Friday, November 16, 2012

Facebook Unveils "Pages" Feed – Does it actually help brands?

 
A few interesting things have taken place in the past few days.
Here’s is a quick news cycle update:
  1. Oct 26th: Mark Cuban Tweets disdain regarding Facebook
  2. Nov 12th: Josh Constine at TechCrunch reports discovery of “Unfiltered Feed”
  3. Nov 12th: Facebook pulls down the Unfiltered Feed (as Josh notes in his article)
  4. Nov 12th: Mark Cuban during an interview suggests brands “shouldn’t have go to great lengths to figure out the nuances of Facebook audience reach. That complexity, IMHO, will come back to haunt Facebook.”
  5. Nov 14th: We report that 62% of Pages’ Posts don’t even make into the Most Recent feed
  6. Nov 14th: Facebook releases a “Pages” feed, Cuban Tweets: “Facebook gets credit for the pages feed . People asked, they answered. Looking forward to spending more time with it”
Pages Feed provides a non-chronological view of Posts from Pages that you’ve Liked.

Why Build The Pages Feed?

Did Facebook rollout the Pages Feed to counter the negative press that Mark Cuban was able to stir?
Perhaps the Pages Feed has been along time coming? In response to Cuban’s comments, yet before the release of the Pages Feed, Adam Kmiec (Global Head of Digital Marketing & Social Media at Campbell Soup Co.) weighed in via Twitter: “Facebook created this problem, by constantly making adjustments while offering little to no transparency. There have been cracks in the wall. Mark might be the hammer we need”.
We feel that the Pages Feed has been in the works, but Cuban’s words may have been the catalyst to get it released to the public.

But Does The Pages Feed Actually Help Brands?

At first mention, the Pages Feed sounds like an excellent solution to provide brands with an opportunity to reach an audience they’ve already acquired.
Of course, brands that are leveraging EdgeRank to their advantage are Reaching a much higher percentage of their audience organically, but there is always room for improvement. Let’s take a look at where the Pages Feed link is placed for Facebook users to actually use:

Placed in the left hand sidebar, within the Pages category a small one line link is provided. An average Facebook user most likely won’t even notice this subtle change, let alone use it on a regular basis.
In order for the Pages Feed to actually have impact on brands’ Reach, it will require a sizable segment of Facebook users to use the Pages Feed on a regular basis. Unfortunately, we don’t see that happening.

How Can I Learn From The Pages Feed?

We’ve found the Pages Feed offers interesting insight into how EdgeRank is impacting brands that you’re a fan of.
Scroll through the Pages Feed and take a look at the date and time of the Posts, you’ll notice that they’re not chronological. Engagement obviously varies per object yet, in our preliminary tests, it seems to reflect a level of Affinity between yourself and the Pages you’ve Liked.
We’d recommend popping in there from time to time and noticing any interesting connections. If you find something interesting, feel free to drop it in our comments!

What Does This All Mean?

We believe that this new feed will do little to impact Reach for brands, as we assume not many actual Facebook users will use the feature (remember Interest Lists?).
What it will do, is provide Facebook Sales Rep an opportunity to deflect an otherwise difficult question to answer to people like Mark Cuban, “How do I Reach fans I’ve already acquired?”
Many brands do not have the time, ability, or finances to focus on optimizing for engagement to increase the average impact of EdgeRank on their content. For the brands that do dedicate themselves to the practice, they’ll be able to achieve continued Organic success.

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