Yesterday, Facebook announce a number of changes to News Feed that have huge implications for businesses, marketers and their Facebook Pages. The main changes that affect businesses are how visual content and stories are displayed in users' News Feeds, and the introduction of Following Feed. One of the main reasons for this is the uptick in the percentage of News Feed Stories that are photos from 25% in November 2011 to almost 50% in January 2013:
The News Feed has been made much wider. To make room for the larger News Feed, Facebook has removed the left-side bar. This allows for much larger visual content and stories within the News Feed. This is a very positive change for marketers, as it will make their visual content much more engaging and visible directly in the feed.
Focus on Visual Content
The new News Feed show visual content shared on Facebook like photos, photo albums, videos and even content from 3rd party sites much bigger. This allows businesses and marketers to show more detailed photos and reach much higher levels of engagement with every piece of content. Check out a couple example story formats below:
Facebook Photo Albums
New "Liked Page" story format
One of the most exciting changes for Facebook Pages is the change to the story format for when a friend Likes a Facebook Page. When a user Likes a Facebook Page, their friend will see a much larger image of the Facebook Page in the story, including the Page's profile picture and cover photo. This will drive much higher engagement with fans friends on that story:
Shared Links Stories
Shared Links focus much more on the visual content, as opposed to the users who shared it. Below shows a video shared by several friends. The video is the main focus, with the images of friends who shared appearing to the left. You can hover over the pictures of each friend to see what they said about the video in the comments section below:
The News Feed will also show curates stories of the day's most popular articles on things users have Liked. Here is an example of a curated story on Taylor Swift. It has automatically pulled the day's most popular articles from around the web to create a curated story:
What is Following Feed?
Following feed is a new News Feed choice that allows users to see every post in chronological order from Facebook Pages they "Like". This can be accessed in the right-side bar on facebook.com under users' choices of different feeds. For Facebook Page owners and marketers this is a tantalizing repreive for Facebook's Edgerank changes, which decreased the visibility of Page posts to only 16% of fans. It remains to be seen though how many users will click on this new Feed.
One of the biggest user experience changes was Facebook's switch to a bigger consistency between the mobile, tablet and web experience. This makes the News Feed experience almost exactly the same on any device, as seen below:
When will Facebook's News Feed Changes be Released?
Facebook said that the new News Feed changes would be available in limited release yesterday. You can access the new News Feed at www.facebook.com/newsfeed
Unfortunately for me up in Vancouver, BC, I seem to not be within the limited release. When I go to facebook.com/newsfeed, I am only shown the following: