What Facebook Doesn't Tell You About Pages to Watch

Social Media

What Facebook Doesn’t Tell You About Pages to Watch

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.

pages-to-watch-prompt

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:

raven-partners-watch

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.

pages-to-watch-insights

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!

I found about about this thanks to Andy Beal of Trackur, who sent me a tweet and snapped this screenshot after I added Trackur as one of my Pages to Watch in another test batch.

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?

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Courtney Seiter wrangled a smart, savvy community of Internet marketers as Raven's first Community Manager. She moved on from Raven in January 2014, but her social media and writing advice stands the test of time.

More about Courtney Seiter

Tell us what you think

  • Tessa Hughes

    Personally I think it could also be useful, but that’s because I would us it as a partner and so would the pages I’m likely to watch so I don’t mind them knowing. What confused me was that it appeared suddenly on one of may pages and not on another (which would be more useful). As admin on several pages I would like to have been asked which to put it on.

  • Surfside Staff

    Does anyone know if there is a way to block or remove a page from watching you?

  • Susan Doran

    Well, they seem to have reversed this decision and now people/companies can stalk your page at whim. I find it disturbing. I have no idea who would be stalking my project page—and I personally do not understand why Facebook would hide their identity. I am fairly sure it is a former bitter beau on mine who is, well, basically stalking me – this just gives him another way to feel like he’s privvy to inside information about me. I know “marketers” like you may see it differently. meanwhile I’m thinking of shutting down my page.

  • Turk Akbay

    How can you tell who is watching your page? It looked to me as if FB is telling me someone is watching me and suggesting some pages to watch, but no option on who is watching my page. Can you please share how to tell

  • by donella marie

    i have added a few pages to this, they all said they were allerted that “someone” was watching them but not told who, i dont pay it much attention as the figures are wrong, i got 10 new likes in the last few days and the “stalking tool” tells everyone i got 23!!!

  • Serene123

    Not working for me either!

  • http://www.turbohipster.com/ Turbo Hipster

    This just kinda burned me. Used it to see how we’re doing versus competitors – Boom! Two weeks later we’re getting a mouthy email.

    Thanks, Facebook. >:|

  • BW

    Does this still work?? I’m trying, but not succeeding.

  • Michelle Colon-Johnson

    Raven, my pleasure! I wanted to add that as of this morning (for those concerned) it does send a notification that someone is watching your page and when you click on the notification it does reveal the page watching yours.I personally would take that as a compliment. If someone is watching you then you have managed to get their attention. You know you are successful if someone wants to know more about you. I have never known anyone to care about someone that wasn’t of interest. Know what I mean? So for those concerned… look at the flip side: You have got skills that not only pays the bills but that causes people to want to know more about you. You are a celebrity in your field! And that should just make your day! Kudos!

    -Michelle

  • Oinofilia

    Thank you very much! It works! Cheers! :)

  • RavenCourtney

    Thanks, Michelle! What a smart strategy–appreciate you sharing it with us!

  • RavenCourtney

    In my account, the same way you add pages is how you edit pages. I see a big X option when I hover over watched pages. It looks like you can delete pages and add as many new ones as you like. Hope this helps!

  • Oinofilia

    Thanks for the interesting article! Would you happen to know how to revise the Pages to Watch list? I need to revise my list, but, cannot get around. Thanking you in advance! Greets from CPH :)

  • Michelle Colon-Johnson

    Great article and love that your people stay engaged to come back and report! High 5 + a Hip Bump!

    I am a book publicist and have access to some of my clients Social Media so I use it as a way to measure what is working on each author’s page. Such as quotes, advertisements pictures, posting of interviews, etc.. Now I can see how my clients are doing across the board and do not use the feature to compete; I use it to measure. Love it! :O)

  • RavenCourtney

    Whoa, cool hack! I did not see “pages/watch” in my source code, but perhaps others can give this a try and see if it works for them :)

  • ST

    open your facebook page on desktop, right click and click view page source. Press ctrl+f together and type in page/watch, their will be a 15 digit number near to this highlighted word in the code, copy that into another window http://www.facebook/(number) into the address bar and this will show you the last page to add you to pages to watch!, there might be two or three numbers, one will be your id and the others should lead you to the page watching…hope this helps.

  • RavenCourtney

    Not that I am aware of.

  • AHI

    Can you stop someone from watching your page?

  • Luke Bonner

    F**k you, Facebook!

  • Luke Bonner

    It’s absolute shit! We should have to just use whatever thing they come up with. There should be an OBVIOUS option to remove it or revert back…or here’s an amazing idea, ASK FIRST!

    I don’t like it at all and I hate that I can’t disable it. Also, what business does ANY other page have seeing my Likes stats.

    I know what they’re trying to do…they’re trying to invoke competition whereby the person who spends the most, wins.

    You make me so angry Facebook. Don’t be surprised the day you become redundant.

  • RavenCourtney

    This seems to be what Facebook decided to go with after people (understandably) didn’t love being ratted out when they added Pages to Watch. I need to update the post again. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Jona Koekelcoren

    Just thought I’d let people know that this has kicked in in Belgium as well, and it doesn’t notify other pages of WHO added them as ‘Page to Watch’, just that SOMEONE has added them to that list.

  • Women’s Garden

    I’ve been using Page Watch for some time and I can see it’s not even accurate. It tells me that competitors have lost likes when infact they haven’t and the results FB tell me change on a daily basis even if the ;likes’ haven’t. Unreliable. I was annoyed when I just found out my competitors had been informed.

