Facebook confirmed that it is running a test with five publishing partners, including BuzzFeed, enabling them to test up to four different versions of organic posts and determine which is performing best.
Lucia Moses of Digiday reported that publishers in the test group can create up to four different versions of posts—changing elements including headline, description and image, in real-time—to come up with the best combination.
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the test, saying that more than one-half of the time, publishers in the test group are opting for a version of their content that is different from the control post, or the unchanged version they would have used without access to the feature.
The spokesperson said, “Our goal with this test is to provide more visibility into how their organic content is performing on Facebook on a post-by-post basis, and also to enable publishers in the test to derive learnings and identify their own best practices over time. With this level of insight, publishers are better equipped to drive meaningful engagement around their content and have a stronger sense of control over how their content performs on Facebook.”
Facebook product manager Mollie Vandor told Moses, “This tool is a way to maximize how they pitch their content to people on Facebook. Instead of us saying, ‘Here’s a list of universal best practices,’ we’re trying to give publishers the tools they can use to develop their own best practices. My hope is that this tool gives publishers a better sense of control and ability to make the best possible use of their investment in Facebook. Ideally, this tool is flexible, easy to use and is a value add.”
And BuzzFeed News deputy director of news curation Fran Berkman told Moses, “This comes as everyone’s traffic on Facebook has gone down a lot, so it’s good to be able to get the most out of our posts, but we’re still getting a lot less.”