Now comes interest targeting. In December, Facebook rolled out a feature that lets publishers target their editorial content to a subset of their followers based on their being a fan of a certain Facebook page, such as an athlete’s or TV show’s.
So an interest-targeted article will only appear in the news feed of someone who has already indicated an interest in the article’s topic and not to others.
Interest-targeted posts by definition will reach a smaller audience, but according to Facebook, it’s a better audience. These posts are getting more likes, comments and shares than those that haven’t been targeted by interest.
The New York Times is using the tool. It has used interest targeting for arts and culture coverage and, to a lesser extent, sports, to people who have signalled an interest in narrow topics.
Using interest targeting, this story about pop singer Ariana Grande’s concert got 40 times as much engagement as the average Times post and about 40 percent of the traffic to the story came from Facebook, said, said Cynthia Collins, editor of social media at the Times.
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