Every year since 1967, the Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, has showcased the latest innovations in consumer electronics and technology. While these unveilings have often been groundbreaking — the first home VCR debuted in 1970, and the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985 — that’s just as often not the case. Last year, for example, attendees heard about Hushme, the “world’s first mobile mask” (practical, maybe, but also terrifying-looking) and vacuum shoes, which are powered by your steps and look like something you might wear to Burning Man.

This year, though, eMarketer identified a key trend: the technology debuted at CES was grounded in relevancy, to help consumers understand how it could be integrated into their lives. Ford, for example, not only showcased driverless cars but also provided a broader vision for how those cars improve quality of life and ease traffic congestion. In a world in which even your hairbrush is sentient, brands are now tasked with helping consumers understand how technological innovations are more than just fads — that they have long-term staying power and real benefits.

Enter Facebook. During CES this year, the company announced major changes to its Newsfeed algorithm, purportedly to remind us all about why we welcomed Facebook into our lives in the first place: because it helps us stay connected to our family and friends. As Mark Zuckerberg noted in his Facebook post about these changes:

“We’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other … As we roll [these Newsfeed changes] out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

This is great news for users who have felt like they’re increasingly missing posts from their loved ones. But what does it mean for brands? We think it means five key things:

1. Generate discussion and your posts will rise to the top

Facebook said their Newsfeed algorithm will favor connections and discussions. Posts that garner a lot of likes but not a lot of comments may not appear as frequently as posts that get a lot of engagement. That means that brands seeking to maintain their organic presence on Facebook should think beyond simply encouraging fans to shop, but think about ways to post content that also invites discussion.

Take REI, for example: The brand’s recent organic posts (like this one) have centered on counteracting people’s excuses for not going outside in the cold by showcasing how REI’s products can keep them warm, and inviting customers to share photos of their winter-weather adventures. REI responds to customers who comment on their posts, which in turn invites more discussion and makes those customers feel engaged with the brand. Based on Facebook’s announcement, organic posts like this are more likely to show up in users’ feeds.

"But it's cold outside." That's no excuse! This Weekend Project, get into the winter weather and play outside. Then share your pictures in the comments below.Photo: Instagram's skandog.

Posted by REI on Sunday, January 14, 2018

2. Your paid media strategy needs to get even smarter

With these algorithm changes, brands will be increasingly competing for ad inventory on Facebook, which could drive up CPM. For marketers, it will be even more important to ensure that your ads are effective and that you’re optimizing your ad spend.

While strong creative is key to driving awareness and clicks, you’ll want to make sure your clickthrough experience is just as strong — otherwise, you risk paying for traffic that does little more than bounce and doesn’t drive effective retargeting. One solution is to use Curalate Showroom for your clickthrough experience. Showroom connects consumers who click on an image or a video in your ad to a gallery of your content and products. Consumers can not only shop the products in the original post, but also discover more through relevant recommendations.

With the ability to curate products, embed your retargeting pixel, integrate Amazon Pay to shorten the path to purchase, and allow customers to save products for later, Showroom provides a compelling clickthrough experience for customers coming from social. Because your Showroom is accessible from a link, you can use it in paid media campaigns across other platforms, like Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.

Curalate Showroom in action.

3. Increase your Facebook budget (or at least optimize it)

It’s no secret that Facebook content publishing is increasingly becoming a pay-to-play world — and the latest algorithm change only reinforces that paradigm. As a brand, you should already be used to adding some spend to your Facebook posts to stem the tide of previous algorithm changes. Expect cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) rates to increase as inventory on the platform declines. So now’s the time to up the ante. Even a relatively small budget increase can go far.

Facebook ads cost as little as $1 per day, so don’t be bashful. Jump in! Want some info on how to get started? Check out this blog post highlighting three brands with insanely clickable Facebook ads and this one breaking down the costs Facebook ads costs and which metrics to shoot for.

4. Embrace live video

Facebook has been making a push toward live video content for quite some time, so it’s no surprise that the new algorithm favors Facebook Live content. In fact, Zuckerberg said in his announcement that live video leads to “six times as many interactions as regular videos.” Remember: engaging content > passive content.

Facebook’s Adam Mosseri reiterated that point in an interview with Wired: “If [there’s] a specific piece of news or even a video we think will inspire more conversation or more interaction, that will actually do better post-launch of this change. But on average video content tends to facilitate less interactions because it’s passive in nature.” So the top videos on Facebook will get people to like, comment and share. (Of course that comes after they finish the “passive” activity of sitting back and watching the content.)

5. Instagram is now more important than ever

With 800 million monthly active users and counting, Instagram is more appealing than ever to marketers to help reach new customers, especially in light of Facebook’s algorithm changes. Finding and sharing compelling posts from your fans and working with influencers to expand your reach are two ways to maximize your organic posting strategy on the platform.

Luckily, Curalate’s new Instagram dashboard is designed to help you do this. It helps you identify top followers based on engagement rate, so you can easily find new content creators and micro-influencers from your existing fan base. It also lets you group your influencers into collections to easily keep track of their content and key metrics — like interactions, engagement rate and how their posts influence your own follower count. Invite Instagram influencers to collaborate with you through Curalate so you can approve their content in advance, then distribute it to your Instagram and Facebook accounts or enable them to post it themselves.

Curalate connects social channels to commerce, and we know channels like Facebook and Instagram are integral pieces of our client’s marketing strategies. While we can’t always predict the roadmap of companies like Facebook, we can be agile and prepared to adapt when changes like this happen so our brands never skip a beat. How can Curalate help your brand? Contact us to learn more.