Facebook have received a lot of stick over the past few years from the media and brands because of their monopoly on social media, suffocating media and brand’s reach, impressions and traffic to name a few problematic situations.
In late 2017, Facebook started testing a newsless feed ‘Explore Feed’ in six different countries (outside of the US) causing a huge distribution to businesses. And now it’s looking like it will be a permanent thing.
Are you ready ?
Overall, it may not be a crazy idea. Facebook are actually a little late in the game to make this move.
Snapchat designed its app to separate users ‘feeds from brands’ content. Instagram is testing a private messaging app, which would take peer-to-peer chat out of the main app. Twitter has its ‘Moments’ tab: a dedicated home for news and entertainment stories.
Centrally, social media channels are constantly updating and changing in order to keep up with the changing behaviour of consumers. To the dismay of the media and brands, this does mean they need to experiment. Furthermore, given what makes news news, i.e. information that is dynamic, dramatic, negative and controversial, and juxtaposed to a happy post by a close relative or friend, for example, the announcement of their engagement, new home or new baby, it places the consumer at an unpleasant disposition. Ergo, removing the feed into two separate areas could be less contentious and more enjoyable for users. Consequently, more users spend more time on Facebook (and social media).
That said, even if a newsless news feed doesn’t materialise, media and brands alike have to adapt. Facebook and Google, are here to stay, and Facebook has proven time and time again that it’s not always going to act in publishers’ interests. Publishers have to take matters into their own hands and take advantage of other audience and revenue opportunities.