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Facebook Cleans Up News Feed Spam: What it Means for Car Dealers

Facebook Moves to Clean Up News Feed Spam:

What it Means for Car Dealers

Facebook's management team announced a series of improvements to News Feed to reduce stories that people frequently tell Facebook are spammy and that they don't want to see. The goal of these changes is to make sure that each Facebook user's News Feed delivers the right content to the right people at the right time, so everyone on Facebook sees the stories that are important to them. Facebook has published several articles explaining how these improvements will impact automotive marketers, car dealers and other businesses on Facebook.
First, a bit of context to make this relevant to automotive marketing professionals... Many of the "spammiest" stories being published on Facebook Pages are posted by administrators deliberately trying to "game" or "organically optimize" the Facebook News Feed algorithm (Edgerank). This is designed to get more distribution and user views than their content normally would, or genuinely merits. The vast majority of car dealers on Facebook are not posting feed spam, so most dealerships and their social media marketing resources should not be negatively impacted by the latest Facebook News Feed changes. If anything, businesses such as car dealerships who post content and updates that they sincerely believe to be of genuine interest to their Page Fans may see an increase in News Feed distribution (maybe).
However, Facebook Page Admins and Publishing Service Providers used by car dealers who are frequently and intentionally creating News Feed spam will see their content distribution decrease over the next few months.This is a necessary and essential part of Facebook enhancing the user experience of their valued members.
In particular, Facebook is targeting three broad categories of Page originated News Feed spam:
1. Like-baiting
"Like-baiting" is when a post explicitly asks News Feed readers to like, comment or share the post in order to garner additional distribution.

People often respond to posts asking them to take an action, and in the past, this has resulted in these type of posts getting shown to more Facebook users, and/or get displayed higher up in each user's News Feed. However, when Facebook surveyed people and asked them to rate the quality of these stories, they reported that "like-baiting" stories are, on average, 15% less relevant than other stories with a comparable number of likes, comments and shares. Over time, these stories lead to a less enjoyable experience of Facebook since they drown out content from friends and Pages that people really care about.
The improvement Facebook made to their News Feed algorithm better detects these stories and helps ensure that they are not shown more prominently in News Feed... This prevents such spammy posts from showing up in a user's news feed higher than more relevant stories from friends and other Pages more focued on delivering real value to their fans. This update will not impact car dealership Pages that are genuinely trying to encourage discussion among their fans, and focuses initially on Pages that frequently post content that explicitly asks for likes, comments and shares.
What this means to car dealers and automotive marketing professionals:
Car dealers and their marketing service providers should focus on posting content that is relevant and interesting to your dealership's target audiences. It's OK to encourage discussion about your posts' content, but you should avoid asking for likes or shares as a short-cut that eliminates the need for actual value in getting your fans to take action that gets your post more distribution.
2. Frequently Recirculated Content
People and Pages on Facebook frequently reshare and repost great content from a variety of sources... However, Facebook users have been telling Facebook managers that there are occasionally instances where photos or videos are uploaded to Facebook over and over again. Facebook has determined that many people tend to find these instances of repeated content less relevant, and are more likely to complain about the Pages that frequently post them. Facebook has improved the News Feed algorithm to de-emphasize Pages that repeatedly post the same or similar content.  Facebook's own testing shows that this change causes people to hide 10% fewer stories from a dealership's Pages overall.
What this means to car dealers and automotive marketing professionals:
In order for your Facebook marketing communications strategy to be effective, you will need to develop a publishing strategy that uses original content and is not copied from other sources... Such as 3rd party social media marketing service providers that re-purpose the same content for use by hundreds or even thousands of dealerships.
3. Spammy Links
Some stories being posted by Facebook Page admins and which have shown up in user News Feeds in the past have used inaccurate language or formatting to try and trick people into clicking through to a website that contains only ads or a combination of frequently circulated content and ads. Often these stories claim, or mislead users to think that they link to a Facebook photo album for the vehicle or model described, but instead take the viewer to an outside website with just ads or sales event announcements. This sort of false promise made by the text added to links shared by a Facebook Page via the admins assigned or outside service providers will no longer be allowed to be seen by Facebook users.
Facebook is able to better detect spammy links by measuring how frequently people on Facebook who visit a link choose to like the original post or share that post with their friends. The update Facebook has made reduces cases of these spammy links showing up in a user's News Feed, regardless of whether they have liked that car dealer's Facebook Page or not... In Facebook's early testing they have seen a 5% increase in people on Facebook clicking on links that take them off of Facebook. This is a big increase in the context of News Feed and a good sign that people are finding the remaining content in their News Feed more relevant and trustworthy.
What this means to car dealers and automotive marketing professionals: 
Automotive Marketers who are linking to their own legitimate dealership or car company websites will not be affected by this update. Dedicated microsites that have genuine and robust content which focuses on the specific topic of a Facebook post will be deemed ideal, as will deep links to specific pages within a dealer's website which are most relevant to the topic posted with the link on Facebook.

Ralph Paglia | President 
Automotive Media Partners, LLC

Las Vegas, NV 89108

Views: 632

Tags: Car Dealer, Content Marketing, Edgerank, Facebook, News Feed, Newsfeed, Social Media


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Comment by Big Tom LaPointe on May 13, 2014 at 11:37am

as always, great effort and great info, ralph!!

Comment by Aj Maida on May 13, 2014 at 7:33am

Excellent info Ralph. Really, if you are treating this like you should be treating all your digital marketing efforts and make it about quality content that is relevant to the audience and delivers a consistent message then EdgeRank will work in your favor. Oh yes and don't forget to post native to the platform you are on Facebook is not Twitter which is not Google + which is not Pinterest.

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