Some Facebook page owners have complained that Facebook’s News Feed algorithms make it difficult for them to reach a large percentage of their fans organically. But the social network’s latest tests may help pages reach a new audience of people who haven’t yet become fans — without paying for ads.
Tenthwave PPC Strategist Teddy Quinn today found Facebook organically suggesting a post from a page he doesn’t Like because the post was about another page he does Like. In this example, Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, a page Quinn is not connected to, mentioned Portugal. The Man., a band page Quinn does Like. The post was not sponsored, but it did include an option to Like the Bonnaroo page.
This type of story is similar to the “Recent Articles About” module that highlights articles about topics and people that users Like, but instead of leading offsite to a news source, this new feature promotes content from Facebook pages.
News Feed used to be a place to see stories from friends and pages that users explicitly connected to, but that’s changing. In Facebook’s latest redesign, organic posts from pages that users aren’t connected are included more frequently in the stream. For instance, the Following feed, which includes posts from pages users Like and public figures they follow, also includes posts from pages that a user’s friends Like.
In the music feed, we’ve seen posts suggested because they come from pages similar to pages a user already Likes.
In both cases, Facebook offers a conspicuous “hide” button so users can indicate whether they prefer not to see this type of content in the future. The social network seems to be testing how often users might want to see posts from pages their friends Like or pages that might be similar to those they’re already connected to. This could be part of the way Facebook determines what type of ads to include in the feeds and at what frequency. For now, sponsored posts are not eligible for the new feeds, such as music, following, photos and others, but these tests could provide insight into how users respond to suggested content.
Another thought is that Facebook is intentionally including more organic page post suggestions to train users not to think of News Feed as being a place for only posts from friends and pages they Like, but a means of discovery for relevant content, whether it’s posts from pages they haven’t yet Liked, articles on third-party sites, suggested events, upcoming concerts, recently released albums or any number of new modules Facebook introduces. If the social network includes these types of stories organically, paid advertisements in the feed don’t seem so out of place.