UPDATE: Our long Facebook nightmare is over! Facebook now alerts page admins that “someone” has added their page as a Page to Watch, but it looks like Page names are no longer part of the information given out. Go forth and spy with abandon!
This neat new item appeared in my Facebook Admin Panel this week. It’s called Pages to Watch.
It turns out Facebook is experimenting with this lately, so you’re not guaranteed to see it on your own Facebook page Admin Panel.
It’s being touted as a way to “track the progress on any Pages you want to watch. You’ll see how many likes they get and receive tips on how to keep up.”
I’m a button-pusher by nature, so of course I clicked on that big green button and started adding pages.
When you click, Facebook opens a simple search that’s pretty good at recognizing what you type in. First, I added some of Raven’s many partners and integrations. You can add up to 5 (in addition to your page, which always stays on the list). Here’s what it looks like when you’re though:
So far, so good. A pretty convenient way to see how you stack up against other pages in your industry. Once you’ve added Pages to Watch, a small widget will be added into the snippet of Insights that Facebook admins see at the top of the page.
Presumably this new feature is geared toward revving up your competitive spirit. Facebook wants you to add all your industry competitors so it can compare you side-by-side and coax you into buying an ad when you fall behind. (Yes, they get pretty pushy about the whole “buy an ad” aspect, but I suppose that’s to be expected.)
But here’s what they DON’T tell you when you start experimenting with this tool. Admins of pages that you designate as Pages to Watch will be notified by Facebook that you’re keeping an eye on them.
I KNOW. So much for covert ops!
a) this is a creepy but cool new Facebook feature, & b) I wonder if they knew I would be alerted http://t.co/uV507gJjJS cc @ravencourtney
— Andy Beal (@AndyBeal) August 28, 2013
A weird choice by Facebook, and one that definitely changes the ways in which an admin will use this new tool.
Is Pages to Watch still a promising feature? Sure! Although there are third-party tools that go much deeper into competitive analysis, this process is certainly easy to implement and manage, and it helps that the data lives directly alongside your Facebook Insights.
Just be aware of that one big caveat. Anybody you want to watch will know you’re watching them.
Have you seen Pages to Watch as an option on your Facebook page? What do you think about it?