The list of Trending Topics on the right side of your Facebook wall has undergone a simple change for a more powerful impact on users. Facebook has gotten rid of story descriptions and replaced them with the number of mentions top stories get.

Story descriptions were those small summaries users saw next to topics. Mentions refer to the total number of original posts about a topic and shared posts about the topic. This could be a game-changer for your social media advertising efforts.

Story Mentions Pack a Bigger Punch

The decision to make this change is based on feedback from the Facebook community. And it was actually implemented earlier than planned to better please users. Mentions do pack a stronger punch than story descriptions for several reasons.

One reason is simplicity. Users no longer have to read through descriptions to feel compelled enough to read about the stories. This appearance largely mirrors Twitter mentions users are accustomed to seeing on the left side of their Twitter walls. Facebook was probably taking note of Twitter’s success in generating readership.

Another reason is influence. Displaying the number of mentions top stories get quickly provides insight into the impact of each topic on the Facebook community. Therefore, users are more likely to read these stories instead of skip over them. This is particularly true because top stories usually get thousands and even millions of mentions.

Just imagine the growth of user engagement you could get by incorporating mentions into your social media advertising. For example, you could create blog posts around Trending Topics and share them on Facebook. By sharing them as sponsored or promoted posts, you could generate a lot more business leads than sharing non-trending stories. If you add in the appropriate calls-to-action, your conversion rates can be much higher.

Facebook Isn’t Sacrificing Good Quality

But understand that using mentions to create shareable blog posts is not going to lead you astray in terms of quality. There are still people behind the scenes working to ensure that Trending Topics are of high quality. Facebook confirms that each topic is linked to real-world news.

The site relies on an algorithm to extract excerpts from actual news stories. These excerpts appear when a user hovers over or clicks on Trending Topics. They are chosen from top-performing articles, so rest assured you’re getting good topics to improve your social media advertising.

A Better Way to Cultivate Community

Overall, Facebook is committed to improving the ease of access to information for users in simplified ways. The new version of Trending Topics is giving people more reason to stick around on Facebook to explore exciting and controversial stories that move the masses. It’s about promoting topics that a lot of people are actually interested in and cultivating meaningful conversations about them.

Get in on the action! We are here to help boost your social media advertising with extraordinary paid social strategies. Thanks to in-house and third party partnerships, we have access to all of Facebook’s advertising units to make the most of this platform. Check out our case study outlining how our Paid Social team tested Facebook ads to put San Antonio Spurs fans in the seats.

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