Facebook Updates For Artists You May Have Missed

Facebook Updates for Artists You Missed In August 

Facebook updates you might have Missed for artists August 2017


In another round of updates the social-media Empire just grew even bigger, but this time it could be good, possibly even great news for artists, just so long as you want to put your art and maybe yourself in front of the camera. 

As so many of you read my article on using video for marketing your art on Facebook, the introduction of a service which is going straight for the jugular of YouTube could be a good thing, or it could possibly even be a bad thing. Only time is going to tell us for sure, but right now it is time to start preparing to watch a whole heap more video on Facebook.

For now the service is being rolled out in some parts of the US ahead of a wider rollout schedule and my guess is that if this is anything like previous Facebook rollouts, we will see it spread across the US first, and then other markets such as Europe. Over how long this will take is anyone’s guess for now, my best guess would be within six to twelve-months as Facebook build up quality programming. As with any video platform, content is king. If there's nothing worth watching then no one will be tempted, if there's a tenth of Netflix’s library it will be a different story. 

Unless you are watching it, or have been invited to create programming at least initially it won’t let just anyone upload their latest work in progress to the service, but in time you can bet that this will be something that will happen. 

Facebook will be going for a similar market to YouTube and we can be reasonably confident that a monetisation strategy will be in place. That will no doubt come through advertising just as YouTube do with their video however, I expect that at least initially the monetisation option will be for chosen partners, when it comes to a wider release and at the point us mere mortals can upload, there’s likely to be a ceiling you will need to meet before you can monetise. 

So why is this new platform so important? We know from my earlier article that video is the future of Facebook so with that in mind, what we are likely to see here is a platform which adds something a little different to the way YouTube works, and that’s real time collaboration and interaction.

That makes sense because Facebook is a social-media platform first and foremost and engagement, interaction, community, and collaboration is what it is built on. How this will work in practice is clear even now. 

Facebook have already suggested that Watch will have live comments and this will allow you to view what your friends are saying about the same show they are watching even at the same time. We also know that there is a strong possibility that Watch programmes could be linked to Facebook groups, in which case a whole community of group members could be watching and commenting at the exact same time.

This is potentially where visual artists will see an in to the platform. In my other article on using Facebook groups for artists I picked up on the fact that groups were becoming a critical element of the Facebook eco-system, so consider this reaffirmation that I was right!

The three things that Facebook needs are:

  1. Revenue – they will get 45% of ad revenue from the programming on Watch
  2. Community – Mark Zuckerberg has previously likened Facebook to a church and he has a strong vision of community, so he will build on this and I predict that we’ll see much more of a focus on collaboration. 
  3. Relevant content because ideally Facebook never ever want you to go anywhere else to consume content. They already want you to natively post on the platform so we can be certain that keeping you engaged on the platform is another key area they will be looking at. 

They also need data but this drives the three other core elements that they need, the more they know about you, the more relevant the platform becomes. I just wish I could be able to see its evolution a hundred years from now. 

What this means for us artists though is that we will at some point have another marketing opportunity. Not too many of us have probably considered a life where we film our work and go in front of the camera, but at a guess this is what we will need to do in the future if we want to keep getting seen on the platform. 

Or, it could be a collaboration of artists coming together and having their work shown by someone else. The way we consume online is going to be very different in the next five years even more so than it is today compared to how we consumed online just a couple of years ago. I say five years, you know it could even be two years. 

So if we are going to continue using it as a marketing platform, we are definitely going to need to adapt. 

Imagine groups who centre themselves on using video, this is a complete game changer and will change the way we view and interact with social media in the future too. If we get ahead of the game now, it should make gaining engagement and traction a little simpler in the future. 

The platform will be going for the niche areas where visual artists historically fit well into. They’re not going after  Netflix, that's a market which for the mid-term is owned by Netflix. We are seeing evidence of Netflix’s over-saturation of the market as membership starts to level out, at some point in the next twelve months you can bet that there will be changes on Netflix too. 

What Facebook more likely want is the market that sits on YouTube which shows factual entertainment such as cookery, fitness, sport, and travel, and this is where the arts fit right in perhaps through a culture channel. Game of Thrones will always look better on a big screen (you know I still haven’t seen any of them!), but for mobile consumption, those niche areas are where they will be focussing.

If Facebook get this right and they’re not in a hurry, Facebook Watch could be the next big thing to disrupt social-media. As artists we need to be prepared.

My current take on how we prepare for this is to start dumping the YouTube branding on the video’s we create to upload to YouTube. Continue to upload them there in the meantime, but get yourself prepared to upload them to Facebook in the not too distant future. I also have a feeling that monetisation will be easier through Facebook as they will want to encourage professional users to add content, and keep it away from YouTube. 

Facebook Watch new video platform

What else did Facebook do this month?

They’ve been busy in the valley. Finally it appears that they are doing something about the financially motivated bad-actors (in the words of Facebook) who often use a technology called cloaking to get around the review processes on the platform. 

What this simply means is that they are now taking steps to get rid of those posts and links to websites which violate Facebook’s community standards and advertising policies. 

