Threading conversations? Bringing the content that’s most engaging to the forefront? Seems pretty straightforward to us. But this new threading and ranking system Facebook is testing could have some interesting implications (and benefits!) for brands.

Facebook is rolling out a new commenting system that includes direct “reply” capabilities and a ranking algorithm that drives the most relevant comments to the top of a conversation thread. These changes make comments on page posts very similar to Facebook’s comments plugin, which have had threaded conversations and a ranking algorithm since March 2011.

Facebook has been testing this commenting system since November and, starting next week, is expected to implement on personal accounts with more than 10,000 likes and will also make it available to brands. On July 10, 2013, Facebook has announced that all brand pages will be automatically switched over to this commenting system.

As with many of Facebook’s changes, there are both pros and cons to how these changes impact marketers. We thought we could address a few that are top of mind for the Adobe Social team.

What to watch for:

  • Negative comments could become more harmful. For example, if a customer complaint or negative response receives a significant amount of engagement from other users, it will be seen first at the top of the page or post. Brands must be responsive and transparent to quell streams of negative comments and replies.
  • Deleting spam, irrelevant, or offensive content is going to be increasingly important. Page managers will need to monitor and expand all conversations in order to make sure the comments are clean and follow their community guidelines.

What to embrace:

  • The new in-line (threaded) commenting system will provide a better customer service experience for the users who share issues in the comments of the post. Prior to this change, all comments were in the same, single thread without the ability to address specific users’ comments. Now, individual comments can be responded to and conversations can be easily monitored.
  • Whether on forums or through text message, threaded comments are how users naturally communicate. This new feature may increase engagement on posts and further facilitate community building – fans communicating with other fans and not just with the brand page.
  • The ranking algorithm will allow brands to spot potential influencers by identifying the comments that receive the most engagement. Brands can then engage with these influencers to develop a one-to-one relationship and, ultimately, drive increased advocacy.

If you’re a brand using Adobe Social – or any third party social marketing tool – please note that threaded comments are rolling-out via desktop only. We anticipate a mobile version and open-graph API, which can be integrated into Adobe Social, are on the horizon. We’ll keep you posted!


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