Engagement was the theme of the month for Facebook. September’s major updates and new features focus directly on propping up slumping user activity across the world’s largest social media platform.

A new Community Chats feature has gone into testing for Messenger and Facebook Groups, which should seem very familiar to Slack and Discord users.

Additionally, two official guides were released by Meta: one to help advertisers and the other to help creators.

Meta publishes its 2022 Signal Resiliency Guide

Targetted advertising isn’t just Meta’s bread and butter, it’s a major component of marketing plans for pretty much every business with an online presence.

So with targeted advertising becoming more limited due to Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) update, Meta is trying to get ahead of the curve by preparing advertisers for a more private digital space.

The 2022 Signal Resiliency Guide is meant to help social media marketers adjust their strategies before 3rd party app data dries up.

The ATT update can drastically limit the amount of data collected and shared by 3rd party apps with advertisers such as Facebook. Apple now provides its users with an opt-out option, designed to address privacy concerns.

Apple may be the first to introduce this feature, but likely they won’t be the last.

Meta identified the following digital marketing tactics as being at risk due to users limiting the amount of data collected about them:

  • Cross-Site Tracking 
  • Targeting & Retargeting 
  • Lookalike Modelling 
  • Measurement & Attribution 
  • Frequency Control 
  • Website & Email Personalization 
  • Ad Platform Optimization

Meta suggests future-proofing the effectiveness of digital advertising by focusing on organic search and enriching 1st-party data collection as much as possible. You can find more details here.

Community Chat feature added for Messenger and Facebook Groups

Meta is testing out a new feature for Messenger and Facebook Groups: Community Chats.

Using Community Chats users can create real-time chat, voice, and video channels directly within Messenger.

The same can be done on Facebook Groups, adding a real-time element to community discussions and updates.

Facebook has stated that “Community Chats seamlessly blends Facebook Groups and Messenger, providing a way to stay connected with your group and build deeper relationships.

Essentially they’ve taken the features that people use Slack and Discord for and added them to Messenger and Groups.

For now, Community Chat is only available on mobile and is limited to a small group of users while Facebook tests the waters to see if anyone is actually interested in these new engagement features.

Meta tells creators how to go viral on Facebook

Speaking of engagement, Meta wants to make it easier for creators to be seen so they’ve provided a guide to how content distribution works on Facebook.

In an attempt to demystify their algorithm, Meta has provided a list of questions that the algorithm “asks” itself after you’ve posted:

  1. What content has been posted? What posts are available from friends, other creators and Pages that we can show?
  2. Who might like this content? We consider a multitude of signals such as who posted the content, when it was posted, what was the topic and past user behavior, among others.
  3. How likely are people to engage with the post? We try to predict how likely a given person is to engage with your post and find it meaningful. We make a variety of these predictions for each piece of content.
  4. How interested will the audience be in this post? Based on all of the data we have gathered on the post, which pieces of content should get priority?”

The last question is a new addition, and begs the question: What is the difference between audience interest and audience engagement?

This seems to highlight Facebook’s efforts to move away from engagement-bait content (posts that will get you to react, whether it’s positive or negative) and toward interest-based content that you want to see on your feed.

The guide also touched on their shift from connection-based content distribution to a more TikTok-like content feed:

Facebook initially started as a way to connect exclusively with your friends and family – connected distribution. 

Now, we enable you to reach a much wider audience to help you grow beyond the sphere of those you know directly – unconnected distribution.”

The guide wraps up with a note that original and engaging content is still the key to winning on Facebook and a note that they will be sharing more tips and tricks for creators in the near future.