Have you noticed? Since the end of September, ‘like’ counts and video view counts have been hidden from public view on posts across Facebook as part of a trial for users in Australia.
This follows on from Instagram’s experiment, where post reactions were de-emphasised to reduce social pressures and refocus the app on self-expression.
Users on Facebook are still able to view the total number of ‘likes’ or video views of their posts by clicking on “others”, but can no longer see the total reactions on other users’ posts. It’s worth noting that despite the change, business accounts and influencers are still able to access data insights to measure the engagement levels and success of their content.
As Facebook owns Instagram, it was only a matter of time before the social media giant followed suit and introduced the test to the Instagram platform. This time, Australia has been chosen as the first country to guinea-pig the trial because of our “digitally savvy audience”.
Why is Facebook joining the trial?
With mental illness on the rise, and social media platforms copping a lot of the blame for it, it’s unsurprising that Facebook has introduced the trial in response to feedback from researchers and mental health experts.
But this move runs a little deeper than just improving the well being of its users. Since channels like Instagram and Snapchat have become the go-to for documenting everyday life and in the moment updates, Facebook is now mostly used to share the big life events. Because of this, users are posting a lot less frequently, and it’s impacting Facebook’s bottom line.
This trial is just one of many more updates to come as Facebook attempts to stay ahead of the game and encourage users to stay active on site and keep posting.
The Latest Updates
At the F8 2019 developer conference earlier this year, Facebook unveiled their plans to improve user experience and reignite the spark for more meaningful interactions across the app – some of these have already started rolling out into beta-testing. Here are some of the other updates Facebook has introduced:
More Spaces for User Interactions
Studies conducted in the US have shown that users on Facebook feel pressured to only post what they believe will get a high level of engagement. To combat this, Facebook is driving its focus towards helping users find Groups and Closed Communities relevant to their interests.
The aim is to connect users with audiences who share similar interests and are likely to engage with the content users post and share.
This is particularly useful to business accounts as it provides more opportunities to organically find, grow and engage with an audience in a semi-private (as Groups usually require an admin invite or acceptance form) space.
More Opportunity for Business-Customer Interactions
Facebook will be adding lead generation templates to Ads Manager. Businesses will soon be able to create ads that drive people to a Q&A in Messenger, where they can learn more about their customers. In addition to this, Facebook has also made it easier for businesses to connect with their customers by introducing appointment booking within a Messenger conversation.
A New Way to Date
Dating has gone digital. Apps like Tinder which has 26 million matches per day and 3-4 million users in Australia alone, are capitalising on user interaction; and now Facebook wants a slice of the dating pie.
Though the update is yet to come to Australia, it’s already rolled out in the US, making it easier for users to find love. Users in the US can now start meaningful relationships through shared interests, events and even groups.
A New Way to Make Friends
Similar to Facebook Dating, Facebook’s new ‘Meet New Friends’ update is helping users find friendships with new people from shared communities, like schools, workplaces or cities. The upgrade is opt-in, so users will only be able to see others who are open to meeting new friends, and vice versa.
If you’re unsure about how these updates might impact your brand, or you need help with your brand’s social media strategy, we can help. Whatever your brand needs, we can deliver – because at NOUS, brands are what we make.
If you would like to discuss your social marketing strategy, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.