Dec 16 New Facebook Publishing Tools Gives Brands More Control
On December 10th, Facebook quietly announced new publishing tools aimed at better supporting the needs of media companies and content publishers.
- Interest Targeting lets brands segment their organic content to only those fans that might care about the topic.
- Post End Dates give brands the power to pull organically published content from the Newsfeed once it’s no longer relevant.
- Smart Publishing offers media companies a way to share their most popular content without ever logging in again.
These Facebook publishing tools are designed to give online news outlets and publishers more insights and control over how their content is distributed across Facebook by both themselves and 3rd parties. However, these tools could also have similar benefits for large brands who choose to utilize them, at least until Facebook organic reach for brands is reduced to zero. (While they continue to make changes and announcements that suggest this is inevitable, please note they have not yet confirmed this will actually happen.)
Interest Targeting on Organic Facebook Posts
Once only available via paid targeting, brand pages can now target content that they publish organically to a subset of fans based on interests.
- This could be a good way to ensure you’re getting the most out of the little organic reach Facebook is giving brands and could result in higher engagement rates.
- This feature could also ensure that content designed around a Passion Point of a single audience does not alienate other groups on your page.
- However, it’s possible that choosing to target your post could result in less reach than non-targeted posts and potentially lower total engagements.
- Interest targeting is also limited to the profile information your fans have given Facebook on their personal profiles, many of whom probably haven’t updated their interests since Facebook’s last big prompt to do so when Profile Timelines launched in 2011.
- Interest targeting is not coming soon to a Social Media Management System (SMMS) near you. Right now, it’s limited to publishing on Facebook via desktop only.
Setting Post End Dates on Facebook
With this new feature, brands can put a time limit on how long content is served in the Newsfeed, putting an end to one of the worst side-effects of Story Bumping – confused fans seeing irrelevant, time-limited brand content.
- This feature is certainly a benefit to brands who share time-limited offers or want to engage in certain real-time conversations on Facebook. (How many Black Friday deals were you still seeing in your Feed Saturday morning?)
- Could this be another step in Facebook’s plan to pull real-time marketing away from Twitter? Maybe, but they have a long way to go before user behavior makes that shift with them.
How Brands Can(‘t) Use Smart Publishing (Sorry!)
This neat new feature is only available to select media partners at this time (like The New York Times). Through Facebook’s Publisher Tools (also only available to select Publishers at this time), brands could eventually connect their websites to Facebook and then Facebook will automatically publish, from the brand’s page, their most shared pieces of content (based on what Facebook users are sharing organically from their personal profiles).
- On face value, this seems like a big brand benefit – streamlining the content production and publishing process; however, it does not go without risk as brands would be turning over control of their Newsfeed content to the algorithm that powers Smart Publishing.
- In all likelihood, it will be months (if ever) before brands get access to Smart Publishing. If that ever happens, brands will have to produce enough quality web content on a regular basis for it to have any impact and hope that Facebook hasn’t dialed back organic reach completely by then.