Are you up to date on changes from Facebook? Wondering which recent Facebook updates are important to marketers and business owners?
In this article, we explore Facebook changes that affect your marketing.
#1: Ad-Free Facebook Subscriptions
Meta announced the rollout of a paid subscription without ads to EU, EEA, and Swiss users, balancing regulators' requirements while giving users choices.
The free user experience will stay the same, supported by existing ad controls like Ad Preferences, so advertisers can still run personalized ad campaigns to reach these people. Further, Meta will continue developing tools that preserve ad value while empowering users with control over their experience.
The no-ads subscription is initially for 18+ users, and Meta is exploring appropriate ad experiences for teens as regulations evolve.
Our Take: While advertisers may not love the thought of losing access to consumer data, Allie Boyd doesn't believe the ad-free version will profoundly impact advertisers' work.
First, it's worth noting that despite the possible targeting restrictions, Facebook's AI still delivers relevant ads. Second, the broad adoption of Facebook's ad-free subscription is questionable. Finally, users who pay for ad-free access will likely have higher disposable income, presenting marketers with new opportunities for organic strategies.
#2: Facebook Reels A/B Testing Tools
A new A/B testing capability will allow testing for up to 4 different captions and thumbnails for Reels on mobile, seeing which performs best. A related update lets you easily repurpose existing videos and live streams into Reels using the Reels composer on mobile.
Our Take: Facebook is the only platform where the Reels thumbnail appears directly in the news feed, unlike other short-form video platforms. When scrolling through the regular feed, people frequently click on thumbnails of posts and Reels because they are eye-catching.
Captions can also be much more critical for Reels than one would initially think. Extended captions can keep people engaged with the content longer, looping the video and increasing plays. Value-based captions can extend the reach of a Reel by getting more views. However, there are also cases where a single sentence caption asking a question or prompting engagement may dramatically impact results. Some caption styles could garner more comments, shares, and saves, while others may better increase overall reach.
Testing these different thumbnails and caption styles has the potential to affect performance dramatically, and we're excited to experiment with various options to see what works best.
#3: Facebook Professional Dashboard Updates
Facebook Professional Dashboard Insights
Facebook has introduced several updates to Insights to provide marketers with more comprehensive data and metrics. The Insights overview now shows weekly account highlights on posting habits, audience, and performance, with aggregated and individualized filters. Additionally, you can now view data over the past 90 days rather than the 28-day window previously available, giving you a better long-term understanding of content performance.
New professional dashboard metrics for Reels include Reels-specific Reach split into followers versus non-followers, a distribution score comparing one Reel to others, and a retention graph showing how long viewers watched and when they dropped off. Plays metrics also now count replays to better gauge resonance and top-performing Reels.
Our Take: You can't optimize what you don't measure. With better tracking for performance data, marketers can refine their approach and maximize their time investment in producing quality content and optimizing Reels for content length and focus.
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Updated Content Management Tools
Facebook has introduced a new content management tool in the professional dashboard where creators can view all their posts, Reels, and videos in one centralized hub. Within this tool, they can access individual posts to hide them from their profile/pages or move them to the trash, and manage comments.
Performance insights for each piece of content are available, too. Before, creators had to view posts one by one in the feed to manage content. This streamlined dashboard enables efficient oversight and control over published content.
Our Take: Previously, marketers had to view each post individually to see metrics and manage comments, which was time-consuming. This centralized hub makes it easier for marketers and creators to manage comments and evaluate what content to keep or remove.
#4: Facebook Broadcast Channels
Facebook is introducing broadcast channels for Pages on Facebook and Messenger, enabling public one-to-many messaging. This new tool allows brands and public figures to engage their communities directly. Followers can feel more connected and dive deeper into topics they care about through features like polls, behind-the-scenes content, and voice notes.
Page admins can now test creating broadcast channels, with rollout expected in the coming weeks. Anyone on Facebook can join channels to stay current on their favorite Pages. With broadcast channels, Pages have another way to foster more significant interaction and loyalty with their audiences.
Our Take: For businesses seeking to foster stronger connections and share exclusive insights, behind-the-scenes access, or content beyond their regular feed posts, broadcast channels provide an interactive medium to do just that.
