Facebook yesterday launched a significant refresh of its News Feed – the main way most people interact with content on the social network. The changes give images a more central role in the user experience (which makes sense as almost 50% of the content shared on Facebook is now visual). And there are now more options to tailor your feed – including the option to get updates just from your friends. Herein lies the real challenge to brands – Facebook has just created a way for people to filter out all your content.
There are many benefits of the new Facebook News Feed for brands that are being discussed, notably:
- Having a wider canvas to play with – by hiding the left hand navigation content behind a tab (like on the Facebook mobile app), they are offering everybody more space to play with. For brands this will create more space for them to be creative with the content they post and will increase the importance of imagery in their content plan.
- Creating a similar experience across mobile and web – the new design unifies the experience across web and mobile – making it simpler for brands to design campaigns that work across platforms.
But, will these benefits be realised if people can just filter out your content in the first place?
Given the option to filter to just see updates from actual Friends, we must expect that many users would opt for this. Indeed research shows that the users unlike brands on Facebook because they ‘clutter up my News Feed’ – Facebook has just given people an easy way to remove this ‘clutter’.
This is serious for brands who are using Facebook as an engagement mechanism – people consume brand information from the News Feed and not from individual brand pages. Now they might not consume your information at all. Unless, of course, you pay.
Advertising and sponsored posts will now also look more beautiful and be able to take advantage of the greater space available to them. For many brands these may now be the vehicle to make people aware of their page and of the content they share on Facebook.