Following a highly publicized reveal event last week, another new Facebook layout is on its way! Although it will be a very gradual rollout, the new Facebook News Feed began reaching some users on Thursday, March 7 (live testing began in February, for New Zealand users). Some of the changes we can expect to see include:
- Bigger, more “immersive” photos, with some of them chosen (arbitrarily, it would seem) to appear larger than others.
- A more chronological news feed, wherein updates appear in the order they were posted. However, the Facebook algorithm will still decide who you are likely to want to see updates from.
- Several “sub feeds” that provides better control over what updates appear in the news feed. For example, there will be the option to choose updates from All, Close Friends, only photo updates, etc. There will also be a Follow option that allows you to switch over to viewing updates from those outside your Close Friends circle.
- Increased space for longer posts (no more “more” links when someone writes a long paragraph).
- A “cleaner” looking feed (think the streamlined interface of Google+ – which, by the way, is making its own changes in an attempt to steal Facebook’s thunder this week).
Facebook likens its new layout to a “personalized newspaper.” While the changes are exclusively relevant to the News Feed and not the Timeline (your profile page), there will be one change that will affect the way you manage your Timeline: the addition of your cover photo to your friends’ or fans’ News Feeds.
Facebook’s New Layout: A Bigger Look
For anyone who cares about representing themselves well in the News Feed (this obviously applies to brands), making the cover photo as clear and strategic as possible is a good move now. The new Facebook layout may have already reached your friends and fans, even if it is not yet visible to you. Posting about trending topics will also be more important now, in light of the “newspaper” scheme that Facebook is going for.
Those who pay for ads on Facebook will still get good value for their money, since the new News Feed can offer more “real estate” for those buying in-stream ads. The size of the entire News Feed has been expanded, with the right and left rails surrounding the Feed shrunk to barely noticeable margins. The experts agree that paid Facebook marketing will still be a smart practice post-layout change. According to Debra Williamson of eMarketer, “Having a larger canvas to work with will be a real benefit to marketers. They have always wanted more real estate and Facebook has always been more reticent to give them more play,” she said. “By expanding the News Feed, that by default gives advertisers more room to play with as well.”
Whether you engage in paid Facebook marketing or use Facebook as a channel for organic content sharing, your brand can surely benefit from the new Facebook layout. Prepare to start posting more timely content, better photos and more targeted updates. The payoff could definitely be worth it.