While broadcast channels don't necessarily require a separate content strategy, defining a clear plan for the channel's purpose, unique angle, content cadence, and style will give you the highest chance of resonating with your target audiences. For example, to maximize relevancy and interest, marketers should give the channel a name related to its content rather than a generic name such as “bonus tips.”
The critical moment is when you send the first broadcast message because existing Facebook page followers receive a one-time notification inviting them to join the broadcast channel. Careful planning and timing of that first post are crucial to driving high opt-ins and sign-ups.
#5: Facebook Ads
Click to Message + Call Ads
Meta has launched Click-to-Message + Call Prompt ads, the first ad product enabling brands to initiate Messenger calls from consumers directly to a Facebook page.
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With this new capability, brands can immediately connect with qualified prospects through a phone call to provide premier service, build trust, and convert leads faster than messaging alone.
Our Take: Facebook's traditional click-to-call ads prompt users to call a phone number. However, a drawback is that if no one answers the call, the lead is lost, with no way for you to follow up or capture information.
Alternatively, guest expert Allie Bloyd has successfully run Messenger ads, which provide an alternate channel beyond just a phone call for engaging interested prospects.
The new Click-to-Message + Call Ad format combines these options, harnessing both advantages. Even if you miss the call, the customer is retained as a Messenger contact for future follow-up, providing a crucial secondary communication channel.
The combination of prompting messaging opt-ins and immediate calling seems highly synergistic for brands looking to connect with motivated prospects across multiple channels.
Reels Ads Features
Meta has introduced new ad formats and functionality to improve the shopping experience on Facebook and Instagram Reels.
First, Collection Ads with one main video/image and smaller supporting visuals are being tested on Facebook, allowing viewers to swipe and learn about specific products. Second, Multi-destination Carousel ads for Reels now direct people to multiple product pages to help them find items and increase sales. Finally, the “Swipe left” feature for Reels ads lets people quickly shop and learn about products they're interested in.
Meta also introduced new Advantage+ Creative tools to help optimize Reels ads and improve campaign performance. Features like automatic templates that adjust your video to the 9:16 aspect ratio, 3D effects, filters, and enhancements can be applied to make Reels stand out. Also, advertisers can now quickly source, select, and add music to single image Reels ads when creating campaigns on iOS devices.
Our Take: Collection ads through the Reels placement can help eCommerce brands showcase products and help service-based businesses highlight their offerings.
We also love the ability to link the individual Reels carousel items to specific landing pages, which is great for selling products. If you have an ad focused on one product, you can now send the viewer directly to the most relevant page rather than a generic landing page to improve conversion rates.
#6: Other Facebook News
Facebook Stories API
Facebook has launched the Stories API to simplify creating and publishing Stories to public Facebook Pages. This API allows developers, creators, and brands to use their preferred desktop or web application to make Stories and then share them directly to Facebook with one click.
Apps integrating this API will not undergo additional review if they already have approved permission access levels.
Our Take: If you're a consultant, freelancer, or agency marketer, this update could make a big difference for your clients who don't utilize Facebook Stories because directly posting to the platform is too time-consuming. The new API makes scheduling their Stories in their favorite app frictionless.
Facebook Write With AI and AI Profile Image Generation
Our Take: While the details remain unclear, AI-generated content could increase your posting and engagement on Facebook. Still, it's important to remember that heavily relying on AI could diminish your brand's authenticity and voice.
While AI can aid in creation, it shouldn't dominate. People want to follow real humans online. Relationship-building with your followers requires expressing true personality, which fully AI-generated posts lack. For example, it can't replicate your personal knowledge of an audience and brand. Embrace cautious, supplemental use of AI and add those irreplaceable details into the content to make it your own.
Facebook Rooms in Groups
Facebook is removing the Rooms feature in groups. As of now, users can no longer create new rooms within groups. Starting November 16th, existing group rooms will become inaccessible. After 30 days of inactivity, all data for inactive group rooms will be deleted unless there are legal requirements to retain it. If desired, users can download group room data through the Download Your Information tool.
Users can create video calls from their Facebook Feed as an alternative to group rooms. These calls allow controlling join permissions, either approval-only or open to anyone with the link. So, while group rooms will go away, users still have options for video chatting directly on Facebook.
Allie Bloyd is the founder of Allie Bloyd Media, a leading training and consultancy specializing in social advertising for small businesses. She also hosts the Marketing Ink Podcast.
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