2014 was an innovative and busy time in the social media space. It is no surprise that Facebook had a long list of updates in 2014. As the end of 2014 approaches, we thought we would take a look back at some of the top Facebook stories of 2014.
Facebook Introduces Call-To-Action Buttons (December 2014)
Page administrators can now add one of seven call-to-action buttons (book now, contact us, use app, play game, shop now, sign up, watch video) that will be visible on their cover photo. Administrators can link the button to any destination on or off Facebook, for example, their website. This feature can help drive more traffic from your Facebook Page to your website, a critical and measurable objective of marketers. Continue reading here: Facebook Introduces Call-To-Action Buttons
Facebook Announces Organic Post Targeting (December 2014)
Facebook will now let you target posts on your Page to a more specific audience. Previously a feature reserved for advertisers, organic post targeting will allow you to reach the people you care about the most based on their interests. Historically, organic posts could only be targeted based on gender, relationship status, educational status, age, location, or language. How would someone use this feature? A sports news page could target a post about a particular team to only those who are interested in that team. Interest targeting is now available to all Pages that have enabled the Targeting and Privacy setting, and is currently only accessible on desktop. Continue reading: Facebook Organic Post Targeting.
Facebook Will Reduce the Number of “Overly Promotional Posts” in News Feeds (November 2014)
Facebook has announced that starting next year, Pages that post overly promotional content can expect to see a significant drop in their organic reach. What is considered “overly promotional”?
- Posts that only push people to buy a product of install an app
- Posts that push people to enter promotions or sweepstakes with no real context
- Posts that reuse the same content from ads
Facebook states that these changes are being done in an effort to provide a better experience to their users. They want users to see content that is more relevant to them and is reacting to feedback gathered from its users.
Study Reveals That Facebook Surpasses YouTube For Most Desktop Video Views Per Month (October 2014)
According to a recent study, Facebook surpassed YouTube for most desktop videos per month in August 2014. Facebook went from 4 billion to 12 billion video views per month from July to August. This can certainly be attributed to the auto-playing feature Facebook added to its videos.
New Feature: Toggle Between Personal and Business Pages Seamlessly (September 2014)
Though this feature has always been available, Facebook simplified the process of toggling between your personal and business pages, eliminating a lot of the extra steps that were previously required. The default will still be the Page when adding a post, but not there is a drop-down option in the top right corner that allows you to post as your personal account or as another business page you manage. This has also been rolled over into liking or commenting on the Page or on posts in the Newsfeed.
New Feature: Tools To Promote Events (September 2014)
Facebook released a new feature to help Pages not only promote their events, but get insights into how they are performing. Pages can now create ads for desktop and mobile News Feed for their event. This is noteworthy because these ads were previously only shown in the right-hand column on the desktop. The new event insights will be shown on the right-hand side of the event page and include:
- The # of people who’ve seen a link to the event on Facebook
- The # of people who’ve viewed the event
- The # of joins, saves, and maybes the event has received.
Events Pages also got a makeover. You can read the full release here.
Facebook Cracks Down on Click-Baiting (August 2014)
Facebook announced two updates aimed at improving the News Feed for users: reducing click-baiting headlines and link format of posts.
Facebook describes “click-baiting” as a tactic used by publishers where they post a link with a headline that encourages people to click to see more, without telling them much about what they will see. For example, “You’ll never believe ____. Click to find out what happened next” (we’ve all seen these posts).
How will Facebook determine what is click-bait?
One thing they will consider is how long people spend on that link away from Facebook. A long time spent on the link indicates that it is actually valuable. On the other hand, if users come right back to Facebook without spending much time on the link, it indicates that they did not find what they wanted and it may be a low-quality page.
A second factor Facebook will take into consideration is ratio of people clicking on the link compared to the people commenting or sharing the post with their friends. A low number of Likes, comments, or shares relative to the number of clicks also indicated a user may not have found what they wanted and it may be a low-quality page.
New Ad Feature: Cross-Device Reporting (August 2014)
Advertisers now have the ability to track conversions across devices and in mobile apps. Advertisers can run reports to see which device a person used to see an ad and where they ultimately converted.
