are customer satisfaction scores important?

Aside from the obvious consequences related to ad costs, customer satisfaction scores provide a new opportunity to hold businesses accountable for the customer service they provide and the promises made in their advertising.

For the first time, a clear connection will be made between Facebook pages, ad accounts, and physical businesses. If any part of that thread delivers a bad experience (say a social media manager takes too long to reply to a Facebook message, or a sales rep is rude during a telephone call), it could harm the social advertising component and affect the company’s bottom line. That’s a big deal, but if a business is dedicated to its customers in the first place, they shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

With the promise of more information in the coming month, Facebook’s Social Media Marketing Lead, Wes Finley, said: “This enforcement rewards businesses that offer superior service and high-quality products as they face less competition in the delivery auction and benefit from higher consumer trust overall.”

Don’t Break the Internet: How Content Creators Can Fix It Instead

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2018 was a tumultuous year for social media. The Facebook algorithm shook up publishing habits for brand pages; Mark Zuckerburg, Jack Dorsey, and other social network executives faced congressional hearings; Twitter cracked down on millions of fake accounts; GDPR compliance rolled out across Europe; and we were all left wondering how to survive yet another breach of privacy or personal data hack.

The tech world is in a tailspin trying to figure out how global social media platforms can operate on a singular set of rules that will protect users, stop the spread of misinformation, and, you know, safeguard the legitimacy of democratic elections.

As new practices and policies pop up, the results rarely favor brands or businesses from a marketing perspective. Social publishers have noted significant decreases in organic reach, lower financial returns on their ad investments, and stagnated follower growth.

Many marketing agencies (Deph Digital Media included) are offering practical solutions: Focus on engagement! Increase your niche audience ad spend! Collaborate with influencers! But if we’re being totally transparent, these are temporary fixes to a much bigger problem.

In a recent episode of the podcast Recode Decode with Kara Swisher, Nicole Wong, who is a former legal director of products at Twitter and former senior compliance officer at Google, made an interesting observation about the shift in our online values. When Google began assembling the structure of the Internet as we know it today, they had three pillars of search:

Comprehensiveness – Users should have access to all of the information they could possibly want.

Relevance – When looking for specific information, or answers to questions, users should be delivered a pertinent response.

Speed – Responses should be generated quickly.

In the years since, Wong claims that social media has changed the way digital companies interact with their users. Their new principles consist of:

Personalization – As opposed to showing all available content, social algorithms provide users with information they believe the user wants to see, based off their interests and activity history.

Engagement – Rather than giving direct responses to queries or providing baseline data, social networks deliver content that is meant to keep users on their platform for longer periods of time.

Speed – Users still expect content and information to be delivered quickly.

If the past year has taught us anything, it’s what happens when social platforms are committed to these values. The consequences include woefully uninformed users, manipulative digital activities, and disastrous user experiences.

Somewhat naïvely, marketers have aided tech giants in building the crisis situation by not holding their content to higher standards.

Advertisers have, through overly broad interest-targeting, pushed promotional messaging under the guise of personalization. However, it is to the extent where users can’t pinpoint why they’re being shown certain ads, making the blind consumption of such media vulnerable to manipulation.

In order to expand their reach, publishers have flooded timelines with content that’s focused on virality with hopes of being re-shared and increasing engagements. Often, we’ve been guilty of trying to satisfy user cravings for instant communication by jumping into social conversations before having complete and accurate information, thus amplifying partial or inaccurate news.

Taking cues from Wong’s brainstorming session during the Recode podcast, here are three social content pillars that publishers should consider for 2019:

Accuracy – Content or information should be truthful, cited, and appropriate for the page’s audience.

Authenticity – Publishers should place quality over quantity and create content that users will resonate with, not simply react to.

Context – Due to the non-chronological nature of social, delivered content should be comprehensive and complete at all times.

Applying these values would not only impact a brand’s social output, but completely transformation typical marketing objectives. Companies would have to create super specific target audiences with the intention of building community, as opposed to increasing ROI. Link clicks would have to be earned by distributing wide-ranging and thought-provoking articles instead of late-breaking headlines that trickle out information in waves.

That may not sound like something content curators would want to get behind but, although monthly marketing reports may take a hit, studies show that 91% of customers value authentic social activity from brands they follow, with 63% of those customers likely to make purchases. If speed and virality has to take a backseat in order to reach those numbers, publishers are bound to concede.

Until that happens, or until social network executives take meaningful actions to fix their platforms, it’s up to the users and publishers. If all of the content online adhered to these standards, then perhaps fake news wouldn’t be an issue.