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  • Nicole Nowacka

Facebook’s biggest changes in 2019


As always, Facebook has carried out a multitude of updates in the past year. Updating layout and transparency have played a huge part this year, although there have also been a few new features rolling out.

Ad Transparency Facebook has faced issues concerning users’ data privacy in the past, such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Account users are demanding more and more transparency, especially in the way companies use their personal data to target ads more accordingly.

Although the Facebook Ads Archive actually launched in 2018, it only used to include political and policy-related ads, while now it also involves all active and inactive ads about anything. Facebook adopted the Ad Library idea to be more transparent with their users. With the help of this new feature’s search bar, users can search for specific ads by typing in the page names or keywords.

However, this new feature can also damage your brand, as you may have your ads reported and taken down if there is a valid enough reason. You are not only transparent with your target audience, but with everyone else, including your competitors.

Appointment Management Many businesses use Facebook to direct potential customers to their website for more information – which makes sense for the business but adds an extra ‘step’.

Without having the hassle of exiting Facebook, customers can now book appointments directly through the Facebook family of apps, including Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. The new appointment management tool gives your consumers the chance to have an easy, straightforward and instant way to select the services they are looking for and book appointments that work around their schedule based on your availability.

Video editing tool Facebook added a new video editing tool that offers a list of handy editing features, including the resizing tool, in which the video can be optimised to a size suitable to either a news feed or stories ad placement, 20 new fonts for text video overlays, more templates, seasonal and event stickers, as well as the save feature, in which you can save drafts of videos you haven’t finished editing yet, and once the video is finalised, you can download it in either HD or SD formats.

This is great for small businesses who may not have design teams but want to create a more professional looking video.

New video ranking factors

While on the subject of videos…new updates to Facebook’s ranking system aims to prioritise the way videos are distributed in the News Feed, Facebook Watch and “More Videos” recommendations. In the effort of building a better user experience and helping pages grow their audiences, the ranking is based on three factors: 1) loyalty and intent: strengthening the rankings of what people search for and videos they watch and return to; 2) video and viewing duration: more weight is added in ranking videos that are at least a minute-long, especially benefiting three-minute-long videos.

3) originality: original content is highly appreciated, as the platform aims to limit the distribution of unoriginal and/or repurposed content from other sources. If your page consists of original content, it will most likely succeed in terms of attracting and engaging your audience, so it is essential for your company to consider what type of content should be published on Facebook.

Facebook Pay

Similar to apps like Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, and Square, Facebook introduced another addition to their list of features, in which users can now pay their friends. The Facebook Pay app can be applied to Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Marketplace, which can be handy for mobile app users.

In 2020, Facebook has plans to introduce Calibra - a new digital wallet for a new digital currency. Libra is a new global currency powered by blockchain technology. The wallet will be available in Messenger, WhatsApp and as its own app.

Clear History Tool

In a previous blog post, we mentioned how the new Clear History Tool works, but just to recap, the service called “Off-Facebook Activity” gives users the ability to control their data privacy.

However, Facebook still hasn’t announced whether this tool will be internationally available.

Facebook Dating

Last but not least, Facebook launched its own dating network.

Having rolled out originally in the US, users can opt-in to Facebook Dating and make their own dating profile – separate from their main profile. People are then suggested based on the user’s preferences, interests and Facebook activity.

By default, Facebook Dating won’t match you with your Facebook Friends, but includes a feature called ‘Secret Crush’. If both you and the friend you have a crush on add each other to your ‘Secret Crush list’, you will be told.

Facebook Dating will roll out to Europe in early 2020.