This May Help With The Facebook Engagement Problem

Chris CrumSocial Media

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2015 wasn't a great year for Facebook Page like growth, post reach, and engagement. In fact, as more time passes, it's getting harder and harder to recall the glory days of when these things were at a high.

Is Facebook an effective channel for your efforts these days? Let us know in the comments.

Locowise recently shared some data looking at all of these Facebook elements as well as advertising. The numbers for organic growth of Page likes were abysmal in December.

Post reach has risen over the past couple months, but it’s still well below what it was in May.

As Pages continue to find engagement levels disconcerting, Facebook just announced the launch of Audience Optimization for publishers.

This is a set of features aimed at helping publishers reach and engage their audiences on Facebook and better understand what people who click on their posts are interested in.

Facebook describes Audience Optimization as "an organic targeting tool to help publishers engage audiences on Facebook and better understand their interests."

The company says the tool helps publishers improve the relevancy of their posts by indicating who is most likely to engage with it, which can of course increase engagement at both the post and Page levels.

There are three key features: preferred audience, audience restrictions, and audience insights.

Preferred audience lets publishers add interest tags to content to help Facebook connect people with the topics and subtopics that are most likely to engage them.

Facebook already lets Pages target users by topic, but instead of limiting the audience, this prioritizes "uniquely for each person" the topics that are mostly to interest them.

Audience restrictions, on the other hand, let publishers limit visibility of certain posts by specifying what audiences wouldn't find a post relevant. This can be based on location, language, age, or gender. While cited as one of the three Audience Optimization features, it's an existing feature that can be used alongside the preferred audience options.

Audience Insights let publishers see performance of content down to the post level with breakdowns by interest tag. It's an addition to the existing Page insights feature.

"Once a post is published, insights for the preferred audience can help publishers understand how different subsets of people are responding by showing reach and engagement metrics for each interest tag," says product manager Peter Roybal.

"The variety and amount of content available to people is growing, so having more information about who is likely to be interested in your content helps us get your posts to the people who will care about them most," he explains. "We heard feedback from media publishers that they were looking for products to help them better target their posts, so we worked to improve the suite ofPublisher Tools we launched last year and are replacing Interest Targeting with Audience Optimization. Unlike the Interest Targeting feature that preceded it, the tags in Audience Optimization help a post reach the most relevant subset of a publisher’s audience without restricting reach."

Audience Optimization can be used through the Page post composer (click the targeting icon like before), the Graph API, third-party publishing tools and through Instant Articles.

You can find an overview and FAQ section about Audience Optimization here.

Do you think the new features will help in the engagement department? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Images via Facebook, Locowise

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.