Facebook (March, 2013) has announced in that it is set to change the design of the News Feed page (again!). However, unlike other drastic changes to the Facebook layout, this redesign hasn’t caused any major upsets yet!
The new design is now much more photo-centric and on the face of things looks a lot less cluttered. The left panel has been completely redesigned and is very similar to the left panel seen on the Facebook mobile application. The right panel has also been made narrower, leaving a lot more space for the News Feed content. In short, the new design does look like an improvement.
Chris Cox of Facebook has stated that the main reason behind the redesign is to make sure user content is shown off in the best possible fashion. The Facebook team believe this is best achieved by reducing the clutter around user content. In essence, the redesign is trying to move Facebook out the way as much as possible.
New options have been added to the News Feed so users can filter content based on categories such as Music, Photos, Pages, Games and Close friends or their own custom categories.
For businessís advertising on the platform it has been confirmed that the redesign will allow ìricher and biggerî Sponsored Posts (adverts). The redesign gives marketers a larger canvas to work with and the ability to make their paid adverts appear in specific News Feed categories. For example, Nintendo may want their adverts to appear only in the Games tab. Choosing to do this Nintendo will be able to target their adverts specifically to an audience that are looking at a related subject.
A further benefit to businesses is the recent algorithmic change to what appears in a Facebook usersí News Feed. You may have noticed recently that images and videos now appear a lot more frequently in your News Feed and this is due to the change in the formula that works out what content should appear there. This coupled with a new design which looks to show off more visual content it is expected the prominence of branded visual media will increase further. This means you will be likely to see more unwanted Sponsored Messages.
However, looking at it from a brands point of view the redesign gives businessís a great opportunity to get creative with their adverts.
Interestingly, it is looking like the adverts in the right side panel will be phased out. This may be problematic for some marketers who rely on the ads as a cheap way to reach their target audience. It also may cause issues with Facebook users as it means businesses are pushed to use Sponsored Messages to reach their potential customers. Sponsored Messages are much more intrusive than the right side bar advertisements.
In the wake of Facebook going public they are looking for ways to increase revenue streams and this is their latest shot at improving the companyís valuation. My worry is with more and more unwanted adverts appearing in our News Feeds will we all get frustrated and move to other social networks that are less advertisement heavy? I always thought we use the internet to find what we want, not to be bombarded with advertisements, we have TV and radio for that.