After Downgrading Publishers, Facebook Explores New Ways to Boost Them

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We all remember the seemingly apocalyptic early 2018 announcement that Facebook would downgrade publishers in favor of foregrounding posts from users’ family and friends. Less discussed are the various changes Facebook has made since that announcement to give publishers on its platform a fighting chance.

The changes are unabashedly supportive of so-called creators’ attempts to build out businesses on Facebook, as a June 19 post from Facebook’s newsroom clarifies: “Today we’re sharing updates on new ways for creators to engage and grow their communities, manage their presence, and build a business on Facebook.” 

Below are a few of those changes.

Top fans. First announced in March, this feature confers a special status upon the most avid followers of a creator’s Facebook page. Avid here is measured by “how often [users] comment, share, react or watch a creator’s content, as well as the creator’s interactions with the fan and other criteria,” according to the March post. Top fans can opt into getting a badge stamped next to their names and having their names added to a leaderboard of a given creator’s page. Facebook said in June that both fans and creators loved the feature.

More interactive videos. Every digital media platform is chasing after lofty video ambitions right now, and Facebook is no exception. Facebook’s goal with a new set of tools announced in June is to allow publishers to actively spark engagement on the part of their fans (we won’t have missed the fact that this keeps the “fans” on Facebook longer and gives them a greater reason to keep coming back). The features, detailed here, include polls and gamification potential for Live.

Expanding Facebook Watch. Clearly, video is the new name of the consumer attention game. The third major initiative to boost creators and publishers on Facebook is bringing casual videos—not just official “shows”—into Watch, a move that would seem to secure the future of Watch itself perhaps more obviously than it secures the futures of Facebook’s creator community. But more eyeballs are more eyeballs, and if publishers are better positioned to sustain their attention on Watch than on Pages, all the better for all involved, Facebook must wager.

Check out Facebook’s newsroom for more info on the slew of features it’s rolling out to keep publishers happy at historically uncertain times for the social giant.

Joe Zappa is Street Fight’s managing editor. Follow him on Twitter @joe_zappa.

Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018. Joe is an ad/martech veteran who has covered the space since 2015. You can contact him at [email protected]