March 12th, 2013
The web is alive with reactions since Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s impending News Feed redesign last week, which will be rolled out slowly like Timeline was. First, let me just say that there’s nothing to worry about. If Facebook provides a viable marketing avenue for your business, then it should continue to do so, as long as you use it to its fullest potential. But that goes without saying for any marketing effort, regardless of system updates.
Check out this short video for an overview of the changes:
Yeah, Facebook tends to make things a little more flowery than they need to be, but you get the point.
The changes aren’t super monumental, in my opinion. Here’s a quick recap of what’s soon to come for Facebook’s News Feed feature.
The new News Feed will have a much cleaner format. Currently, the News Feed takes up a somewhat narrow-ish strip of space in the middle of the page. To the left there is a cluttered navigation menu, to the right a lot of ads, and further to the right a needless ticker of everything your friends are doing in real time.
The new format is significantly cleaned up–no busy menu on the left, no ticker to the right, and the ads are pushed over and down a bit (although sponsored content in general is probably going to be more prominent). The top navigation is also de-cluttered. Overall, the new format is more akin to the simplified mobile version of Facebook. This is one of the reasons for the new design–to create cohesion across the mobile, tablet, and desktop experience.
Which fuels the argument that visual content is more important than ever. According to the Associated Press, our attention spans went from 12 seconds to 8 seconds from the year 2000 to 2012, making us less attentive than gold fish (seriously?). Apparently, the average person will only read 49% of a web page with 111 words or less, and only 28% of a page with 593 words (the average page length). So if you’ve made it this far into my blog post, thanks for sticking around! 🙂
What does this mean? For the most part, people aren’t going online to read text. For most web surfers, images and videos provide that much-needed diversion because they are so much easier to digest and therefore can be digested much more quickly on tight schedules. With this in mind, Facebook’s News Feed redesign emphasizes visual content–bigger, clearer pictures. Even the image captions are now superimposed in white text on top of the image.
You’ve just read a super intriguing article or found a mouthwatering recipe online, and of course, you want to do your civic duty and share it with all of your friends. Or conversely, you’ve provided something sweet on your site and one of your readers wants to share it with all of their friends.
With the new design, when Facebook users share links to goodies they’ve discovered online, the thumbnail image is bigger, the headline and short blurb about the link are in a different typeface, and a logo is included. This makes links more appealing to click on, but it also means that everything you put online should include a high-quality, relevant image and an effective headline. And how’s that logo looking? The digital age would like you to reevaluate the aesthetic of your branding.
With the new design, when somebody Likes your page, your cover photo and logo will show up right there in their friends’ feeds. Again, it’s a good reason to make sure your logo represents your company well, that you’ve used an interesting cover photo to represent a little bit of who you are, and that all of the aspects of your social media marketing are on point. Hopefully these things will help draw in more people to be interested and click on your page to learn more.
We know now that Facebook’s
popularity contest algorithm, EdgeRank, essentially ranks the content people post for popularity by how much people interact with it–share it, Like it, comment on it, etc. Sometimes this isn’t the best determining factor for how valuable something is and how worthy it is of being seen by others. Personally, I think it’s overbearing for an algorithm to choose what I see from my friends based on how popular the posts are–I prefer to make that choice for myself.
Anyway. It’s not that EdgeRank is going anywhere, but now users have a variety of feeds to choose from, rather than one feed inclusive of everything. With a drop-down menu, users can choose which feed they want to view:
You can check out how it will look for yourself here, at the source.
So there’s what’s what in the dawn of a new era… the updated News Feed era. (Disclaimer: that was a dramatization.)
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