Facebook is experimenting with a new, alternate News Feed set up which would remove all direct Page posts from the main News Feed and shift them across to the newly expanded ‘Explore Feed’, which would likely make it harder than ever for Pages to generate reach.This initiative is sure to raise the blood pressure of social media managers everywhere!
This new experiment – which is running in Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Bolivia, Guatemala and Cambodia – takes a far more disruptive approach. The “Explore Feed” in these regions now includes posts from Pages you follow – while Pages posts are also, as noted, removed entirely from the main News Feed, leaving it as only content from your personal profile connections.
According to Facebook’s Adam Mosseri who confirmed the news, he said:
“People tell us they want an easier way to see posts from friends and family. We are testing having one dedicated space for people to keep up with their friends and family, and another separate space, called Explore, with posts from pages.”
Mosseri also notes that they have no plans to expand this test any further at this stage.
But still, if Facebook were to find the results of these tests positive, the potential impact for brands could be significant.
“Pages are seeing dramatic drops in organic reach – [the] sixty biggest Slovak media pages have 4 times fewer interactions (likes, comments, shares) since the test. It looks like the effect in Guatemala and Cambodia is the same.”
With the Explore Feed being an alternate section of the app – which users have to not only be aware of in the first place but also click through to – exposure to Page content is taking a hit.
If this change is to be rolled out to all users, Pages would likely see a significant drop in organic reach.
With the end of direct Page posts being eliminated from the main News Feed as part of this experiment, ads are not. Essentially, this could definitively take Facebook to a ‘pay-to-play’ model to maximize exposure.The above is a screenshot from Facebook’s expanded ‘Explore Feed’ in Slovakia – note the difference in language in the two descriptions.
Thus far, the experiments we’ve seen with the Explore feed have been interesting, but not overly engaging – the Explore Feed available in most Facebook feeds showcases posts from Pages which are similar to the ones you follow, giving Facebook another opportunity to highlight potentially relevant content.
Meanwhile, Facebook also testing out some new, keyword-triggered animations.
You’ve probably seen them on posts with the words “congratulations” “Congrats” or “xoxo” (or some variation thereof.) When posted, these words appear as a different colour and clicking on them triggers a brief animation (balloons or hearts, for example.)
The social network has been experimenting with these for awhile but the company is currently updating the list of words that triggers these animations. Additions include: “rad,” “bff,” “lmao,” and “thank you so much.” All of those words will now come with their own colors and animation effects.
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