Facebook News Feed changes present opportunities for brands

Facebook held an event Tuesday announcing changes to the presentation of the News Feed, as well as changes to the Edgerank algorithm. These changes, as is usually the case with Facebook announcements, will impact brand efforts on Facebook now and in the future. Here are a few of the key takeaways:

Facebook’s News Feed is undergoing a redesign, which puts even more of an emphasis on photos and videos. In many cases, where images are not currently included in News Feed stories, images will begin to appear. For example, when a user’s friend likes a new page, or gets a new friend, the user will see the cover image for that new friend or page. Additionally, Facebook will place a greater emphasis on images associated with links. Photos and videos will receive more page real estate, similar to the current mobile layout.

For brands, this change emphasizes the importance of a strong visual editorial plan to maximize engagement and capitalize on the increased visibility of these posts.

Engaging posts will live a “longer life.” Based on the popularity of content, users may start to see some slightly older posts showing up in their News Feeds. For example, a brand page post from this morning that the user may have missed, but received considerable likes, shares and comments, may be presented to the user in the afternoon or evening. This will encourage more interactions around quality content and diminish the penalty of time decay in the Edgerank algorithm.

This is a great sign for brands. Finally, a reward from Facebook for creating great content that resonates with the audience.

Users will have the ability to better filter their News Feeds, again, in a similar fashion to the mobile app. There will be a “Following” feed, and it looks like this is where brand content or celebrity content will be primarily seen, rather than in the “All Friends” feed, which will be closer social connections.

The jury is out on this. It could mean even more limited exposure for content posted to brand pages, depending on users’ habits with the new options. It’s possible that this will become another “leverage point” for Facebook to increase the importance of promoted posts and sponsored stories – meaning that brands that want to ensure presence in the main News Feed will have to pony up additional ad dollars.

As with any changes to Facebook, we are also expecting that there may be several bugs and/or issues in the near future, particularly with Facebook Insights and on-page numbers not lining up. Brands should keep a close eye on Facebook Insights, as well as on-page stats, to develop the deepest understanding of how these changes will impact their Facebook efforts this fall and winter.

--Mike Hollywood, Director of New & Social Media, @mikehollywood


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