This month, Facebook is rolling out a major redesign of their home page and news feed. A revised newsfeed was rolled out one year ago, and it seems that according to a recent MarketingLand article, Facebook users like things just the way they are. There seems to be a tension between serving Facebook's user base and its advertisers, although it's been argued that Facebook's advertisers have been getting the raw end of the stick as of late.
In regards to the actual layout, a recent article at Agora Pulse breaks down some of the changes with the new Facebook layout. Generally, not much has changed, except that page posts are larger at 511 pixels wide instead of the current 410. Applications are still visible on the page, you can still pin a post to the top of the time line, and fan posts and reviews for local pages are still present. There's also talk of a new and really troublesome bug, where clicking "like" at the fan gate page will not reload the page to take a user to the next step. This can lead to a big spike in abandonment and seems to be an obvious bug. This is expected to be fixed soon, but hasn't yet. The bug only affects pages that have the new layout.
Mari Smith shares on her Facebook page news about changes with the Apps tab, which was never mentioned in Facebook's official page on the new design. She also mentions other incidental design changes and repositioning of Facebook real estate. Users commenting on her Facebook page, were mostly concerned with various types of content being forced below the fold. Users were also upset with being forced to scroll to get access to links and like buttons.
So, what does this all mean?
Of course, it seems that a majority of the changes are simply experimentation - sometimes, you have to see what sticks. However, some feel that the overall trend is that Facebook is squeezing advertisers, with evidence of falling engagement rates and pressure to buy promoted posts. This is of course facing pushback from Facebook business users. It also seems that Facebook is arranging things so that if an advertiser wants prime real estate, then he will have to pay, and those who do pay will be given prime territory. As a newspaper style advertising platform with primarily user generated content, these developments seems to make sense.