Facebook ‘Feed Preferences’ – A solution to cluttered feeds?
Tired of seeing the same old stuff in your Facebook feed? Help may be at hand…
If you’re beginning to find your Facebook feed a little ‘samey’ lately – the same faces, pages and sometimes even the same posts – then a solution might finally be at hand.
Facebook recently introduced the ‘Feed Preferences’ page for all users – with very little fanfare I might add – and it could revolutionise the way your newsfeed is made up.
The problem comes, of course, from the mass-adoption of Facebook by brands and users alike – which has lead to the average user feed becoming an ever-more crowded space.
When you start out on Facebook, you might only have 150 friends and a small handful of pages you have ‘Liked’. At that stage, how your newsfeed gets populated is fairly simple.
Once you start getting more popular though, it becomes a very different beast. If you’ve now got 400 friends and have liked 50-odd pages, Facebook can no longer viably show you all the content they post – otherwise your newsfeed would look like one of those screens from the Matrix!
This is when Facebook’s ‘EdgeRank‘ algorithm comes into play – deciding who and what you should see, based on a series of assumptions, connections and educated guesses.
But as most people will realise by now, EdgeRank doesn’t always get it right. Sometimes, the people they choose to show in your feed are, quite frankly, baffling. So what to do?
For the past year or so, the answer was to ‘unfollow’ people or pages. Let me explain:
Unfollowing a person (or page) is a way to opt-out of seeing their content in your feed, without the uncomfortable issue of having to de-friend (or un-like) them. It’s fairly simple to do (just click the little drop-down arrow in the top-right of one of their posts in your feed) and it’s highly effective.
Put simply, Feed Preferences is a table which shows you a summary of what has been shown in your feed over the past week. Whose posts did you see most of? Which pages appeared most often? And which groups are you getting overwhelmed with. Feed preferences shows you exactly that – and let’s you tweak those settings at the click of the mouse. Simple!
So what does this mean for brands or pages who use Facebook as a way to attract or engage with customers?
First up, you need to think about whether your content is engaging enough to avoid you getting the chop. Because you can be damn sure that if Facebook notices a lot of people cutting you out of their feeds, you’re going to get a red flag against your name – and may automatically be seen less often by the rest of your audience.
Secondly, you need to consider how often you post. If you’re putting out a dozen updates each day, and you’re lucky (or skilful) enough to be appearing in a lot of people’s feeds, you’re going to appear highly on their list of “most seen this week” when they hit their feed preferences page. Are people going to cut you off because they reason that you’re taking up valuable space in their feed? That could well happen.
The real take-home for brands is that when it comes to the newsfeed, Facebook are now giving weight to both brands and friends in the same way – users who suddenly realise that half their friends are missing from their feed may (sometimes rightly) assume that removing a few of those pesky pages they have Liked over the years could make some space for those missing friends. And when that happens, you’ve got to take a long, hard look at whether you’re making Facebook work for you or not.