What Facebook Page Notifications and Pages Feed Could Mean for Business

Two revelations of Facebook tests or rollouts could significantly impact the way that business is done on Facebook.

User Notifications of Page Posts

InsideFacebook.com reported that Facebook is rolling out a feature that will allow users to subscribe to notifications whenever their favorite Pages write a new post.

Facebook Page Notifications
From InsideFacebook.com

Facebook confirmed the story, as quoted by InsideFacebook:

We are currently rolling out the ability for people to receive notifications from specific pages, friends or public figures that they are connected to. This feature will help people keep up with the people and things that they care about most.

This statement is somewhat confusing since users can already get updates when friends create posts. This is done by adding them to their Close Friends list. By default, users receive notifications when those friends are active.

But it’s entirely possible that this new feature would apply to not only all Pages, but subscriptions and other friends. You may not consider Bob a “close friend,” but for whatever reason you want to be alerted when he posts something.

Facebook Page Notifications Alert
From InsideFacebook.com

This would presumably then make it so users would never miss a single post written by their favorite brands.

Will people use it? What does it mean? I’m going to get to that…

Testing of Pages Feed

Lisa Jenkins reported on her blog seeing a new Pages Feed option within the Pages navigation to the left of the News Feed.

Half way through the day, I noticed something in the PAGES section of my Profile. Just above the Like Pages link, there was a brand new Pages Feed link and when I clicked on it, there were status updates from every Page I’ve Liked. Every. One.

It would presumably work like this, though I can only guess at this point based on Lisa’s description.

Pages Feed
From lisadjenkins.com

This was confirmed by one of her readers who also has the feature. I have not seen this or the Page notifications feature in action.

This should make some Facebook Page admins happy who have been screaming about not being able to reach their Fans. At least, you’d think…

What Does It All Mean?

I’ve got nothing but speculation right now since I’ve yet to see any of this in action. But here are a few thoughts…

1) This is a reaction to Page backlash. Not only is it pretty clear that this is Facebook’s reaction, but it’s essentially Facebook calling the bluff of outraged Page admins. Why? Let me explain…

The claim is that Fans who desperately want to see every post we make are just as outraged as we are.

So Facebook says: “Prove it.”

They provide two tools: One for notifications of when you post and one to be able to see everything you and other Pages post.

If people actually use this feature, Facebook comes out ahead because everyone’s happy. If no one does, Facebook proves their point that most brands weren’t interesting enough in the first place to warrant regular visibility in News Feeds.

That leads me to #2 and #3…

2) Notifications are annoying. Back when the Close Friends List was added, I first became exposed to this seemingly random notification process. Everything my friends posted resulted in an alert. I like these friends a lot, but come on. It was freaking worthless.

I wrote this blog post more than a year ago about how to turn those notifications off. Every single day, this blog post continues to be in the top 10 for daily page views on my site. People hate those notifications.

3) No one will use the Pages Feed. Look, we know where this is going, right?

Facebook provides tools that could make everyone’s lives easier. Whether it’s privacy settings or friend lists or Interests Lists. Very few people use them. The rest complain about how much Facebook sucks because of X (problem that could have been solved by using one of these things).

The truth is that we’re lazy. There once was an option to view only Status Updates. People stopped using it and Facebook phased it out. There’s currently a filter to view your News Feed by Most Recent posts. It’s a good way to catch more content. Yet, no one uses that either.

You could use Interest Lists to follow all of your favorite Pages already. You could add that to your favorites and view it as an alternate News Feed. Some savvy users do that. Most don’t and will not.

So do you think that users will now view this alternate News Feed, even if it’s created for them? I have my doubts.

4) Will this mean even fewer Page posts in the News Feed? That could and should be the fear. By creating an alternate News Feed for Pages, one could envision the current News Feed being repurposed only for friend content, minus promoted Page content.

That’s not such a crazy thought.

