By Megan Bennett, owner and president of SociallyAcceptable
Last week, Facebook held a huge online media/geek-fest announcement, and thousands of people logged on to see what the social media giant was up to. Big things, as it turned out. The look and feel of your interwebs are changing; over the next few weeks and months, those changes will magically appear on your desktop. If you’re not a fan of change, or you like Facebook just the way it is (thank you very much), brace yourself. Here’s a look as what’s coming:
1. Multiple news feeds are coming to your Facebook page. As a Facebook user you will now have a news feed, a friends feed, a following feed, a music feed, groups feed, photo feed, and a game feed. You can toggle among your feeds and change the news and information you’re being served up.
2. Not enough newness? You’ll also be able to view your feed by location or by groups of people – for example, people you classify as high school pals or coworkers.
3. Advertisers will still be able to buy ads, sponsor stories, and promote posts to show in their followers’ main news feed. Ads will be bigger and allow for more flexibility. This is a huge year for video: expect video ads show up soon.
4. The new Facebook design really focuses on images and pictures. It used to be that the text update was the critical component of the update. Facebook now estimates that up to 80 percent of updates include images. The updated feeds will showcase the images more than ever (think Google+).
5. All of the changes you’ll see on your desktop were developed first on mobile and tablet platforms and then the design was moved to the web. (It’s also the way, in most cases, we’re doing web development ourselves these days.) It makes for a cleaner, smarter design. Your Facebook feeds are going to be a lot less cluttered and do more. If you don’t use Facebook on a tablet or a mobile phone, you’re going to be a little weirded out by the black bar that runs down the left of the screen on your desktop. Just go with it.
6. If 50 of your friends post the same meme, you’ll (thankfully) have to look at it only once. You’ll see little thumbnails of all your friends who posted it on the left side of the image.
7. Subfeeds. Okay. This is going to be a tricky thing for advertisers and businesses. The good news: As a business, EVERYTHING you post to your followers and fans will appear in their “Following” feed. Edge Rank be damned on this feed. The bad news: your fans and followers have to click on that feed to actually see your content. I’ve heard a lot of people talking in the last 24 hours about how the additional feeds will help businesses and nonprofits that can’t afford ads and promoted posts. Don’t count on it.
8. Friends Feed is going to be tough for marketers. Let’s face it: your “friend” stuff is the you really care about, so it’s the feed where you’ll be spending the most time. The only way marketers are going to get on the Friends Feed is by creating content their fans want to share. Ah..there’s the rub. Shares are pure gold. Always have been. Now they will just be a little more like platinum.
9. Less real estate for sidebar ads may mean the cost of advertising will go up for folks relying on the targeted ads. I certainly hope there is still the opportunity for a tiny nonprofit with a $20 ad budget to get more fans or update people about their events, but I’m not convinced by what I’ve seen so far.
10. Insights are going to get a whole new revamp. They’re going to have to. For those of us who watch the numbers to see not only new fans but the number of impressions that a piece of content posted to Facebook gets from fans and friends of fans, the new multiple feeds are going to throw a wrench in the works. I’m sure Facebook has thought about how to keep advertisers happy, but yowsa, new Insights are going to be a little nuts.
If you just cant wait and want the new Facebook look sooner rather than later, you can go here to be put on the waitlist. Of course, you may want to take a few snapshots of your old Facebook before you do. Nothing will ever look the same again.