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How Brands Can Prepare For Facebook’s News Feed Update

Last week, Facebook announced a major redesign to their ubiquitous news feed.  This change marks the first significant redesign of their core product features since Timeline was introduced in late 2011 and is the first update to its news feed design since 2009. Right now, Facebook is asking users to join a waiting list in order to make the switch and will likely continue this process until design tweaks are ironed out.

As outlined in Facebook’s press event, the new news feed will feature three major design elements: larger imagery, multiple feeds and a focus on mobile consistency.  First, photos will now occupy up to 50% of a user’s news feed, following an image-forward design trend that has been heavily influenced by the emergence of platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.  Second, the new news
feed will give the user more control of which content shows up in his feed, as he wlll be able to subscribe to feeds segmented by friend, interest and brand categories.  Finally, a new navigation bar and additional white space will be integrated into the design, making the mobile site noticeably less cluttered and more similar in look and feel to the Google+ layout.

Because the feed is just being rolled out to users, the marketing implications for these changes are largely unknown.  While we can only speculate as to how exactly these updates will impact brand’s engagement initiatives, it is clear that these changes will favor brands that follow a visually-focused content strategy.  This reinforces what Facebook reported earlier this year about post engagement: updates that include a photo album or a picture generate about 120-180% more engagement than the average post.  To make sure that your brand is best prepared for these changes, we encourage you to consider the following:

  • Continue to post high-quality, larger-sized imagery that will fill the expanded space for images well
  • Ensure that your page’s cover photo is similarly bold and appealing, as it will be the default image that populates when users share your page with others
  • Share content that is timely whenever possible, as trending topics will be featured more prominently in users’ news feeds
  • Encourage your fans to add your page to an Interest Lists.  Most likely, these interest lists will take the form of individual feeds that will show up on a user’s profile.  By being included in one of these lists, your page will have greater visibility.

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