Facebook’s New Publishing Features Combat Declining Reach

Facebook has one more change for 2014 it seems, and they’re ending the year by giving Page administrators an early Christmas gift with new features designed to make the post publishing process easier and more effective for businesses.

Facebook’s new publishing features are all things to be exciting about, as it will give Pages more influence over who among their followers see their posts and when they see them. With organic reach continuing to decline, these new features are exciting and can help us connect with our followers better than ever.

These features all rolled out mid-December, and we’ve been excited to see them in action.

Targeting Posts by Interests

Just as you can target users by interests in the Ad system, you can now target amongst users who have liked your page when you’re publishing regular posts on your Page.

Facebook's new publishing features
If you scroll down the targeting options near the bottom, you can target by interests.

Previously, targeting users by their interests was only a feature that came with Facebook Ads, and if you wanted to target users with a post, it had to be a promoted post run through the Ad system. The ability to target users by interest with your post is an exciting development that can help maximize the potential of your organic reach.

What It Means For Us

This is an incredible tool; it can, at least in theory, help us to make the most of our always-declining organic reach by ensuring that those most relevant even within our target audience see the posts most relevant to them. There are, after all, niches within a niche.

Facebook's new publishing features

For example, Ryan Shaw Marketing focuses most heavily on Facebook Ads; it is our niche. Within that niche, you have businesses who are focused on affiliate sales and marketing, and you have businesses who are only interested in expanding their client base. We have different blog posts and resources available for each of these types of clients, and getting to show our followers the content most relevant to them is fantastic.

With the new targeting feature, you can theoretically use targeting by interest to show the most relevant posts to the right users, making sure you’re getting the most out of your reach. If only 200 people are going to see your post, after all, you might as well make sure that the 200 who see it are most likely to be receptive to it. This will allow you to make the most out of your organic reach, declining or not.

Ability to Set Post End Date

Facebook now allows you not only to schedule when you want posts to go out, but also when you want them to stop showing up in the Newsfeed (this is different than having them disappear from your actual timeline). You can, for example, set your daily deals to no longer appear in users’ Newsfeeds after the day comes to an end. This prevents people from seeing out-of-date posts. Again, this change is about giving users the content most relevant to them, even if it’s keeping content relevant within a time span.

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In order to access this feature, you need to have enabled the Targeting and Privacy setting allowing you to do so. It is also only accessible, as of now, on desktop.

What It Means For Us

While this tool may not be quite as initially exciting as the ability to target users within your followers for posts, this feature has the potential to be really, really useful.

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By keeping your posts that appear in the Newsfeed relevant and not letting them show up out of date, you decrease your risk of having users not care about your content and having posts hidden for being irrelevant.

Smart Publishing

Facebook designed this feature after noticing how challenging it can be—especially for large publishers—to predict which stories will resonate well with their audience. Facebook’s new feature Smart Publishing is designed to help combat that and deliver content the users most want to see.

Smart Publishing will automatically share the most frequently shared link to your website in your followers’ Newsfeeds. These posts will not automatically appear on your Page’s timeline, but you can monitor how users respond to these links with a new tab in Insights that allows you to see the analytics, moderate comments and engagement, and choose if you want any of these posts to show up on your Page.

This feature is not yet widespread, and is only currently available to several large media organizations. Facebook is hoping to make it available to more users in the coming months, however, which is why we still list it here.

If you are able to use Smart Publishing and you decide you want to, you can opt in from the Page settings within the Publisher’s Tools section.

What It Means For Us

Smart Publishing allows you to sit back while Facebook finds your most shared (aka viral) links and posts them automatically for you so that more people can view it. It will be interesting to see how these automatic Facebook posts compare in reach to the ones we as businesses post on our Pages normally. If the Smart Publishing posts have a much bigger reach, I think that would be the biggest benefit aside from saving maybe a little time.

I don’t think businesses are at too much off a loss as of now if they don’t have access to Smart Publishing. You can already use a combination of Facebook’s Insights and Google Analytics to track down your most shared links (and the most popular links on your site) and repost them yourself, either with a regular post or through a promoted post.

While this isn’t the biggest announcement here as many of us may not be eligible to use Smart Publishing yet, Facebook is hoping to roll it out and make it more accessible. We can keep an eye on how this works for other businesses in the meantime.

Improvements in Tracking Traffic in Insights

We’re already familiar with Facebook’s Insights and the great analytics that it can give us. Facebook has made a lot of updates to their Domain Insights to really help fine tune demonstrating how Pages and social plugins actually drive traffic to the website.

Facebook's new publishing features
Image from Facebook.com

Facebook also added a “Top URL” section for Insights, which shows when other Pages and influencers share one of your posts. They’ve also added in more specific time tracking ranges, getting so detailed you can now few these statistics by the hour.

What It Means For Us

Any update to Insights that makes it more accurate and gives it the ability to provide us with more information is a welcome one. This is a change that may not affect everyone (we tend to get most of this information already either from Insights as it was or through Google Analytics), but all updates to improve the system and provide more detailed analysis than before is always a step in the right direction.

What We Think of Facebook’s New Publishing Features

Facebook has made a lot of changes this year, all of them focused on improving the Facebook experience for users, whether the changes benefitted marketers or regular users. In most cases these changes benefited both parties.

It’s exciting to see them continue to improve their platform for businesses, not only with improvements that add incentive to use their paid ad system, but also with improvements like these that seem come with no financial strings attached.

These new features will all help us to target our posts and deliver content to the most relevant audiences possible. That sounds pretty good to me, especially since that’s been our goal to begin with.


What do you think of Facebook’s new publishing features? Which one are you most excited about? Leave us a comment and let us know!