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Facebook Advertising Predictions for 2018

Last week we spoke about some of the major changes in Facebook Ads during 2017 and given the New Year we wanted to give you our Facebook Advertising predictions for 2018 and what to expect.

Firstly, I don’t make predictions without supporting trends or data. I know a lot of people tend to make predictions because frankly there is no recourse if they get it wrong. I don’t want that to be one of those articles. I’ll revisit this half way and at the end of the year to see how I went. If I’m wrong I’ll admit I was w-w-w-w-w-rong, but if I was right I’ll try not to gloat too much.

There are three key areas I can see Facebook focusing more on into 2018 and beyond. These are a result of their increasing influence on controversial issues and the role they play in the lives of people affected by the issues and debates surrounding them.

The key areas are:

  1. Transparency
  2. Authenticity; and
  3. Community

Transparency

Transparency

‘Transparency’ – the buzz word of 2017 will continue to feature heavily in 2018. It first came to light when Facebook were investigated for a Russian agency’s role using Facebook to advertise divisive issues in the lead up to and during the US Election. This lead to some widespread negative press, congress hearings and forced Facebook to update their advertising policies to better show users how they are getting targeted with Facebook Advertising.

It first rolled out to political campaigns that showed users which ads they were running, how much they were paying and who they were targeting with their campaigns. In November Facebook introduced a lighter version of this to all pages to show complete transparency on every ad, regardless of whether the user is in the target audience or not. It was first rolled out in Canada and will continue to be rolled out worldwide in the coming months.

The Russian agency issue drove some major change at Facebook (and many other tech giants for that matter) that will continue to force them to stay on top of their ability to drive widespread influence. Whether it’s a token gesture/fighting a losing battle (that’s a discussion for another day) then you can be sure that Transparency will be a focus for Facebook into 2018 and beyond.

How does this impact Facebook Advertisers?

It shouldn’t if what you’re doing is trustworthy. These regulations were put in place to stop large-scale companies and organisations from deliberately trying to alter results of real-life events like elections and deliberately spread false information around debatable issues.

From a competitive point of view, some advertisers could potentially see your advertisements and seek to emulate that in their sales funnel. But realistically, you have access to more data and information on your own results and the custom audiences you have built then they ever will. So if you think about how you can deliver a solution for your ideal customer and target them with a specific message, if your product is superior it doesn’t matter which organisation tries to copy your approach.

Predictions

  1. Facebook will make it simpler for people to discover information on the ads they’re being shown, even more than their current solution. It will be a manual process though that remains to be seen whether users actually make use of it (if it’s not easy, it won’t be used) and will most likely be more of a token gesture to meet political demands.
  2. Facebook will also begin to make it easier for Advertisers to discover more data and read it properly to better understand how they can use it in their advertising strategy. This will include a more robust Analytics offering and more information on how they can better utilise their advertising dollar they’re spending that isn’t just on Facebook.

Authenticity

Authenticity

Spam comments and bots will start to be cracked down on to make sure they aren’t detracting from the user experience. To be clear, I’m referring to spam comments and interactions on Instagram & Facebook, not the Messenger Bot experience (more on that in a sec). You know the comments, the broad, non-specific comments like ‘Pretty sweet’ and ‘I love this ♥️’ that appear on your post 3 seconds after positing it. Instagram has already managed to shut down some of these services such as Instagress and Mass Planner furore of 2017 still scars some so-called Instagram influencers.

This cry for engagement over results has driven some users mad and Facebook has reacted by reinforcing the principles of their Facebook Advertising standards as a result of some advertisers trying to ‘game’ the system.

How does this impact Facebook Advertisers?

Advertisers will need to think more about how they can continuously build a relationship over time BEFORE they ask for a conversion. You will need to produce content that not only improves the user’s browsing experience but also plays nice with Facebook’s preferred content mediums and formats. This means, if you’ve been delaying investing and creating video for the past 12 months, make 2018 the year you finally get involved in using video in your advertising strategy.

Facebook are also emphasising the need to get users into a custom audience BEFORE you promote a sale or offer to them. It’s likely that conversion campaigns are only going to be successful if they’re being served to an audience that has interacted or have seen the brand before. Whether that be through an engagement custom audience or a website custom audience, you need to think about how you drive an interaction first.

Predictions

  1. Facebook will become a haven for video creators. If you thought they’ve been focusing on heavily on video before, 2018 will bring a new wave of video creators and content as Facebook looks to take on the might of Youtube with their new Facebook Watch segments and video creators app.
  2. Messenger bots will be able to do just about anything – except replace the role of human interaction. This is an important note because people will expect more individualised attention on a platform that they’re used to having 1-to-1 conversations. But bots will be able to replace much of the initial conversation based on the answers users have to be able to deliver a more specialised solution for them.

Community

Community

It comes down to this, Facebook’s mission statement is “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together”. The two key words that stick out in this are community and closer. Facebook wants an authentic experience on their platforms and this involves actual human interaction through their technology.

In my opinion, there are 3 main aspects of their company that can help do this. Facebook Messenger, Facebook Groups and Facebook Oculus Rift VR. The latter being one that is still in its early stages of community development.

All three of these solutions help achieve their mission statement by directly connecting users together.

The best performing Facebook Advertising accounts we’ve managed are ones that have worked tirelessly to engage and captivate an audience over time. Facebook are more likely to deliver better results for these advertisers because they know that their audience are constantly interacting with their brand.

How does this impact Facebook Advertisers?

It means that advertisers will need to have a deeper understanding of their customers and what makes them tick. Having a better comprehension of the psychological motivators will allow advertisers to show content and advertising creative that connects with their audience and helps build a community around their brand.

So you need to look behind the ads that promote your product, lead magnet, promotion or sale that you’re offering. How can you get their attention with creative that speaks to their pain points, that keeps them interested and capitalises on that attention over a period of time? Look past the user as a number and closer at what makes them tick. This approach will help you create better advertisements.

Predictions

  1. Facebook will be more stringent on their newsfeed than ever before. Straight promotional ads to cold audiences will become even more expensive and receive less reach UNLESS they are going to an audience that is very likely to take action i.e a custom audience or accurate lookalike audience.
  2. You will see more people put advertising dollars behind video to drive viewership to build regular watching schedules, get user data and receive income from pre and mid-roll advertisements.

Which predictions do you agree or disagree with? Tell us in the comments!

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