Last Week in Digital Marketing: Facebook Makes Headlines
19 Dec 2018
Last week, Facebook was the topic of discussion in many headlines. The company is releasing more advertising options that could have the potential to compete with Google Ads.
Facebook Bug Reveals Photos
Facebook announced on Friday that a bug in the social network let third-party app developers see photos that users may not have shared publicly. This encompasses photos from as many as 6.8 million users. The photos could have been revealed to up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers, said Tomer Bar, an engineering director at Facebook.
The photos were exposed between September 13 and September 25 of this year.
Usually, when users give Facebook permission for an app to access their photos on Facebook, the social network only gives the app access to photos people share on their timeline. However, in this case, Facebook gave app developers access to photos shared on Marketplace, in Facebook stories, and photos users may have started to upload to Facebook, but didn’t actually post. When users begin to upload photos but then stop, Facebook stores the photos for three days in case the user wants to go back to the app and continue uploading.
“We’re sorry this happened,” Bar said in a blog post.
“Early next week we will be rolling out tools for app developers that will allow them to determine which people using their app might be impacted by this bug. We will be working with those developers to delete the photos from impacted users.”
To see if your photos were exposed by the bug, click here and log into your Facebook account if prompted. Bar also stated that Facebook will be alerting the people potentially impacted by notifying them on the social medium.
Takeaway: Facebook has had a rough year, with multiple data privacy issues, a viral #DeleteFacebook campaign among social media users, and one appearance before Congress. Despite this, Facebook’s Q3 reports have shown that the platform has continued growing in terms of daily and monthly users. Advertisers nonetheless should keep a vigilant eye on this and other social media platforms. Additional regulations and compliance steps may be on the horizon, which could affect how campaigns are run.
Facebook Announces Success of Watch and Releases Ad Breaks to More Countries
Last Thursday, Facebook announced that it’s introducing Ad Breaks to 14 more countries, which means there are 40 countries total that can utilize the 15-second in-stream ads. These countries include Italy, the Philippines, South Korea, India, and Singapore. In-stream ads are available in both News Feed videos and in Facebook Watch videos.
Facebook is very proud of how Watch is being received by users: it announced last week that on average, 75 million people spend more than 20 minutes on the site. It also released a list of shows it’s going to renew in 2019, including Five Points, Sorry for Your Loss, and Sacred Lies.
Takeaway: This is good news for companies wanting to advertise in other countries, specifically, Asian countries. Companies considering placing ads in Facebook Watch and News Feed videos should feel extra confident, considering the strong initial success of the new video-viewing platform.
Facebook Gives Certain Advertisers the Ability to Place Ads in Search Results
Facebook’s search results, as well as Marketplace search results, are two of the only remaining places on Facebook that don’t contain advertisements. Facebook is looking to change this and is running a test with companies in the retail and automotive industries to determine if allowing ads in these two spaces would be lucrative.
Companies with the ability to place ads in search results and Marketplace search results will see an extra placement option when creating an ad. This option lets them place ads in search results and Marketplace search results (not one or the other). Because Facebook is testing the option for companies in the automotive and retail industries, the ads will appear in searches related to these two topics.
As of now, advertisers do not have the ability to select keywords to target. Single images and carousel images may be used (not video). Business must also run an ad in the News Feed if they want to run it in search results. The search results ad should look similar to the News Feed ad, with the same headline, body text, and image.
Facebook is testing this option in the U.S. and Canada and may expand to other countries if proven beneficial to businesses. All the ads in the beta test will have the “Sponsored” tag and give users the same transparency choices, such as the “Why Am I Seeing This” option.
Takeaway: This new advertising option, if shown to be lucrative, will give businesses visibility among users searching for topics within their industry. Google may have some competition when it comes to placing ads in search features — businesses will have to decide if placing ads in Google search results or Facebook search results will be more profitable.
Facebook Changes its Mind About Chatbot Subscription Messaging Policies
In early December, Facebook reported that it would be changing its chatbot permissions, requiring pages to adhere to the new policy by December 31st. This change would have affected the ability of chatbots on pages to send subscription messages, such as alerts from apps or news updates. Since Facebook is delaying the policy, pages don’t have to be given permission from Facebook in order to send subscription messages (for now).
Takeaway: “We still encourage developers to migrate to the Page-level permission as we evaluate potential updates to this policy,” Facebook stated, so if your business has already transitioned to page-level permissions, then you’re simply ahead of the game. This may save you time in the future, if Facebook changes its mind again and re-instates the policy.
Google Announces New Call to Action Extension for Video Ads
Last week, Google stated that it’s getting rid of the current YouTube call to action overlay in January 2019, replacing it with a new CTA extension. This new CTA extension can be applied in TrueView in-stream ads and Bumper ads, as well as to TrueView video discovery ads.
Google clarified that this CTA extension is intended for advertisers who want to raise awareness or consideration. The company reminded its users that their TrueView for action ad format is best for advertisers looking to drive clicks and conversions.
Takeaway: You may want to allocate funds to test this feature in the new year to see if it helps increase the number of users that will take action.
Changing Your Hosting Company Won’t Negatively Impact Site Ratings, Says Google
John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, recently stated that moving to a new hosting company doesn’t negatively impact your site’s rankings — as long as GoogleBot can still crawl your site. He said, “Moving hosting results in a temporary slow-down in crawling, but that catches up quickly & doesn’t affect rankings. Moving to a strong & fast CDN (like Cloudflare) makes sense for lots of sites.”
That post's just speculation. Moving hosting results in a temporary slow-down in crawling, but that catches up quickly & doesn't affect rankings. Moving to a strong & fast CDN (like Cloudflare) makes sense for lots of sites.
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) December 9, 2018
Takeaway: Don’t let fear of poor ranking stop you from moving to a faster hosting solution. Your users and potential customers will thank you if your site gives them a better browsing experience.
Things change quickly in the digital realm, and it can be difficult to stay on top of all the new updates and releases. Let the LeadBuilder® team help you. With expertise in social media, pay-per-click, SEO, and more, we’ll make sure your business is taking advantage of all aspects of online media. Contact us today to learn about our turnkey marketing packages.
Liz MacLean is an Inbound Marketing Specialist with experience managing social media and creating content for small businesses and nonprofit organizations. She is an award-winning writer who has produced photographs and articles about cooking, clothing, nature, and fitness for local magazines and newspapers.
Image via iStock