This week, Facebook’s Explore Feed could force brands to change how they use the channel. Also, Twitter is hoping to cash-in on short attention spans; Facebook is looking for ways to out-Pinterest Pinterest; and new safety features will keep offensive tweets out of news feeds.
Explore Feed may drastically alter how brands use Facebook
After months of reports that organic reach for brands is dropping on Facebook, the news of recent news feed tests should come as no surprise to content marketers who have been paying attention.
Facebook is now rolling out the Explore Feed (yeah, you know, the little rocket icon) on desktop as well as on mobile. While this isn’t a big deal all by itself, it becomes a very big deal when coupled with the revelation that in Bolivia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Serbia, Slovakia and Sri Lanka, Facebook is testing relegating posts from pages to the Explore Feed exclusively, leaving the normal news feed for posts from friends and others.
Yes, you read that right: Facebook is testing what would happen if posts from brands no longer appeared in users’ news feeds.
So now that you know this, here are some of the questions you should be asking:
This is definitely only a test, right?
Even though Facebook is testing posts from pages to appear exclusively in the Explore Feed in the six countries mentioned above, the social giant is clear to say that this is only a test and that there are no plans to roll this out globally. Having said that, a business as large as Facebook would had to have known that people would notice the test, so perhaps Facebook is even testing reaction from brands, as well as from individual users. On her “Business As Unusual” podcast this week, social media consultant Kelly Mirabella shared her thoughts about the feed.
“I personally do not care for [Explore] and find that the content is generally not relevant to me and my preferences,” Mirabella said, but then alluded to the concern that brands may be on their way to using the Explore Feed nearly exclusively. “Light a candle for us page admins, would you?”
But why do I see the Explore Feed when I use Facebook?
Facebook announced that it is rolling out the Explore Feed to all users on mobile and desktop. Even though the Explore Feed is made up of posts from pages, content from pages still is appearing in the regular news feed as well. At the moment — and for the foreseeable future (according to Facebook) — branded content will appear in both of these feeds.
Is this all bad news for brands?
Actually, no. Though most content marketers who manage Facebook accounts would agree that relegating branded content exclusively to the Explore Feed would be problematic, there are advantages to the Explore Feed in its present form. Taylor Wiegert mentioned this during his “Brave Ad World” podcast this week.
“The tool gives Facebook a pretty sticky experience to keep users engaged and fed content that keeps them on Facebook — which is of course what Facebook wants. It also exposes Facebook users to perspectives and maybe content that they might not normally see.
“For brands there may be an opportunity in the future for their content to be fed to more people, but at the moment this update is primarily geared toward publishers. And publishers are going to be able to get their content exposed to more people who haven’t necessarily chosen to follow them.”
Twitter is the latest social channel to offer six-second video ads for brands to use to reach audiences. Twitter is so devoted to making this ad format work that it has created a new group in its marketing department to oversee its implementation. The team — known as #Fuel — is devoted to helping brands with content, editing and strategy.
Facebook is continuing its trend of imitating other successful social channels by testing a new feature called “Sets” that reminds some of Pinterest. These “Sets” are collections of similar-themed posts that can include videos, photos, links, and status updates.
Facebook is showcasing a new option in Messenger that allows users to connect with PayPal to send and receive money. This new partnership with PayPal allows Facebook users to feel assurance that they can safely and easily make payments in the app. E-commerce is still an underdeveloped area for Messenger, but this new functionality seems to show Facebook’s commitment to making it work.
Following Twitter’s recent announcement that it will again crack down on abuse, the company has released a timeline of when its upcoming updates will be made. Twitter users could begin noticing safety updates by October 27. Twitter will introduce a total of 12 safety updates between October 27 and January 10.