Facebook unveiled yesterday what might be the biggest change to its home page ever, for both users and marketers. The News Feed (which some are still calling "The Wall") got simpler, bigger and a lot more visual.
Mark Zuckeberg told yesterday that more than 50% of News Feed content today is photos and visual content. During previous months we have been underlining the importance of images, as pictures have been having higher engagement rates compared to the links and status updates. After these new changes will take place, the importance of visually attractive images is even higher.
Marketers got more space to place their ads. A Facebook representative has confirmed to the press that Sponsored Posts will keep on appearing in the News Feed, they will just be "richer & bigger". As we can see from the different screenshots released, the caption will appear within the pictures. Hence an advice to every community manager out there: keep your copy short, as short as 90 characters.
When users share a company's post, it will appear on his friends' newsfeed just as much as before.
While it seems that the right-hand ads will disappear, the sponsored stories and ads in the middle of the News Feed will get even more engaging.
Different feeds for different purposes
The CEO also told the press that 30% of the whole content on Facebook is currently published by companies. Businesses should publish different kind of posts - not only images. In the new News Feed the users can select a variety of categories to see and engage with such as 'news', 'music', 'games' and 'following'. This means that if a company wants to appear in all of the different categories, they must publish different post types. We think that Spotify will play an ever bigger role, and companies should start thinking about ways to share music with their fans.
As usual, Edgerank likes quality over quantity, keep it in mind.
Desktop and mobile
The desktop version will look a lot more like the current mobile version with the left-hand menu and similar 'like', 'comment', 'share' -buttons. News Feed for desktop and News Feed for mobile will be streamed with the same design, giving a greater consistency to the content. This makes it simpler for marketers as well: whatever the content, it will look the same on mobile, and on desktop.
It does look like Google Plus
Let's be brutally honest here: the new News Feed looks more than a bit like Google Plus. The left-hand menu is very similar; the new visually-focused News Feed seems to be the exact copy of G+; and even the right-hand side with "people you might know", has probably been borrowed from Google Plus. However, we always loved Google Plus' sleek interface. G+ app is the best social media application you can find on iPhone. Hence we are happy that Facebook got inspired more than a little bit by the Big G's social media platform.
Facebook looks like Google Plus, which looks like Tumblr, which looks like Twitter with pictures, which... wait a sec...
— Simone (@bocedi) March 8, 2013
How do I get the new Facebook News Feed?
As for the recently released Graph Search, Facebook started rolling out the new News Feed to only few lucky users and it will slowly reach the broader audience. Get in line by joining the waiting list here: http://www.facebook.com/about/newsfeed