03.11.13

Facebook says goodbye to clutter

As if your favorite social network hadn't changed enough over the years, it's happening again. Facebook's latest redesign is being called: "Goodbye clutter, hello bright, beautiful stories." No date is set, but the changes will be rolled out soon to those that join the waitlist.

Facebook changes have a history of being ill-received. Just think back to the early days, when Facebook introduced the "Wall" in the first place. Then, the introduction of the newsfeed, and the countless people up in arms about each new layout. Then came the timeline format...

Today, Facebook has become the largest social network in the world with 900 million users and a valuation of $100 billion. This new change may ignite a few small fires among the Facebook population, but it is minor in the grand scheme of things, and one Facebook is saying will be helpful to both users and brands equally.

THE NEW CHANGES - WHAT THEY MEAN TO YOU PERSONALLY
The new update focuses exclusively on the newsfeed portion of your Facebook profile, where you see updates from friends, pages you like, events, etc. The changes are big, meaning big in size, not just relevance. When you visit your new newsfeed what you will notice right away are the giant photos. The new design is very picture rich and photos seem to be holding more real estate than any other type of post.

This adjustment was likely made because photo-only newsfeed content has increased by 50 percent this year. Facebook's goal with the redesign is to become a personalized newspaper that provides you with the most important stories- only with more customizable options on what you can see.

The newsfeed will offer seven different feeds distilling your news into categories. The seven feeds are: All Friends, Most Recent, Close Friends, Music, Photos, Games and Following.  The All Friends feed includes all the latest updates from just your friends. The Following feed features everything from pages to public figures you have "liked" in chronological order. The Photos feed, which has a resemblance to Google+, will include only photos from friends and pages you have liked.

THE NEW CHANGES - WHAT THEY MEAN TO YOUR COMPANY
These changes will change the way brands reach customers. Facebook claims they will feel so natural that they will be virtually unnoticeable, with the end result giving users the opportunity to see the stories they want to see- just in a faster and more beautiful way.

Brands should rejoice at the creation of a Following feed and take advantage of posting content that will grab users' attention. With the new layout, brands have the opportunity to appear in the Following, Most Recent and Photo feeds.

Our recommendation for optimizing the new Facebook newsfeed is to take advantage of the optimization of photos as much as possible.
  • Share photo galleries with your followers; they will be hard to miss with the new design. Photo Galleries now get the most amount of space in the general newsfeed and the photo feed.
  • Include a photo in most of your posts. These photos should be compelling photos with a higher resolution than you typically used before the change. People in photos always reign supreme, so try to get photos of people more than things, so you can tag, tag, tag...
  • Tag people and pages in your posts. Posts with inter-related tags are more likely to be elevated and more prominent within the feed. Remember it's the "world wide web" and your goal is to connect - not to build silos and dead ends.
The Facebook redesign is being brought to mobile and tablet platforms as well. In fact, Facebook's new layout was modeled after the mobile site instead of vice versa. Facebook has noticed (as have most of our clients) that mobile traffic has sky-rocketed in the last six months. Take a look at your site's analytics and you may be surprised to see 25-50 percent of your traffic is coming from a phone or tablet.
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