Some Users Can Now Opt-In To See Facebook Page Posts

opt-in to facebook page postsFor those of you (like me) who spend a lot of time checking the Facebook news feed, you may have noticed that you’re seeing fewer posts from pages you’ve liked. If so, you’re not alone—a growing number of advertisers have complained about Facebook changing the EdgeRank algorithm, which prompted Facebook to give some users the ability to opt-in and see posts from their favorite Facebook pages.

Curious? We’ll dive into the new feature in just a moment. But first, let’s take a quick look at what’s been happening in the news feed.

EdgeRank’s Disappearing Act

EdgeRank is the algorithm that determines content visibility on Facebook based on three factors: affinity score, weight and time. A recent change to the algorithm resulted in many brand and fan pages losing 50 percent or more of their organic reach, which significantly diminished the number of people who see a particular post.

Of course, there are ways to counter this—and they’re both paid options. Page admins can opt to use Facebook advertising or promoted posts to reach a larger number of people, but depending on your respective budget or Facebook marketing goals, these options may not be an investment you want to make.

Not surprisingly, some are wondering if Facebook purposefully altered the EdgeRank algorithm in order to prompt brands and page admins to pursue paid tools. The company, however, has a different story.

“But Facebook insists it’s doing nothing of the sort; instead, the company says that it’s just trying to keep its users’ Facebook feeds from getting too crufty with promotional posts they don’t want to see,” writes ArsTechnica’s Casey Johnston. “In other words, Facebook claims to be on the side of users against the advertisers, even if it’s making money on the deal.”

An Opt-In Solution?

In response to widespread criticism of the algorithm change, Facebook has allowed some users to opt in to see posts from their favorite Facebook pages. To activate this feature, go to a Facebook page and hold your mouse cursor over the Liked button. Select Get Notifications, which will ensure you won’t miss any posts from that page.

As with all other new Facebook features, this opt-in functionality is in the process of being rolled out to all users—so you may find that you don’t yet have the capability to select these notifications.

This new feature allows Facebook users the freedom to select what news they want to see in their respective news feeds—sounds like an ideal solution, right? Aside from giving Facebook users increased control, this new feature has ramifications for page admins and marketers, too. Now that Facebook users have the ability to voluntarily opt-in to stay tuned to your page, the pressure’s on to continually create interesting content that not only sparks engagement, but also compels users to opt to get notifications from your page, too.

We’re also keeping an eye on how Facebook responds. Brands may begin to rethink investing big money into features like promoted posts if they can’t guarantee content will be visible to all their fans—or at least a majority of them. And although it’s certainly understandable that Facebook is continually focused on ways to generate revenue, developers and execs should also keep in mind that Facebook users have become acclimated to getting a wide number of features and functionality for free—and making radical changes to this experience could have problematic consequences.

Have you noticed a change in your news feed’s content? And if you’re a Facebook page admin, how have you counteracted the diminished visibility of your page’s posts?

Image by C.P. Storm via Creative Commons

  • Julia

    The issue is that brands have worked tirelessly to gain those fans for months, maybe years that Facebook has just stripped from them. I find that wrong on Facebook’s part.

  • ShellyKramer

    Me, too, Julia!!!

  • Laura Bergells

    The Edgerank adjustment rewards pages that provide engaging content. The ‘pouting’ companies are the ones who provide a poor user experience.

  • http://twitter.com/MichaelDaehn Michael Daehn

    Right or wrong Facebook is changing the rules. Always risky to build on another’s platform – MySpace, Twitter, et al.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamie.bigley.9 Jamie Bigley

    Agreed. That’s why it’s important that small business host their own blogs rather than using a free account to create your blog. I love the WordPress platform but didn’t want to take the chance that they could change to rules on me after building a following. I downloaded WP into my hosting account which solved it. But FB and Twitter may be a different story all together.

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  • http://DCincome.com/blog Matthew Loop

    Facebook is just plain dishonest. They are a business and have an obligation to shareholders. They have altered their algorithm so brands will spend more money. They must think advertisers are naive.

  • Jon_PTDC

    I’ve noticed a big change in engagement on all of my professional pages. It’s forced me to adapt but I’m in no way upset about it.

