Facebook News Feed Gets a Makeover: is bigger always better?

Leave it alone Mr Zuckerberg. There’s no need to change something that’s working perfectly well!  So what’s behind the  revamp of the new Facebook News Feed? In short, it’s about changing the shape of how Facebook users view shared content, and making it easier to browse stories based on topics and what they’ve liked.   After consistent feedback from Facebook users on how cluttered the page feed is, they’ve give it a re-design. What took them so long?

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Call me cynical but isn’t this the start of a simple index and filtered controlled content. Is Facebook slowly morphing  into a search engine? Of course not!  Mark Zuckerberg and Co. when presenting these changes last week at a recent media event, drew similarities with the well known  Flipboard application, in that it will partition content based on an improved structured layout based on topics and content source. So how do you get your new look facebook home page? You can make your application here and wait in the queue.  How long? No one knows.  (Wait here whilst I get you that tartan can of paint)

Currently, the Facebook news feeds are a melting pot of images, videos, posts from friends and comments,  which all blends into itself in one vertical stream.  After a perfunctory glance, I find it’s easy to lose interest when trawling through uncorrelated information.  Compare to a typical iPad newspaper app like TheTimes –  they deploy feature rich images and videos and everything is organised by topic and easy to find;  front page headlines, politics, sport, fashion, celebs etc.  And there lays one of the primary reason for this change, to give Facebook a consistent look and feel across the web, tablets and mobile devices.

Overall the interface changes aren’t drastic, more subtle. The interface has an upgraded navigation panel with larger icons and text. There’s also a dedicated music feed, photo/image feed and the message feed. It’s a lot easier to pick things out that you like. We will be covering the new Facebook  interface in detail in next weeks follow up article.

So what’s this all about?

Lets face it, it’s also about improving the monetisation of the Facebook platform from advertising, and Facebook isn’t doing too badly in the mobile marketing sector at the moment.  With the average user spending approximately twenty something minutes on Facebook every day, one of the primary goals of the new look is to lure people into spending more time interacting with content.

They’re also making it more digestible, as well as giving the power to the user on how they organise their content. The more decisions and input made by the user on customizing their feed, the more they’re giving away about what they like or don’t like.  See what they’ve done? Created a more targeted platform for advertisers. This can only mean one thing for businesses, more opportunity and more appealing ads.  Facebook ads will be more prominent with more bolder images which from an advertising point of view, will work better in associating adverts with cleaner content, making a stronger connection with the viewer. This will make it more likely to be clicked on and improve click through rates.

 Just like a new girlfriend, you have to keep it fresh and keep them guessing sometimes to keep their attention –  unpredictability has become the new predictable. Is this Facebook redesign a change for the better? I think so.  All 3 parties will benefit, ‘the user’,’ the advertiser’ and of course ‘Facebook’s share value.  Lets face it, it needs a shot in the arm to live up to the hype of it’s perceived worth.

rob@startadesign.com

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