It seems I cannot go a week without mentioning something Facebook is changing or adding to the world’s largest social media site. Don’t get me wrong, that’s certainly a good thing – I’m definitely for constant improvement. Many of the changes Facebook has made in the past were good for its bottom line, good for businesses and agencies, and at worst neutral (or good) for its users. This time Facebook is looking at one of the most important aspects of its site.
What’s Coming to the News Feed?
Last night Steven Musil at CNET reported, “Facebook will reportedly unveil new ways for users to filter their news feeds on Thursday.” This time around Facebook is adding photo feeds from Instagram and Facebook itself in addition to adding a music feed to make that kind of sharing much easier. Steven adds that the changes to the news feed “will allow users to choose among different content-specific feeds.” Facebook is launching these and additional changes at a press event tomorrow so keep your eyes peeled for that.
What’s the reasoning behind these changes? Well for users, Josh Constine at TechCrunch informs us that new streams means more new information. Which is good “because we are information junkies. Give us a feed and we’ll read it.” When we start running into information we’ve already seen we often get disinterested and head off the site. Surprisingly, the news feed hasn’t been touched much throughout all of the changes Facebook has been going through lately.
Good for Ads?
It appears that Mark Zuckerberg is looking to modernize the news feed. Now that we have faster connections on our desktops, tablets, and our mobile devices, the news feed can be much richer in terms of content, and it should be. Josh suggests that reducing the footprint of the navigation chrome, sidebars, and Ticker, “hiding them while we browse, or cutting them entirely, Facebook could free up a ton of space.” That space would be filled with more vibrant content, including ads.
Now that images can be much larger and more impactful, ads could very well become more effective at reaching the billion-plus users of Facebook. This is definitely a welcome change to the newsfeed for agencies and businesses who run Facebook campaigns. Other content like videos will be more effective as well. Josh even goes so far as to claim that these efforts to improve ads could be “enough to convince investors that Facebook is ready to play ball with business.” I think we’ll have to wait and see if that becomes true or not.
Issues with the Changes
Like any changes to Facebook, there are those who are up-in-arms. Matthew Ingram at Bloomberg Businessweek says that some users are recognizing a drop in likes and interaction with their post and content that they share. He makes a point in his article that the recent changes are a subtle attempt to push more people to use paid promoted posts. He writes, “The assumption is that Facebook wants you to pay to get this kind of reach … You are not in control; Facebook is.”
Unfortunately, there’s no way to prove or disprove the claims and problems some people are having with Facebook. Just like Google, there is only so much we know about how sites or content become more or less relevant. With Facebook, we know even less.
Still, I think the optimization of the news feed is good. As long as Facebook can continue to gradually make improvements that are better for businesses without taking away from or hurting the user experience, the social media platform will improve for everyone: businesses, users, and agencies alike. We’ll have all of the answers tomorrow and will be able to see how this new change to Facebook plays out in the near future.
Are the coming changes to Facebook’s news feed good? What do you think?
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