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The interwebs have been ablaze with news of Facebook’s newest change for a good week. Today, they made their official announcement about upcoming changes to the News Feed.

We knew it was coming, but what does it mean?

Staying consistent with Facebook's power of threes approach (e.g. three pillars), they based the changes to the News Feed UI, which to many looks similar to that of Google+ on three elements:

  • Rich Stories. Facebook has shifted 180 degrees from the more text heavy feed that we’ve known for so long, to a look that puts visual media at the forefront. At the announcement, Facebook director of design Julie Zhu described this change as, “A richer, simpler, more beautiful Newsfeed – on both desktop web, and mobile. Focused on the things you care about. What your friends are saying. What your network is sharing.”
  • Choice of Feeds. The announcement made sure to highlight the users’ ability to filter their News Feed so that they are only getting the information that they want. They have even gone so far as to base the Switcher interface on the frequency of your feed use. In other words, if you look at the posts from your Close Friends more than your Most Recent posts, your list of filters will reflect that fact.
  • Mobile Inspired, consistent UI. One may say that Facebook has decided to listen to its users because they have decided to define and provide a much more consistent experience across all platforms. This may be the most important change when we think about how people, across the board, think about their experience on the social network.

Facebook's New News Feed

Marketers, take heed

During the announcement, Mashable editor-in-chief Lance Ulanoff observed that this new interface may very well demote conversation. With this in mind, what are the benefits for brands that market and tell their stories on Facebook?

  • The change is designed to increase user engagement. We’ve had plenty of conversation around the fact that pictures and video breed more engagement than text-heavy or text specific posts. Visual assets that now span 403px in width will, after the change span 552 px in News Feed. Clearly to Facebook, bigger is better.
  • The Following feed avails more opportunity for brand content to be seen. This form of discovery increases the distribution of your messages and a user viewing that feed, at the very least, shows user intent to find out what a brand is doing. As a brand, be sure to create the right type of content so you don’t miss this chance to communicate and leave a lasting positive impression. Please note: during the initial rollout there will be no paid opportunities in the Following feed. Stay tuned.
  • The increase in literal visibility translates to Page posts, ads and sponsored stories. The Paid, Owned & Earned model has probably just grown even more in importance and, subsequently, in popularity.


While this UI transformation is visually a big deal, it hasn’t changed the way in which you should be creating and circulating your content. According to Facebook, this change will not immediately impact performance, has not changed the News Feed algorithm or changed the necessary assets in a major way. If you keep creating the right kind of content – content that your consumers truly want – this change will only enhance your messages.

Now the floor is open. What are your thoughts on these changes?

Gary J. Nix

Published 7 March, 2013 by Gary J. Nix

Gary J. Nix is a Marketing Specialist at Blue Fountain Media, a digital marketing agency in New York City. Feel free to follow him on Twitter and Google+.

4 more posts from this author

Comments (6)

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Mark

I am not so found of the new layout and have found that if you wanted to change the layout all you have to do is change the language on the settings tab to the UK or another english speaking country where the facebook updates have yet to be rolled out.

about 3 years ago

Gary J. Nix

Gary J. Nix, Founder, Brand & Marketing Consultant at The BRANDarchist

Thank you for your comment, Mark. What is it that you don't like about the new layout?

about 3 years ago

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David Quaid

Actually, the new G+ cover photo section leaves the new Facebook in the dust!

about 3 years ago

Gary J. Nix

Gary J. Nix, Founder, Brand & Marketing Consultant at The BRANDarchist

David,

Thanks for the comment. And yes, the new G+ cover photo does takes up quite a bit of real estate. Haha!

The G+ Home Feed & New Facebook News Feed UI's are similar though -- with G+ being more text heavy.

about 3 years ago

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Michelle Wallis

When are the changes being rolled out?

about 3 years ago

David Mulhall-Brown

David Mulhall-Brown, Managing Director at Adavow

Facebook is rapidly losing relevance in today's market so it doesn't really matte what they do. It's just re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic if you ask me.

Case in point - I have twin 19yo daughters who live in Chicago and their comment (on Twitter) a few months ago was, "who uses facebook anymore?"

If they have lost the youth, then it's essentially over.

about 3 years ago

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