Facebook Redesigns News Feed – Big User Experience Changes Mean Big Opportunities for Brands

This post was written by Jeff Semones, President of M80. M80 manages the relationship between brands and consumers through social content and conversations. Follow Jeff on Twitter @Semones.

Unlike many recent announcements from Facebook that focused more on new ad products and infrastructure, the March  event showcased News Feed improvements which are intended to greatly enhance the user experience. While this “upgrade” is certainly consumer-centric news, it’s obvious that brands and marketers will benefit as well.

Key Takeaways:

» Content is still king

o With much larger images and greater use of onscreen real estate, Facebook aims to deliver a cleaner, richer and more immersive content experience. Storytelling on the platform could become more interesting for brands. This shift signals a continuation of the growing role that content creation plays in the social marketer’s responsibility set.

» Greater choice for consumers

o Users will now be able to filter content into feeds based on photos, music, friends, games, video and more. The various feeds provide more opportunities for users to discover content. Meanwhile, marketers can refine engagement and optimization tactics based on specific types of content. Adoption of this functionality could have a great impact on a brand’s reach. If there is abundant adoption of pages besides those of brands and public figures (i.e. 70% adoption of friends-only feeds), the importance of fan engagement will increase. This could make it more essential than ever for brands to have connections that will be seen by others in “friends only” filtered views.

» EdgeRank implications

o As of now, there will be no change in how the algorithm surfaces content within each feed. However, the fundamental ability to now segment content could diminish the algorithm’s impact on what we see, compared to the existing version of the News Feed.

» Continuity of experience

o Facebook has adopted a mobile-inspired user interface that will now be the same across all screens/devices. Brands can design and plan with a single interface in mind as opposed to separate desktop and mobile ideation. Time will tell the true effect related to mobile advertising.

» Video

o The expansion in options for how users can engage with video content is exciting news for marketers. Third-party video providers will now be allowed to have “equal footing” on the platform.

» Staggered, slower roll out of changes

o Facebook continues to demonstrate its willingness to listen to and embrace user feedback, often applying the insights gleaned to new products and platform updates. Expect the latest changes to come more gradually, over a longer rollout period.

Strategic Implications:

» Content creation; be it in real-time or programmatic is growing in importance. These moves further increase the imperative for brands to devise proper strategies against this ongoing shift.

» These News Feed changes also lend more credence to the integration of community managers and those who manage the paid social budgets. Brand demand for tighter integration should lead to stronger collaboration and more effective allocation of community resources and paid dollars to amplify experiences that will enhance story telling capabilities.

You can sign up to join the waitlist for the new design here.

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