On Thursday, 3/7/13 Facebook announced a new layout for the News Feed, with three important changes, all designed to help reduce clutter.
1. The platform has placed a greater emphasis on visual stories,
2. Enhanced control over what users are able to see in the News Feed,
3. Consistent visual treatments across Web, mobile and tablet devices.
With approximately half of the posts on News Feed being photos and visual content, these new changes are designed to enhance the current consumer consumption patterns and keep people on the site longer.
Facebook users will be able to see stories they’ve always seen in their News Feed, but now photos, news articles, maps and events will be even more prominent.
For example, there will be larger photos, rich previews of shared articles, as well as larger images of maps showcasing check-ins. If several people share the same photo or video, users will see a much cleaner interface. They will have the ability to flip through the stories to see what their friends are saying, by hovering over profile icons that will display what each of them has said about the content.
Enhanced News Feed Control
With the ability to customize their News Feed, users can choose from seven different possible feeds, including: Most Recent, All Friends, Photos, Music, Following, Games, or Groups. To illustrate, switching to the “Music” feed will offer users a steady stream of music suggestions from all of their friends. Users now have control over the content in their news feed, and can adjust the mix quickly and easily.
With Facebook’s new changes, users will now be able to see the same clean look, whether they’re accessing the platform from the Web, mobile, or tablet device. Additionally, mobile features, such as a navigation sidebar with bookmarks and chat contacts, will also be available on the Web and tablets.
Implications for Brands
Users have more control
Users will have more precise control over what is delivered in their News Feed, which could translate into dramatic fluctuations in reach and engagement metrics for brands.
Brands will need to adapt their strategies to figure out what type of content appeals to their core audience, and when that audience is more likely to consume it. Brands might start increasing posting frequency and testing different times, to try and attract users consuming Facebook during work hours, or after hours at home.
Full-Width Video Content
Facebook is now treating third-party videos from Vimeo and YouTube on equal footing with Facebook videos. That means full-width video content can be viewed and played in the News Feed.
Video thumbnails are now an additional opportunity for Brands to convince fans to watch and share video content. For brands with extensive video libraries, this could be an exciting and impactful change.
Continue to Experiment
These updates offer Brands more opportunities to experiment.
For example, if Brands don’t currently have a music association, they might want to develop a company account on Spotify, so as not to miss out on a presence in the “Music” feed section.
However, even with the latest changes, crisp copy, interesting images, and time-of-day optimization tactics will continue to play an important role in Facebook posts.
1. Will the News Feed algorithm change with these new changes?
The current redesign’s purpose is to change the look and feel of the News Feed. The selection and order of stories in News Feed will not change; however, the addition of the “Following” Feed will show all stories from the Pages and people that users currently follow.
2. Will there be an impact on paid media campaign performance?
The redesign will be available to a small percentage of users over the next few weeks, so the overall performance of organic and paid media should not be affected. Facebook will continue to monitor the impact of the redesign before the redesign is available to other users.
3. How should I change my assets for Page posts and ads?
The actual size of your creative assets will not need to change. The current assets for Page posts, ads and sponsored stories will continue to appear in News Feed, however, they may be displayed differently, based on the assets you provide. The right-hand column is wider, but the size of the images will not change.
4. When will I see the new changes?
Facebook has started to roll out the new redesign to a small percentage of Web users, and will continue to roll out the redesign to users in the upcoming weeks. If you’d like to be one of the first to try it, you can sign up for the wait list here: http://facebook.com/newsfeed. The mobile redesign will roll out by the end of March.
5. I want to learn more about the News Feed changes?
Your Social@Ogilvy team can set up time with you to strategize around the News Feed changes, and walk you through steps to ensure that your brand page is maximizing the possibilities of the News Feed redesign.
Images sourced from Facebook.com.