Facebook recently announced changes in users’ ability to edit link previews in both organic and promoted posts in an effort to prevent fake news sources from spreading misinformation on the platform.
Facebook began implementing the changes this week to organic posts specifically, and more changes are expected to roll out in the coming weeks and months. Social media managers will no longer have the ability to replace or directly edit the image, link description or headline that auto-populates when attaching a link to one of their Facebook posts or ads. In simple terms, once you add a link to your post, what you see is what you get.
If you’ve worked on Facebook campaigns in a marketing capacity before, you know how much brands rely on this function in order to engage audiences with their content in congested and competitive newsfeeds. Editing these fields and customizing the content allows brands to stand out, reaching targeted consumers in a personalized one-to-one conversation.
If you’re a publisher, you’re the only one who can rest a bit easier: To protect legitimate news sources, Facebook introduced a chance to indicate link ownership when a publisher creates a post that includes a link from their website. If you’re a marketer who utilizes Facebook to reach your brand’s marketing goals, read on.
By July 26, marketers will still have the ability to create unpublished page posts, but the information in the link preview will default to the information Facebook scrapes from the destination URL. If website meta tags have not been optimized for Facebook, indicating specific text and an image that’s in spec for social sharing, the link preview may display incomplete information. Without being optimized for Facebook, the post may not be aesthetically pleasing or stand out on newsfeeds, delivering a low relevance score and poor delivery.
While Facebook is keeping their cards close to the chest (our own Facebook rep wouldn’t provide much information on the future implications of these changes), our hypothesis is that Facebook will extend these new restrictions, and we should all be prepared. Whether a linked ad is created completely within Ads Manager or uses an existing page post as the content of the ad, marketers may, and likely will, completely lose the ability to edit the image, link description or headline of the ad to fit contextual needs.
As mentioned, Facebook has not officially clarified whether or not they plan to restrict link previews in every single instance, but based on their reasoning for changing previews for page posts, it seems wise to anticipate this additional hurdle and have a plan in place. We recommend making adjustments to your site now, just in case.
– Emily Williams, Strategist, Media Services: Content & Lauren Lillis, Supervisor, Media Services: Content