“How we’re all sharing is changing and the news feed needs to evolve with those changes. This is the evolving face of news feed.” – Mark Zuckerburg
Facebook revealed it would be rolling out big changes to the News Feed design over the next few weeks. The update aims to simplify the News Feed and minimize clutter for users. The question on our mind is, “What does this mean for brand pages?”
“Everything across the board is going to get this richer, more immersive design,” said Julie Zhou, head of design at Facebook.
Pictures now account for half of all News Feed posts, up from 25 percent only a year ago, and with the updated News Feed those images will be more prominent on users’ feeds. Brands will have the opportunity to present their messaging with larger visuals. We can also assume that there will be space reserved on the right sidebar for Facebook advertisements, just like they are presented today.
However, users will be able to filter their news feeds by interests and categories of friends on separate tabs. When users want to see new photos or videos their friends are posting, they can simply click on a designated tab similar to how lists are used today. Concerns amongst marketers now arise about how Facebook will handle users that try to filter all their brand pages out of a feed.
All in all, brands and marketers will be challenged with the task of getting fans to actually share and engage with their content to create stories on their own timelines so it appears on their friends’ feeds – no matter the interest or category. Brands will need to be in-tune with the conversation their fans have to keep their content trickling into the feed more than ever.
It is likely that brands currently struggling with engagement will see a decrease in their reach, much like the decrease seen in September 2011. Facebook will also likely generate more opportunities for sponsored stories and promoted posts in specific feeds for interests, a la Twitter promoted posts and trends, to counter the negative effects of the changes.
Although Facebook has made marketing easier for brands through their advertising engine, which requires a monetary commitment, their turn to focus on user experience may be the second major slap in the face for brands. The future holds a big challenge for brands to revamp their strategies for the coming changes to the News Feed.