It might not be enough to keep Mark Cuban from jumping ship, but a new Facebook feature aims to put brands front and center -- sort of. The company just rolled out a special "Pages only" feed, where brands are on full display without letting any of those pesky Facebook friends get in the way. The feature lets you access the new view on your News Feed homepage by clicking "Pages feed" on the left-hand side.
Though Page owners might be nominally pleased by the gesture, it's hard to imagine what might inspire a Facebook user to hop over to the new view. Facebook says the new brand-only feed makes it "even easier for people to keep up with the Pages they care about most."
Corraling Pages into their own pen could at least ease some psychological brand weariness among users, a flavor of fatigue that's already begun taking its toll on brands and users alike.
"The purpose of this whole News Feed algorithm change was really because we saw the incidents of people hiding stories ... or marking stories as spam has gone up, and we really want to keep News Feed as engaging a place as possible for people," a Facebook spokeswoman said.
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According to a poll of almost 2,000 Facebook users in the U.K. this July, 34% of respondents reported liking multiple Facebook pages, but still hiding them from their News Feed. Some 53% of those polled thought that Facebook had become "too commercial," citing sponsored posts, brand pages and ads clogging up their feeds.
A poll by Reuters and Ipsos in the same month suggested that 34% percent of Facebook users were spending less time on the site than they had been six months ago. In the same study, four out of five people reported that they'd never been swayed to buy a product or service by a Facebook brand page, post or advertisement.
Facebook insists that the median reach of Pages hasn't decreased so much as leveled off. The company also reports that users have been hiding fewer stories and flagging fewer posts as spam following the algorithm remix.
"We're giving users more choice for what content they want to see. Knowing that the average user has 130 friends, they're probably connected to a bunch of Pages, whether it be news outlets or games or apps or brands. It's really a way to house all of that content but surface the most engaging things to them."