Back in October Facebook rolled out an experiment called the “Explore Feed”, moving non-promoted posts from publishers and brands to a tab on the left side of desktop feeds where Facebook said one could find content “automatically customized for each person based on content that might be interesting to them”. It wasn’t a popular move, to say the least, publishers and brands were screaming about lower organic engagement rates. An article in the New York Times said it actually amplified fake news, certainly something they didn’t intend.
Thankfully that experiment is over now, as of March 1, 2018. In their announcement, Facebook said that recent changes to the newsfeed to “prioritize meaningful social interactions” addresses feedback from users that they wanted to see more from friends and family and less from brands.
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What does this mean for Facebook users?
It’s hard to say. Facebook has been tweaking the newsfeed all along, they just didn’t always make the changes big enough to merit announcements. In 2014 they announced similar changes and we assume they are still trying to balance out the desire of users to use the platform to see updates from friends and family as well as news and information that matters to them. Some of that information is indeed from media, publishers and brands.
And for publishers and brands?
Bottom line? Brands and publishers need to listen to the reason facebook says they did this in the first place. Users don’t want to see spammy marketing content. If you want to be successful on the platform you’d best be creating ways for users to engage with you and actually care about what they want. Recent updates to organic reach reporting
Interesting, Snapchat just made a similar change. Let’s see how long that remains.