So goes the famous quote from the feature film, The Social Network:
"Eduardo Saverin: So when will it be finished?
Mark Zuckerburg: It won't be finished, that's the point, just like fashion is never finished."
Facebook Is Changing – Again
And why wouldn't it? Mark and his colleagues in Palo Alto never stop working to improve the site, which fits in an industry where complacency can bring a company to its knees overnight. And while these iterations are never greeted with open arms (nor are changes to anything on the internet), the newest changes are essential.
- The newsfeed is cluttered; the content we want to see is hard to find.
- The mobile experience is not on par with the desktop experience.
- Important posts/stories are not as prominent as they could be.
So What Did They Do To Fix This?
I'll start with the obvious changes:
On the right rail, you will now have easy access to content filters. This will allow you to choose what you see.
- Music: Shows what friends are listening to, new albums being released, and recommendations of artists you might like.
- Photos: Just photos, including those uploaded straight to Facebook, but also photos shared from Instagram or other photo apps.
- Close Friends
- Any of your Interest Lists or Friend List
Essentially, this new feature enables you to filter through information that you do not want to see, and drill down to everything you would like to look at
A fascinating hypothesis initially declared by Mark Zuckerburg himself, known as Zuckerburgs Law, states that we will share twice as much every year as we did the year before. If true, the implications are mind-boggling. Suffice it to say, content curation will become a larger problem year after year as the influx of sharing continues. I anticipate more filters, tags, and curation options popping up in the near future.
The glut of information currently present on Facebook has always been a problem; an experience that is customized to individuals is, and has always been, the answer. This adjustment is a leap towards that.
Now on to the not so obvious
Stories (posts) are larger and look better. If they are shared by multiple people, the profile pictures of those that shared it will be shown beside it.
Pinterest posts to Facebook will now be more outstanding. What you see on Facebook will now better reflect what you see on Pinterest.
Facebook is also trying to surface trending topics. It's important to understand how these work, as it is not the amount of people discussing a topic, but a rapid change in how much people are discussing a topic.
For example, lots of people talk about President Obama, but if he were to introduce a new policy that was controversial, there would be a rapid spike in discussions about him. In this case, a filter would appear with the title "recent news about Barack Obama." Less content will have to be found and more will be fed to you.
Strategically, this is a brilliant decision. Twitter hosts the majority of the discussions revolving around world news and current events because of their trending topics feature, this could steal some SOC (Share of Conversation) from Twitter.
Getting Down To Business
Though positioned as a huge advantage to users, marketers need to peel back the layers and look at what this means for them.
In short, better experience + larger photos = more engagement = more engagement with brands.
Images on Facebook typically receive 120% more engagement, and most of the newsfeed consists of this content. All the immediate changes seem to be a consideration of this.
Promoted page posts and sponsored stories will be larger
Promoted photos will sometimes have a caption on them:
"Page Like Stories," which are the updates that show up in your newsfeed when one of your friends likes a page, will now show a cover photo.
As stated previously, this results in more engagement, which will result in better advertisement performance. With improved placement, comes improved performance.
Beyond the images, the changes will create more opportunities for your content to be discovered:
Thanks to a more prominent "Following" feed on the right-hand side of the home page, people will be able to discover more content from the Pages and people they follow.
So what does this mean if you manage a Facebook page?
- If you aren't using images, start. Invest in the highest quality images as the quality of these images is more important now than it ever was.
- Improve your cover photo and profile picture; these will now be much more visible than they ever were.
- If you take nothing else away from this post, take away this Invest in amazing content! Of course, content is now easily discovered with this new change, but it is also easily hidden. If you're marketing a page without a content strategy, and you aren't focused on producing excellent content that's unique, you may get lost in the filtration. Great content will be shared by everyone, poor content will get lost in the clutter.