    I believe that most marketers on Facebook were made lazy because it was so easy to pop up some memes or stolen pics and watch as their numbers grew. As we all know the number of “likes” on a page means very little when it comes to selling product. It does however allow the owners of the page to beat their proverbial chests. They also achieve some social proof with large numbers by those that don’t understand how easily users can be bought that don’t interact (or speak in 0’s and 1’s).

    Depending on proprietary software has never been a good solution. Facebook has shown us time and time again that it will change without notice (remember groups?).

    The best business strategy has and will always be to understand your niche, create good content that can spread within that niche, develop relationships with awesome people doing similar stuff to you, and getting people the hell off of Facebook and onto your email list as fast as possible.

  • http://www.proservicesks.com Frank Woodman Jr

    Soon FB will be a ghost town if they don’t quite trying to grab every little penny and make us all have trouble sharing our posts with others. Any way now I need to OPT OUT to protect my privacy as FaceBook and Mark say it’s important for me to share everything with everybody (especially if the pay FB for my info) and now I have to OPT IN to see my friends and followers posts… Explain the to me in a way that makes any sense. Shouldn’t it be the other way around??

  • http://www.proservicesks.com Frank Woodman Jr

    It’s more than just wrong it’s theft as FB still has those people as users and is holding them for ransom if we want them back. But FB has been feeling the wrath of those who’ve been affected and that wrath will only grow IMO. This is just so stupid for Mark to think that we’re all stupid and can’t see when we’ve been robbed.I dropped all advertising on FB and told them why. I can’t see that I can afford to spend over 3 yrs building a following on FB to now pay for access to that following. If more will do the same FB will quickly get the message until then it’s pay the extortioner.

  • ShellyKramer

    Well said, Frank. You’re not alone on this front.

  • http://makeyourideasart.com/ Spyros Thalassinos

    Great article Shelly. As i see it, bigger companies would not mind spending a few bucks to promote their posts. Since most likely they have bought half of their fans as well. They did well before and they will do well now.

    The ones affected the worst are small businesses, new pages, and community pages. They probably can’t afford the cost to promote posts, and even worse any hard work on their part is doomed to fail due the new algorithm.

    Also since Facebook was their cost effective solution to market if they couldn’t afford other techniques; now making a successful business becomes even more difficult for them.

    But okay, let’s assume for a second that any business small or big, should be paying since they can host a page on Facebook and promote their products for free. Why the promote post appears on personal profiles as well is beyond my understanding.

  • http://brianvickery.com/ Brian Vickery

    Did you see that recent post about the ever-inciteful (yes, I made up that word) Mark Cuban? He is always outspoken, and he was ticked that Facebook wanted to charge him to send a notice out to fans. I would expect a lot of brands to follow suit. Facebook probably should have a few models. Perhaps they could keep this “paid promotion/communication” option, but they should still look at some tiered subscription pricing, and they should not try to “get rich quick” on it.

    Of course, their biggest issue is that they let people be promotional for too long for free. Companies build up a base, establish good engagement on their page, and THEN Facebook changes the rules?!?

  • ShellyKramer

    I did see that post, Brian and while Mark is a bit annoying to me, thought that he had a point. The most important thing for brands to remember (and this isn’t news, really) is that you spend money to build properties you own, not properties that someone else owns and controls. That doesn’t mean to ignore Facebook or other social media channels, but just that you have to understand the risks associated with putting all your brand “eggs” into a basked owned and controlled by someone else. Dangerous, no matter how you look at it.

  • http://brianvickery.com/ Brian Vickery

    Completely agree – the advantage of the Facebooks of the world, with fan pages, is that users can engage the page within their natural recreational activity of browsing cat and food photos and memes. It also lends itself well to the short-form engagement.

    I’m a big fan of the blog for meaty content and longer-form engagement in original posts and follow-up comments. However, it does require the user to get redirected to a blog site versus read inline with those aforementioned kitty photos. It also requires a lot more effort from the business to generate meaningful and insightful content on a consistent basic.

    Advantage: Facebook?

  • ShellyKramer

    Short term advantage — FB. Long term strategy, give them a reason to expand your relationship beyond FB. Like we’re doing now. Duh. (damn I’m brilliant).

  • http://brianvickery.com/ Brian Vickery

    I bow to your superior brilliance – well played, Shelly ;)

  • ShellyKramer

    Haha. It’s only temporary. In between moments of complete and total insanity.Which, of course, you know.

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