Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Change in Facebook Pages Rules will affect artists marketing their art

Change in Facebook Pages Rules will affect artists marketing
their art

There's a major
change coming for those who use Facebook to promote their art. 
Facebook is changing the rules and
changing the way specific types of posts will show up in the news feed. I'm
certainly going to be having a rethink of how I promote other people via my
Facebook Page.

This is a RECOMMENDED READ for all those who have a Facebook Page and use it
to market their art and/or exhibitions.


  • The announcement comes
    in An Update to News Feed: What it Means for Businesses
  • There is a commentary
    on the change in rules in the Wall Street Journal New Facebook Rules Will Sting Entrepreneurs Network
    to Remove Unpaid Plugs in User News Feeds

Some numbers about Facebook and Facebook Pages

It's now very difficult to ignore Facebook when it comes to marketing art or
the importance of mobile devices for accessing Facebook.

  • In October nearly a
    billion people visited Facebook Pages (as opposed to Facebook accounts)
  • More than 750 million
    (75+%) of those visits happened on mobile devices.
  • Facebook is on three of
    every four smartphones
  • More than half of the
    people on Facebook visit every day

of the changes in January 2015

This is a summary of the upcoming changes to what's allowed on Facebook
and what this means for artists.

    Facebook Newsfeed will introduce new controls for promotional posts to
    Facebook Pages.  
    Facebook aims to make Facebook Pages more engaging and enjoyable
    for consumers
    • new controls will be
      introduced to eliminate promotional posts
      (e.g. buy my art)
      from people's Facebook Page feeds
    • the change will
      be rolled out in January 2015 - which I guess means it will
      probably happen country by country or server by server

that post promotional creative should expect their organic distribution to fall
significantly over time.

     Facebook has identified a number of traits which make certain posts
    on Facebook Pages appear too promotional
    . These are:
    • Posts that solely push
      people to buy a product or install an app
    • Posts that push people
      to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
    • Posts that reuse the
      exact same content from ads
    • this is the website
      for Facebook
       ie people wanting to use Facebook to connect with
    • Businesses are recommended
      to refer to their Page
      publishing tips and best practices
    • If you need help in
      using Facebook for your business goals, they're keen to make that help
      available - see Optimise your Facebook marketing
    • my advice is to read
      what they say so you get no nasty surprises!

What this
effectively means is that all those who have been using Facebook pretty much like
their blog and alerting people to new paintings or prints being available will
find that their Facebook Feed will be effectively "buried" in future
IF it is deemed to be too promotional.

I'd also advise people to NEVER EVER 

  • share a link to
    anything remotely promoting an event or product without adding in your own

    i.e. don't just share it without offering an opinion using words which are
    NOT in the original post.
  • do not ask people to
    like your page
    in order to enter any competition for your artwork

thinking through what might be the inevitable next steps.....

For those who are using their personal accounts to share their art in an
overt way, you need to be aware that this already breaches what the personal
account is supposed to be used for. I would NOT recommend you do this on your

By all means share your art - but I'd strongly advise you don't say a
word about any commercial aspect of it.  Otherwise you too could find your
account buried.

Do make sure your website is available via your "About"
profile page.  Make sure that tells people how they can buy your art.
 In other words create interest on Facebook and engage people - but do NOT
try selling your art. Instead make them look for wherever you do sell it.

For those who are moderating Facebook Groups, it's vital that you keep
on top of spam.

  • Spam is likely to be
    seen as something that must NOT happen on Facebook in the near future - to
    a greater extent than at present.
  • You might want to think
    about the wisdom of having an open access group - as opposed to a closed
    group where you moderate access.  
  • Members of all Facebook
    Groups will be help to make sure their Group stays in a healthy state by
    reporting any spam to the Moderators as soon as you see it.

- the year of the Advertising Wars

To understand why Facebook is doing what it's doing one needs to look a bit
into the wider world of global advertising.  It also helps to
understand the wider perspective when thinking about how to tackle the problem
of marketing as an individual in an increasingly complex online world.

