Facebook has for some time now been attempting to monetize posts from "Pages" and generally prevents too much Page content appearing in users’ feeds, unless the Page is prepared to pay to boost their posts. In yet another news feed algorithm change, they’ve made it even harder for Pages to reach their users.
Facebook Press Release
Here’s the Facebook press release about this update. Here’s a particularly interesting snippet:
"the latest update to News Feed ranking treats text status updates from Pages as a different category to text status updates from friends. We are learning that posts from Pages behave differently to posts from friends and we are working to improve our ranking algorithms so that we do a better job of differentiating between the two types. This will help us show people more content they want to see. Page admins can expect a decrease in the distribution of their text status updates, but they may see some increases in engagement and distribution for other story types."
Facebook want Page owners to pay to reach their audience, while pretending that they can reach them without having to pay. I’m not quite sure why they feel the need for so much double-speak; why don’t they just come out and tell Page admins they expect them to pay?!
If Facebook really did have the users’ interests at heart, they’d let us see all posts from all pages in our news feeds. If we decide we no longer want to see a particular Page’s posts, then we’d simply unlike them. Why else do we follow Pages, if not to get information and updates from them?
As an example, I really enjoy reading the Off The Leash comic, but Facebook is the only means for reading it. It used to appear in my news feed and now never does, so I have to remember to periodically go to the Page to read the last few days of posts.
But it all comes down to money. A friend said this on Facebook today:
"The root of the problem was the IPO. The company was valued at such an enormous number, despite having never produced revenues in line with that. Now their focus is on investors rather than users, they’re constantly trying to find ways to increase revenue and this seems to only ever come at the expense of user experience."
As an owner of a couple of pages myself (for my New Zealand & Australian running websites) I have found it increasingly hard to reach my audience on Facebook. I found a loophole recently where writing a post with no links, but putting the link as a comment to the post, reached about half of my audience compared with a tenth when linking directly from the post, but they’ve plugged that now with this latest update.
Looking at it from their perspective, I will never spend money on Facebook marketing, so FB has no reason to care about me. But it still peeves me off, because I can’t read stuff from Pages without having to visit all the individual pages all the time. Instead I keep seeing the same posts from friends appear at the top of my news feed because someone happend to comment on it a couple of weeks later…