Facebook Launches Brand Lists Then Hides Them

by Jason Keath on Mar 01, 2012
One of the many features that launched with new Facebook brand timelines yesterday, there was a small but prominent option for fans to add a brand to an “interest list.”

Directly beneath the new timeline cover images there is a key feature dropdown button at the top right that allows users to “report page, share, unlike, add to page favorites, remove from page favorites.” But yesterday, at the top of that list, clearly separated, was the option to “Add to interest lists”. This feature has since been hidden from new brand timelines by Facebook.

When you clicked on the option an interface where, presumably, your personal interest lists would be to select from would appear. The “new list” link was not working, so we were not able to test the feature any further. But the text that displays is telling.

“Start an interest list to see a special news feed of related posts.”

No where on any of Facebook’s new timeline tour or marketing material was this feature listed. And those at the live FMC event in NYC yesterday, where all the new features were highlighted and explained, said there was no mention of this feature.

So was this a test? Does Facebook intend to rollout a new list feature focused on interests, topics, and able to incorporate brand pages?

Here is what we do know.

Facebook recently improved its list feature for profiles. They added smart lists that sorted users by their relationship to you automatically (work, family, school, etc.) and added better list editing features.

Facebook wants more ways for brands to show up organically in the news feed and engage more of their fans. This could be an additional feature to do that in a very relevant and organic way. For users to opt-in to more brand messages.

Facebook has the ability to segment users by topic and interest, as it is a targeting option for their self-service ad platform.

There are two potential directions for this feature from Facebook.

  1. It could simply be a list of brand pages, allowing users to segment pages as they currently do with friends and subscriptions. Whether lists would be able to include both user profiles and pages or if they would remain separate would be another question.
  2. It could be a discovery engine. Right now, Google+ is better at discovery. But imagine if Facebook users were allowed to subscribe to certain topics, like football or baking? Perhaps users could even define these interests themselves by creating interest lists by grouping a few of their favorite pages.

The term Facebook used above “a special news feed of related posts” makes me think that the second option is more likely. That Facebook realizes discovery is not so easy on their platform.

Do you want to be able to subscribe to interest based lists on Facebook?

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CEO and founder of Social Fresh, the social media education company. Jason is a social media consultant, a social media speaker and industry analyst. He consults with corporations and agencies on social media strategy, building community, and influencer...