With the goal of improving content quality and the overall user experience, Facebook has tightened its moderation criteria, affecting both advertisers and publishers and the type of content they can share and advertise on the platform. While there were previous regulations on low-quality content and ads, Facebook has moved to more strongly enforce these policies throughout the year. This leaves many in the industry wondering, what does this mean for publishers?
Publishers distributing high quality, authentic and straightforward content will likely see little changes – if anything, perhaps a slight boost in traffic. However, publishers pushing content that is poorly written, misleading, generally low quality or considered to be potentially offensive are seeing some immediate consequences. Primarily, blocked posts and significantly decreased traffic.
For those publishers that fall into the second category, there’s still time to adjust your content so it better aligns with Facebook’s new standards and overall industry’s move towards better user experience. Here are some best practices for publishers that want to play nice with the social giant.
1. Provide value for Facebook’s users
Step one is to take a hard look at your content and make sure it is not only original, but also valuable. Consumers don’t want to see the same thing over and over again – it provides no value. As such, you can expect photos that have been reposted or reworked from other web sources will not sit well with Facebook during its content overhaul.
Additionally, posts that direct users to landing pages with little to no meaningful content are also going to get the axe. Aim for crafting original content that provides value to Facebook’s user in the form of trustworthy copy and plenty of appropriate images. Bonus points for using bright-colored images, as they tend to draw consumers’ in quickly. Check out the creative guidelines we recommend our customers.
2. Pay attention to grammar
In addition to making sure your content looks good, it also must be well-written. Grammatical errors and misspelled words are sure to raise a red flag for Facebook, and it’s critical that users can easily understand your content. Take advantage of resources like Grammarly, which helps ensure your content is well-written and grammatically sound.
If you’re outsourcing content creation, consider tapping a service like Scripted, which provides a digital marketplace for freelance writers that specialize in content marketing. Once you have a piece of content ready to go, run it through Siteliner to check for duplicate content, broken links and more.
3. Keep it contextually relevant and clean
At the core of Facebook’s increased regulation efforts is the goal of improving the overall experience for its users. The best way to do that is serving ads and sponsored posts that are contextually relevant from start to finish. This goes beyond the thumbnails and headlines that actually show up in a user’s Facebook feed, as the sites these ads link to must also be relevant for that particular user.
Keep the user experience top of mind when creating content, and make sure you pay attention to ad placement. Not only will Facebook frown upon ads that overlap intended content or otherwise interrupt the user experience, but you’ll see less engagement and fewer conversions. Remember to think clean and aesthetically pleasing when it comes to design, and you’ll keep users coming back again and again.
4. Don’t mislead users
There’s a misconception permeating throughout the industry that misleading or sensationalized content is guaranteed to go viral. Not only is that not true, but adopting that approach can be quite risky for publishers, which is why we always encourage our network of advertisers to produce creatives within the ‘PG’ or ‘R’ ranking and limit the amount of content that ranks as ‘NSWF.’
Furthermore, according to Wittyfeed, the second largest viral content company in the world, content that goes viral will always have three common characteristics – it’s clickable, shareable and relatable. It doesn’t have to be provocative. Focus on engaging consumers’ sense of curiosity and tapping into their emotions. Facebook is meant to provide a visually stimulating experience for its users, so content with a compelling visual component will likely perform better here than a mediocre thumbnail image with a salacious headline.
At the end of the day, if you want your website to align with Facebook’s new publisher standards, you have to invest in the quality of your content. Keep the aforementioned tips in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to engaging Facebook’s users and increasing conversions in the process.