  • Pam

    I was going to use the “Pages To Watch” for a faster search to getting to pages that I love and want to take part in several times a day. I could careless about how many likes they have. I don’t want to be part of sneaky competing.

  • http://www.authorrebeccamugridge.com/ Bek Mugridge

    Well that is a put off feature! Yes I too right away did it as well, eck

  • RavenCourtney

    The feature certainly does prioritize likes over other types of engagement, but to be fair you can get a fair amount of information about those metrics in Facebook Insights. I don’t blame Facebook for trying to make money, but I do find the execution of this a little clumsy. Thanks for reading, and for your thoughts!

  • Roy Rogers

    For me, this is a step in the wrong direction for Facebook. ‘Likes’ are already an imperfect measure of a page’s popularity, especially since paid adverts seem to result in low quality likes. I believe it is far more important that a page admin seeks to engage an audience which is reflected in the interactions on the page. The ‘pages to watch’ feature seeks to pressure admins into paid advertising in order to get more ‘likes’, which will produce more revenue for Facebook. A far better goal for them would be to aim towards a better quality experience for social networking users, an experience which does not seek to simply bombard them with ads.

  • RavenCourtney

    Yes, it’s much better in my opinion. :)

  • Jelena Draa

    OK, that suits me more. So it means that other pages’ admins don’t see that I am wathing them 3:)

  • RavenCourtney

    It appears that Facebook has changed this to a more covert setting so it’s no longer possible to find out who is watching your page.

  • Jelena Draa

    I just got a notification that someone is watching my page, but it didn;t say which page. How can I find this out?

  • RavenCourtney

    I’ve gotten those too. I *think* that should be the new default for everyone, but I can’t be sure.

  • beekeebear

    I got a notification today that “another page” had added mine as a page to watch. It didn’t tell me who.

  • RavenCourtney

    Thanks for the update! Looks like they’re still working out the details on how this should work.

  • joe

    they are still notified, i tried it out today and other pages get notified. i think it is a bit useless. they should actually improve the insights page with more tools and options so that page administrators can have a better understanding of what works and what not and what times their fans are more likely to engage with the page.

  • RavenCourtney

    Yes, I haven’t been able to do any conclusive experiments but commenters here have said that’s no longer the case. I don’t know of any tools that would be able to give you that information, sorry!

  • Nate Hoekstra

    It seems that now notifications don’t disclose who has added you to a watch list — any tips on finding out who is checking our stats?

  • RavenCourtney

    Yup, the insights definitely don’t approach the level of any independent tool I’ve seen.

  • RavenCourtney

    Oh, really? Interesting news about the change. Thanks for letting us know!

  • Tracy

    Thanks so much, I was wondering how it worked what was the benefit to me. Based on your explanation, not much. At least not for my industry (author).

  • http://www.heckenkemper.com/ Stephanie Heckenkemper

    Well it’s been updated now, I just received a cryptic notice that “Another page” is watching my page so they have made it covert now. Found your blog just from looking up the Pages to watch module, it does seem to be a method to increase ad use… well someone is watching so I must be a threat mentality.

  • Rob Marks

    Not a fan of the notification factor. I use socialsav and get a report weekly on competitors increase and decrease of likes as well as Twitter followers and I do not believe my competitors are notified of my observation. If all that Facebook is offering is the same thing I can get by visiting competitors pages (more useful than a like count anyway)
    or via 3rd party services, I see no compelling reason to use this feature.

  • RavenCourtney

    Smart thinking, Patrick. To be fair, Facebook’s not giving you anything you couldn’t calculate by hand if you REALLY wanted to – it’s really just number of fans. This is just making it much simpler.

  • Patrick

    Thanks for the great article! I wanted to use this feature but given how fb has worked historically I thought better of using it before doing some homework. The fact that it sends a specific notification as to who is watching your page is a big turn off for me. Plus, it seems like somewhat of a violation of trust to be arbitrarily releasing page insights to anyone who wants to see them. Granted this is just a very small piece of data but still it’s the general principle. Anyone you partner with in business should respect the confidential nature of this type of information especially in advertising where you really can’t do it correctly without exposing yourself to some degree with whatever service you use. I think it is a conflict of interest for fb to promote the use of any tool like this much less to develop one of their own to push.

  • RavenCourtney

    Good research instincts, Megan! Happy to help.

  • http://oddyearstravel.com/ Megan

    Great article! I was just about to add pages but decided to google whether the pages were notified. Sure enough, they are!

  • RavenCourtney

    You’re welcome. My embarrassment should at least be useful for the marketing community. ;)

  • http://www.toprankmarketing.com/ Lee Odden

    Thanks for sharing this Courtney :)

  • Alex Quail

    I suspect I may be one of those people!

  • RavenCourtney

    Good point. But I’m betting the notification will keep at least some admins from using it altogether, which doesn’t get FB any new revenue!

  • Alex Quail

    “A weird choice by Facebook, and one that definitely changes the ways in which an admin will use this new tool.”

    Definitely a deliberate move to create a sense of competition between both parties – Page A may aspire to be like Page B, but Page B may have no idea Page A even exists. Once it does (via FB’s sneaky notification), they may be willing to invest in Ads to stay ahead of the pack.

    Page A is pressured in to investing in ads to match/beat Page B.
    Page B is pressured in to investing in ads to stay ahead of Page A.
    The cycle continues. Win/Win for Facebook!

  • RavenArienne

    Maybe this was a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t privacy choice by Facebook? That’s the only thing I can figure.