This week, Facebook announced a redesign to the News Feed that will impact content and advertising strategies.
While the new design is slowly being rolled out, here are some key takeaways and implications for brands:
1. Your Page’s Performance Will Not Be Impacted (yet)
This is not a delivery change, it’s a redesign. This does NOT affect the delivery algorithm for the News Feed. The addition of content-specific feeds does not impact content delivery.
The order of content on the main News Feed is unchanged. The only feeds that are in chronological order at this time are the “All Friends” (all friend activity) and “Following” (all activity from pages) feeds.
All other feeds function as they had before, only now there are content filtering options to pick out specific types of content. Since it’s only being rolled out to a small percentage at first, the overall performance of organic and paid content should not be affected. Facebook will be assessing this as they roll this out
2. Cover Photos And High Quality Images Are A MUST
Cover photos (which are subject to Facebook’s 20% text rule) are now even more important.
And while these changes make good photos look even better in the News Feed, they’ll also make lousy photos look even worse. Make sure your pages have strong cover photos that are representative of the brand and invite users to join and are uploading high quality photos in albums and content pieces.
Facebook is encouraging brands to use highest quality photos possible optimized for mobile and web browsing (600×600 pixel images are the advised size and photos should be no smaller than 200×200 pixels).
3. Text Overlay and Image Descriptions
Some photo page posts may have the image caption/description appear on top of the image (see screenshot below).
Facebook said that they are trying to do this only when they think the caption will be legible and if the image does not already contain text. This is problematic as their Text Overlay tool is not 100% accurate as is.
Facebook has also indicated that there may be an “opt-out” feature for admins to control whether or not the text is overlaid on the image. Brands should consider using short, direct text on photo updates in order to display correctly in the new photo format.
4. Potential for More Engagement Opportunities
Brand content can appear in multiple feeds (such as the “Photos,” “Recent News,” and “Following” Feeds) – not just the default News Feed.
The increase in user control over content streams provides more opportunities for a fan to see a brand’s content, especially if they frequent the “Following” Feed. On the flip side, if fans frequent the “Friends Only” feed more than others, this could be harmful to brands.
Overall, the feed filters provide more incentive for fans to stay on Facebook longer, which over the long-term provides marketers with more opportunities to run ads and target users. Brands may want to consider finding unique ways to connect to a company account on Rdio or Spotify in order to have a presence on the “Music” Feed.
5. More Options for Ads
The increased size of photos in the News Feed helps solidify photos as the holy grail of Facebook advertising. Photos already generate clicks and engagement and now will be even more eye-catching.
While ads will have much richer visual components with a larger “like page” button, the “hide” button is also much more prominent and could result in many user’s clicking the wrong button during a campaign.
Still, the addition of the segmented feeds presents new opportunities for ad targeting, as Facebook will test various ad types within different feeds. The new layout limits right-side marketplace ads above the fold to 2-3 ads, though these ads are now wider (300px).
Here is a side-by-side of what Page Post Ads look like under the current News Feed (left) and with the new design (right):
It’s important to note that with the new design, when a prominent Sponsored Story appears in the feed, combined with a few visible right-side market place ads, you’re looking at the possibility of 2/3 of the screen being covered with ads (see screenshot below):
Facebook will be rolling these changes out to a very small percentage of users over the next few weeks.
They’ll be closely monitoring organic content and paid media performance to determine if changes need to be made to the algorithm before a larger rollout. To sign up for priority access, visit https://www.facebook.com/about/newsfeed