Facebook’s Page Admin Panel Trades Mediocrity for Monetization

The notifications panel on Facebook’s page admin panel wasn’t ideal. The hodgepodge mix of recent fan engagement with your posts was imperfect, confusingly splitting likes from comments for each post. This tended to work well for smaller pages posting less frequently, but on larger pages with multiple posts per day, notifications bordered on useless, and clicking on them led to an even more confusing list of notifications from the past week.

What has surprised many page owners is that Facebook has fully rolled out changes replacing the notifications section with a posts section that makes no mention of engagement, and seems geared towards increasing adoption of promoted posts. While most Facebook changes are mourned, this change is particularly polarizing because the admin panel is many social media marketers’ scoreboard, and Facebook’s changes focus the score from engagement to paid ads and total reach, even that shift was unintentional.

There are many things to like about this change. While the new design appears focused on driving revenue, it’s also more intentionally designed with richer information. The new layout actually has skimmable information, allowing you to compare the reach of different posts side-by-side, without having to scroll down the page and look at the number at the bottom of each post. The icons next to each post let you to compare performance based on post type. Seeing which posts are performing well does arms page owners with better information to decide what posts to promote. While page admins may feel unfair pressure to advertise to reach their audience, few will deny that Facebook does need revenue to continue to exist as a powerful marketing platform for organic and viral content.

Unfortunately, the top of the page also needs to function as a dashboard for the page owner, and the new layout functions more as a nag to advertise than a useful overview. Dedicating two columns to total reach and paid reach sets the focus on big, paid numbers — there’s no attention to the organic and viral reach brands work so hard to achieve. There’s no guidance on why you should promote certain posts, just a button begging you to do so. Details on fan engagement are now an extra click away under the notifications button, and that endless list of flat data is unusably presented. A minor, but important, issue is that Facebook uses the same icon for link posts and text posts (text posts have recently been vastly outperforming link posts) but it’s hard for page owners to notice this distinction when both use the same icon.

There are a few opportunities for improvement that could make this new dashboard a win for marketers and Facebook. First and foremost, the layout of the notifications layout needs a revamp, preferably showing totals for likes, comments, clicks, and shares in a clean, tabular layout. When you hover over the total reach on the actual posts, you see the breakdown of organic, viral, and paid reach — that needs to be available in the admin panel as well. Lastly, page managers should be able to preview the promoted post rather than having to scroll down the page to remember what the post looks like.

The new dashboard has understandably frustrated many page owners, but with a few simple adjustments, it can be the winning command center for page owners to excel in organic and paid reach.

Rob Kischuk is the founder of Badgy, “SEO for Social.” Rob has been involved in social media and gaming startups since 2006, including a role as Executive Producer of a Facebook game with over 1 million players.

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