Facebook’s News Feed Dominates Online Advertising. Their Infamous Algorithm Dictates What Posts/Ads Are Permitted. Here’s Why Your Ads Are Being Denied—And How Trigger Words Are The Key To Maximizing Reach!
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Within the last few decades, the terrains which marketing and advertising take place on have shifted drastically. An unprecedented wave of insight and practicality was ushered in with the onset of Facebook’s News Feed as a primary platform for businesses to pitch their product or service to a virtually limitless sea of potential customers. Firms connected with their audiences—people turned consumers—as these individuals perused through their timelines, happening on sponsored posts and media content that begged to be clicked. Now, whether they ultimately clicked and converted was up to the diligence and effort of the marketing teams!
While appearing in consumers’ Facebook News Feeds might be a top-level priority for most modern businesses and their CEOs, it’s a challenging ordeal to navigate Facebook’s heavily-governed infrastructure—along with the policies that run it. B2C products and services must overcome the newest status quo within Mark Zuckerberg’s globalized universe, as it has, unfortunately, not become any easier. Many disgruntled marketers have voiced their opinions and claims regarding Facebook’s sudden crackdown on ad copy and their publishers. As entrepreneur.com puts it, “…tread lightly with ads that may seem overly targeted or misleading in any way, as the platform has begun rejecting ads at a far greater rate than ever before.” The reason? Found in between the lines as trigger words!
Ad rejection happens to be one of the biggest issues with marketing firms and their clients, and it’s all thanks to Facebook’s infamous algorithm, which experienced a massive revamp within the last few years. This algorithm seems to rely heavily on word choice, or more specifically, trigger words to determine an ad’s eligibility. This digital renovation has left many a business owner scratching their heads, wondering why their sponsored content won’t get approved—or even worse—why their profiles and social accounts were in jeopardy of being flagged or shut down. Facebook, cryptic as ever about its inner mechanics or judgement calls, boils the reasoning down to relevancy, authenticity, recency, identity, and community—the tenets it has firmly kept intact since its inception. How can your company or organization abide by Facebook’s stringent ads policy and optimize your trigger words to maximize organic and paid reach?
The Facebook Algorithm: Friend or Foe?
Facebook makes it a point to automate their algorithm to stay watchful for who is posting what kind of content, the recency within which it was posted, and whether it’s relevant to other followers—this relevancy parameter being dictated, rather subtly, by the diction chosen by publishers and content creators on Facebook. Some experts agree that a consumer’s previous interactions with a page could determine relevancy…while others theorize that Facebook is pushing your content based on trigger words within your posts!
Here’s the thing. Facebook is a platform designed for people and their experiences—and not to make people the product, as they have previously made clear. Users are there to be entertained, keep up with their loved ones and friends, and perhaps even discover interesting things online—not to be peddled or sold to with shoddy marketing tactics. As such, it’s Facebook’s responsibility to maintain a clean, relevant and appropriate domain for people to experience and share. Without those standards in place, it would be an all-out marketing war zone—much like the sites you’ve surely seen with noxious ads and banners strewn everywhere on the screen. As such, it’s necessary to monitor the type of language and trigger words being used to maintain a cohesive online atmosphere conducive for both people and businesses.
Trigger Words And Facebook Ranking Factors
Most consumer brands have historically relied on marketing messaging to construct and push their campaigns. Using trigger words such as “free, sale, limited time, join my team, follow, buy, like, share,” and so on, were the norm in traditional advertising messaging. The problem is, Facebook particularly clamps down on content which tries to force reach, fill feeds with promotional congestion or which appears disingenuous, specifically those using the kinds of words listed above. Jarring, isn’t it?
At a recent F8 Facebook developer conference, the Head of Product for New Feed, Adam Mosseri, gave an in-depth presentation to describe the inner mechanics of the News Feed and how the algorithm determines relevancy for each user. During the lecture, Mosseri noted than while the time of post creation—or recency—is indeed an important factor in deciding relevancy, the true determinant lies even deeper.
“We look at when the post was originally created. We know that recency is a really important signal for relevance, but we think it’s not the only important signal. So an example would be I have a cousin, her name is Margaret, and she actually recently got engaged. If she had posted that on Facebook last Friday and I hadn’t been to News Feed since then, and this morning my brother had posted a picture of… I don’t know, a breakfast sandwich, I’m probably more interested in Margaret’s engagement story than my brother’s breakfast sandwich, even though her story’s a bit older. But hopefully, if we’re doing our job on News Feed, Margaret’s story would show up at the top, maybe followed by my brother’s sandwich.”
Mosseri also listed out the important ranking factors for posts in the news feed as follows:
- Who posted it
- Interactions with the post
- When it was posted
- Type of content
This groundbreaking information gave marketers a clear view into the areas of focus they needed to prioritize within their posting and ad campaigns. Take Mosseri’s cousin’s engagement example. Say her Facebook post hadn’t received as many responses or likes, yet it’s still important news. How could the News Feed determine that this significant, relevant piece of information needed to be ranked on top of Mosseri’s News Feed, even above his brother’s breakfast content? The answer lies within the trigger words analyzed from the post to rank it up to the top of the News Feed!
