Some bold changes are coming to Facebook that will change the way users see posts, ads, and links as well as the way feeds are organized. These modifications will affect marketing strategies and content expectations, calling attention to visual features and making the News Feed more attractive real estate. The updates started hitting desktops late last week with the mobile versions to follow in the coming weeks, according to Ad Age, but here’s a preview to help you prepare for the big remodel that’s coming soon:

  • Bigger News Feed – The general size of every post on the new News Feed will be much larger, with a bigger dedicated space for each story. The left and right sidebars of the old Feed have been minimized, giving more space to posts and creating a larger surface to create attention-grabbing ads. “Having a larger canvas to work with will be a real benefit to marketers,” said eMarketer analyst Debra Williamson in a Mashable article. “[Marketers] have always wanted more real estate and Facebook has always been more reticent to give them more play.”
news feed

Screenshot preview of the new News Feed, featuring Subfeeds on the right sidebar (source: http://mashable.com/2013/03/07/how-to-get-the-new-facebook-news-feed/)

  • Subfeeds – Though Facebook has pared down the overall complexity and noise of the News Feed, one new feature will add fresh and personalized dimensions to the streams that users view. The options to filter the news stream have jumped from two– Top Stories and Most Recent– to eight. Users can now pick from the traditional filters, Top Stories (using the EdgeRank algorithm) and Most Recent, as well as All Friends, Following (a feed of your followed Pages’ posts), Photos, Groups, Games, and Music. This feature might present a hurdle to companies looking to get in touch with customers on Facebook, because users can simply opt out of seeing advertisements and restrict it to friends only. However, utilizing the more specific channels could prove beneficial to companies looking to concentrate on a particular market, leading to more voluntary engagement by interested customers. 
  • Emphasis on Visual Content – Facebook says that the redesign presents content in a way that is more streamlined and seeks to “reduce clutter and focus more on stories from the people you care about.” This principle will translate across platforms to mobile devices, which are a key part of the layout changes. Listen to Facebook employees share exactly how this News Feed format will call greater attention to photos, maps, and videos:

 

 

As the big blue and white “F” icon becomes more omnipotent than ever, it will be increasingly important to stay ahead of the curve and get a jump on figuring out the new system. How will this affect advertising content? What power will users have to avoid or engage in ads? To get on the waiting list and increase your chances of hopping on the “clutter-free” bandwagon early, sign up here.

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