Ah, the good ole’ Facebook algorithm. It’s an enigma wrapped in a riddle, shrouded in perpetual change.
If you’re like most businesses trying to maximize their social media marketing efforts, understanding how Facebook updates work can feel like an uphill battle.
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top 3 changes you can expect to see for Facebook 2021.
What We’ll Cover:
What is the Facebook Algorithm?
Put simply, the Facebook algorithm determines which posts people will see when they go to their Facebook news feed, and in what order those posts appear. Facebook describes the algorithm more as “multiple layers of machine learning models and rankings,” designed to predict which posts will be “most valuable and meaningful to an individual over the long term.”
In other words, instead of seeing every single Facebook post displayed in chronological order, the Facebook algorithm assesses every post, assigns it a score, and then organizes it in descending order of interest for each user. This process occurs whenever a user refreshes their newsfeed.
While it’s still unclear how the Facebook algorithm decides what posts to show people and when we do know that one of the platform’s main goals is to keep users scrolling so that they encounter more ads.
Ramya Sethuraman, Product Manager at Facebook, breaks down how the algorithm works further:
“The goal of News Feed is to connect people with the posts they find most relevant…That means making sure people see what they want to see – whether that’s posts from family and friends or news articles and videos from Pages they follow.
To do this, we try to understand what people are already doing on Facebook — what they like, comment on and share. We also use surveys to get more context about the posts people want to see and who they want to see them from. Today, we are announcing two ranking updates based on surveys we’ve conducted: one prioritizes the friends someone might want to hear from most and the other prioritizes the links a person might consider most worthwhile.”
Change #1: Facebook Shops Integrate with Shopify
One of the biggest things to take place on Facebook 2021 is the app’s integration with Shopify, a subscription-based software that enables anyone to set up an online store and sell their products. This is the first time Shop Pay has been available to customers outside of Shopify.
This means all Shopify merchants that sell on Facebook and Instagram can now offer Shop Pay as a fast and secure checkout option for customers. Brands like Beyond Yoga, Jonathan Adler, and Allbirds are already doing this.
Checking out with Shop Pay is said to be 70% faster than the average checkout time. This, in large part, is due to the way it populates pre-existing customer details like billing and shipping information.
If a customer is using Shop Pay for the first time, their information is encrypted and stored for future purchases, resulting in more time spent on shopping, fewer abandoned carts, and less time spent filling out forms.
But, don’t just take our word for it—the numbers speak for themselves. Shopify recently conducted a study of 10,000 of their largest merchants with Shop Pay enabled. They discovered that checkouts processed through Shop Pay have an average checkout-to-order rate of 1.72x higher than those processed through regular checkouts. That conversion rate jumps to 1.91x on mobile.
According to Shopify, “While Shop Pay’s conversion advantage is evident across both mobile and desktop, it is significantly improved on mobile, where Shop Pay checkouts convert at a 1.91x times higher than regular checkouts. This is a massive advantage for direct-to-consumer brands, where conversion on mobile can be the difference between making money or losing money.”
Facebook 2021 Updates: Shopify Integration Conversion Results
Change #2: Facebook Invites Content Creators to Earn Money
Video consumption habits are changing among consumers, with short-form videos becoming increasingly popular across social channels.
Among various other Facebook updates, the company is now allowing people to earn money by creating and streaming videos as short as one minute, down from 3 minutes previously.
“Facebook video creators can now earn money from videos as short as one minute long, with a minimally interruptive ad running at 30 seconds. For videos three minutes or longer, an ad can be shown 45 seconds in. Previously only three-minute or longer videos could monetize with in-stream ads, with an ad shown no earlier than 1 minute,” wrote Yoav Arnstein, Director of Facebook App Monetization.
Many technology analysts agree that this was a strategic move on Facebook’s part as TikTok and other tech rivals have been racing to provide content creators with better financial revenue opportunities.
To join Facebook’s in-stream ad for video-on-demand program, Pages must adhere to the following requirements:
Have 600,000 total minutes viewed from on-demand, live, previously live, or any other combination of video uploads in the past 60 days.
Have 5 or more active video uploads or previously live videos. This video content must be published, not deleted, and compliant with Facebook’s Content Monetization Policies.
Instead of a profile, content creators must publish from a page and have at least 10,000 followers, be 18 years old, and located in a Facebook-supported country. The page must also pass and remain compliant with Facebook’s Monetization Policies.
Change #3: Facebook Announces Publishing Platform
Since 2018, Facebook has invested more than $600 million to support independent journalists and media professionals. Earlier this year, the company announced that it was working on its own free newsletter platform for writers and journalists that will allow them to self-publish, grow their audience, and monetize their content.
The tool will feature numerous styling and customization options and will be integrated with Facebook Pages to enable publishing across a wide range of multimedia formats like photos, stories, and live videos.
“A large part of this initiative is aimed at supporting independent local journalists who are often the lone voice covering a given community,” Campbell Brown, Facebook’s VP of global news partnerships, and product manager for news Anthea Watson Strong, recently wrote in a blog post.
While Facebook hasn’t disclosed exactly how it plans to partner with independent writers, a report by Axios mentions that the company will start offering paid deals in order to gain some traction. While the rising trend of newsletters is currently dominated by Substack, Facebook plans to gain an early lead by offering more powerful features such as:
Facebook 2021 Update: Self-Publishing Platform
This announcement comes after Facebook’s spat with the Australian government over the country’s new law that requires internet platforms to compensate for news content. On March 15, 2021, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp announced a 3-year licensing deal that would allow Facebook to publish content from many Australian news outlets.
Social media is a tricky thing to master.
And when it comes to the Facebook 2021 algorithm, you need to stay up-to-date with everything taking place on the platform so you can put your business in the best position for when these inevitable updates occur.
We hope this article has given you a better understanding of the top 3 changes to Facebook 2021, which you can use to promote your products, outshine competitors, and drive sales.
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