#PostTruth – Facebook’s Metric Woes
The year 2016 hasn’t been the easiest for accurately measuring your Facebook performance. In September, Facebook admitted that its average video view metrics were inflated across the board for years, and these “miscalculations” spread across reach, reactions, likes, and share counts. Four Facebook products were affected as of mid-December, including its web API, Page Insights, Video (both live and static), and most recently, Instant Articles. While agencies and brands are clearly invested in Facebook as a marketing channel, these inconsistencies in reporting could lead to distrust and draw focus to its competitors. Luckily the company is making up ground in a few trendy areas to help us forget about sketchy data practices…
We'll Do It Live
After spending millions on a splashy ad campaign, Facebook Live continues to be a talking point. Industry and consumer reception seems generally positive, and while there are valid concerns about how long it can retain a mainstream audience, the numbers don’t lie: Since Facebook began testing live video in newsfeeds in May, live broadcasts have quadrupled, pulling in 10 times the user comments of pre-recorded video, Adweek reports.
Facebook has also added live video to Instagram—another in a string of new features designed to box out rivals like Snapchat and Twitter. Displayed next to Stories, Instagram’s live video looks a lot like Twitter’s Periscope, adopting the same floating hearts and comment displays. This makes for great (or perhaps poor) timing for Twitter to integrate Periscope even more prominently within its mobile apps, making it more accessible for journalists and brands that wish to stream to their audiences. It will be interesting to see the lasting appeal for live video now that it’s being pushed heavily by most major social channels.
Around Snapchat in 60 Seconds
After more than a month of Instagram poaching its marquee features, Snapchat has added four new features: The ability to send snaps to groups, a scissor tool that lets you copy and paste a portion of your snap as a sticker, Shazaam integration, and a more robust paintbrush tool. None of these are paradigm-shifting, but Snapchat is clearly trying to up its game against its competition. It remains to be seen if Snapchat can maintain the hold on its youthful audience.
At least we can be sure that the kids love emojis… right? Maybe not. This article explains in greater detail, but here are the top takeaways:
- Brands that use emojis in their messaging are "trying too hard," according to 58 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds.
- Sound advice from David Carr of DigitasLBi: “When something is new, there’s a race to exploit it... people [should] take a step back... and ask, ‘Is this adding noise or value?’”
- For people who use emojis on a daily basis, it can be cringeworthy to see their new visual language co-opted by outsiders. And conversely, those who who don’t use emojis might feel alienated.
Great things to keep in mind as you’re looking through the latest set of emojis for the one that’ll pull your Instagram caption together.
Don't Read the Comments
Deciding how and when to listen to your audience can be difficult for online publications. And comment sections are often considered cesspools of vulgarity and hate. Some sites and outlets moderate these sections heavily, while some have blocked them outright. But others see value in open comment forums despite their flaws, citing them as an opportunity to break from the echo chamber of social media. And closing comments sections runs the risk of reducing engagement. A choice quote from Greg Barber, director of digital news projects at Washington Post: “[S]aying these people who come and speak in the comment spaces...[are] undesirable—that’s actually really dangerous for news organizations... They are, in fact, your most loyal readers—these are the people who are paying the bills.”
So given the pros and cons, how do we proceed? Barber thinks revamping the tool—and commenting is just one tool for engagement—is the key. Maybe it’s a quiz, maybe it’s a new way of engaging users entirely. Let us know if you’ve got any ideas.