Facebook Testing Color Coordinated Link Previews to Make Articles Stand Out
After adding colored backgrounds on status updates back in December (which are being rolled out to all users at present), color enhanced versions of link previews have now been spotted in some versions of Facebook's iOS app and mobile web versions of the social network.
As you can see from the above examples, the new look previews drop a colored overlay under the headline of the article with a new headline font. The color of each background is dynamic, reflecting the dominant color from the featured image, or a complimentary color for those images which are largely white space.
Why Colour Matters
Psychologically, color is a trigger. It's designed to create a connection with brand, elicit a feeling, or drive a response. This is something marketers have been aware of for years, and is a critical consideration when exploring branding options for many of the world's biggest businesses.
With more than 90% of Facebook's active user base now logging in via mobile, their sales pitch to marketers is based around creating "thumb stopping moments", and the addition of colored link previews aligns with this approach.
Much in the same way as the aforementioned "mood" based colored status updates, link previews follow a similar logic when it comes to the impact of color, and catching user attention as they flick past updates in the News Feed.
What It Could Mean For Marketers
While the new option is currently in testing, it does have some interesting impacts for marketers if it becomes more widespread.
The visual elements of social media have now, arguably, become more important than the written word (hence the growth of visual platforms), a fact not lost on Facebook and evidenced by their focus on video. Given that the new link preview design draws color from the underlying featured image, marketers and social media managers will now need to go beyond clever headline writing and give careful consideration to the image used - what color preview will this generate and will it have the desired trigger for the user?
They'll need to consider things like washes and vignettes on their images, and understand how these will be shared beyond their own Page and account for it.
I think the new design is a step in the right direction, and it'll be interesting to see where Facebook intend on taking this.
Currently the new look link previews impacts shared URLs. Previews with calls to actions such as "learn more" remain the same, and Instant Article previews are not impacted.
NOTE: We asked Facebook about this test and they provided the following statement:
"We're always working to make Facebook a more visual and engaging place to have conversations. So we're testing multiple design updates in News Feed."
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