Last week Mark Zuckerberg and his team held a press conference to announce and show off a significantly redesigned news feed – the central component to the Facebook homepage.
If you haven’t yet had the chance to watch the Facebook press conference from you can watch it here [sorry – this is no longer here!]. It’s only 25 minutes long, and if like me you’re easily excited by big changes to social media sites it’s worth a watch. In the meantime, here is a brief summary of some of the key changes, and the impact they could potentially have on your business pages.
Statistics show that almost 50% of news feed posts are pictures, and almost 30% of content comes from pages. Not only do people want to share and see more rich media content, but they also want to share more public content. The redesigned news feed reflects those desires.
- Images that are posted will appear bigger and richer in detail – great news for photographers and graphic designers;
- Albums that are shared will be bigger, and preview more images in the feed, giving users a greater idea as to what the album contains;
- Articles are bigger, with longer summaries and the publisher’s logo displayed;
- When your friends add new friends or like new pages, a bigger preview of these will appear, which includes not only the profile picture but the cover picture too. This makes it even more important to ensure your cover picture really says something about who you are and what you do;
- Check-ins are more detailed, with maps and descriptions of the locations being checked into;
- 3rd party content sharing through other social media sites such as Pinterest is more prominent;
- Upcoming suggested events, based on what you’ve been to, where you are and what your friends are going to, will now appear in your news feed, making Facebook the perfect place to go to when you’re looking for something to do this weekend.
Choice of feeds
These days, users on Facebook are often missing more content than they’re aware of. Page updates are often missed because people have their news feeds set to “top stories”, and even having it set to “Most Recent” doesn’t guarantee that you’ll see everything. The news feed redesign now features a much more prominent filter feature, allowing you to dictate exactly what content you can see. These feeds will be listed in accordance to how often you use them. The more you use a feed, the higher it’ll appear on the list in the feed selection box. These are just some of the feeds that were highlighted at the conference.
- All friends feed – Status updates and shared content from only your friends – not famous figures or pages;
- Music feed – What friends are listening to, what music events are coming up, and posts from musicians/artists you follow;
- Photo feed – Showing pictures posted by both friends and pages;
- Following feed – Updates from the pages and public figures that you follow;
- Most recent feed – a revamped version of the most recent feed, showing the latest from friends and pages;
- Close friends feed – updates from friends designated as close friends;
- Games feed – updates from the games that you and your friends play on Facebook;
Typically, developers will take their pc-based site and adapt it to fit on mobile devices. Facebook have done the reverse this time, in order to not only ensure consistency across platforms, but to translate the simplicity of the mobile version over to the pc version. The mobile navigation system has been ported over, and various other little features like the “new stories” update bubble have been adopted for the web design, making for a sleek and simpler design.
What does this all mean?
What struck me most about the conference is that not once was touch screen technology mentioned, and this baffled me. The new design is a lot simpler, and items are bigger – the two basic requirements for making something touch-friendly. It’s not as friendly as new Myspace is, and it’s possible that there has been a bit of a rush to get something more suitable for touch users out there as quickly as possible -it could even be a prelude to the Windows 8 Facebook app that is still notably absent.
In terms of what the changes mean for pages, it’s actually good news overall. Content is going to be much more visible now, and with dedicated feeds for pages, posts are likely to generate more impressions. The key thing to take away is the statistics mentioned at the start of the conference – Facebook is becoming more and more about rich media like pictures and videos, and it’s going to be important to ensure that content reflects this trend.
To sign up for the waiting list for the new layout, click here [again – no longer here!]. It’s going to be a good few months before the rollout reaches all users, but by the looks of things, it’s certainly going to be worth the wait.