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How Facebook is pushing businesses into the arms of Google+

(Social Media) Facebook has made changes to their algorithm, but most businesses still have no idea why their Page is failing, and how Facebook could be positioning G+ to win.

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Facebook is changing their algorithm

Last month, Facebook announced changes to their algorithm in what they called an effort to improve news feeds, surfacing “higher quality” content to users that they are more likely to click on based on their current behavior on the site.

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This means that meme photos will be diminished in value along with overly shared links, as Facebook deems those to be lower in quality, and they will begin promoting news articles to users, stating that their research shows people enjoy coming across them more than they do pictures of landscapes with inspirational quotes, or shots of cats with silly phrases. They will begin displaying “relevant” articles underneath links in the news feed that readers have recently opened, with the idea that this will expose them to something else of interest.

But the truly important part: organic reach

Facebook also admitted that organic reach of Pages is dropping, so even though 6,500 people have indicated that they like your company and want to receive your updates on their news feed, the social media giant is surfacing Page content in news feeds less so they can charge for you to reach the customers you’ve already won over as fans.

They blatantly stated last month that that paid advertising is the best way to increase visibility, noting, “As the dynamic nature of News Feed continues to follow people’s patterns of sharing, Page owners should continue using the most effective strategy to reach the right people: a combination of engaging Page posts and advertising to promote your message more broadly. Advertising lets Pages reach the fans they already have and find new customers as well.”

Some took this as a confession from Facebook that they are reducing the organic reach of Facebook page posts so they can suck money out of companies in the form of advertising, while others assert it is not a conscious effort, rather an acknowledgement that Facebook is getting noisier and to cut through the noise, brands must be engaging and may have to pony up to increase visibility.

Facebook says they expect this trend to continue, and we’ve seen it first hand in our own pages, regardless of the type of content shared. The video above is one of the best explanations of why this is a crock, and why we think that Facebook could be pushing business users straight into the arms of Google+.

The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Matt

    January 16, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Yeah, it sucks to spend a lot of time and money building a fan base and having to pay to reach them. But… The reach that page posts get is extremely dependent on the engagement level of the people who have viewed it. If it is getting liked or commented on a lot it will reach a much higher percentage of your followers. For example if make a post that’s not very engaging and gets only a handful of likes it will be displayed to only about 10% of my followers or less. If I make one that is engaging and is being liked by a large number of the followers that viewed it (5%+ of all viewers) and is receiving comments, it will reach nearly the entire available page audience.

  2. Erin Round

    January 16, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Thanks for the vid! it put all of my scattered thoughts into a nice video package 🙂 I work in real estate and keep telling new agents [and seasoned ones!] start using Google+, build yourself up which goes without saying for YouTube, Gmail, etc.. I don’t think anyone is too shocked with the direction FB has gone.

  3. Maris Munkevics

    January 17, 2014 at 1:41 am

    Facebook is pushing business pages into arms of Google+, however, Facebook still need to think how to push personal users towards Google. When this happens, the circle will be completed, lol.

  4. Leaf Mother

    May 13, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    Actually all G+ needs to do is absolutely nothing, and eventually they will get most of Facebook’s SME market, which in turn will lead to these businesses promoting their G+ pages and thus attracting ordinary users to G+, and the migration will happen. Facebook’s greed will be their undoing. If G+ however implements a similar system of “double dipping” (akin to Fb making you pay for page likes, and then yet again to reach those likes), then G+ will be throwing away this potential migration to its platform.

    Whilst it might seem common sense for G+ to do nothing, let’s remember that big corporates make mind numbingly bewildering decisions all the time. Just look at how FB still hasn’t backtracked on its double dipping – to any outsider we can see from a million miles away this will backfire, and yet they can’t. If G+ doesn’t implement too many new “exciting changes” it will flourish. They just have to sit by now and wait.

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Social Media

Facebook’s Hobbi app was a complete flop

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook seemingly has enough money to throw away projects and apps they know will fail. Hobbi is their most recent flop.

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Facebook failed Hobbi

Due to its abysmal underperformance on the App Store, Facebook is killing their new app, Hobbi, just months after its rollout in February.

Hobbi was the brainchild of Facebook’s New Product Experimentation Team, whose stated purpose is to rapidly ideate, build, and launch experimental new apps – then pull them if they aren’t successful.

Hobbi was designed to help users document their progress on their various personal projects and, well, hobbies. Complaints centered primarily on its threadbare feature offerings. Notably, Hobbi does not allow its users to browse the works of other creators through the app- it only packages media like photos and videos for sharing elsewhere.

A post on the Tech@Facebook blog states that they “expect many failures” from the NPE Team, suggesting that Hobbi was not necessarily intended to last. But you have to wonder… what is supposed to be the point of a tool like this?

Stories are a popular feature on most major social media websites, including Facebook itself. And Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) already allows its users to curate and group posts about whatever they want, including personal projects, hobbies and interests, through their story highlights.

So Facebook created a product that was already made redundant by their existing properties. What is experimental about that, exactly?

Hobbi originally drew comparisons to Pinterest. Both are like digital scrapbooks; Pinterest is a platform for content that inspires creativity, and Hobbi creates progress reports for creative undertakings.

One could also compare Hobbi to the underperforming video streaming platform, Quibi, which recently became infamous for its ostentatious ad campaign, aggressively flaunted celebrity cameos, and ultimately, its overwhelming failure.

Jeffery Katzenberg, Quibi cofounder of Disney and Dreamworks fame, blamed the coronavirus pandemic for Quibi’s flop – a questionable claim, considering just how much free time many have had to binge Netflix’s Tiger King during the lockdown.

