On Friday evening, November 14th, when most people were getting ready for their weekend, Facebook quietly announced an impending update to their newsfeed algorithm that would take effect in the New Year. The following Tuesday morning Facebook made a flashy announcement about the launch of a new app, which effectively overshadowed Friday’s update.
It appears as if Facebook is trying to downplay the importance of this change. The update’s implications for some iGaming brands and affiliates are significant.
The UpdateThe Facebook algorithm, formally called EdgeRank, is what’s used to decide what content users see in their news feed. It’s no secret that over the past year, most brands saw their organic content plummet from reaching 10% of fans to less than 2%, according to Social Media Today. Facebook claims their goal was to give users the content they want to see, while others claim it’s a shakedown.
Then in August, the last update looked to weed out spammy posts and added ‘time spent on page’ as an indicator of quality content. With this update, Facebook’s message to brands is clear: if you want your promotional content seen, you’re going to have to pay for it, because that’s what users want.
Facebook spins it as: “People told us they wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content…What we discovered is that a lot of the content people see as too promotional is posts from Pages they like, rather than ads.”
The types of posts they say they’re looking to reduce are posts whose main aim is to sell a product or persuade users to download an app or enter a promotional sweepstake. Facebook also says they’re targeting posts that re-use the same content as ads. They used the post below as an example:
The ImplicationsBrands that use Facebook as a funnel to distribute purely promotional content can expect to see their reach drop significantly in the New Year. The days of 0% reach may soon be upon us.
Because many operators and affiliates rely on Facebook as a player acquisition tool, this update could have an impact on social acquisition rates in the first quarter of 2015.
The SolutionIn order to ensure that content doesn’t fall into a black hole and acquisition rates suffer as a result, operators should develop a solid social media strategy centred on best practices as they moving into the New Year.
Their strategy should place an emphasis on creating entertaining content that seeks to engage, not just sell. Using a content calendar will help ensure that a healthy ratio of promotional and non-promotional content is being maintained is an example of one such tactic to include in your strategy.
Preparing a social media strategy for 2015 can seem like a daunting task. Consider consulting a social media expert who can help ease the burden and set you on the right track.
With player acquisition costs from social media on the rise other alternatives, such as the Income Access Network have become increasingly popular among affiliates and operators.
Whatever choice is made, the key take-away from this blog should be that moving into 2015 action will be needed from operators and affiliates alike in order to maintain a viable presence on Facebook.