According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, when Facebook first started, the news feed was filled with mostly text and now it’s nearly 50% photos and visual content.
Today reporters and social media fans around the world got a glimpse of Facebook’s updated news feed design at a press conference at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California. The new design has bigger images and places more emphasis on visual content, which is what Facebook thinks users want their profiles to center around.
Limited rollout starts on the web today. Users can join a wait list here and could be selected to try the changes before they’re launched for the masses. A broader audience may see the changes in the next few weeks.
A Personalized Newspaper
Zuckerberg described the new design as a personal newspaper. Users will now have a Photos Feed showing every single photo friends are posting in chronological order. Another feed addition is the Following Feed. On the Following Feed users will see all the posts from pages and public figures they like on Facebook in chronological order. Local businesses, large brands and celebrities will be included on this feed.
Links will change to make articles and attachments more prominent and noticeable on profiles. Publishers logos will be visibly included on posted links. When someone become friends with someone else, the new design will show a bigger profile photo and show the friends users have in common included on their feed.
Site navigation will change in this redesign. Calling it Global Navigation, they’ll allow users to go through one page to another without having to go back to the homepage. Also, users can choose the feed they want to view from a drop down switcher menu at the top of the page.
Facebook product design manager Julie Zhou emphasized the need to rid the news feed of clutter. Depending on the things and pages you’ve liked on Facebook in the past, they want to show you trending articles that are most relevant to you.
Zuckerberg told reporters in a Q&A session after the presentation, “I think it’s almost 60 percent of people who use Facebook come back every day.” Facebook wants to build on these stellar numbers because the result is more monetary value for the company.
Another big focus of the presentation was mobile consistency. The company is finally combating that users want Facebook to look and feel the same on every format: PC, tablet and mobile. It’s important for Facebook designers to provide a platform that publishers and brands can know how their content will look across all screens.
Tablet and phone navigation won’t change much, but instead the desktop version was designed with mobile in mind. Facebook knows the numbers. Web traffic is moving to mobile. Mobile traffic is predicted to beat desktop traffic in a few years. This design seems to have been created with that prediction in mind.
The Questions and Concerns
Quite a few questions remain after this announcement.
What about Edgerank? Edgerank is the ranking algorithm Facebook used to determine what updates users would see in the past. Facebook said they aren’t changing anything about the ranking algorithm. From the presentation, the new feeds will feature posts in chronological order. So, at this point there’s a disconnect.
How will the new design impact ads? Zhou said the redesign will make ads richer like everything else. There has to be a monetary incentive to this redesign. The new news feed will allow for larger, more visual brand advertsing that companies should enjoy. Also, users should be able to see all your brand’s updates in the Following Feed, if they choose to look at it… I’m concerned this change could negatively impact how brand’s interact with customers on Facebook, but we’ll only know for sure after we can experiment with it ourselves.
Check back with Smirk in the coming weeks for more information on how Facebook’s news feed redesign might impact how your brand reaches its audience.