One of the reasons Facebook created EdgeRank in the first place was to make News Feed manageable. It’s not intended to be like Twitter. But activity continues to increase and the audience continues to grow. Eventually, it just doesn’t scale in its current form.

One solution would have to be separating friend and Page content. That, then, would provide brands further motivation (one would argue) to pay to get into that now exclusive News Feed.

5) Would this create more or less visibility for brands? Want to allow your Fans to see all of your posts? Be careful what you wish for.

Let’s say the News Feed in its current state remains as it is. You aren’t harmed there. But users can now view all posts by all of the brands they Like within the Pages feed. Does that help you?

I like more than 200 Pages. Let’s assume that your brand is one that I regularly interact with. As such, Facebook surfaces your content to me more often than that of 99% of the Page content within the News Feed.

But within the Pages feed, the content I like most would be swallowed up by the content I don’t care as much about. A ton of competition for eyes.

Would I actually see more of your content this way? I doubt it.

It’s why I continue to contend that if Facebook turned off EdgeRank, the only brands that would benefit would be those that create bad content. They’d finally get seen as much as the good content. But overall, every piece of content would be seen less.

It’s why on Twitter brands post the same thing multiple times every day. We don’t want Facebook to be Twitter. At least I don’t.

6) The truth will come out about how users feel about brands. Many brands should feel uneasy about these potential changes. If you are putting your visibility in the hands of the users, you can no longer blame EdgeRank if no one sees your content. If your Fans don’t take action to see your stuff more often, it’s pretty clear how they feel about you.

That sounds harsh, but I think that the typical Facebook user does not care if they miss a brand’s post on a given day. They don’t care if they see one of the two posts. In some cases, they don’t care if they miss all of their posts.

The reason I Like many of the Pages I do is simply out of expression. I “like” that. But I don’t really care if Modern Family, for example, ever writes a single post that shows up in my News Feed. I might read it. But I won’t miss it if I don’t.

This sounds like an indictment on Facebook marketing, but it’s not. People don’t like commercials, but they work. Your Facebook marketing should definitely be more enjoyable to customers than a commercial. But don’t expect them to cause a riot if they don’t see everything you write.

7) Could this lead to the end of EdgeRank? A lot of people hate EdgeRank. A lot. I’m neutral. But if the Pages feed becomes a permanent solution, it makes sense that EdgeRank’s days could then be numbered.


You would then see all of your Page content, when you want to see it. With that taken care of, wouldn’t the next demand be to see all of your friend content? You give them an inch…

But there’s another reason why EdgeRank may no longer be needed. If Page content actually moves completely to a Pages feed (NOTE: PURE SPECULATION), your friend content would then be freed up and much less active. Facebook wouldn’t want that. Activity is good.

I could see EdgeRank being either loosened or removed completely as a result.

But we’re getting way ahead of ourselves here…

8) Facebook won’t kill business on Facebook. Everyone needs to understand this. Nothing is more important to the success of Facebook as a public company than the success of businesses on their platform.

Will Facebook test the limits? Absolutely. They are going to stretch us as far as they can to see what we’d be willing to put up with and pay for. But they need us to find success on Facebook.

It’s far too important.

What Do You Think?

Where do you think this is headed? Would you use either of these features?

Let me know in the comments below!

  • http://www.facebook.com/DenboTaylor Dennis Taylor

    Great post, as asmin of a number of pages and business brands I love being able to adapt to changes made by Facebook. A separate news feed for pages, I think this might help with content being seem BUT haven’t to educate people (general public) about the changes is the most difficult part.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Absolutely, Dennis! Facebook has made several changes that should have improved user experience, but only if users take advantage of them. That’s the challenge!

  • http://twitter.com/Louisiannie Ann

    Hi Jon, Love the post! Looks like your numbering is a little off? There are two 5’s. Other than that, love this article!! Thanks :)

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Hah! As you can probably guess, I was constantly adding items to that list. It started out as three! Thanks for the heads up, Ann.

  • http://www.facebook.com/KarenCHughes Karen Carlson Hughes

    So what’a a person to do right NOW?

