Expert Opinion: Is Explore Feed the death of organic Facebook reach?

Explore Feed

Facebook is currently experimenting with their new feature called Explore feed, wherein all non ad page posts lay isolated.

In laymen term, all the posts shared by brands, content creators, publishers et al on their pages, will now go to the Explore Feed, unless and until the posts have been given a paid push.

Explore Feed, after being tested in six countries, namely Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia, resulted in a 60 to 80 per cent drop in referral traffic to news outlets in the aforementioned markets. This boils down to a 4X drop in engagement.

The objective of the test is to understand if people prefer to have separate places for public and personal content Mosseri further explained. Facebook will also hear the experience of the user in order to understand if the idea can be pursued further.

Facebook’s VP of News Feed, Adam Mosseri in a tweet also informed that “We currently have no plans to roll this test out further”.

While Mosseri further clarified that people have misunderstood and Facebook has no plans of rolling the Explore feed out beyond the test countries or to charge Pages to pay for their distribution in news feeds or Explore.

As the industry debates over the test feature and it’s probable impact, Social Samosa spoke to digital experts, understanding how Explore Feed can impact the Indian market, if it were to be rolled out.

Expert Point of View

Rajiv Dingra, Founder & CEO, WATConsult

“I feel that Facebook is no longer just a social media platform but it is becoming more of a media platform wherein there are many contributors. If you notice your own behaviour you will see that you probably spend maximum time consuming content like videos on Facebook. Also organic reach has been steadily falling on Facebook since the last 3-4 years and its part of the larger monetization strategy.

Brands are well aware now that if they want to get any sizeable reach they not only need to produce great content but also put budgets behind it to reach the right audience. Publishers too will have to come up with more video led content and focus on a mix of organic + paid traffic to keep up their referral traffic from Facebook.”

Suveer Bajaj, Co-founder, FoxyMoron

The idea behind the Explore Feed is to assist Facebook users to discover new relevant content. However, Explore Feed may create an adverse impact on publishers. It will distraught their business models, but also for those depend largely on Facebook for a large part of their audience, it will not only significantly reduce the traffic on their website, they will also lose out on primary user data.

Brands would need a lot more content integration; display and banners won’t work as well because inventory monetization will be controlled by Facebook. The change will be more convenient for the user, but will surely change the ballgame for publishers and marketers who are expected to face a dramatic drop in reach.

Sanjay Mehta, Jt CEO, Mirum

Facebook has been constantly changing their algorithms for users and they have always kept cleaning the interface and attempt has been to reduce spamming. As far as introducing Explore feed, I would like to say, Facebook is right now just experimenting and it wouldn’t do anything not keeping in mind the interest of the users.

Facebook would obviously want to retain the consumer interest and also of its advertisers, so if they find that users are not benefiting from the Explore feed, they will obviously think of tweaking it. 

Anshul Sushil, Co-founder & CEO, Boring Brands

We are always averse to new changes and so it will take some time for us to get accustomed to it. I feel it is a good thing because Facebook is not foolish, that they will not take into account the interest of publishers or advertisers. Even though, it hasn’t been rolled out officially, but I feel Facebook will do it eventually.

Explore allows one to promote creativity in content. This new feature will be loved by the consumers and it will have virality inbuilt and Facebook will give the content its organic reach.