The Easiest Way To Stop Chasing The Facebook Algorithm

One of the things I’ve always found particularly curious is just how many communications professionals find the process of keeping up with an evolving network completely overwhelming.

This always struck me as surprising because the larger social networks publish detailed records about everything that they change, when they change it and what they’re hoping to accomplish in the transition.

It’s easy to not pay attention to this content, because it’s largely pitched towards technically minded users — making it difficult for “non-technical” people to consume.

The trouble with this is, of course, that digital marketing is a technical activity. To understand whether or not something you are doing works means taking the time to understand what actually happens when you fire up the Ads Manager and punch in an insertion order.

Without that key insight, you’re left stumbling around waiting for someone who has taken that time to explain it to you.

The trouble with that is that it’s like a game of telephone. You hear you should be doing something, so you give it a shot. It works or it doesn’t and you don’t have the necessary foundation to ask yourself why or to try and figure out how to make things work in the way you want to.

So you do what everyone who doesn’t know what’s going on does: you try a little here, explore a little there, and hope that at some point your work delivers the outcome you’re hoping for.

That’s an expensive way of avoiding a fairly simple problem to solve.

I’d like to humbly propose an alternative that I suspect adds value in nearly every situation. It isn’t flashy, and it isn’t a quick trick. The trade off it works, every time.

Ready?

Here it is:

Take the time to read the manual.

Let me show you what I mean using a recent deck I put together as an example.

That’s a long view, so feel free to come back to it, but I want to highlight a few details.

For the last few weeks, a number of advertisers have complained that their promoted videos have featured ads for other advertisers.

The reason for this isn’t “magic,” and were you reading the platform documentation, you wouldn’t have been surprised by it.

When you sign up for Facebook’s Suggested Placement feature, you actually opted-in to this. It was right there in the terms you didn’t read.

Were you following the updates to the Graph API you would know that in version 2.9 Facebook has moved away from this “automatic” association. You’d know which service you opted in to and how to change it.

You’d be ahead of the curve knowing that “paid” and “organic” views for videos are being depreciated. You’d know just as soon as anyone how to use dynamic product ads to load more than one image for a product without resorting to creating an identical product catalog — a workaround that will be depreciated as the update propagates through the network.

You’d be able to chuckle at the plethora of ‘the sky is falling’ posts that seem to pop up every time a “change” happens.

There’s a wealth of content out there that you can be quite useful when you’re just starting out, when you’re overwhelmed and you’re trying to get acquainted with a new world. That great stuff isn’t a replacement for taking the time to learn: it’s a shortcut to getting started.

Don’t rely on someone else to be the gatekeeper of your knowledge, take the initiative to really, truly become a lifelong learner.

Oh, and if you’d like a deck full of all of the changes you can expect to find on Facebook as they roll out 2.9: you can download a copy HERE.