Pay to play is the name of the game, and boosting posts or creating ads has remained conducive to any robust omnichannel marketing strategy. However, the inherent content and specific wording within your News Feed posts are, in fact, the common denominator across the board—especially for organic reach. Trigger words are the focus point through which your brand can optimize its overall strategy and the methods by which it should seek to engage and communicate with its audience. Just as the Google SEO algorithm knows when you’re oversaturating your webpage with keywords, Facebook cleverly knows when you’re disguising ad copy with over-capitalization, expletives, sensitive topics or even ads that speak too directly to consumers’ pain points. These terms can be either good or bad for your reach and reputation—and it only becomes more complex.
Facebook hasn’t actually openly admitted to using “trigger words” within its algorithmic structure, and for good reason. Think about it—the moment they make that publicly known, every third post you see will be obsessively harping over those coveted keywords. Where people would have once published genuine posts that garnered expansive reach and engagement, there would be a cluttered mess of artificially doctored content spamming trigger words to attain likes, comments and reach. This would ultimately skew the algorithm and heavily impact user experience for everybody. A far fetch from the Facebook we know and work alongside today!
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Don’t Game The Algorithm—Play Nice, Get Likes!
Certain trigger words may work to captivate impressions and likes once or twice, and a week later irk your brand’s followers to no end. Late 2017 saw Facebook announcing its lockdown on “engagement bait”—posts worded in such a way to beg for likes, shares or attention. “We will demote posts that go against one of our key News Feed values—authenticity. Similar to our other recent efforts to demote clickbait headlines and links to low-quality web page experiences, we want to reduce the spread of content that is spammy, sensational or misleading in order to promote more meaningful and authentic conversions on Facebook,” they explained in an official statement essentially outright targeting certain post types or ad copy and chocking their reach. It’s evident that the platform is adamant on establishing and maintaining its core philosophies to be centered around community and relationships, and as such, the posts and content which flows through its feeds.
As a seller and business operator, it seems nearly impossible to construct ads and make posts without using some of Facebook’s alleged trigger words. The issue doesn’t lie within the words themselves, in fact—rather, the overuse and misuse of certain words contrary to the nature of the post and its content. Alongside that, the social media giant implores publishers to vary the type of content they put out to include graphics, native video clips (Facebook’s favorite content style) and generally uplifting, growth-oriented content! For example, using ad copy which directly speaks on weight, health, beauty, anxiety, loss, failure, underachieving or other such negative self-implicating topics are almost always negated from the platform. Facebook labels these “Personal Attributes” and are usually tied to using too much “you” or “your” diction within the copy. If you are calling out viewers too frequently online, Facebook might flag and take down your ads.
Another important factor is to immerse your post or ad within the natural progression of posts within the News Feed stream. This means using stories, testimonials or recommendations to support your claims, results and CTAs (call-to-actions). Avoid being disapproved by marginally conforming your ad structure to appear similarly within a news-oriented timeline. Too many direct sellers treat their Facebook pages like one giant advertisement. They plaster a long, rambling infomercial of sales-y or promotional content which is bad for reach, let alone reputation. We suggest following the 80/20 rule for social media—80 percent social, fun posts and 20 percent promotional content.
glean.info offers the idea of a PR-style, news-oriented approach to posting on Facebook. This adheres more to the intrinsic intent of a “news feed”—to deliver educational content or pertinent life updates to each user. This can help land better ad placements, more frequent viewings and at the core, higher customer responses and conversions. Watch your click-through rates soar as your genuine, captivating ads reaches open eyes and ears whose interest is piqued by a brand that truly cares for them…rather than treating them like another sale. Not only can this assist with paid ads, but within your organic growth. Users love to experience stories and storytelling as a primary means of communication on Facebook.
To secure superior relevancy ratings from the algorithm and positive feedback from your audiences, incorporate mildness over aggression. Many marketers opt to use over-capitalized, hyper-punctuated language in their ad copy—an amateur move. This will usually invoke a negative impression from a consumer who thinks you’re yelling at them. Instead, focus your trigger words on the benefits your product/service can offer. Relay in a concise way a solution-oriented dialogue focused on how you want people to feel after they commit to your brand. Rather than “Lose 10 pounds this summer,” opt for “Feel balanced, fit and healthy this summer. Join my free Fitness Challenge!” While you may be using a negative trigger word, “free”, the overall context of the ad copy is conducive enough to clean advertising that Facebook will let it slide. Keep in mind—Facebook doesn’t hate certain words; they just hate posts that disturb their users by trying to force reach rather than playing nicely with their system.
At the end of the day, dealing with Facebook and its silent trigger words algorithm is a necessary chore that modern digital marketers must endure. Regardless of your business type or intended target audience, staying aligned with the platform’s endgame and operational mandates is key to keeping a good relationship with both your consumer base, your clients and Facebook itself! Don’t test the waters with spammy, overtly promotional content and discipline your verbiage to be increasingly geared towards positive, growth-oriented language. Within a family/friend-oriented community such as Facebook, it’s crucial to maintain your image and the content you release. This is particularly true if you want the social outlet to work with you to push your ad campaigns out in front of the audiences who need your offerings.
Play nice, get likes—it’s really as simple as that!