Uh oh. Facebook changed the News feed again. Sending Marketers in a panic everywhere, the changes to the Facebook News feed were released Thursday and they are, well, expected. This change isn’t drastic for users of tablet applications and mobile apps that have used the black left hand navigation bar for some time, replacing the somewhat cleaner but clunkier existing white navigation. Where the change is dramatic is decentralization, content and implications for the brand reach.
Facebook’s newest change allows users to navigate from a selection of options rather than one, busier News Feed. This will help the User experience in that they dictate the categories of information seen. This was their intent in some of the last News Feed modifications, however, users simply didn’t change their content settings or really make much use of the Close Friends option. The idea is for users to read the News Feed similarly to a News Paper. With the growth of their older demographics and negative growth of teenagers, this is in line with where Facebook is headed.
Here are the categories:
- Top News (Major stories of each section)
- All Friends
- Following (for pages)
- Photos (see: Instagram)
- Games, Music (two separate tabs but not worthy of their own bullets on my page)
- Close Friends
For Page Managers, this means slightly less visibility overall. Where you can win is in the photo section. Friends usually have a lot of photos, but pages generally have even more, and they can dominate the Photo section.
With the added emphasis to photos and videos, its pretty clear where our focus as page mangers will have to be. Yes, the focus has always been on content, but this is even more crucial now. Many top brands are already embracing this, by providing content directly into photos, allowing for more clicks and eventually a higher Edge Rank.
Here we have the Lakers Facebook page, they are sharing a photo that most people can read the majority of the information but many people will click to expand to read the smaller font.
Albums have also been redesigned, rewarding pages who upload multiple pictures. This shouldn’t be a major change for some brands who often posted collage pictures in order to enhance media clicks. Having 5+ photos will likely be a good target for brands, engaging users and ultimately increasing their visibility.
With these changes to a News Paper type experience, the All Friends section is likely to be a hit with users, much the same as the photo section (see: Why Facebook bought Instagram) however, where we may lose our traction as brands is in the Pages section. While I’d like to think that users love my brands (who doesn’t), the reality is, many of them only “Like” my brand (see what I did there?).
As Page Manager’s I see that there will be two choices, either invest more into visual content, or invest more into ads. Without one of these two mechanisms, I’d be willing to bet that your post views will decrease overall. Facebook is under increasing pressure to sell more ads, and these new changes force the brand’s hand in many cases to get in front of users by paying for it.
There is also a not-so-insignificant undertone in all of this, content is moving towards a more chronological approach, based on the early signs. Brands will need to be more conscious of when they are posting and less conscious of how often they are posting. Matching posts with Facebook’s peak times will be essential for maximum Edge Rank reach and achieving your goals.
In summary, what can you do to stay current with the changes?