It’s going to be okay, Mark Cuban. You don’t have to worry so much about competing with fans’ friends to get your brands’ Facebook posts in front of them. Facebook’s created a new version of News Feed just for you or any brand.
Amid the marketer outcry over their page posts reaching fewer News Feeds, Facebook said today that is has begun rolling out a “Pages Only” News Feed that will only contain content from the pages a user has liked. Inside Facebook reported last week that Facebook was testing the brand-friendly, filtered news feed, which will hit all users by the end of the day.
“We have heard from people that they want to see more from Pages they are connected to,” said a Facebook spokesperson, who made clear that the Pages Only feed won’t affect how posts get surfaced in the regular News Feed but is instead designed to surface posts that brands’ fans may not see in that feed.
That doesn’t mean that every page post will be seen by every user checking their Pages Only feed. While brands should expect their fans who are fans of only a few other brands to see every post in the Pages Only feed, that won’t necessarily be the case for users who are fans of many brands. In those cases Facebook will essentially weigh the page posts as they do any content to the regular News Feed, taking into account engagement signals to make sure the stream isn’t lame. Unlike the regular News Feed, however, users don’t have the option to toggle into seeing the Pages Only feed organized by most recent posts instead of only the top (read: best performing) stories.
Given that Facebook has corralled a brand-friendly feed in which users would likely be more receptive to marketing, will Facebook let brands run ads within the Pages Only feed? Not at this time, said the spokesperson.
Cuban may still decry that his brands won’t reach 100 percent of its fans all the time even in a brand-only environment. But if a user has fanned 50 brands and those brands post the recommended maximum of two posts per day, full distribution would mean 200 posts flooding a user’s feed, including posts such as "Brand X likes a photo" or "Brand Y updated their cover photo." Cuban even acknowledged the dangers of an overwhelmed feed in an email Q&A he did with ReadWrite. “The more stuff, the less you see; the less you see, the less you engage. All good points by Facebook,” he told the outlet, before describing that as “a reflection of overall design and strategy weakness.”
This isn’t the first time Facebook has endeavored to let users see brand content separate from their friends’ posts. Since March users have been able to set up Interest Lists populated with people or Pages they were interested in, such as a soccer list that includes David Beckham, Lionel Messi, Manchester United and Adidas. That may sound a bit more customized because it is. Users didn’t have to like a Page to add it to an Interest List. The Pages Only feed takes the opposite approach, showing only content from Pages a user has liked.