Date
12 December 2017
Mark Chan (right), founder of CMRS Group, and Edwin Wong (left), CEO of Cloudbreakr, sat down with HKEJ to discuss the impact of Facebook's test to split news feeds. Photos: Reuters/HKEJ
Mark Chan (right), founder of CMRS Group, and Edwin Wong (left), CEO of Cloudbreakr, sat down with HKEJ to discuss the impact of Facebook's test to split news feeds. Photos: Reuters/HKEJ

Facebook tests split news feed; publishers may have to pay

Facebook has conducted tests to remove all non-paid posts published on Facebook pages from the main news feed and move them to a separate and less prominent “explore” section in its app, a practice that could radically lower traffic to Facebook pages that don’t pay to promote their posts.

The Hong Kong Economic Journal recently sat down with Mark Chan, founder and business development director of CMRS Group, and Edwin Wong, founder and chief executive of Cloudbreakr to discuss the impact of the test on publishers.

HKEJ: Despite Facebook saying that splitting the news feed was just a test in six countries, there are publishers and marketers who claim that they saw a dramatic drop in organic reach to their posts. Do you have a similar experience?

Wong: We established a social media database two years ago. The data shows that for pages run by traditional media and online writers in Hong Kong, their organic reach rate — the number of people who saw your content organically out of your pages’ fans — remains at 1 percent or below.

The room for a drop in the reach rate is small. Instead, for pages that are frequently updated and get new followers, they tend to have a larger reach rate, up to 3 percent.

HKEJ: What is the impact of Facebook’s explore feed experiment?

Wong: We focus on social media analytics according to data retrieved from our database and the search engine available online. Also, we offer our expertise with social media strategy to help corporates build their brands.

If Facebook split news feeds, leading to a drop in organic reach of Facebook pages, brands would have to spend more effort and try new ways in social media marketing, for example, establishing multiple platforms for the brand and selectively spending their resources on different platforms depending on the market response.

Chan: Our platform enables users to connect and interact with their influencer community. We also help clients manage their social media accounts including Facebook.

As they are losing their previous social media reach, we are also paying more attention to advertisements and sponsored content.

Corporates and advertisers need to increase their spending on Facebook ads. This is unavoidable. But to make a successful social media marketing campaign requires more than money. We need to put more effort on the content to produce the ads that really touch the target audience.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec. 1

Translation by Ben Ng with additional reporting

[Chinese version 中文版]

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BN/RA

Hong Kong Economic Journal

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