ER 021: Facebook Algorithm Changes, Amazon Unverified Review Changes
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This is The Ecommerce Roundup, Podcast 21, today is January 12, 2018, I’m your host Bryan, and here’s the ecommerce news roundup for this week –
But, before we get started, I just want to apologize for not publishing a podcast in nearly 2 months! Crazy how the time flew buy. I don’t want to make excuses but I will. I was gone for Thanksgiving, and then for Christmas and New Years, plus 4th Quarter is always crazy, and then I’ve got a lot going on right now with my ecommerce business plus consulting, and to be honest, this podcast isn’t my first priority, so it does fall by the wayside when other things come up. That being said I really like doing this podcast, so I am going to try to continue to do it weekly, so please stay with me!
Anyway, enough of that. I’m sure you’re not hear to listen to me get personal. Let’s get into today’s podcast, which is going to be a bit short, but it’s also very important.
- Facebook announced that it’s changing its algorithm again
- Amazon is cleaning up reviews, and not letting buyers leave unverified reviews
- Wall Street Segment
Facebook changing its algorithm again
Facebook announced this week that it’s changing its algorithm so that people see more content from their friends and family. Basically Facebook is concerned that the user experience is bad because people are seeing too much in the news feed related to brands and ads.
On the surface this sounds bad for us as ecommerce businesses, right? And I’d agree with you if you think so.
Facebook is facing an issue of people not using it as much as they used to. And of course this is a major problem for them. If there aren’t users on the platform then Facebook goes away. End of story. It’s critical that they find a way to keep people on Facebook and to keep people coming back.
What’s interesting is that lately there have been reports coming out about how bad Facebook is for your own psychological and emotional health. And I fully agree with this. There’s nothing that can take you from a great mood to a terrible mood as fast as seeing your ex living an amazing life on Facebook. Or seeing your childhood friend vacationing in Tahiti while you slave away at the office. Don’t get me wrong, I like Facebook too. It’s great for staying in touch with family. But it’s a double edged sword. And it seems mainstream society is waking up to this fact.
So Facebook has to communicate to people that using it is a healthy way to spend your time, and they have to keep people entertained and engaged on it so that they don’t leave. This is hard.
So what are they going to do? Clean up the news feed and prevent you from seeing things you don’t want to see.
This change might hurt your business. This change might hurt brands. Just as it hurt brands when Facebook changed their algorithm to prevent organic reach and it became pay to play.
But the reality is that Facebook is still the best place to advertise, and we have to play by their rules. So keep playing by their rules until a better place to advertise shows up.
My advice to you is don’t panic. Just adapt to it. See what will happen.
When Amazon increases their fees the Amazon world collectively loses their minds for a week. And then we all just go about our business as usual. Why? Because Amazon is still the best place to sell. So all in all, I wouldn’t lose sleep over this. Business is full of challenges and this is just one more to add to the list.
Now, what to do practically about this right now? Double down on ads that are working.
Build up your pixel list so you can make custom audiences. If Facebook makes it harder to reach people your lists are going to become even more valuable.
But, to be honest, this isn’t great advice, because if you had ads that were working, you’d already be doubling down on them, right?
If not, you should be.
I don’t think Facebook is going to drive away advertisers. They need us. But they also need their users. They’re in a tough position so let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and see what happens.
Amazon cleaning up reviews and not letting buyers leave unverified reviews
So this is a big deal.
I’m seeing Amazon reviews removed from products across the board.
The reviews being removed are unverified reviews, so clearly Amazon is going through a clean up phase right now.
Whenever Amazon does this, it’s always nerve wracking.
Why does this matter?
Because it’s making getting reviews for your listings even harder than it already was.
When Amazon took away incentivized reviews, getting reviews got much harder. Now it’ll be even harder.
Even though incentivized reviews have been gone for awhile, you could still have people leave reviews for your products when they bought the product at a discount, or even when they got it for free, or even if they never even ordered it. None of this was against Amazon Terms of Service as long as they didn’t leave a review because they got a free or discounted product. Leaving a review was always the prerogative of a buyer, no matter what.
