On Thursday, Facebook announced the first significant redesign of the News Feed since it was introduced in 2006. According to Facebook, the majority of changes will freshen up users’ News Feeds and reduce clutter by focusing on media-rich stories and allowing users to better organize their information.
All these changes are fine and dandy for users. Who’s going to argue with bigger pictures and better organization? But for those marketers wondering, “What does this mean for me?” Here are my two cents… or should I say five cents on how brands can maximize the new News Feed.
1. Emphasize visual content
Mark Zuckerberg opened up the conference Thursday stating almost 50% of News Feed content today is made up of photos and visual content. The Edge Rank algorithm currently favors content with rich media. According to Facebook, the News Feed redesign will not change the ranking algorithm. It will however, place greater emphasis on brand stories featuring photos, videos and links.
2. Rethink your Timeline creative
Timeline creative such as a brand’s cover photo and thumbnails of friends who like the brand will now be featured alongside stories in the Timeline. Ensure your cover photos are timely, vibrant and appealing, while still complying with Facebook page guidelines.
3. Strengthen Link Headlines + Images
Link attachments are getting a makeover. Images will be larger. Titles will be more prominent and lead paragraphs will be longer. Simply tacking on a link will not suffice. Choose links with strong images, and customize titles + summaries to be concise and attention-grabbing.
4. Integrate across channels
The redesign will focus on consistency across devices. This will create a much more unified experience for users on desktop, mobile and tablet. The mobile focus comes as little surprise. Earlier this year, Facebook revealed they had 680 million mobile daily users, exceeding the amount of their desktop users. Smart brands were already providing mobile optimized content for their users, this is now more important than ever. Whether linking off-site to a sweepstakes or e-commerce site, brands must ensure that a user’s mobile experience is simple and polished.
5. Target Ads to Subfeeds
Facebook also announced the launch of subfeeds on Thursday. These feeds will live in the upper right corner of the News Feed and will allow users the opportunity to toggle between different topic categories.
The new News Feeds include:
- All Friends Feed – Displays only posts from friends. No brand content.
- Music Feed – Shows what music your friends are listening to, dates of upcoming concerts and content from your favorite musicians.
- Photos Feed – Features photos shared by friends and pages
- Following Feed – The equivalent of the current “Pages Feed.” This will share content from businesses you like and public figures you follow in chronological order.
In summary, the changes to the News Feed force marketers to be more strategic about the way they deliver their content. Great brands were already emphasizing rich media, strategically targeting ads, and integrating across channels. As Facebook officially raises the bar, marketers will have to up the ante and think outside the box to get their message across.