Media buyers aren’t seeing ad prices rise after Facebook news-feed changes
Just under eight weeks since Facebook’s algorithm change, which many expected would hike ad prices, things are mostly business as usual. That’s according to a group of top media buyers who gathered in New Orleans this week for the Digiday Media Buying Summit.
“We’ve literally had no changes happen because of this,” said Merkle CMO Adam Lavelle.
Prices were expected to rise after the change. Agency buyers Digiday spoke to said they expected brands would have to pay more for advertising in order to get the same number of views. The idea was that there would be less “inventory” available, raising prices. But agencies say this hasn’t happened — yet. “We aren’t seeing any significant pricing differences for standard brand advertising,” said Noah Mallin, head of social at WPP’s Wavemaker.
Kerry Perse, who heads social at OMD, said the biggest difference to her has been “as a user” — she sees fewer publishers. Prices haven’t gone up, she speculated, because for now, publishers are paying more money to be on Facebook, which still lines Facebook pockets. Ad revenue is up, but CPMs haven’t increased.
In some cases, Facebook ad prices have gone down. Epic Signal founder Brendan Gahan said that might be because brands had already reallocated social budgets in anticipation of CPMs increasing, which means there’s less demand, and prices are relatively low as a result.
The other big change buyers expected was “authentic” content — from friends and family, but also influencers — to become more important. When done on its own, influencer content essentially mimics content from friends and family. But the problem is that the news-feed change came on the heels of Facebook demanding that brands use the handshake tool to label influencer posts and “link” them with the brands sponsoring them. Since the news-feed change, organic reach of posts has decreased, as Facebook creates a pay-to-play scenario with influencer content because it’s now more easily identifiable, thanks to the handshake tool, said Perse.
Buyers, however, also said the news-feed changes have shifted their strategies away from publishers like LittleThings that use Facebook as a distribution channel. Those publishing partners have to either diversify platforms or, like in the case of NowThis, re-establish a website.
“I don’t think Facebook becomes a no man’s land for publishers, but there will be a steeper slope from publishers who do well on the platform and the mediocre middle who didn’t necessarily design content specific to Facebook’s environment,” said Mallin. “It also means that the cost of branded content may go up as organic contributes a smaller share of views. Some publishers may choose to absorb this cost for the time being.”
The biggest effect, of course, is in organic reach. Epic Signal, which crunched numbers across its client base, found brands are seeing organic reach on Facebook decline about 60-70 percent since the changes.
Even in cases where CPMs are slightly higher because of organic reach dropping, things are still business as usual because “dark posts” — those that don’t appear in the news feed — aren’t affected. Michael Dobson, who heads social media at Crossmedia, said Facebook’s updates did not impact bid delivery or audience targeting, which is why none of these changes are having much of an impact.
“This change was made to re-engage users who are disconnecting from the platform to allow people to connect with ‘friends and family’ content being priority, what Facebook feels users are most interested in seeing,” said Dobson. “The delivery of ads remains the same.”
‘More dollars to experiential’: Why Walmart is still using experiential marketing to pitch Walmart+ — even during coronavirus crisis
The company is working with influencers and media partners to bring some of the missed “special moments” that had been canceled throughout 2020 to life.
Member Exclusive‘Don’t have the luxury of doing good’: The age of dissonance continues at this year’s ANAs — and beyond
When there’s an on-going global pandemic that’s crippling whole brand categories, it was hard to hear the CMOs speaking at the ANAs.
Twitch emerges as rising platform for beauty brands
Twitch’s over 17.5 million daily active users are gaining growing attention from companies well beyond the traditional gaming world.
SponsoredBrands are tapping gameday energy to drive engagement with content on social
As the world adjusts to the new normal, sports and entertainment publishers are faced with a challenge — with live audiences no longer able to take their seats at stadiums and arenas, how do they get passionate fans involved in the energy of the moment on social media? From the NBA to MTV, publishers had to […]
‘Show we’re listening’: Why agencies are lending office furniture, offering WiFi stipends to employees as new pandemic-era perks
With a hybrid reality in the offing, rethinking perks to include ways to make working from home better for employees has become a focus for leaders.
‘Shopping patterns will feel longer and flatter’: Gap’s CMO on preparing for holiday campaigns
Mary Alderete on the upended marketing calendar and Gap’s plans to lean into the extended holiday season this year.