Facebook now displays Questions activity in the mobile News Feed nearly a year after the product launched on the desktop version of the site.
Mobile users can finally see and answer Facebook Questions from their friends and pages. This could increase engagement for pages who use the feature to poll their fan base and could boost viral reach. However, users still cannot ask Questions from native apps or m.facebook.com.
When the product launched in March 2011, many pages found success getting more fans to respond to structured Questions than posts that posed questions in plain text. In recent months, fewer pages seem to be using the feature. This reporter’s own experience is that impressions and responses for Facebook Questions dropped significantly in the last half of 2011, underperforming compared to photo and link posts. It is unclear whether this was the result of fan apathy, Facebook no longer favoring Question posts in News Feed, more users checking the site via mobile where Questions weren’t visible or some other factor.
Allowing Questions to be viewed and answered from mobile News Feed could improve the performance of this type of post. It is also likely part of Facebook’s plan to bring ads to mobile. Companies can pay to promote page posts including Questions as ad units on the web. We imagine Facebook’s mobile ads will be in-stream versions of Sponsored Stories, not a separate offering, so the social network has to make Questions available on all devices in order to not divide its ad product.
Questions has been a somewhat neglected feature, lacking a mobile component and open API until recently. We think Questions has a future as a plugin for blogs and news sites to get feedback and engagement from readers, but the company has yet to offer this option.