Facebook’s New News Feed: What You Need to Know

By Ashley Reed in Social Media on March 14th, 2013

  Last Thursday, Facebook unveiled major changes to its News Feed that will affect how users and brands interact on this social behemoth. Learn how to adapt your content strategy to capitalize on News Feed’s new design and functionality. This enhancement marks the first major news feed overhaul since 2006 when it was created.  During the announcement, Zuckerberg stated his goal was to give “everyone in the world the best personalized newspaper in the world.” The changes fall within three categories: richer, visually engaging stories, choice of different feeds and mobile consistency.  Let’s examine what these mean in more detail and the implications for marketers. 1. Richer, Visually Engaging Stories: Facebook noted in the announcement that half of all updates consisted of photos.  The new feed certainly caters to this, placing a huge emphasis on visual content. Photos will take up significantly more homepage real estate and each will appear more prominently, which spotlights each user or page one post at a time.

(Source: Facebook)

2. Choice of Different Feeds: According to Facebook, one of the number one requests from users was more control over the stories they viewed on their homepage. They responded by giving users the chance to view their feeds by different topics and connections. New feed options will include all friends, photos, music, following (includes people and pages), games and more. Currently, users can only choose to view their feed by ‘Most Recent’ or ‘Top Stories.’

3. Mobile Consistency Facebook’s user interface now has a consistent look and feel across all devices – web, tablet and mobile.  The design is much simpler and the left-hand menu is available from all pages, making navigation much easier for users.

Implications for Brands & Marketers Brands and marketers should adapt their Facebook content strategy to take advantage of these changes.  Here are five key takeaways that can be used to boost brand engagement in the new News Feed: 1. Share More Visual Content Visual content will be spotlighted more than ever with recent News Feed changes.  Not only will photos and videos appear larger, but users will be able to select to view an entire feed of just photo content.  (We like to call this the Pinterest effect).  Brands should prepare for this by developing rich, visually engaging content; which will in turn be beneficial for Facebook's Graph Search as well. 2. Cut Down Copy in Posts According to a study by The Web Marketing Group, 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. Brands should communicate their message with visuals rather than text-only updates, and keep CTA’s short and focused in the copy. 3. Focus on Engaging Brand Champions    Brands should make it a priority to engage their strongest advocates, as those individuals are more likely to share their content with their friends. Now that users can view a feed of just their friends’ posts, (filtering out updates from business pages,) boosting engagement with fans will be increasingly important and will ensure that the reach of your content is extended to friends of fans. 4. Incorporate Richer Photos in Ads The emphasis on photos will absolutely apply to ads.  The larger News Feed canvas will mean more room for in-stream ads, so brands should begin thinking about incorporating richer images in ads, as they will be showcased more prominently. 5. Continue to Grow your Fan Base When new users ‘Likes’ a business page, a large story will be created that displays the brand’s cover image and the user’s name, which is great news for brands as these stories used to only appear as a small update in the Ticker. What next? Sign up to get on Facebook’s waitlist for the new News Feed and begin adapting your content strategy.  If you’re not sharing visual content, start thinking about how you will incorporate more photos and videos – (this may mean developing these assets if you don’t currently have content to leverage.) By optimizing your content strategy before the News Feed changes hit the public, you’ll have a major competitive advantage. Interested in learning more about how you can achieve Facebook marketing success? Talk to one of our social media experts today!