The 4 Most Important Facebook Updates of 2016 (So Far) / Social Media / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Understanding Facebook's changes can impact an entire company, not just the marketing team. Here are the 4 most important platform updates.

Some might say that Facebook is the "spontaneous" friend. Everybody has one.

They thrive on surprises, change their outfit six times a day and constantly adopt new trends.

Occasionally, they get so excited that they forget to tell you that their plans have completely changed, so you better get on board fast.  

Any social media marketer will tell you that this friend is Facebook.

Even for those who don’t specialize in social media or marketing, it’s important to be aware of the platform’s constant changes, especially those that have taken place over the past six months.

These upgrades can directly impact your business' digital marketing strategies, set budgets, and your overall goals, so having an understanding of these events can enable you to help your company make better decisions in the future.

Related Article:4 Reasons Why Your Facebook Ads Are Not Converting

Facebook Ads Now Target Users Outside of Facebook

Yeah, that's right. Facebook no longer solely targets Facebook users on the platform; it now has ways of tracking users' interests outside of Facebook even if they're not logged in. They do this by identifying information and tracking cookies on the user's device, and then create an advertising profile based on those insights.

This is good news for marketers since they can now reach their target audiences outside of Facebook but from the same ad creation platform, but it can be bothersome to Facebook users who are already bombarded with enough ads as it is.

If you're a Facebook user who wishes to not see these Facebook ads, you can adjust these preferences in your settings. If you're a marketer, learn more about how you can optimize your strategy in accordance with these new changes here.

The News Feed Algorithm Has Changed... Again

Facebook has recently made a big effort to provide users with content that they actually want to see in their news feeds. Although this seems like a "no duh", this actually has a big impact on companies who already receive low engagement on the platform.

Essentially, your content won't appear in users' news feeds at all if people hadn't previously interacted with your page, making your Facebook efforts useless. So, the main question here isn't why Facebook is making things difficult for advertisers and brands.

The question is, how can you improve your content and ads to better resonate with your audience? This might be a good time to restructure your strategy and find ways of better connecting with your customers.

Related Article: Facebook Instant Articles: Time To Change Your Content Marketing Strategy?

Instagram Ads Can Now Be Seen Around the World

If you're wondering, "Wait, what does Instagram have to do with Facebook?" please get out from under that rock. Facebook bought Instagram back in 2012 and has since teamed up as the ultimate advertising duo.

While previously Instagram ads were limited to a small number of countries, marketers internationally can now utilize the tool to its fullest potential. Specifically, marketers from Russia, South Africa, Chile, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Israel, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Poland, Spain, Argentina, and Mexico now have access to both Facebook and Instagram ads, expanding their reach and brand awareness.

They Launched Facebook Live

Live streaming is all the rage right now with platforms like Periscope and Meerkat leading the way. Facebook wanted to get in on the action, of course, so they launched their own version called Facebook Live. But, here's the catch: It's not available to everyone. Only influencers with large followings on Facebook can apply to be a live streamer, and if accepted, then anyone within the Facebook community can view their content.

This is important for marketers working with big corporations with well-known industry thought leaders, such as Gary Vaynerchuk. If you think that the company's audience would find value in this type of content, then it's considering to "apply" for Facebook Live access. For smaller businesses, however, this could potentially not relevant to you.

Although there are several other changes that have occurred and will occur in the near future, these four are essential aspects to understanding and taking advantage of the complex platform. With the right insights, you can truly optimize your social media efforts and reach your digital marketing goals, which impacts the entire company, not just marketers.

Related Article:Mari Minute Episode 3: How to Use Audience Targeting for Facebook Advertising

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