Ahh, the Facebook algorithms… one of life’s greatest mysteries.
Even though it’s not ACTUALLY listed on the un-official list of life’s greatest mysteries, it’s still a complex beast and a worthy adversary for even the sharpest of today’s marketing professionals.
Now, luckily for us, I just happen to have direct access to one of these “sharpie’s” who’s constantly hypothesizing, testing and documenting results when it comes to both the general Facebook algorithm AND the Facebook Advertising algorithm… and he recently shared something with me that has been shown to have a dramatic affect on the results achieved from Facebook ads, and the dollars spent running them.
The secret lies in something called The Dark Web of Trust.
OK, I before we go too far I have to admit I’m fibbing a little… because I totally added the Dark part in for the dramatic effect because it just sounded cooler. It’s ACTUALLY called My Web of Trust but that’s just kinda boring if you ask me.
Anyway, My Web of Trust isn’t some new thing. In fact, it’s been around since 2006, and part of Facebook’s algorithm since partnering with them in 2011. Remember seeing the below warning when clicking around in Facebook?
If so, that’s the Web of Trust in action… AND shame on you for clicking something you shouldn’t have!
Basically, My Web of Trust is a crowd sourced/machine learning website (with accompanying Chrome browser extension) which allows users to rate the trustworthiness (and child friendliness) of other websites. Their rating scale is pretty basic, as seen below. Green circles are good. Red are bad.
Now, I don’t think it’s a secret that Facebook has been using the ratings platform as a way to determine if content being shared is appropriate and relevant… but what has been a little more hush-hush is that it’s now playing a larger role in the Facebook advertising policies and guidelines. Notice it’s now been added under the Landing Pages and Destination URL’s section? (OK, who am I kidding – I doubt anybody else will have noticed that except me… errr, I mean, my “sharpie” marketing professional friend that I mentioned earlier)
So, what does this mean?
Well, for starters, it means that it’s part of the review process in determining if an ad gets approved or not. I would imagine any site with a green rating flies right through the approval process. The various shades between green and red probably get a manual review, and red gets a quick “no way”.
It also apparently plays a factor in the cost of running your ads. Testing has shown that ads with a better rating have a lower cost per click/interaction.
How can I find my ad’s rating?
First off, you’ll need to download the Chrome browser extension I mentioned earlier. This will then start displaying the rating circles next to links in search results, websites and most importantly… Facebook, where you can preview your ad and see the URL’s rating.
Here’s an example of an ad displaying a neutral rating. If you find your site has a neutral rating, don’t worry, it’s not necessarily a negative… it just means that nobody has rated your site yet. Solve this problem by asking a couple friends to download the extension and rate your site from their computers.
The largest problem that I’ve been seeing with our clients and other real estate friends I’m connected with through Facebook is when they’re using one of the landing page software platforms such as Unbounce, or LeadPages to promote things like home valuation lead capture pages.
The issue stems from the inherent way these platforms are built, and using subdomains for each individual page. Don’t get me wrong, both are great platforms… but when they have hundreds of thousands of people creating landing pages, there are bound to be some bad apples that potentially ruin it for everyone else by publishing shady content.
How do we remedy this situation?
If you’re using one of these lead capture, funnel building software platforms and you find your ads have a low trust rating, don’t fret… all is not lost.
It’s actually a pretty simple fix.
Basically you just need to purchase your own domain and set this to redirect (and mask) to your landing page. Most the larger platforms even allow you to do this from within their platform.
This would look something like this:
Your new URL -> example.com would forward to your landing page -> myhomevalue.unbounce.com.
The beauty of this is you should basically be starting from scratch when it comes to the rating, unless you inadvertently purchased a domain that had a previous bad rating.
From there, you can bribe some of your family and friends to give your site a good rating and you’ll be good to go.
We’ve found that by having a higher trust rating, content is considered safer to share, and therefore will display more often in the natural newsfeed of your friends along with more frequently and cheaper as a sponsored post or ad, so it’s really a win-win.
Now, go forth with your new knowledge and take advantage of having cracked the code (even if it is only ever so slightly cracked) and as always, if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or find me on Facebook.