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Experiment and focus on providing quality content, Karen! I honestly have not seen a dip in engagement or any metric that matters. I keep doing what I’m doing. Don’t focus on what’s outside of your control!

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  • http://twitter.com/skullsflying Julia C. Campbell

    This is by far the best post I’ve read on this subject. I agree – we are LAZY and we don’t want to make the changes and alterations necessary, we just want to complain about everything. I love the list and I love how you’ve spelled things out so clearly. Thanks for posting.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Thanks so much, Julia! It’s one of those things that frustrates me most about Facebook. The mob mentality takes over FAST. We need to take some responsibility for what we can control and stop freaking out about everything else. If we can’t handle it, move on to something else. It seems there is a certain percentage of people who consistently threaten to leave Facebook but never do.

      • Matthieu Moundou

        Its not really about mob mentalily, its most of trendy behavior(habit) to be on Facebook now. Because if you notice enough most of facebook is now at least 68% of teenagers(mostly 12-14 years old) that just get on facebook to send messages, play games, post some random pictures of their outfit collection and stuff like that, who liked pages maybe thanks to promoted post and don’t know what it’s all about(i remember the 1st pages i liked i didn’t even know what it was about(i just clicked like because i could relate to what the name of the page said and because it said some of my friends liked it) It took me about 1year to understand how that work…

        I even remember one fan asked me on my page how to tag somebody, so is the same for controlling their feed, settings and others.

        So its not of a mob mentality its more of non-aknowledged.

  • http://www.radicalmustache.com/ Mikel Zaremba

    I can see the spam meme’s now “If you want to see all of our posts go to….” good grief. This will hurt pages I think as the Edge Rank Algo will be modified for this option and it will be even harder to stay in the news feed.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Oh, man… Absolutely, Mikel. Again an example of how brands don’t get it. These tools are supposed to help users keep up with their favorite brands. Unfortunately, brands assume that they are the favorites among all of their Fans.

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  • Lenny

    Great post as usual Jon. I don’t expect the pages feed to limit pages updates from the news feed or kill EdgeRank any time soon, since it has not happened with closed friends and other custom lists. Have your experience been different?

  • Jo

    This is excellent Jon, thank you. I have seen dips and rises with a variety of clients (drops in reach seem inconsistent) and I do believe it comes down to your content. It has to be a combination of promoting/’pushing’ stuff to your followers, but it also has to include other things outside your core product offering that may be of interest to your followers. thanks agin Jon.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Thanks, Jo! The main thing I want people to focus on is worrying about what’s in their control. Don’t chase EdgeRank. Don’t blame EdgeRank. Know that engagement is fluid and dedicate yourself to providing something the user actually needs and wants.

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  • Guest

    The only concerns i saw on this are:
    – People will get annoyed with notifications by a page that posts 30pics a day(that could lead to dislike the page)
    – Fewer page posts on news feed
    Hargh, Facebook is …

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      People will get annoyed by notifications. Mark my word. If you subscribe to notifications from multiple pages, you’ll eventually completely ignore them. You don’t need someone to post 30 times per day for that to happen. You already get standard FB notifications, and this will simply pile on to that list.

  • Matthieu Moundou

    The only concerns i saw on this are:
    – People will get annoyed with notifications by a page that posts 30pics a day(that could lead to dislike the page)
    – Fewer page posts on news feed
    Hargh, Facebook is …

  • http://twitter.com/MikeStraus Mike Straus

    FYI, you can view you “pages feed’ by going directly to https://www.facebook.com/pages/feed

    Looking at it briefly I realized that I actually see a large percentage of the brand posts in my newsfeed already, as I am an active Facebook users (on a number of times during the day and sometimes use the “most recent” option). I still think this view could be useful and I can see checking it to see what I might be missing.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Thanks, Mike! Still not clear if all Pages are in that feed or not. But this brings up a great point. Since we’re on Facebook all the time, I wonder how much you and I actually miss. I’m guessing it’s very little. This probably applies more to people who are only on briefly once a day or every other day.

