There have been a lot of comments around the blogosphere recently about the way in which facebook have been treating posts from brands (pages) in their follower’s timelines.
There is a tricky algorithm that has given brands the feeling that their posts were being “throttled” to only appear to a fraction (10 – 15%) of followers.
facebook explained this in terms of how engaged the follower had been with the brand.
Here’s a rough and ready outline of how this worked… You and I both like a brand’s page. Then we see one of their posts, but you don’t click on it and I do. In fact, I not only click on the post, I share it with my friends and I comment in the post.
facebook determines (and rightly so) that I am more engaged with the brand than you. however, the next time the brand posts something, I am more likely to see to see the post than you. I click again, and comment again. You didn’t actually see the post – even though it was on your timeline – you have more activity and this post simply got pushed down your timeline and you missed it.
After a couple of these kind of interactions, I am getting almost all the brand’s posts sent to my timeline but you are not. It’s not that you are not seeing them – they are not even being posted to you. You have become one of the 85% or so of followers that never even have the posts sent to their timeline.
You can change this – you can go into your preferences and choose to have all the posts from that brand posted to your timeline. Oh – wait – you thought that’s what following a brand meant? Well – so did most people, but that’s not actually how it is.
The brands were annoyed – after all, they may well have paid facebook advertising revenue to drive traffic to their page and get more likes. They thought that they would then be able to market their regular posts to all these followers for FREE! Nope, said facebook – you’re going to have to “promote” you posts – and pay us more money to put them on your follower’s timelines.
Lots of very upset marketers.
So how does the new News Feed help. Well, first of all there are different feeds, a most recent feed, a friend’s feed, as well as a “following” feed where ALL posts from the brands you follow will be posted… of course, we will have to wait and see how often users visit this feed, but, perhaps, this halfway house solution will appease the marketers and brands that felt they were being targeted as cash cows.