Now, buyers can’t leave reviews for products that they recieve at a discount or that they don’t buy at all. Amazon doesn’t even give them the option.
I’m hearing reports now that unless a buyer buys the product for at least 80% of the price, then Amazon doesn’t let them leave a product review.
This is a big change.
It’s also a big change for services like Viral Launch or Zon Blast, because even though those services were never review services and they never advertised as review services, if you used one of those services you were still going to get reviews. Now if you use Zon Blast or Viral Launch you’ll probably get zero reviews. And using those services is now way less valuable than it once was.
So what do you do? What’s the solution here?
You have to up your marketing game.
You need to build your own launch list. You need to build an email list. You need to build a list of people who love you and who will review your product even when they purchased the product at full price.
I’m not going to cover how to do this on this podcast because it’s a huge topic and I’ve touched on it briefly on past podcasts. If you want to know how I do this, email me at email@example.com and we can speak about it.
But, just know that everyone now is struggling to get reviews. If you’re struggling you’re not alone.
This is also upsetting because this is creating a rich get richer situation on Amazon. Meaning the products with thousands of reviews will just get more reviews because they’re selling so much. It’s becoming much much much harder to launch a new product or new brand on Amazon. I hope Amazon does something in the near future to help new products and brands get some exposure.
This topic is also related to Facebook changing their algorithm, because we use Facebook ads to build our outside list of buyers. So with the Facebook changes I know that things look uncertain now, and this podcast hasn’t been good news, but now that you know about these changes you can be prepared and start making adjustments.
I hope the fall out from the Facebook algorithm changes and the Amazon product review cleanup is short lived and we can all go back to 2017, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen.
So stay up to date and stay in the game. There’s still plenty of success to be had using Facebook Ads and selling on Amazon. So don’t get discouraged.
I’ll update you as I learn more and come up with new ideas to adjust to the changes.
Wall Street Segment
Alright, and now our wall street segment.
The stock market is booming. It’s really amazing. Facebook stock is down because of their algorithm changes announcement. I think it’s a buy. Facebook is a great company and they make the right moves all the time. Remember when they bought Instagram for 1 billion and people thought they were insane. Or when they bought WhatsApp for tens of billions and people thought they were insane? Those were good moves. In Zuck we trust.
In 2018, I still like ecommerce, online payments, tech, and cryptocurrencies. I dislike retail although Target is doing well.
I’m predicting the Democrats will win the House in 2018, and the stock market will see at least a 5% fall.
I’m predicting Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency space will come under intense government scrutiny around the world. If you play in the cryptocurrency space, just make sure you don’t put in more than you can afford to lose.
And last, invest in yourself. The best investment you can make in 2018 is the investment in your business and in your personal growth. This is not a woo woo podcast so I’m not going there, but I’m a big believer in this. Maybe someday I’ll get sensitive and let you guys in. But not today.
So that’s it for today. Thanks for listening.
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Also, I want to offer you a free 15 minute ecommerce strategy session with me. We can talk about whatever you want. Amazon, Facebook ads, Wall Street, you name it. All you have to do is leave this podcast a review. Then, take a screenshot of your review and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. So leave a review right now, and email me a screenshot of the review to email@example.com and then we’ll schedule a time to speak.
Also, I’m putting together a mastermind of experienced ecommerce business owners so we can compare notes and help each other grow. The mastermind is going to be free, and it’s only for business owners who are doing over a certain minimum revenue per month. So it’s not for beginners. It’s for intermediate to advanced ecommerce business folks. Sign up at www.azmarketers.com/mastermind and I’ll keep you posted. I do see people signing up for this and I apologize that I haven’t gotten back to you yet. This is in the works for 2018!
And last, if you need any help with your ecommerce business, we’re at azmarketers.com.
Until next time, keep selling and keep growing.