Facebook is rolling out a change that will give users more control over what they see in their newsfeed. If you’re familiar with Facebook you’ll know the newsfeed is the near-constant stream of updates from your friends, the people you follow and the Pages you’ve liked. But you don’t see everything these folks share. Facebook only shows you what it thinks you’ll like the most, using a secret algorithm to guess your preferences. (Fun fact: the algorithm is partly influenced by about 730 people all around the United States who get paid to surf Facebook.)
Finding one perfect algorithm to fit the tastes and interests of over 1 billion users? Good luck with that. So now Facebook has decided to make it easier to let users choose for themselves.
Now (or as soon as this newest change has been rolled out to you) you can tell Facebook who your most favorite friends and Pages are. From then on you’ll be shown their updates in your Newsfeed first. For now you can choose only 30 friends and Pages to prioritize, and you can tell their updates apart because they’ll have a star in the upper right corner. Only after you’ve gone through the updates from your faves will the regular old algorithm-driven Newsfeed take over. To explore the change for yourself go to Newsfeed Preferences and click on “Prioritize Who to See First.”
If your business has a Page this latest Facebook newsfeed change might actually help you reach more people.
The full impact of this change remains to be seen, but here are a few takeaways.
1. For now, expect only the more advanced Facebook users to take advantage of this feature. Burying it under Newsfeed preferences means that it will be hard for more casual Facebook users to find.
2. As part of these changes Facebook has also introduced a feature to help users Discover New Pages. The Pages suggested here will be based on Pages that you’ve already liked. An appearance here could win more likes for your Page.
3. Due to previous Newsfeed changes many Facebook Pages are not reaching as many fans as they had in the past. See First gives users a chance to re-establish their preference for your Page — a preference which will only exist if you have been sharing engaging content frequently and consistently.
4. Consider buying Facebook ads to urge your Page fans to add you to the See First list. If Facebook is a part of your social media marketing mix there could be an advantage in doing this quite soon because other brands definitely will be and, as mentioned, there are only 30 See First slots available for now.
5. As Facebook starts mining the additional psychographic data offered up by this feature, expect its ad targeting to get even more precise than the ridiculously detailed level it currently has today. This will be good news for those who have dipped their toes into the world of using Facebook ads.
What do you think of the latest change? Good, bad or indifferent?