Facebook Explore — from a Facebook Beta Tester

There is a buzz around Facebook Groups about the roll out of the Facebook Explore feature and how it will kill organic reach in the Facebook Algorithm. If you haven’t heard what the buzz is all about you can read Facebook’s overview here.

What is Facebook Explore?

The thing is that Facebook Explore, at time of writing, is actually two separate things!

The one that people are all up in arms about is that Facebook Explore will take page posts and put it in a separate feed to friends and family posts. This is just a TEST! It is a test in a set of 6 developing countries and is NOT guaranteed to be rolled out.

How do I know this? Well other than the fact that Facebook say it, I’ve experienced something similar.

Huh?

I am a Facebook Beta Tester, that means that I will generally have a different version (a test version) to the general Facebook User. In fact, at the start of 2016 I tested a categorised news feed where personal posts and pages were separated.

This is what I saw when I went to post on my personal profile. The ability to categorise my posts. The posts then appeared in tabs that were located across the bottom of the screen (unfortunately I don’t have a screenshot of this). Here’s the thing, there was still a Newsfeed and these categorised tabs also included posts from relevant Pages that I hadn’t liked.

Now as a Beta Tester, I am encouraged to provide feedback and I told Facebook that although I didn’t like the Categorised tabs, I did like having new (and relevant) Pages shown to me. So you can sort of blame me if you like.

What does this mean for the Facebook Explore rollout?

Facebook have said that you will still have your normal Newsfeed of friends, groups, and pages — all mixed in together. You will ALSO have a tab where you will see the posts of relevant pages the Algorithm believes you would like to ‘Like’.

[caption id=”attachment_2008" align=”aligncenter” width=”630"]

Quote taken from Facebook’s announcement 23/10/17[/caption]

That’s it, no segregation of page and friend. Just an opportunity to add to those pages we like (as if we need that help).

What does Facebook Explore mean for the Facebook Algorithm?

Yes, they need to change the Algorithm. No, no one but Facebook truly knows what’s in it. They have to change the Algorithm purely to populate the Explore tab. It’s that simple. There’s no one person or team of people in Facebook physically moving Pages into your Explore tab and another for me. It’s controlled by AN algorithm.

Does Facebook Explore mean the death of Organic Facebook Page Reach?

Honestly no one can say, other than Facebook. Here’s my take on it as a specialist on Organic Facebook.

Boring posts and pages kill organic Facebook Reach.

The Facebook Algorithm, as broadly understood by the community is a function of how many people like, comment or share a post, how often you do it, how often your friends do it, and how close you are to your friends. (In the main)

So what is at the core of the Algorithm? People’s reaction to the content YOU publish. So if your content is not relevant to them, doesn’t engage them, then they are not going to react to it and so it will not trigger the Facebook Algorithm. It’s not the Algorithm hiding your content, it’s your inability to engage your audience.

I know that sounds harsh, but when you think critically about how we understand the Algorithm and what drives it, you come to this conclusion that it’s a human reaction to what they see.

So how do you achieve good Organic Reach and be seen on Facebook Explore?

At the core, you need to understand your target audience and you need to explain to them, up front, how you solve their problems and how you can relate to them. We are, at our core, hard-wired for these connections and to solve problems.

This is where I bring in my qualifications in Psychology, over a decade of developing user-centric online content, and seven years of successful Facebook Page ownership and management.

I always bring it back to understanding your target audience and targeting them.

What this comes down to is businesses knowing that they need to be on Facebook but forgetting that it’s merely the medium, they are the ones who have to deliver the content which drives a Facebook user to action.