With yesterdays roll out of a new Facebook news feed design, the first question as a Facebook Marketer that I had was how will this effect Facebook marketing, and FB ads in particular?

Before we get into that, here is a great article explaining all the enhancements and changes being rolled out over the next few weeks. Check out the article and then come back for more information on how ads will be effected and what I think of these changes.

Facebook’s Revamped News Feed: All of the changes & what they mean to you!

So how will this effect the way Facebook Ads look and work in particular?

Well the good folk at www.insidefacebook.com are all over it and have a great article detailing the changes and how they will look.

Check out this article below & then come back to hear how I believe these changes could effect Facebook Marketing with a bold prediction on the biggest threat to marketers, the “all friends feed”!

How Facebook Ads are effected by the New News Feed Design

Interesting stuff! I have a few points I’d like to comment on that cover both Facebook ads and the News Feed changes in general  and the effects these changes may have!

The New Prominent Hide Button

hide button

There is a new prominent “Hide” button for the News Feed ads.

Immediately people have begun to ask what the effects of someone clicking this will be?

Whilst it is certainly possible that there will be some Edgerank factors built in, I don’t suspect a lot as there will be a lot of facebook users using this facility as they don’t understand ads in the news feed.

They are slowly getting better but many users still label the ads as “spam”.

They either don’t understand spam or they don’t understand how facebook plans to keep their stockholders happy.

That and they have an overwhelming belief that the news feed is like one of their children and you as a big bad stranger (Brand) shouldn’t go near it and any attempt to promote something is akin to McDonald’s buying every ad spot between 3-6pm when kids watch TV!

What will be the effects of this hide button on Edgerank?

Well as we have explained above, it isn’t really fair for Facebook to penalise news feed ads that are hidden by users as facebook made the decision to allow ads to run there (as well as determining if and when they are shown there) so they could offer more value to brands, build a mobile ad platform to serve ads to those on mobile devices, and in turn make more money.

In the same way that facebook is running “suggested page” promotions that can not be bought by advertisers currently, and that page owners are not aware of being run in their name, I think the effect on Edgerank to page owners will be minimal to zero for the time being.

People will soon realise that these ads are not spam and are here to stay! Once their user base understands this implicitly, I believe Facebook will turn up the heat on a hide!

The hide button is a very good thing for marketers, here is the reason why!

The prominent hide button is a great move by Facebook! It provides a mechanism to calm the masses of users who have been very unhappy with ad units moving into their news feed when they or their friends don’t have an affinity with the particular page.

It also provides an outlet for people’s displeasure to be actioned immediately. This may lead to a reduction in unpleasant comments being left by naive users regarding promoted page posts and other News Feed ad units. Maybe “hiding” the ad will provide them a big enough “win” to leave it at that and move on.

I certainly expect that if you were to hide an ad 1 or 2 times, you would be unlikely to see it again in your News Feed.

New larger images in your News Feed

facebook-news-feed-larger-image-640x318The new image sizes are going to make marketing slightly easier for Brands. The news feed has been and still is a poor place to promote your products and services as in reality the images are too small (unless clicked and popped out), you are limited to no more than 20% text (can make promotions difficult and makes it harder to get your USP across) and the news feed is a busy place full of people doing lots of social stuff with their friends.

There are so many distractions and there is so much noise! It’s easy to be looking at something one second, and in a heartbeat, it is gone and so are you!

Nevertheless, the improvements will help somewhat and it is a step in the right direction and no easy task considering the limited capabilities and options Facebook has just by their very nature of their platform. They can only do so much with images in the feed. This is a positive move most definitely!

Dedicated Feeds!

screen-shot-2013-03-07-at-1-22-33-pmThis is a big one!

Now we all know that every time Facebook make changes people lose their mind and go crazy complaining and bitching about it and then 6 months later no one really cares except the serial whingers and every one is happy families again.

Well this time their should be no complaints but a huge groundswell of thanks and appreciation with a loud clatter that sweeps around the globe as Facebook users give a little clap to Zuck and his team because this time they got it totally right….for users!

This from Facebook earlier:

“To make sure you’re seeing all the stories you want to see, we’re introducing several new feeds to explore in addition to the same News Feed you have today:

– All Friends – a feed that shows you what your friends are sharing
– Photos – a feed with nothing but photos from your friends and the Pages you like
– Music – a feed with posts about the music you listen to
– Following – a feed with the latest news from the Pages you like and the people you follow.”

So now users have choices to what they see and when! There is a dedicated friends feed that shows you all the things your friends are sharing chronologically.

The “following” feed lumps together “Fan Page updates” and posts by Facebook users you are following.

The Photo feed shows all photo updates from your friends as well as pages. The music feed allows you to quickly and easily connect with all the musicians you and your friends are following.

It’s interesting to note that all the feeds will have ad units running in them. The key question for marketers is “will people switch to the “all friends feed” and use that as their new default”?

Some people are predicting real trouble for brands if this feed is taken up by the majority of facebook users. If that was to happen I agree it could be a problem for organic growth of pages. However, I think we may find……….

90% of Facebook users will continue to use the default feed as they do now.

I have found I rarely use the pages feed on the current Facebook News Feed for one main reason……I forget. You have to switch to it and I simply forget. It isn’t until I notice it bookmarked or need to find a post from a page that I use it.

So I think we will find that most users will continue with the main default feed. Here is another thing I think we may see:

I predict that many users who switch to using the “all friends” feed will come back to the default in droves! You see sometimes people think they know what they want but when they get it they find it isn’t all it is cracked up to be.

I think many users will find that their “all friends” feed is just a little bit too much. You need other things to break up the mundane posts by your depressed Auntie Mavis who thinks the world is ending and your drama queen friend who has had 7 “besties” this year already!

So I predict the very thing facebook users slam the company over (too much marketing in the news feed) will be the thing that causes many users to keep using the default feed when they have the choice of an “all friends” feed right there at their disposal.

This is a master stroke by Facebook! Because often you just need to offer people the option they so badly crave and demand. Once they know they have that option, they go on using the thing they have been screaming about all along.

Overall, I think the new News Feed design is fantastic for users and it doesn’t hurt marketers in the process. This alone is a near impossible thing to achieve but I think Facebook have hit this update out of the park for a HOME RUN!!!!

Only time and good data will tell us what users are doing. But if I was a betting man I’d say the default news feed will remain King! 

You did good facey, give yourself a big pat on the back 🙂

Links to resources about the new News Feed Design: