Friday, July 10th, 2015 | 4 min read
Facebook is by far the largest social network, and it currently has the widest range of targeting options and ad formats available. Today, large brands pretty much have to be on Facebook to stay relevant.
Tweaks to how the platform shows branded content typically favor individual user experience, and what’s best for the user doesn’t always seem to be interpreted by businesses as what’s best for them, especially those businesses who want to get maximum exposure for their content.
Yesterday, Facebook announced updated controls for NewsFeed that could be a win-win for users and brands. The new feature is called See First, and it’s part of Facebook’s overhaul of how users manage what they see on their News Feed.
See First allows users to select which friends and Pages they want to see content from at the top of their News Feeds. It’s managed under News Feed Preferences, which can be found on the More menu in the bottom right corner of the Facebook app.
When users click on “Prioritize who to see first” they can add friends and Pages to their See First list. All new stories shared by users’ favorite friends and Pages since their last visit to Facebook will appear at the top of News Feed, with a star in the top right of their post. Users can scroll down to see the rest of their News Feed below the See First content.
The update also includes a new feature that allows users to discover Pages similar to ones they already follow and easily unfollow friends or Pages.
The new controls are live on iOS as of the 9th of July and will be rolling out to Android and Desktop in the coming weeks.
See First can be considered a kind of premium “Like.” It creates a two-tier system: Like a Page to add only the best posts from a brand to your News Feed, and use See First to show everything they post at the top.
But it’s impossible to know exactly how users will employ See First. Users may end up rewarding their favorite brands that produce the very best content with a place at the top of their News Feed, inspiring organizations to try even harder to publish high-value material. The new feature may also boost engagement levels for Pages that make it into users’ See First list.
Or we could find out that users really don’t much care for branded content on Facebook, and See First could be used primarily to filter out companies altogether. Only time will tell.
Facebook hasn’t made additional plans for See First public, but it’s easy to imagine the release of ad formats that brands can use to increase their See First following.
What do you think about See First? Is this a new dawn for organic distribution of branded content on Facebook?
About the Author: Jamie O’Brien is part of the Sprinklr content team and is based in Singapore. In a previous life, he was a digital art director in London. He likes to get away from the city as often as is humanly possible to snowboard, dive or hike.