Facebook ads are out, hand-picked events are in

The social media site is rolling out a new feature for events managers to promote their pages. For marketers seeking to ‘build a following’ or ‘get people to your events,’ here are the details.

For social media managers who rely on users to share their Facebook content, the platform has a better idea—Live Events.

In addition to seeing events-related material pop up on users’ newsfeeds, the social media giant is offering a “human-curated” selection of events “that appeal to a wide audience,” a Facebook blog post states.

The individually selected Featured Events will appear on top of users’ upcoming events lists across 10 U.S. cities.

Here’s more from Facebook:

Featured events are lists created by a team at Facebook that show fun local things happening in specific cities. Events on these lists are drawn from art, entertainment, family, festival, fitness, food and drink, learning, community, music and sports events, and we try to find events that appeal to a wide audience.

What are the chances of your next event being chosen? Pretty good, if Facebook’s curators dub it “fun” or “local.” Paying to advertise on the networking website won’t help much, the blog states.

Here’s how Facebook says it will determine which events are included:

The team regularly reviews local art, entertainment, family, festival, fitness, food and drink, learning, community, music and sports events. The team also considers factors including location and capacity. Factors like whether or not the event host has bought ads for the event on Facebook are not considered by the team.

If you seek to have your organization’s next outing chosen, keep in mind that Featured Events lists only include public events hosted by a Facebook page. Private events are not included.

Bouncing back from controversy

In May, Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, was criticized for how his organization selected “Trending Topics.” He was blasted online as many accused the company of instructing curators to publish primarily left-leaning political content.

In light of that, Facebook says the Live Events team will not include events primarily focused on politics or worship.

“After Trending [Topics] we’ve learned a lot,” Facebook Events product manager Aditya Koolwal told TechCrunch.

On a local level

The feature was available Monday in Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C., the Chicago Tribune reported.

For marketers of sports teams, music festivals or even local farmers’ markets, the new feature could possibly lessen the amount of money they currently spend on social media advertising.

In Chicago, the Tribune reported that a Chicago Fire soccer game, the Mamby on the Beach festival and The Chosen Few DJs Music Festival were recommend by Facebook’s Live Events team this past weekend.

The Tribune added:

Suburban events also made the cut: The company recommended the Glen Ellyn Food Truck Picnic in the Park and Lisle’s Eyes to the Skies festival.

Facebook’s Koolwal says curators will try to avoid selecting events that might not be able to accommodate an influx of attendees. She told TechCrunch:

What we do is have a team of people who are basically looking at events on Facebook that have broad appeal, that a lot of people could go to, and they’re highlighting ones they think will be good to list out. But that downplays the distinct tastes of Facebook’s users. Finding events that appeal to everyone will be a challenge.

According to Facebook’s blog post, Featured Events will not replace its algorithmically generated event suggestions, including its dedicated events space.

Instead, those events are based on users’ preferences and activity, such as past events, events popular with your friends and community or events hosted by pages you’ve liked.

How do you think your social media team might tailor your content to grab a Facebook curator’s eye, PR Daily readers?

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