Facebook users may soon have the option to create multiple news feeds by topic instead of scrolling through a single feed cluttered with everything from cat videos to political advertisements. Facebook has been experimenting with multiple feeds since somewhere around October of 2015 in an attempt to deliver the options that users have been asking for, however the additional feeds are not being created as some altruistic gesture solely for the purpose of an enhanced user experience.
In their annual report last year, Facebook identified the largest threat to their ever growing, massive, revenue stream was “decreases in user engagement , including time spent on site”. The second threat mentioned in the annual report was the “inability to increase user access and engagement with Facebook,” especially with mobile apps.
This of course is a business concern as a result of its impact on Facebook’s ad revenue which was up 84% in 2014 at $12.5 when compared to the previous 2 years. The press from Facebook representatives is that their modification of the news feed comes as a reaction to a growing frustration that the all-in-one news feed is becoming cluttered, but more feeds means more ad real estate for Facebook.
If news feeds are segmented by topic or interest by each user, then the engagement level is increased, and users may be happier, but make no mistake every news feed will have ads in it. This shift should help Facebook capture the micro-moments that all online advertisers are striving for by placing the pet food ads in the cat video feed, the restaurant and bar ads in the “who’s going out tonight” feed, etc.
It will be interesting to see how the advertising platform is modified to allow capitalizing on multiple feeds based on interest or topic, but if the overall result ends up being a more condensed feed with more relevant ads, then everyone should truly win.