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Facebook’s new Explore Feed, and its impact on social media marketers

Social media marketers take note: Facebook recently launched its new “Explore Feed,” which a rep described to media outlets as “a complimentary feed of popular articles, videos, and photos, automatically customized for each person based on the content that might be interesting to them.”

Importantly, this feed, which Facebook has been testing in different forms for several months, is a chance for companies to have their Pages seen by users who don’t follow them.

“We’ve heard from people that they want an easy way to explore relevant content from Pages they haven’t connected with yet,” the Facebook rep explained.

Over the past several years, Facebook has made it more difficult for Pages to appear organically in users’ timelines, which has been a bit of a drag for organic social media marketers. Instead, preference has been placed on paid ads and posts from users’ friends and families. For that reason, business owners with Pages on Facebook had reason to be pleased by the Explore Feed’s official rollout.

However, it now appears that the new feed could turn users’ primary “News Feed” into a strictly pay-to-play environment for advertisers. On October 21, journalist Filip Struharik reported that in Sri Lanka, Serbia, Bolivia, Guatemala, Cambodia, and Slovakia, all organic posts from Pages have been exiled to the Explore Feed. A global expansion of this setup could have devastating effects on small businesses that rely on Facebook for website traffic.

“By moving this type of content to a separate feed, this test makes it all but impossible for a publisher’s or business’s original post to be seen by Facebook users, unless the publisher or business bought a Facebook ad to promote it,” explained Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer’s principal analyst. “Marketers should watch the test closely, because if the feature ends up rolling out it could significantly change the way they approach marketing on Facebook.

As a Premier Google Partner All-Star Agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media’s social media marketers are always on the lookout for important updates in the digital marketing world. Facebook’s Explore Feed experiment could be one such change.