The same could be said about Hobbi. People have been taking on projects like crazy in the time that has Hobbi been on the market. Quarantine cabin fever has us baking, crafting, painting, cleaning, and redecorating like never before. Yet Hobbi went nearly untouched.

Nobody used it because nobody needed it. Surely some cursory research would have demonstrated this?

One conclusion is that the app itself was the research – that Facebook’s NPE team isn’t really creating finished products, but rather testing the waters for potential new ones. (Could this framing be an elegant form of damage control, though? It’s easier to say “I meant to do that!” than it is to admit failure, especially in business.)

Still, creating throwaway apps in a bloated industry feels like cheating, whether it was meant for research purposes or not. There are plenty of indie app developers who create great tools with way less funding. Filling app marketplaces with lemons makes it harder for folks to find those gems.

Either way, hopefully we will see some original ideas coming from Facebook’s NPE Team moving forward, because this was clearly a disappointment.

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Social Media

Can Twitter ever secure data privacy, like even once?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter releases private information affecting already hurting businesses, should this even be a surprise anymore? They have a history of privacy breaches.

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Dear Twitter,

I don’t know if you’ve seen the news within the past two years, but Facebook’s been under continuous scrutiny for privacy malpractices that affected millions of its users, so unless your goal is to be the next social network to infringe upon our first amendment right to privacy, I suggest you GET IT TOGETHER!

Over the weekend, users, specifically businesses, realized their billing information was being stored in their browsers cache. This is devastating news for business owners who rely on Twitter to promote their product, or stay in touch with their customers, who over the recent months have already faced monumental challenges. It is hard as a business owner to not feel this is an intentional overreach of privacy.

In an age where we have actual robots to vacuum our floors, and 3D printing, I speak for the people when I say this is unacceptable.

This isn’t the first time Twitter has been caught privacy breaching. A little over a year ago, Twitter announced that they were fixing a bug, many weren’t even aware of, that released phone numbers, location, and other personal data. AND GET THIS, even those who selected the option to keep their information private were affected, so what the hell is the point of asking us our preference in the first place?!!!

What about the time that Twitter accounts could be highjacked by ISIS and used to spread propaganda? All because Twitter didn’t require an email confirmation for account access. Or what about when Twitter stored your passwords in plaintext instead of something easily more secure. Flaws like these show a distinct ability of Twitter to just half ass things; to make it work, but not think about how to keep the users safe.

Like I said in the beginning, get it together Twitter.

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Social Media

Facebook’s Forecast wants ‘qualified’ predictions, but no one’s asking why

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook is asking a bunch of so-called experts to chime in on what the future holds, but can we trust them with the information we’re giving them?

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Forecast app

These days, trolls don’t necessarily lurk beneath bridges in order to ensnare unsuspecting travelers. Instead, they hide out in the comment sections on social media posts, ready to incite wrath and stir up controversy with their incendiary remarks. Because Facebook knows how quickly reasonable discourse can quickly devolve thanks in part to these online trolls, they’ve made a move to establish intelligent discussions through their new “Forecast” app.

The premise of Forecast is fairly straightforward. Facebook has invited an assortment of so-called experts (whether they work in the medical field or academia, or some other field) to cast their vote on predictions about the future. Not only will they share their vote, though, they’ll also pitch in their own two cents about these predictions, sparking what is expected to be insightful and reasonable conversation about the topics.

However, while the premise is exciting (smart people! not basement dwellers! talking about serious stuff!), there’s more than a small amount of risk associated with Forecast. For starters, what exactly is Facebook planning on doing with all of this information that is being volunteered on their app? And secondly, are they going to take precautions to help prevent the spread of misinformation when these results are eventually published?

The fact is, Facebook is notorious for propagating and spreading misinformation. Now, I’m not blaming Facebook itself for this issue. Rather, the sheer volume of its user base inevitably leads to flame wars and dishonesty. You can’t spell “Fake News” with at least a couple of the same letters used in Facebook. Or something like that. The problem arises when people see the results of these polls, recognize that the information is being presented by these hand-picked experts, and then immediately takes them at face value.

It’s not so much that most people are simple minded or unable to think for themselves; rather, they’re primed to believe that the admittedly educated guesses from these experts are somehow better, smarter, than what would be presented to them by the average layperson. The bias is inherent in the selection process of who is and isn’t allowed to vote. By excluding everyday folks like you and me (I certainly wasn’t given an invite!), undue prestige may be attributed to these projections.

At the moment, many of these projections are silly bits of fluff. One question asks, “Will Tiger King on Netflix get a spinoff season?” Another one wonders, “Will Mulan debut on Disney+ at the same time as or instead of a theatrical release?” But other questions? Well, they’re a little more serious than that. And speculating on serious issues (such as COVID-19, or the presidential election) can lead to the spread of serious — and potentially dangerous — misinformation.

Facebook has implemented very strict guidelines about what types of questions are allowed and which ones are forbidden. That, at least, is a step in the right direction. It’s no secret that expectation can actually lead to the predicted outcomes, directly influencing actions and behaviors. While it’s too early to tell if Forecast will ever gain that much power, it undoubtedly puts us in a position of wondering if and when intervention may be necessary.

But I’ll be honest with you: I don’t exactly trust Facebook’s ability to put this cultivated information to good use. Sometimes a troll doesn’t have to be overtly provocative in order to be effective, and it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to see someone in a position of power exploit the results of these polls to influence the public. It’ll be interesting to see if Forecast is still around in the next few years, but alas, there’s no option for me to submit my vote on that to find out.

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