Facebook Bans Like Gating (August 2014)
Facebook announced that they will no longer allow businesses to “like-gate” their pages.
For those who may not be familiar with the term, a like gate forces a user to like your business page before they can see content on a custom app (for example, a coupon) or to enter into a contest.
Facebook has banned this tactic so users “like pages because they want to connect and hear from the businesses, not because of artificial incentives,” Harshdeep Singh, a software engineer at Facebook explained.
Marketers should now focus on publishing great and valuable content to earn likes naturally.
New Ad Feature: Target Users By Device (July 2014)
Facebook updated their ad targeting options to include specific mobile device models. This added feature will give you insights into which devices are working best for your app and target those devices.
New Feature: Save a Post to Read Later (July 2014)
Facebook introduced Save, a new bookmarking tool for web and mobile. Save will enable users to save links, places, music, TV, or movies and revisit at a later time. Users can also share Saved items with their Facebook friends.
Facebook Tests a Buy Button (July 2014)
Facebook announced that they were testing a new feature to help businesses drive sales through Facebook: a buy button. Rather than clicking away to an ecommerce site, people can click the buy call-to-action button on ads or posts without ever having to leave Facebook. The seamless transaction could help boost conversion rates.
Users can either put a credit card on file with Facebook and store for later use or just check out and enter their payment information.
New Ad Feature: Multi-Product Ads and Enhanced Custom Audiences (June 2014)
Facebook has rolled out another great feature for their ad platform, multi product ads. As the name suggest, advertisers can promote multiple products in one ad unit. The products will appear in a carousel and each can have its own image, description, and link.
Facebook also announced enhancements to their custom audience feature. Now advertisers can build highly targeted segments to reach, including audiences based on past activity history on your website. For example, people who visit specific page on your website or who made a purchase.
Facebook Launces Slingshot (June 2014)
Facebook officially launches Slingshot, a messaging app to rival Snapchat ((after accidentally releasing it to the App Store the week before).
Here are the details:
- Slingshot is a photo messaging app
- In order to see a photo or video that a friend sends you, you have to reply with a photo or video
- Unlike Snapchat, photos and videos can be seen until the recipient deletes the feed
Learn more here: Slingshot for iOS and Android
Facebook Gives Users More Control Over Ads They See (June 2014)
Users are now able to give feedback about which ads are relevant to them. In the past, Facebook users saw ads mainly because of their activity, such as pages they like or items they share. With these changes, Facebook will allow users to see why they were targeted with a particular ad. And, using the new “ad preferences tool”, choose whether or not the ad is relevant to them. So, for example, if you are not interested in sports, you can remove sports from you ad interests.
New Ad Feature: Call-To-Actions For Video Ads (June 2014)
Facebook revealed some enhancements to their video advertising platform, including targeting to the those who are most likely to view videos. Notably, a new call-to-action feature is now available and can be added at the end of a video. Advertisers can add a “Replay Video” or “Learn More” button to the end of their video to drive further engagement.
New Ad Feature: Audience Insights (May 2014)
Facebook launches Audience Insights to help advertisers learn more about their customers. This tool will help marketers gather information about current target consumers, general Facebook users, and users who are connected to a particular Page or event. That information will include:
- Page Likes (the top Pages people like in different categories)
- Location and language
- Facebook usage (how frequently people in that audience login and which devices they are using)\
- Purchase Activity
Advertisers can use these insights to tailor their marketing messages to their target audiences.
Facebook Introduces Nearby Friends (April 2014)
Facebook announced the release of a new feature to help mobile users find friends that are nearby. The feature, appropriately named Nearby Friends, is optional and will notify you when a friend is near your location.
Users can choose who can see if they are nearby, for example, friends, close friends, or a specific friends list). You can also share an exact location with your friends for a set period of time, such as the next two hours.
Check out all features here.
Cleaning Up News Feed Spam (April 2014)
Facebook announced a series of improvements aimed at reducing the amount of spammy content in the News Feed. Many Pages are notorious for trying to gain more organic exposure by posting this sort of content.
