Since early February, Facebook has been testing an alternative News Feed. We now know that this is called the Explore News Feed, and as of late last week, it is now being rolled out to all Facebook users.
At the moment, Explore is purely made up of content from Pages that users have liked and content from Pages that Facebook thinks the user will like. As of writing, Facebook has not declared any intention of monetising the Explore News Feed.
But what does this mean for the News Feed
Based upon the introduction of this second feed the likes of Rand Fishkin – among others – are speculating that the News Feed is going to become reserved for posts from friends – presumably including things that are shared, commented on or liked – and adverts. The implication being that all Page content – unless promoted – will disappear from the traditional News Feed.
Currently, however, users should still be seeing posts from Pages they follow in their News Feeds. However, Facebook has confirmed that in Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Bolivia, Guatemala and Cambodia all page content – unless promoted – has been moved to the Explore News Feed. They’ve stated that this is a test limited to these countries but what with Facebook’s desire to further monetise the platform, it isn’t really a question of if this will be rolled out globally, but when.
What does this mean for your Organic Reach
The simple answer is, that in all likelihood, your Page’s organic reach is going to drop significantly in the coming months or possibly weeks (worst case scenario). Marketing managers need to seriously start thinking about preparing for the worst. Based upon Filip Struharik’s examination, the implementation of this update has had an immediate impact upon organic reach, with Pages seeing a massive drop overnight.
The drop is occurring because users don’t know about the adoption of the second News Feed and therefore are not seeing the content from the Pages that they follow. This might change as users become more au-fait with the new system but arguably Pages – particularly smaller businesses and charities – will be the hardest hit if this implemented to this extent.
Facebook’s actions couldn’t be clearer, if you’re not using Facebook Ads, then it’s time that you started. With 2018 right around the corner, now is the time to re-appraise your marketing plans because reaching audiences on Facebook is going to get a whole lot tougher without ad budget.