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Here’s Why Facebook Is Testing A Designated Space For Publisher Content

Tech

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Facebook wants to observe how users react to a designated space for publisher content, apart from the main News Feed.

It’s no secret that as the Facebook News Feed has become ever-the-more crowded with advertiser content, publishers are having an increasingly difficult time attaining organic reach.

Per an AdAge report, Facebook might be raising the bar even higher for publishers with a new test that segregates publisher (Page) content from the friends and family (and, of course, sponsored content) in the regular News Feed. By relegating publisher content to a distinct feed, publishers stand to lose even more reach and would be forced to pay for sponsored posts to target users in the main feed.

Previously, engagement weighed significantly in the News Feed algorithm and publishers could attain reach by creating compelling content that got users to stop, read, click, or share. This content, however, was melded with the posts shared between family members and friends, which brings us to the experiment currently being conducted: two distinct feeds; one designated for publishers’ articles and another for the personal items.

Facebook says the test is designed to monitor how users react to non-paid publisher content within a separate feed. Perhaps more importantly, the company will be monitoring the reaction of publishers who would need to invest more dollars for the same reach, if the test becomes an actual product update. Currently, tests are being conducted in six countries: Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia and no plans for a global rollout have been made as of yet.

Already, some journalists in these markets are complaining of seeing drops in reach compared to before the tests. Specifically, interactions on posts by 60 of the biggest Slovak Facebook Pages fell dramatically according to this Medium post. This isn’t to say improvements can’t be made to change these numbers. We’ll have to wait and see how Facebook responds to the concerns and interests of the publishers as the tests continue.

In the meantime, Facebook’s Head of News Feed, Adam Mosseri, took to a separate announcement on Monday to reiterate that the test remains an effort “to understand if people prefer to have separate places for personal and public content,” with no intention of pursuing the idea further until more feedback is gathered. He also outlined the differences between the Explore feature officially rolled out as of last Wednesday, and the feed that is being tested for publishers.

What do you think about the proposed solution? Will it help Facebook better distribute its ad load weight? By having two separate feeds would the company effectively boost user engagement too? Sound off in the comments.

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