For example, let's think of some of the big companies who influence where we
promote our art

  • we tend to think of
    as a search company when actually it's an advertising
    company! Google's advertising revenues represent more than 90 percent
    of its total income. Google's annual report states

generate revenue primarily by delivering relevant, cost-effective online

  • Facebook is huge - but there's
    always been a query about how well it's monetised and that has been
    reflected in its share price.  Effective monetisation means closing
    off the ways of advertising for free (hence the announcement).

Plus both
Google and Facebook have to look to the new competition......

  • Apple is a hardware company
    that has become very successful at generating income via new forms of
    software (iTunes and Apps) and is now signalling that it's looking much
    more closely at pushing advertising.

Here's an early prediction for 2015 - this is going
to be the year of the advertising wars! 

What has happened so far

In terms of advertising generally

  • Traditional advertising
    media does not work as effectively as online advertising
    that can be
    programmed. For example it's incapable of distinguishing between
    advertisers who want to generate traffic from prospective purchasers now
    and those who want to increase awareness of a brand amongst those not yet
    ready to buy - but who might buy in the future.
    • As a result: advertising has
      been moving out of print and online
    • the key new trend is
      programmatic advertising i.e. adverts that automatically respond to
  • Americans now
    spend more
    time engaging with mobile devices than TV 
    • As a result, advertising has
      been moving off TV and going online
  • The ad industry is
    estimated to be worth $20 billion industry in 2016 
    • BUT it's estimated
      that $1bn of ad spend is wasted on fraudulent advertising.

In terms of

  • Google has withdrawn
    open access to its Keyword Planner
    - it's now only available to those with Google
    AdWords account for advertisers with a site and budget identified.
     That means we can't get a sense of which keywords work well for our
    • BUT Google has already
      introduced semantic search which means that keywords are in any case much
      less important
  • GOOGLE will continue to
    hammer all those sites that provide an alternative to Google advertising
     (e.g. article
    • The recent changes in
      the Google algorithm (Panda etc) probably has little to do with search
      and everything to do with advertising. If it is then that's
      anti-competitive behaviour and more than a few have been commenting on
      this in recent times! 
    • Several article sites
      were wiped out/closed down in 2014 as a result of being starved of
      traffic and advertising income - and I expect more to come. Such
      sites included ones where some artists promoted their art. 

My forecast of what will happen in 2015

  • More purchasing will
    move online
    - underlining (if needed) the importance of online advertising
  • More consumption will
    be via mobile devices
    . There has been and will continue to be explosive growth in
    mobile advertising and hence places they can deliver this become even more
  • Digital
    videos will become more important as vehicles for advertising
    ( eg which
    show people how a painting is made or art materials are used)
    if making a video do think about the scope for earning some extra
    income from advertising.  Or think about the scope for digital videos
    to point to your website and where the painting is now for sale.....
  • APPLE will begin to
    become a stronger player
    in the advertising marketplace - it's
    getting into programmatic advertising - see Why Apple Is Suddenly Poised To Take On Facebook
  • FACEBOOK will become
    more aggressive around monetisation and.....
    • become a "pay to
      play" marketplace 
    • try to become more
      dominant in the video marketplace - where they get 100% of the
      advertising revenues as opposed to sharing them with the creator as
      happens on YouTube
  • GOOGLE will continue
    with more of the same ie
    • restrict access to its
      tools to those who pay
    • hammer article
      websites which are not well controlled
  • There will be an
    increase in native advertising
    ie content which effectively advertises and
    looks as if it belongs in the context in which it is seen - but it's
    actually sponsored. One example would be an advertorial. You think it's
    editorial in an online magazine - until you spot the "sponsored
    by...." line
  • Analytics (ie reviewing
    our statistics for where traffic is coming from
    - and what it does
    when it visits our sites) is going to become more and more important
    to those wanting to generate income by promoting artwork online

Here's my "blue sky" wishful thinking.....

If somebody came up with the art equivalent of iTunes artists might enjoy the
same success as musicians and app developers. However as things stand at the
moment the online marketplace for art has not really grasped the opportunities
which exist for both artists and advertisers.


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