Facebook’s new Explore News Feed, a secondary news feed meant to introduce people to new content, holds huge implications for marketers.
While the standard news feed includes posts from friends and Pages users follow, the Explore News Feed will show posts, photos and videos from sources users don’t currently follow. Facebook’s algorithm will consider users’ past actions to determine what to show. Facebook first tested the new feed on a small number of mobile users earlier this year. The company is now starting to show the new feed to all mobile and desktop users.
On mobile, the Explore Feed can be accessed via the “More” menu in the bottom navigation section. On desktop, it’s along the left sidebar within the Explore section.
Possible Reasons for the New Feed
Facebook says users have said they want to be able to find new types of content and sources to follow. The fake news controversy may have helped motivate the company to diversify people’s news sources. Facebook has been criticized for surfacing fake news and creating insular viewpoints and not showing people alternative viewpoints.
The feed would also increase users’ time on the network and create another venue for Facebook ads, as Tech Crunch notes. So far, no one has noticed ads in the new feed.
A Chance to Regain Lost Organic Reach
Organic reach on Facebook has steadily declined for brands as the company constantly changed its algorithm and emphasized advertising. The Explore Feed offers marketers a chance to recover that lost reach on the world’s largest social network, say some marketing experts.
Marketers will likely strive to decipher Facebook’s algorithm to determine who’s discovering their content and tweak their pages to reach their desired audiences.
The key is to resonant by providing relevant content for your target audience, writes Andrew Hutchinson at Social Media Today. The first step is to identify the specific personas of your target audience.
Users can discover your brands if they’ve liked or shared similar content in the past. “If you’re inspired or motivated by a certain brand or its audience, for example, you can use that to guide the content you create for Facebook with the goal of growing and attracting a similar audience,” says Amanda Cantal-Wiener at HubSpot. “Be original, though — you want your own content to offer something helpful and unique that users won’t find elsewhere.”
“Take the opportunity to be present and engage more personally with your followers,” advises HubSpot Academy Social Media Professor Crystal King. “Spend more time developing quality content that your followers will be excited to share.”
No More Page Posts in the News Feed?
A Slovakian journalist reported that all brand posts were moved from the traditional news feed to the Explore feed. The old feed showed only posts from friends and sponsored posts.
“People have told us they want an easier way to see posts from friends and family, so we are testing two separate feeds, one as a dedicated space with posts from friends and family and another as a dedicated space for posts from Pages,” Facebook told Marketing Land. The company has “no current plans to roll this out globally.”
Facebook marketers may find little comfort from knowing the end of Page posts in the traditional feed is only a test. They can no longer rely on reaching customers who follow their Pages. They may need to rely entirely on the new Explore feed and sponsored posts.
Bottom Line: Facebook’s new Explore Feed offers marketers an opportunity to reach new audiences. The feed will show users content from people and companies they do not currently follow. For marketers and PR specialists, the trick will be creating desirable content that’s similar to people and brands users already follow. As reach on the traditional news feed disappears, being discovered on the Explore feed may become the only non-paid Facebook marketing option.