The update will specifically target 3 categories:
- Like-bait: when a post asks readers to like, comment, or share a post
- Frequently circulated content: people and Pages on Facebook frequently reshare content, so Facebook will de-emphasize these pages so people don’t have to see the same content over and over again.
- Spammy links: many posts try to get users to click through to a website that only contain ads. Facebook uses how many people like or share the post with their friends relative to the number clicks to determine the quality of the link.
New Look For Facebook Sidebar Ads (April 2014)
Facebook announced a new design for the ads in the right-hand column to make them more consistent with ads that appear in the News Feed.
The first change is the ad size. Ads in the right-hand column will now be larger, matching the proportion of the Desktop News Feed ads.
As a result of the size increase, there will also be fewer ads shown in the right-hand column.
These changes aim to better ad experience for Facebook users, while increasing engagement for advertisers. Early tests saw up to 3x more engagement with the new design.
What size image should you use? Facebook recommends uploading a 1200 x 627 px image.
Facebook Forces Users To Download Messenger To Chat With Friends (April 2014)
In a controversial move, Facebook announced that users will be required to download Facebook Messenger. The message feature on the Facebook app have disappeared completely and users can only check messages on a desktop computer or on the Messenger app. The company justifies this move by saying that Messenger is “faster and more reliable” than chatting within the Facebook app.
New Ad Feature: Facebook Expands Lookalike Audiences (March 2014)
Facebook announced additional functionality to their Lookalike Audiences advertising tool, allowing advertisers to target website new users based on people who visit their websites, mobile application users, and users connected to their Pages. Previously, lookalike audiences could only be created based on existing information like phone numbers, email addresses, or user IDs.
Facebook Launches New Page Design (March 2014)
Facebook launched a new streamline look for Pages that benefits both users and Page admins. The new look moves from the confusing two-column design to a cleaner, one-column layout. This means that posts will now have a consistent look between Page and News Feed. The new look is very similar to a personal profile.
These updates also bring new features for Page admins. At the top right, you can see your Page’s activity at a glance, a look at the last week’s activity including ads running, Page Likes, post reach, notifications, and messages. Admins will also be able to access a new competitive monitoring feature, Pages to Watch.
See Who is Posting to Your Company Page (February 2014)
Have you ever wondered who posted something to your Facebook Page? If you have a Page with multiple administrators you may have wondered this. Facebook now tells you which admins posted what on your company page (posts and comments).
The name of the admin will appear next to posts and comments. Their name will also link to their profile.
Facebook Acquires Whatsapp For $19 Billion (February 2014)
Facebook announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire WhatsApp, a rapidly growing cross-platform mobile messaging company, for a total of approximately $16 billion, including $4 billion in cash and approximately $12 billion worth of Facebook shares. The agreement also provides for an additional $3 billion in restricted stock units to be granted to WhatsApp’s founders and employees that will vest over four years subsequent to closing.
You can read the full release here.
Facebook Launches Paper (February 2014)
On February 3, 2014, Facebook launched a new mobile application called Paper. Check out the video below for an overview:
Facebook Will Show Less Text Posts From Pages (January 2014)
Facebook announced another change to their News Feed algorithm. Due to a lower engagement rate on text-only posts from Pages, Facebook will show begin to show text-only status updates to less people.
Here is an example of a text-only post:
After this update, the best way for Page admins to share a link would be to use a link-share so it looks like:
Facebook has discovered that posts like the second example above get more engagement (more likes, comments, shares, and clicks) and provide a better visual experience which has prompted them to make the change.
Facebook Introduces Trending Topics (January 2014)
Facebook released a trending topics feature after introducing hashtags the year before. Similar to Twitter’s trending topics, Facebook will now have a new box added to the right sidebar on the desktop version that lists the top 3 trending stories or topics. Users can click “See More” to view a list of the top 10 trending stories or topics.
When a user clicks on one of these topics, they are taken to a personalized results page showing posts about the topics: posts by friends, posts by Pages they’ve liked, and general popular posts.
What a year it has been! Be sure to check back to our blog often for the latest Facebook news in 2015. Hope you have a successful 2015!