A few days ago, Facebook unveiled an extensive news feed redesign, and as usual, news from Zuckerberg & Co. are stirring things up. The new feed will slowly start rolling out to users, so soon enough you too will be able to notice the changes on your own Facebook feed. Ready for an overhaul? Let’s see what these revisions mean for you.
The redesigned news feed will include bigger image sizes. Much bigger, actually! One of Facebook’s designers compared this transition to having a small Trinitron TV and then buying a widescreen.
What it means is that Facebook is putting more focus on visual content, which already today is very significant. As a user, this will allow you to enjoy great pics shared by your friends, but it can also create a clutter of dominating images and divert attention from textual news stories.
If you use Facebook to promote a business or an organization, this means that you will need to take extra care with the type of images you post. High-quality visuals will become more important in your social marketing efforts. For photographers, artists, fashion industry professionals or designers, this boost will come naturally. For businesses that are not as concentrated on visual material, this may require meaningful adaptations to your social media strategy. If you improve your page’s image quality, you will be able to draw more attention to your posts.
Supersizing does not stop at regular image posts. Ads showing up on the news feed will also appear much larger than before. Great news for marketers, but how will the user base respond?
Facebook wants you to think of your news feed as a “personalized newspaper” (in the words of Mark Zuckerberg). The new Facebook feed will allow you to filter stories by different categories, so you actually get more control over the content you see.
The way you consume your stories on the feed today is that you can choose between “Top Stories” and “Most Recent”. In the new version, you have a separate feed for your friends, a feed for brands that you follow, a feed for photos only, for music and so on. You can view all incoming posts or choose a specific feed to enjoy.
This may pose a problem for brands, services and organizations that use Fan Pages. Facebook users will now be able to “mute” them out of their feeds, focusing only on content that was created by their friends. You can fight that by using a lot of compelling visual content. The “Photos” feed is expected to be quite popular, and you need to make sure that your images are on it.
The redesign of the news feed is very much influenced by Facebook’s mobile apps and by leading trends in the mobile design field at the moment. One of the major implications is that Facebook will have one look across different platforms – desktop, tablet and smartphone. This shows how Facebook is adapting to the evolving paradigm of “mobile first”.
The mobile consistency Facebook now embraces means more than just a unified user experience. Facebook’s advertising is working very well on mobile versions, and the company now wants to duplicate this success with desktop users as well. This means, of course, bigger opportunities for marketers, but some users will not be too pleased.
The Bottom Line
First and foremost, the new news feed is going to be a lot prettier that the current one. The emphasis on visuals and the unified cross-platform design give Facebook a real facelift.
Users will enjoy a cleaner feed that they may also customize and curate to fit their own needs. The rich visual content is likely to generate more engagement, much to the satisfaction of businesses, brands and marketers.
But will this turn Facebook into an Instagram-like feed and nothing more? Too soon to tell. We can say for sure that without great images, you’re not going to make it under Facebook’s new rules.
Want to experience the new feed? Go to this page, scroll down and ask to join.