What happens is that those bad-actors provide a link for the Facebook reviewer and another link for the Facebook consumer. When the reviewer see’s the webpage they’re taken to a fluffy world of bunnies and sunshine, but when the consumer (me and you) click on the link we’re often taken to a world of depravity and advertising. 

Cloaking is as Facebook suggests, both deliberate and deceptive, so hopefully this new approach will start to have an impact soon and action will be taken on those pages that currently use the technique. 

Updates to clicks and impression reporting

Some changes have now been made and Facebook have removed unintentional clicks on ads in the audience network and new ad impression reporting. What this means is that if ads are placed in a position where they could be clicked on by accident rather than intent. Often ads are placed in exactly the right area of the screen and whenever a user clicks somewhere in that region the ad appears.

This is good for publishers, a click is a click and ad revenue gets paid out, and that’s why we see so many people set up their sites like this. For the end user it’s not a great experience and often leads to frustration. 

So anything that lasts less than two-seconds in follow through after the ad is clicked no longer generates the ad revenue. 

They have also made changes to the Gross Impression metrics and Auto-refresh impressions metrics.

Links to faster loading webpages have been looked at too, so links which link to a slowly non-mobile optimised web page could see a decline in referral traffic from Facebook. 

If your current webpage for your art portfolio isn’t optimised for mobile or has slow loading times, then this is going to affect the number of people getting the opportunity to see your latest post linking to your site. 

You’ll need to make some changes to your website if you can, although I know that this is not always possible. Perhaps now’s the time to make a change if you’re not already optimised for mobile though.

What’s going on with groups?

The latest release of Group Insights for group admins has now been live for a number of weeks and it is proving to be really useful. I shared the information from The Artist Hangout and The Artists Exchange groups and produced a couple of simple infographics and a couple of videos giving group members some insight as to when to post and who the core group audience is. 

I plan to periodically do this and I will be publishing future updates on my Facebook Business page and on my website (http://beechhousemedia.co.uk) so that members can take a look. 

I purposely chose not to directly post future data within the groups because A) I need the traffic! B) Only those who are serious about professionalising their posts are likely to go and view it. 

Membership request filtering has saved me some much needed time. At 11pm exactly one month ago, I spent almost two hours going through membership requests in a single sitting! Now I can filter out those historic groups of people who I know are more likely to just make drive-by posts in the group, and the removed member clean-up has proven to be useful too. With larger groups it is not surprising that some posts have to be deleted, and my new stance is that if anyone hasn’t read the rules of posting, then posts twice or more with the wrong type of post, I will remove the member. 

It’s not fair to all of the thousands of members who get it right, and honestly, we’re all good for Roy Bins sunglasses, but thanks anyway and bye. Honestly if I were in charge of Facebook, I really would put these nuggets on another type of watch list!

Group to Group linking is also rolling out and if you are a member of the Artists Exchange, The Artist Hangout, or the Artists Directory, then you will have noticed that two of the other groups show up as recommended by the admins. I have also recommended a group called Breaking Arts and Music which although it’s not one of mine, is managed by my good friend Joshua and it’s a great group of people.

What else is new?

Just when you thought metrics through Facebook Insights tool couldn't get any more useful, they did!

Video reshape metrics are being rolled out to give video creators even more granular data about the re-shares that video posts get from business pages. You can expect to see a retention graph, average watch time, thirty-second views, and a breakdown of auto play, click to play, unique and repeat. 

For us artists who often release our works in progress as videos, this is exactly the type of date that could prove really useful. If you find that many viewers leave before the end, or perhaps they watch with or without sound (sound metrics are a thing now too), it could give you some guidance as to where in the video you need to focus on more. Could it be that you need to place a call to action much sooner than you currently do? Well, these metrics can say a lot about the videos you are posting. 

Facebook will also be detailing which pages are also sharing your video, and this is another great opportunity to see just how far and wide your reach is. Seriously if you are not using video as a marketing tool for your art yet, you really do need to start using it now. 

Facebook Camera…

GIFs were a thing back in the day when the Internet was young and way too colourful. Those who were born in the age of the GIF will know exactly what we can expect with the new video features coming to Facebook very soon… the ability to create GIF images within the app itself. Oh great. 

I say that because at one time every website had pages full of GIF images slowing down your paltry 28k dial up internet connection, now it seems history is to repeat itself with Facebook giving users the opportunity to choose between video, live video, and GIF. 

The worry for those of us who were raised in the world of GIFs is that they will be misused entirely and everyone who was born Post 1999 will want to create a GIF. The other worry of course is that the algorithm for a while will support and promote GIFs and it will be at this point when spam posts start appearing. Remember I called this one!

You will also be able to finally live stream just audio, which will be especially handy if you want to create a pod cast type event about your art, and do it live. 

Personally I know of no one who uses stories on Facebook but apparently it too is a thing and will soon be available to selected users on desktop. This is one area where Facebook are failing yet they seem to want the feature to succeed. My best guess is that if it isn't being used on mobile, it won't be used on desktop, but we shall wait and see!

