Facebook API changes and how they affect marketers

Facebook is renowned for the frequency with which they update their social media platform. Most of the time it is to improve user experience or to add new and exciting features. However, some Facebook API changes present marketers with yet another reason to have to re-adjust their strategies.

The full backlog of Facebook’s API changes is available on their website. Here, we discuss the most recent and impactful changes, along with our suggestions.


Recent Facebook API changes

Rate limits for page management apps

This change applies to all who use a social media management tool (app) to schedule and manage their Facebook Business pages.

From July 11, 2016 rate limits for page management apps have changed from global to individual.

All apps are rate limited based on daily active people (DAP) – the higher your app’s DAP, the higher the rate limit threshold.

It used to be the case that rate limits applied to apps globally, including all of their customers’ pages. With the change, rate limits now apply to each individual Facebook Business Page. This means that each page has its own dedicated quota which is a ratio between their posting frequency and DAP.

The Page level rate limits will follow a 24-hour sliding window with the limit being 4,800 calls per engaged user per 24 hours for any given Page. We will also track CPU time and total time used by the calls.

To simplify, there is a limit to how much an can app can interact with your page, this includes publishing or liking posts as well as commenting. In order to increase this limit, you will need more people to engage with your content. Bear in mind that the 4,800 calls are roughly equivalent to just a few posts per day.

If your business page makes more calls than it has been allocated, an Error Code 32 will be produced which will prevent you from publishing your posts for the next 24 hours. On Sendible, this error will read Error on Sendible: (#32) Page request limited reached.


What happens if you’ve received the Error Code 32?

Don’t panic. While you may not be able to publish posts, you will still have access to your Facebook page. The posts you have scheduled in the future will bounce, but it is best to pause them. Every time you attempt to post another message on Facebook (including likes or comments), your total amount of calls will increase, thus potentially increasing the duration of the lock-out.

Facebook guidelines say that it takes 24 hours for your page-level rate to refresh. For some accounts, the “ban” can go on for as long as seven days. Take note that this lockout applies within the app only – you can like, comment and share messages via Facebook natively for the time being.


How does this Facebook API change affect Socialtap customers?

When the limit applied to apps as a whole, it was possible to request an extension to rate limits if required on behalf of customers. This is no longer possible as both your page and how active you are is your own responsibility in Facebook’s eyes. This means that you have to follow Facebook’s rules and guidelines, even if you schedule posts with our social media management software.


What do we suggest?

Facebook aims to prevent spam and reduce the number of posts that are not engaging by introducing this update. So the pages that will suffer the most are those with low activity in terms of likes, comments, shares and even engagement with other pages.

Watch your posting frequency
Under no circumstances should you be posting a dozen or more posts to Facebook on a daily basis. It’s considered best practice to post around two or three updates a day. It might also be worth checking that your content is not becoming too repetitive. Slow down on your posting if you notice that your posts are not receiving much engagement. If you do receive the Error Code 32, just make sure that you pause your scheduled messages for at least 24 hours.

Engage with others
Take time to check your news feed to engage with other Facebook Business pages. Make a habit of answering all customer queries, especially comments on your timeline promptly. It is also a great time to do some research to see if there are any new industry influencers your business should follow. Run a customer success story campaign to boost engagement even further. If the other businesses have a Facebook Business page – make sure to tag their profiles for additional exposure.

Create better social media content
Facebook largely favours video over all other content. Get inspired with these tips for creating videos on Facebook. Even short videos are effective and remember that it’s easy to upload them directly via Sendible.

It’s important to remember that Facebook is essentially a microblog where we choose to share our business updates. Facebook holds the right to change their application, restrict access if they choose to, and considering that it’s the largest and most popular social network by far, they know that they can get away with it.

Social media management software for agencies and businesses
If you don’t have a tool to help you schedule social media posts to multiple social media networks just yet, you can give Socialtap a try, completely free for 14 days.