The Best Free and Paid Facebook Analytics Tools
By Kit SmithSep 30
Published December 1st 2015
This is the second part of a series looking ahead at what 2016 will hold for social media. Part one, which looks at Twitter, can be found here.
If you stand still in social, you are moving backward.
With this in mind, new features are regularly added to Facebook. Looking at recent changes gives us clues as to what 2016 will hold for both consumers and businesses.
Over the last couple of years, Facebook has been building out the user experience so that consumers can access a wide variety of content without having to leave the site. Most of our Facebook predictions refer to this trend in some way.
As the network continues to build an ecosystem separate from Google and the rest of the web, marketers may have to adopt their strategies to ensure their content is still reaching its audience.
Facebook recently introduced Search FYI, an updated search tool that personalizes results by adding current news stories and popular posts to the results.
For brands, this will mean creating content that strikes a balance between shareability and SEO optimization.
For search to work, content must provide signposts so the algorithm can make sense of it. However, Facebook search has different rules to Google search.
Facebook will return popular stories where there is a lot of conversation, meaning content still needs to have a social, shareable side to it to stand a chance of ranking.
This leads us to believe that social media SEO best practice will become a concern for marketers in 2016. Finding the right balance between SEO and social may lead to a new dawn of SEO on social media.
Currently only available in the US, Businesses on Messenger allows brands to improve their customer service offering by having personal, real-time conversations.
Shipping status and order confirmations can be delivered to the consumer easily, in addition to any free form questions the consumer might have.
The platform also allows push notifications, allowing a user to be notified when an item comes back in stock, for example.
2016 should see this feature roll out to other markets, and for elements to be updated.
We can envisage brands sending targeted adverts to users through the platform, as LinkedIn allows, and then being able to answer any follow-up questions the consumer might have.
Facebook recently introduced M, a virtual assistant to rival Siri, Cortana and Google Now.
Rather than relying solely on artificial intelligence, M uses a mix of AI and human brain power to deliver a service that can complete tasks for you, rather than simply finding information.
Users can book tickets, buy products and get recommendations without having to leave Messenger. But how do brands ensure they are recommended over their competitors?
The software is currently in an early stage and therefore only accessible to a limited number of users.
Early reports show M using comparison and peer review sites to provide recommendations, highlighting the importance of these sites and the need to engage with reviews.
In the future, we could see Facebook relying on its own data to ascertain whether a brand is trustworthy or not.
Facebook already has reviews for restaurants and hotels. Again, the importance of managing online brand perception is key to unlocking this potential referral source.
Instant Articles is Facebook’s attempt to keep people on site when accessing content. Publishers can create interactive articles on Facebook that load instantly, without users having to leave the app.
The content is richer and faster than when viewed on a mobile browser, but it raises issues for marketers. If articles are to be hosted directly on Facebook, accessing that content no longer leads the user to the publisher’s website.
This reduction in traffic means the publisher cannot benefit from any banner advertising on their site.
While it improves the experience of reading an article on Facebook, it reduces the likelihood that the user goes on to browse other articles on the publisher’s site.
This effect will be multiplied by the fact that consumers will not need to leave Facebook to make a purchase. Facebook’s partnership with e-commerce platform Shopify will allow them to carry out that transaction without leaving the site.
Brands will need to consider whether the value of publishing directly to Facebook outweighs the loss of direct traffic and advertising revenue.
Increasingly Facebook is moving away from one main app to deliver a suite of specialized options.
On November 11 Facebook launched Notify, a notification app that will aggregate stories from different sources and push them directly onto a user’s lockscreen.
If Notify proves successful Facebook might choose to improve its functionality with a wider choice of providers. Potentially this could include brands, who could push content directly onto phones, notifying users of special offers or product launches.
One of the issues with engaging users in this way is striking the right balance to avoid notification fatigue. If users receive too many notifications they will unsubscribe from that feed, or uninstall the app completely.
August saw the introduction of Facebook Live, allowing public figures to broadcast live video to watching fans.
This is Facebook’s response to Meerkat and Periscope, which both allow your average Joe, as well as celebs, to broadcast live video streams.
Brands have found various ways to harness the power of live streaming on Periscope.
It would be a surprise if Facebook did not allow the same on Live. Offering a variety of media for brands to capitalize on is in the site’s best interests, and Live could see some exciting uses by inventive brands.
The majority of Facebook data has long been inaccessible to marketers.
Beyond their own page, brands have little idea of the conversation about them. This is set to change, with anonymized data soon providing insights to advertisers via a new API called PYLON.
This data shows the conversation around events, brands, topics and activities, and the data contains more than 60 different attributes while protecting the identity of the individual user.
This will increase the data available to marketers, adding to the wealth of data social media analytics platforms like Brandwatch currently provide. This should make adverts on Facebook more targeted, but will also provide further insights for users of social intelligence.