What Facebook’s Redesigned News Feed Means for Businesses

When Facebook rolled out its News Feed in 2006, it redefined the way users interacted with its site, transforming its homepage into a stream of timely, personalized updates powered by users’ individual social networks.

Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine a Facebook that doesn’t organize and present your networks’ updates in a digestible, magazine-like manner. Not only does the News Feed deliver curated content for Facebook users, but it also allows businesses with Facebook Pages to increase the visibility of their updates.

Earlier this month, Facebook announced some changes to its News Feed, which point to an emphasis on visual content and make personal curation easier than ever before. As the News Feed’s user experience continues to evolve, businesses need to know how to adapt their Facebook presence and content to optimize for brand engagement.

To give businesses a better understanding of the redesigned News Feed, we’ve outlined some significant changes and what they mean for companies:

1. More emphasis on visuals

Over 50 percent of content in an average Facebook user’s News Feed are images, according to Zuckerberg. Recognizing the draw of visual content, Facebook’s new News Feed features larger photos for a richer viewing experience. See below for a comparison of the old News Feed with the new:

The new News Feed (pictured on the right) puts the image front and center–the text merely complements the photo. And as image sizes increase within the News Feed, so do ad dimensions.

With visual content at the forefront of the News Feed redesign, the way new likes on Facebook Pages and check-ins are displayed on News Feeds has also become more visual. Check-ins now display a map indicating the exact location of the check-in, and Page likes feature the cover and profile photos of the Page owner.

What This Means for Businesses:
Visually-appealing content is more important than ever to generate engagement. As images take up more space on users’ homepages, businesses need to share visual content that draws attention. This means that both your Facebook page profile and the website content you’ve made available for users to share across their social networks should include high-quality visuals that meet Facebook’s recommended pixel specifications (600x600px).

2. More choices for users

The new News Feed enables users to filter their streams by the following categories: Most Recent, All Friends, Photos, Music, Following, Games, and Groups. In this way, users can adjust their viewing experience according to their personal preferences and see only the content they care about.

What This Means for Businesses:
Your evangelists are crucial to your brand’s growth. Now that users can sort their News Feeds, your company’s content may not be seen by Facebook users unless your followers toggle to the “Following” category. On the flip side, businesses that succeed in posting content that Facebook users “like” and share with their networks bump up their chances of also being discovered on multiple feeds, including the “All Friends” and “Most Recent” feeds.

3. More focus on content

As the News Feed develops a crisper “magazine-like” feel, the links that appear will include longer preview text to give users a better grasp of the content it’s linking to. Businesses that manage to share interesting, quality content that gets shared across different social graphs will see an increase in content and brand visibility. For instance, Facebook will aggregate publishers’ most-shared posts into a grid and publish it on News Feeds along with that publisher’s logo, as pictured below.

What This Means for Businesses:
Content is key to brand discovery and engagement. Longer text blurbs for linked content on News Feeds makes useful, quality content a necessity for businesses looking to increase website traffic and engagement. On the other hand, longer text previews also make it easier for users to detect and avoid clicking on link-and-bait sources with flashy titles but poor content.

As Facebook continues to adapt its design and technology to deliver the information and personalization that their users want, businesses need to continuously reevaluate their marketing strategies to engage with users in impactful, relevant ways. Read more to learn about how another new Facebook feature, Graph Search, affects your business’s marketing strategy.

-Emma Tzeng, Marketing @gigya

By Emma Tzeng