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The end of the Facebook Explore Feed – not every bright idea works


Facebook are constantly looking for new ways in which to enhance their software and make it the platform of choice for users to connect with friends and family all over the globe. Last year Facebook announced that they were trialling some changes to their News Feed algorithm in order to enable people to see more content from their friends and family. They went on to launch a series of related tests in small countries such as Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia The test centered around the introduction of 2 separate news feeds; one for your friends and family and the other named the Facebook Explore Feed, consisting of content from pages and companies posting about their products or services.

Facebook insisted that the goal of this test was to understand if people preferred to have separate places for personal and public content and that there was no plan to roll this out further . These tests recently came to an end, with Facebook admitting that they hadn’t seen the success they were expecting from their trial.

 

“We constantly try out new features, design changes and ranking updates to understand how we can make Facebook better for everyone. Some of these changes—like Reactions, Live Video, and GIFs— work well and go on to become globally available. Others don’t and we drop them. Today, we’re ending one of those tests: the Explore Feed .”

 

Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed

 

Research conducted during the testing resulted in users reportedly being less satisfied with the posts they were seeing, and having two separate feeds didn’t actually help them connect more with friends and family . It was also noted that the Explore Feed made it harder for people in the test countries to access important information, and that Facebook didn’t communicate the test clearly. As a result Facebook have discontinued the Explore Feed bookmark globally. Explore gave people a new feed of content to discover pages and public figures they hadn’t previously followed, however the tests concluded that Explore wasn’t an effective way for people to discover new content on Facebook.

 

Facebook Zero Update

Although the Explore Feed testing has ended and this will not be rolled out globally, Facebook have announced that they are making further changes to their News Feed. This change, referred to as the Facebook Zero update, will prioritise content from friends and family over public content from businesses and publishers . In addition to this, posts which spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people will be rated higher in the News Feed. Since all content will remain in one News feed, ultimately this will result in more competition and fewer opportunities to reach potential customers.

As Facebook start to introduce these updates, business pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease. The impact will vary from page to page depending on the type of content that businesses produce and, more importantly, how people respond and interact with it. As a result of this small businesses across the world have started to wonder if they will be able to continue to generate sufficient levels of organic reach on the Facebook platform moving forwards.

We covered the detail of these changes in our recent blog, Facebook Zero News Feed Update: How to maximise the reach of organic posts, so be sure to visit to understand how to future-proof your content and plans to ensure that you deliver the most effective Facebook strategy.