As promised, Facebook’s news feed is evolving to feature larger photos and multiple feeds that are designed to reduce clutter. The social network today unveiled its redesigned, mobile-inspired look that puts a much bigger emphasis on visuals.
Basically, it's aiming to become a personalized newspaper.
“You see all the stories you saw in your News Feed before, but with a fresh new look,” according to Facebook. “We've completely rebuilt each story to be much more vibrant and colorful and highlight the content that your friends are sharing. Photos, news articles, maps and events all look brighter and more beautiful."
The New Facebook News Feed
In addition to the main news feed, Facebook is letting you browse updates by:
- All Friends
- Most Recent
- Close Friends
- Following (pages you follow)
- And more.
The revamped news feed follows accusations earlier this week from a New York Times writer who claimed Facebook was supressing unpaid content in news feeds, resulting in less comments and Likes. Facebook responded by saying "overall engagement on posts from people with followers has gone up 34% year over year." One thing that won't change: EgdeRank, Facebook's algorithm that determines which content to show users.
Want to give it a try before it rolls out globally over the next few weeks? Go here and scroll down to the bottom to join the waiting list.
What About Facebook Ads?
Advertisements will be getting more prominence as well. Inside Facebook has a good compiliation of what the various Facebook ads will look like in the new look Facebook news feed, and also notes the arrival of a prominent "hide" button.
More screen real estate and more dynamic ads could spell immediate benefits for advertisers, Matt Lawson, VP of Marketing, Marin Software, told Search Engine Watch.
"I think the redesign has the potential to move Facebook a bit closer to becoming more of a performance marketing channel," Lawson said. "Images and video will be displayed more prominently and I think it's safe to assume this will be the same for ads. Similarly, the different News Feeds may also provide an opportunity for advertisers to serve more relevant ads."
For example, Lawson said, a developer of social gamee may now have the ability to just advertise on the Games feed as opposed to the general News Feed. And multiple news feeds means the potential to serve more ads.
But will it result in a higher ROI for marketers? Adobe Media and Ads director Justin Merickel Read believes it could.
“The new look for Facebook’s News Feed promises new opportunities for advertisers,” Merickel told VentureBeat. “As users tend to show a stronger interest in active, personalized news feeds, embedded ads will likely be more relevant and generate higher ROI for advertisers.”
In the same VentureBeat article, Sarah Carter, GM of Social Business at Actiance, is quoting as saying that "if a business is able to effectively market to its audience on this channel, using content that is visual, relevant and spoken in an authentic voice, the ROI should be greater.”
Lawson agreed on the importance of images.
"Ad fatigue was already an issue on Facebook and with a more image centric format advertisers are going to need to pay extra attention to their images," Lawson said. "We recommend advertisers rotate creative every 2 to 3 days. ... the pressure and reward for brands that create relevant content on their pages [just] went up.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!