Have you been wondering why some posts on Facebook show up with massive text on desktop?
I'm talking about posts like this:
The text is blown up to 24-point, while normal updates are in 14-point - they're virtually yelling for your attention - here's another example with a comparison to a 'normal' post.
(Image via Quartz)
As it turns out, Facebook has decided to do this to help amplify posts shorter than 35 characters.
As reported by Quartz, Facebook updates of 35 characters or less will now get the big font treatment. The text size won't be enlarged if an attachment is included in your post, but if it's plain text, it'll be blown up like this.
At present, the larger font appears to only be displayed on desktop, with the mobile version showing the same posts as normal. The change also applies to both personal and Page updates.
Why? The move is likely part of a test by Facebook to see if they can boost on-platform engagement, which has been on the decline in recent times. As per a report from The Information published back in April, sharing of personal updates - like people's own thoughts and photos - fell 21% between mid-2014 and mid-2015. This stat reportedly sparked Zuck and Co. to put together a team to tackle this "context collapse", with staff assigned to come up with new ways to inspire more personal sharing. This is also why you've seen an increase in 'On This Day' reminders and notes about seasonal events, little nudges to get you thinking about how you can stay in touch and share information with your connections. And also Facebook.
It's part of the same impetus believed to be behind the platform's new recommendations tool which prompts users to seek advice from friends when looking for information.
As per Quartz's post, reports of the larger text updates have been floating around since July, though they seem to have become more prominent recently. Quartz also notes that Facebook may be looking to amplify shorter posts because previous studies have shown shorter updates generate more engagement. Either way, with the larger text only displaying on desktop, the impact - either positive or negative - is lessened somewhat, as the majority of Facebook's 1.71 billion monthly active users now access the platform via mobile device.
From a marketing perspective, if the majority of your Facebook visitors are coming to your Page via desktop (which you can find out via your Page Insights), it may be worth experimenting with the larger text option to see what sort of engagement you get, whether it's above your normal response rate. The bigger font definitely stands out, and as such, it may help expose your message to more people.
UPDATE: Since publication of this post, several readers have noted that the larger text format is now also showing up on mobile devices.