In the world of paid advertising, Facebook are starting to increase the number of people who get to see ads in the Messenger app. Usually the thought of advertising in a Messenger app fills me with dread, but the possibility of using it as a platform to more carefully focus our often limited advertising budgets could turn out to be quite appealing. 

Continuing with paid advertising, whenever you create a paid impression for an event, you will also soon be able to attach an RSVP to the invite. This will be ideal for gallery events and art fairs, so could be a worthwhile investment if you have any exhibitions coming up. 

Clicks and ad impression more generally will also see an upgrade, so it is clear that Facebook are really going after the paid advertising market to monetise even further. 

What you might have missed…

Did anyone notice a new entry in the settings called “Find Wi-Fi”? Well it's now available and it will allow users to find Wi-Fi hotspots through businesses that have shared their Wi-Fi through Facebook. 

It's a useful feature if you are stuck for a signal but of course there's the inevitable downside that you always have to have the app tracking your location in the background even when it's not in use. Yes, I was thinking the very same thing, is this how your movements could be tracked? If it is I wouldn't worry too much about it, everything is tracked everywhere, not just by Facebook!

This though is where gallery owners could really offer a benefit to the community and being in potential customers. If you own a gallery and are able to share a little bandwidth, people who need a signal might just be more inclined to visit you. 

Click bait is now being targeted by the algorithm and now it's also moving to impede the spammers who consistently post everywhere in a short space of time. Chatter from the valley suggests that posting fifty plus links per day will get you targeted as a spammer, or more specifically as Facebook like to say, de-prioritise posts. 

Changing Titles…

In an attempt to get rid of those pesky click bait posts with sensationalist headlines, the ability to edit a link preview, its image, title, and text, is being removed entirely. Whilst this is bad news for spammers and scammers, it is kind of good news for the rest of us. 

For publishers of legitimate content, Facebook are working on tools to support them but this at least should reduce significantly the number of hyped up headlines we see that turn out to be gateways to fake news and scams. 

Protecting your profile photos…

If you have ever watched Catfish on MTV then you'll know just how many people steal the profile pictures of others. This is one of the reasons why I have never really bothered with a profile photo, all too often they get swiped and used in fake profiles. 

India is where profile picture protection is being tested right now and if all goes to plan I'm confident that the feature will be available elsewhere too soon. 

A profile picture guard which allows you to set restrictions on downloading, sharing, or sending your profile picture in a message, the ability to restrict screenshots being taken (especially useful for artists), and the ability to prevent others from tagging themselves in your profile picture are just some of the features that are and will in time become available. 

In the meantime one of the best ways to protect a profile picture is to create a transparent png image of your website address or logo and apply it over the top of the photo you intend to use. This is easy enough to do in Photoshop, and it's one of the better ways to ensure that your photo isn't used maliciously elsewhere. 

Whilst this won't guarantee that your picture won't be used, it's a little like locking the door. It won't deter the most persistent but they're more likely to not bother trying to scrape it if there is some additional effort involved in making it less specific. 

More fun with video…

I know we keep coming back to using video, that's for good reason though, it is more and more relevant. What you may have noticed is that Messenger now allows you to add design elements such as animated reactions, effects, filters and masks to photo and video in messages, and now you can also add some fun design elements to Facebook Live video too. 

Keep up the good work!

Hopefully you will have found this series of Facebook Marketing for Artists posts useful, and I would like to thank each and every one of you who have reached out to let me know that you have been putting some of the ideas to work. 

The good news is that whilst this series was only intended to be run over the summer, I am planning to keep on creating Facebook Marketing for Artists posts for a while longer, or as long as you tell me you want them, and I also plan to get back to talking about the art world more generally too.

I am hopeful that I will also soon be able to give you the details of my new book and some of my new artworks, and of course I will be creating the official artists directory to compliment my latest Facebook group, The Artists Directory. 

If you want to know how to monetise your Facebook activity I am now writing an article which will give you a few ideas on how this can be done without breaking any of Facebook's community standards! 

Some of the new Facebook Masterclass for Artists posts I have lined up include:

  • Overcoming the fear of Facebook
  • Increasing Facebook Engagement 
  • Picture perfect posts on Facebook for artists 
  • The Future of Facebook for Artists
  • Security for artists on Facebook 

And many more and of course I will be keeping an eye out for new features. If you've noticed the most recent design changes I will also be explaining these and their potential impact too. 

If there is anything that I haven't covered to date and you want me to write an article explaining any feature of Facebook that artists will find relevant, let me know! Chances are it's already written!

About M.A

Mark A. Taylor is a British artist who primarily works with digital mediums but still loves to paint in his studio with acrylics, watercolour, and oil. His work is sold around the world and in more than 150 retail locations across the USA and Canada. You can buy Mark’s work here.  All of his works are available on a wide range of print mediums and other products and all come with a 30-day money back guarantee. 

Alternatively, visit any branch of Framing and Art Centre, Deck the Walls, or The Great Frame Up and place an order there. If you own an ACanvas art system, you can also stream Mark’s artwork as part of your subscription. 

You can follow Mark on Facebook here, and on Twitter @beechhouseart 

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