Just a few weeks ago, we stumbled upon a new type of ad format Facebook was testing with specific brands. Today, it looks like Facebook is testing yet another new promotional campaign with a specific subset of brands. Facebook appears to be working with major web publishers to encourage Facebook users to “Like” a web publisher’s page if they share the publisher’s content directly via Facebook.
We came across this new feature today after sharing an article from BuzzFeed. After copying and pasting the link to the article in my Timeline, adding a bit of commentary, and then posting the article, I was prompted with a message asking “Want to see more from BuzzFeed?” beneath my new post. Also directly underneath my new post was a “Like Page” button and the type of pop-up that usually accompanies new features on Facebook inviting me to “Keep up with BuzzFeed”.
After posting blog posts from other major web publishers, it looks like Facebook is working with several of them – as well as a select set of Facebook users – as part of a test to drive more “Likes” for these brands on Facebook. While not all Facebook users are experiencing this new feature, it appears as if many major web publishers, including Forbes, Gawker, AOL-owned properties such as TechCrunch, and of course BuzzFeed are working with Facebook as part of this test.
As this feature is very new, not a lot is known about it, particularly how much publishers are paying for this type of promotion and what benefits they can hope to see from it. By itself the number of “Likes” a Facebook page has is a meaningless metric, but curating likes after a Facebook user has already demonstrated interest and engagement with a brand could indicate that the user is a much more valuable fan, one who is more likely to engage with the brand in the future. And this is data that both the brand and Facebook could use to create more effective marketing campaigns.
If this beta test is effective, it will be interesting to see how – and when – this feature rolls out to all brands that publish content. If you’re a content publisher, or a brand that works with content, what do you think about this potential new Facebook feature? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.