  • http://twitter.com/MikeStraus Mike Straus

    Great article, Jon! Interesting take on these features and how it could play out. Good to see someone going against the mob mentality. I agree most users are lazy, and most likely mobile will not offer these options, which is how an increasing number of users access their newsfeed now. I can see using the pages feed, and in a few situations could see getting notifications, though can see it getting annoying quickly. (I have only put a couple of people in “close friends” specifically to limit the number of notifications).

    I don’t think this spells the end of EdgeRank, however, as Facebook ultimately wants to keep brands active and posting high quality content that user will engage with so they will keep putting SOME of it in the newsfeed of users. Edgerank is ALSO used to determine what you your friends updates you see which if you have a large number of friends and/or friends that post frequently is equally important.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Good points, Mike. My point about EdgeRank is dependent on what happens with Pages Feed. If Facebook were to move all Pages content out of the regular News Feed (other than promoted content), EdgeRank would undoubtedly have to change. Otherwise, that would leave a void and it would seem as though people are less active on Facebook.

      This was an unlikely scenario, but we’ll see!

  • Ruth Sandra

    It was simple for me – I took the time to create Interest Lists for things I wanted to be able to check on when I had the time to check on them. I don’t know what others do. It took some time, but it is worth it to me personally, as following what some of these people post on certain subjects is the reason I am on Facebook. As of the time of this comment, I do not have a “Pages Feed” – either they have not rolled it out to my profile yet or they aren’t doing it any more. I don’t know if I would ever want it. The Interest Lists I have organized by subject — and the friends and pages that I watch relating to that subject — and that I like. I don’t read every post by everybody or every Page I am interested in – don’t have time frankly and never will. I don’t think the fans of my Pages do either and I don’t expect it. Of course, most of what I am doing on Facebook if for my own interest – or my hobby I do for fun and some $$$. My career, which I am not doing anymore, I would never have had on Facebook — needed too much confidentiality in doing it! My “fans”, I figure, will figure out how to see what I post if they want to. I try to post and show what I do when I feel it is right. I don’t use Facebook to find things to get in life. I search the whole web. I am not sure if my “fans” do either. I get lots of hits in my small Artfire Studio from search engines, Twitter (where I promote and interact with people some) — a few from Facebook and my blog – bounce rate varies on all of the sources – so I am just continuing to get what I make (I only do Handmade) out there to try to catch someone in my “target audience”, LOL!

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      I wish everyone took as much time as you do with some of Facebook’s tools, Ruth! They are very helpful if used properly.

      Thanks for your comments!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kjimenez14 Kimberly Ann Jimenez

    Awesome article. So glad you wrote about this and explained it so clearly!! It definitely worries me (as many facebook page admins) that FB is testing the limits when it comes to fan page visibility. But change causes us to grow and investigate new ways to design better marketing strategies. Whether it be creating awesome content (which many small business owners don’t invest enough in) or investing in paid promotions… Whatever happens, it’s best to face it with a good attitude than sit there and complain all day.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Exactly, Kimberly! Just stay focused on writing great content and try not to worry about what’s outside of your control. That’s my motto!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1138233646 Eve McGee- Malone

    I am in the Page Feed test group and I notice that it is still not showing ALL the updates from pages I like. When I click back and forth between my Newsfeed and interests List, I find that both of them are still showing updates that aren’t showing on the new Page Feed. I am also finding updates in the Page Feed that still aren’t showing in my Interest List! I’m interested in getting updates from ALL of the pages I like in one single newsfeed; that’s why I created my Interest List in the first place. But apparently NONE of them are consistently showing the updates I want. Does anyone know the best way to get the most updates from all of my likes pages?

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Hi, Eve! Yeah, this was an inaccurate early report. What appears in Pages Feed, from what I’ve seen, is pretty close to what appears in News Feed (Pages only, of course).