The Facebook rumours have made their way around and I am sad to say, yes it’s true! Facebook Explore is being rolled out in test phase.
What’s the new Facebook Strategy?
Facebook Explore has been rolled out to users around the world. It is currently in test phase in Bolivia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Serbia, Slovakia and Sri Lanka. Facebook claims, it is trying to give the users more of what they want- to make it easier to see posts from family and friends.
In a statement, Facebook said: “With all of the possible stories in each person’s feed, we always work to connect people with the posts they find most meaningful. People have told us they want an easier way to see posts from friends and family, so we are testing two separate feeds, one as a dedicated space with posts from friends and family and another as a dedicated space for posts from Pages.”
As part of the roll out Pages must pay to show up in this exclusive news feed, leaving small businesses and small publishers (who do not necessarily have the budget to boost every post) wondering how to use Facebook in their ongoing social media strategy.
Does this mean organic Facebook is dead?
Whilst Facebook will maintain a separate feed for Pages’ content to be seen, the results are in and they are not pretty. Filip Struhárik, a Slovakian Journalist, wrote in a post over the weekend that reach had fallen by two-thirds and some of Slovakia’s biggest media pages saw four times fewer interactions. This is despite the Explore feed being available and is most likely because many users do not yet know where to find it or are choosing not to use it.
If organic reach becomes redundant, you will have to pay to achieve reach. There is little gain from regular Facebook posting, if there is no audience to read it. On this basis, if Facebook role out Explore, organic Facebook may well be dead.
Will Facebook Explore actually happen?
There is a small chance that Facebook decide not to roll this out. The Facebook statement went on to note: “We have no current plans to roll this out globally.” Having said this, Facebook has become an increasingly busy marketing platform and reach has been in decline for a long time. Furthermore, users have long felt frustrated with how little they see from friends and family and so we should not be surprised that they are acting on that and finding ways to improve.
We must remember this is a test phase and there are bugs and issues- if they decide to roll it out further, they may make the Explore button more visible or switch it up entirely. Either way, it is unlikely to change imminently, this will be something to watch.