Dissecting Facebook's Newsfeed Re-Design
Facebook's Newsfeed re-design, the first since this feature was introduced in 2006, is aimed at increasing engagement, e
Facebook’s Newsfeed re-design, the first since this feature was introduced in 2006, is aimed at increasing engagement, expanding time spent on the social network, overcoming Facebook fatigue and creating more inventory and more interoperability for advertisers.
As usual Zuckerberg & Company will benignly dictate how a billion people see, interact and use the platform now described as “a personalized newspaper.” The new design emphasizes larger pictures, cleaner lines and new content streams that will look and feel the same across devices. This recognizes the fact that today a huge number of users access Facebook on tablets and smartphones and that those numbers will continually grow.
Let’s look at the key changes.
Bigger Pictures. 50% of Facebook user posts are pictures. The Newsfeed has become a defacto photo sharing service and archive. It makes sense to improve the things your customers like best.
Increasing the size of pictures, encouraging higher resolution, making it easier to upload albums (multiple pictures) and bumping up the size of thumbnails posted by friends and brands all cater to existing behavior. Increasing image sizes will make the Newsfeed more magazine-like. In some cases it will do so while 2/3rds of screen is devoted to ads, which also will be bigger and clearer.
More Discrete Content Streams. By separating out streams of activity by topic, Facebook hopes to create content segments and improve time spent on site by offering users a way to circumvent the Edgerank filtering algorithm. Separate streams featuring music, video, games and music could become ad-supported channels. Users will have the option to see all the content posted by friends, most of which is filtered out today, by selecting “all friends” or from brands that a user likes by selecting “following.”
Ideally this will give users more control and more incentive to stay longer and dig deeper into the content they care about most. It will also create opportunities to create inventory for heavily advertised categories where consumers frequently interact with each other.
Consistent UI. Facebook will look the same on desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. This is the first step toward creating a 24/7-device agnostic seamless brand experience. This too, will encourage more frequent access and dramatically improve the mobile experience. Down the road Facebook will sell roadblock ad packages that work across devices to enable brands to make bigger, bolder splashes.
The implications, of the Newsfeed redesign, for brands and advertisers are four-fold.
1. Brands, like consumers, will have to be more visual using more, better, higher resolution images to get their messages across. Ads will get bigger and more intrusive.
2. Segmented channels and clusters of users will become available. Brands have to decide the tone, manner, content and frequency with which they will approach them.
3. Users will have more control over access to their Newsfeeds. Brands will have to earn the right to greater access and sharing by focusing on content and relevance.
4. Advertisers will need to understand when and how users access Facebook and plan or parse content and ads to optimize awareness, preference and action.