Article by Katina Jaye Beveridge, ASBAS Advisor, Western Sydney Business Centre

2019 was a roller coaster ride for the social media giant that is Facebook. Although Facebook was plagued by security issues and controversies, there were also a lot of new and exciting features introduced. New policies and algorithms were also rolled out, which reshaped the Facebook advertising landscape.

With the first month of 2020 almost over, let us look back to the major changes that rocked Facebook and how these changes will affect businesses this year.

Let’s go over them one by one…

1. Data security scandal. This is a major turning point for the social media giant that pushed them into the spotlight (and Mark Zuckerberg unto the hot seat). An all-out investigation of the data breach ensued, and Facebook’s data and security policies were scrutinised. Because of this scandal, Facebook was forced to roll out various updates and it even prompted the implementation of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

2. New algorithm was introduced. Following the major data breach, Facebook revamped its Newsfeed organic ranking algorithm, placing more emphasis on relevant user content versus publisher content. This move has forced businesses to focus more on creating engaging organic content since the cost of CPM has significantly increased.

3. Launching of Facebook Watch. Video is the new king of content creation. All social media platforms are making way for it, including Facebook. Last year, Facebook Watch was released, allowing users to get their daily dose of video content. This new feature has also become a new avenue for businesses to advertise.

4. Facebook’s Stories ads. We all agree that Instagram Stories was a sure hit, and now Facebook is piggybacking on this success by launching its own Facebook Stories, including its ad format. It’s just like Instagram Stories ads, plus Facebook’s powerful targeting and measurement capabilities.

5. Facebook Pixel switches to first-party cookies. Third-party cookies are usually blocked by intelligent tracking prevention software, making it difficult for advertisers to monitor ad analytics. Some services and other web browsers have also disabled third-party cookie tracking. Hence, Facebook started offering first-party cookie options to its advertisers, making data collection and ad monitoring easier.