Facebook Experiments with A/B Testing for Page Posts
This will no doubt get Facebook Page managers excited - The Social Network is reportedly experimenting with a new A/B test option for Page posts, which would better enable Page managers to make educated, strategic decisions on their Facebook content.
Spotted by Facebook code sleuth Jane Manchun Wong (and shared by social media advisor Matt Navarra), the new option would enable Pages to show variations of their posts to different audiences, then analyze the performance of each in order to see which is worth either re-posting or boosting with ad spend.
There's not a lot of detail at this stage, but based on the above screenshot, the new A/B testing option would give Page admins the opportunity to select a 'control' and 'test' group to show different versions of their posts to. Once the two posts are launched, you'll be able to see which has better audience response - it's fairly basic A/B testing, and the options here seem limited. But still, any way to optimize your content, and maximize Facebook reach, will no doubt be welcomed by those trying to work with The Social Network's notorious algorithm shifts.
Indeed, Facebook's News Feed re-focus announced earlier this year has definitely had an impact, with Facebook referral traffic in decline for most pages, according to latest data from Parse.ly.
The changes have also impacted local publishers - a group Facebook had been seeking to help - further underlining the significance of such shifts, and how they can dilute your strategy.
Of course, they also underline the importance of not heaping too much reliance on any one social network, but given Facebook's size and influence, that's difficult for many brands and publishers to avoid. In this sense, A/B testing will be a very welcome addition, particularly if the results of such tests enable publishers to increase their reach and boost Page performance.
As noted, there's not a heap to go on at this stage, and there's been no official announcement from Facebook, but we'll keep you updated on any developments.
UPDATE 6/30: Facebook tipster Jane Manchun Wong has provided another new screenshot of how Facebook's A/B test for Page posts will work.
As you can see here, the option would enable you to select up to four Page posts to compare, with a drop-down to pick the metric you're looking to optimize for. The test would then be based around your chosen metric, highlighting which variation would be your best bet for further promotion - and providing added insight into what your audience responds to.
There's no word yest as to any official release of this option, but the test seems to be advancing, which could mean its coming soon.
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