Facebook has been working on new ways to expose users to more content, showing them more of what they like to keep them on platform longer, while also diversifying their content sources.
One of their more recent attempts on this front was the addition of an ‘Explore’ feed for some users, which is essentially a secondary News Feed populated by content which is similar to that which you’ve previously interacted with.
That experiment seems to be showing some merit, as the Explore feed has now been spotted on desktop, expanding its potential use.
Facebook's Explore Feed is now on desktop, huh? pic.twitter.com/mgXs6tpapH— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) October 17, 2017
You probably have this on your own desktop feed – as shown in the above tweet, in the left sidebar, the Explore Feed is listed among the various other apps and functions. Click on it and you’ll be taken to a listing of top posts from across Facebook related to your interests.
Twitter recently added similar, with personalized listings in their Explore tab – though both, in my experience, have a similar problem, in that they’re not quite honed in enough on my specific interests to be a truly compelling option.
But Twitter’s version is getting better – they recently added an additional category to their listings, and they're improving the specific nature of their topics. But still, it’s little better than choosing who you follow or add to a list, which is much the same on Facebook – you already have the power to curate and sort your News Feed. The true value of these additional listings lies in their ability to show you content you want to see that you weren’t aware of.
As noted, Facebook’s been working on alternative News Feed options like this for some time – last year, they tried out topic-based feeds for some users (though they quickly removed it).
The push to diversify people’s news sources in the wake of the fake news controversy has likely added to the impetus to make this system work, though the key motivator is obviously engagement and getting users to spend more time on Facebook by showing them more of what they like.
If they can get it right, this could be a valuable addition – but as noted, the key lies in personalization, in ensuring that additional content is refined down to the key updates most relevant to each person. That’s a tough ask, but the potential benefit could be significant.
From a marketing perspective, the addition of alternative ways to generate audience exposure is a bonus. If Facebook, and/or Twitter, can refine their recommendations down to very specific, targeted interests, that could enable them to help boost exposure for your content by showing it to more people who are likely to respond to it. The key to this lies in creating resonant, relevant content for your target audience, but an improved alternate News Feed could help boost exposure, giving you another chance to reach a wider audience.
Really, brands want this new process to succeed – it still seems a way off becoming a significant option, but the fact that Facebook has migrated the Explore Feed across to desktop would suggest they are giving it at least some additional focus, and that user response has been positive.
If Facebook makes a bigger push on this, it could provide an additional boost to Facebook Page reach.