November 14, 2014
An Update to News Feed: What it Means for Businesses
One of the main reasons people come to Facebook is to see what’s happening in their News Feeds. Our goal with News Feed has always been to show people the things they want to see. When people see content that’s relevant to them, they’re more likely to be engaged with News Feed, including stories from businesses.
That’s why we often look to people on Facebook to tell us how we can improve. As part of an ongoing survey, we asked hundreds of thousands of people how they feel about the content in their News Feeds. People told us they wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content.
We dug further into the data to better understand this feedback. What we discovered is that a lot of the content people see as too promotional is posts from Pages they like, rather than ads. This may seem counterintuitive but it actually makes sense: News Feed has controls for the number of ads a person sees and for the quality of those ads (based on engagement, hiding ads, etc.), but those same controls haven’t been as closely monitored for promotional Page posts. Now we’re bringing new volume and content controls for promotional posts, so people see more of what they want from Pages.
According to people we surveyed, there are some consistent traits that make organic posts feel too promotional:
Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads
Examples of these types of Page posts:
Beginning in January 2015, people will see less of this type of content in their News Feeds. As we’ve said before, News Feed is already a competitive place — as more people and Pages are posting content, competition to appear in News Feed has increased. All of this means that Pages that post promotional creative should expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time.
Businesses should still refer to our Page publishing tips and best practices. And for targeting specific audiences with predictable reach, Facebook advertising offers ways to achieve specific business objectives, like driving in-store sales or app downloads.
We’re always thinking about how to make News Feed better, and this update is part of a larger, ongoing effort. By making News Feed more engaging for people — with Page post creative that is more relevant to them — we’re also creating a better platform for businesses to reach their customers and find new ones.
Pages are an important part of a business’ Facebook strategy
We know this change might raise questions about Pages and their role.
Pages still matter — a lot. They offer a free, easy-to-maintain online presence for people to discover and learn about a business. They work across desktop, mobile and tablets without requiring any extra configuration, and contain complete information about a business. They also offer tools to create videos, photos and events that bring a business’ story to life.
What many businesses may not realize is that Pages are an important destination for their current and potential customers. In October, for instance, nearly a billion people visited Facebook Pages. Of those visits, more than 750 million happened on mobile devices. Many businesses also use Pages as a customer service channel. Businesses should think about their Page as a cornerstone of their online identity, not simply as a publishing service. The businesses that are doing this well understand the discovery and communication that happens when people come to their Page.
And it’s important to note that Facebook is increasing its investment in Pages. Given the substantial traffic to Pages, we are exploring ways to build more features into Pages. A lot of this is in response to how we’re seeing people interact with business Pages. Some of these interactions include messaging to communicate with a business directly or browsing video and photo content. We’re also exploring ways to better customize Pages based on the industry a business is in, similar to how we rolled out menu sections for restaurant Pages.
We will begin rolling out this change in January. For more resources on Pages, Insights and Ads, visit Facebook.com/business