Another Facebook redesign is no doubt going to frustrate people, have brands up in arms and probably throw up some privacy debate too. But Facebook has to iterate and if they didn’t recognise how things have changed, in terms of consumption of content, they risk the irrelevancy slide. They clearly do, as Robyn Morris product designer at Facebook says “The design of News Feed hasn’t changed much since 2006, but the world has,”.
Mark Zuckerberg said at the launch that he wanted Facebook to be “the best personalized newspaper in the world.” And like a newspaper editor, he wants the “front page” of Facebook to be more engaging — in particular on the smaller screens of mobile devices. (NewYorkTimes)
So its on its way. But what does it all mean? Well trawling through a few articles (sources at the bottom of this post) here seem to be some of the highlights:
Facebook Page Posts and Sponsored Stories that contain photo and video will appear 20% larger. This is obviously good for brands, they can leverage higher resolution assets and use more compelling captivating content. (the journal crunch)
The new design also includes some photo page posts being overlaid with a caption or description rather than the text appearing below, suggesting that shorter text on photo updates will be more effective. (the journal crunch)
The new look News Feed “celebrates content” in a way that the last iteration did not. One of the key thrusts of this change is the increased emphasis on the visual experience. “Photos are bigger and more visually compelling,” says global head of brand design Paul Adams. “They have always had higher than average levels of engagement so we know they’re more interesting to people.” (Marketing Week)
For both organic and paid page ‘like’ stories, the image that will be displayed in News Feed will be the brand’s cover photo, giving this more prominence. It is therefore even more important that the photo is representative of the brand. (Marketing Week)
The new Facebook design also means users will be met with the same look and feel on mobile, tablet and web. For example, the left-hand menu will be visible on any Facebook page, while users can quickly move to the top of News Feed when new stories arrive (Marketing Week)
Links shared to the site from other places like Pinterest or Quora will have bigger blurbs (techCrunch)
News Feed’s introduction of filters or feeds, enabling users to drill down to specific content. For example, users can see news from ‘All Friends’, showing everything their friends are sharing, or ‘Photos’, featuring only photos from friends and the pages users ‘like’ or ‘follow’. (Marketing Week)
This last point seems to be something that could prove problematic of businesses. As TechCrunch point out
“ If users choose to frequent that, they could be free to Like Pages to show off their interests or personalize third-party apps, but not have to see their feed updates.”
There is also some interest to see if video will play a larger role, but it is interesting to hear Facebook’s view on this:
“… with videos, people have to press play so there is a higher level of effort required – it’s more effort than viewing a picture. The reward from watching a video needs to be greater.” Paul Adams says.
It seems that this move by Facebook will have some challenges for brands, but seem to have welcomed the changes as it seems like it will increase dwell time on Facebook. Users, according to the New York Times, aren’t as happy, with suggestions that Flipboard, already offers a personalized newspaper in which users choose the topics and publications they are interested in.
Like it or not, Facebook is a giant and like all changes Facebook has made, we will all have to get our heads around them pretty quickly and find ways to make it work!
I just hope it puts a stop to all the Like and Share to win rubbish I see on my news feed all the time!