Facebook recently enabled a 60% to 80% drop in news outlet referral traffic in six countries, thanks to a test which removed Page posts from News Feed and placed in the relatively new Explore Feed.
No news is bad news, users say
With the introduction of Explore Feed, bringing users suggested unsubscribed posts, Event, Groups, Moments, and Saved posts, are somewhat hidden away in the More tab for most users.
Facebook recently tested a new iteration of Explore Feed in Bolivia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Serbia, Slovakia, and Sri Lanka, removing all non-ad Page posts and relegating them to Explore Feed.
The (engagement) penny drops
The result of supplanting non-ad Page posts to a less visible section led to four times less engagement for many. Some of the top Pages in Slovakia lost as much as 75% of their reach.
According to Mosseri, the test could last months since it takes at least that long for users to adapt as the company looks to improve experience in the interim.
A similar trend has played out countless times before. For those who remember viral game spam, BandPage, and Open Graph apps, once visibility was removed, engagement plummeted and the features made obsolete.
Facebook is a formidable source of referral traffic and growth but the bubble is not guaranteed.
Publishers and developers are not Facebook’s priority, it’s the users but the relationship is symbiotic. The balance could be shifting but it will all depend on users' reactions to the disappearance of content.
Have you noticed a change in News Feed? Have you been engaging with Explore Feed? Let us know in our comments section.