by Morry Mitrani
How exciting! All three pillars of Facebook have been updated. First we saw the profile transform into Timeline, and then the search feature evolved into Graph Search. Thursday it was announced that Facebook’s News Feed was getting a refreshed look, aiming to get rid of the current clutter that surrounds important content. There are three important features included in the update.
- DRicher Stories: Now stories take up a much larger chunk of the screen, and everything has become more visual. Photos and videos appear larger, richer previews of shared articles, maps show where a tagged location is, etc. The idea is that photo stories are what bring your News Feed to life.
- Choice of Feeds: Users can now filter the news feed to only include stories from certain categories such as a feed of only photos, or a feed only including the pages you follow.
- Mobile Consistency: News Feed will have a unified look and feel across all desktop and mobile platforms. The emphasis on mobile hints at the direction Facebook wants to move toward.
Advertisers may be worried because these improved features give users ultimate control over their content. FEAR NOT! The new visually appealing feed allows for more prominent sponsored photos (and rumored videos) to appear immersed within organic stories. Ads must do better at “stopping the swipe” (i.e. grabbing the user’s attention in a cluttered world). With this new layout, I predict that well designed ads will do just that.
The News Feed is already being released for desktop today, interestingly just in time for SXSW. Over the following week, your SXSW stories will come to life for friends who have signed up for the update. Whether it’s posting a pic of a downtown encounter with Ryan Gosling, “checking in” to Hopdoddy or Clark’s Oyster Bar, or sharing a great article from GSDMpresents.com, friends and followers have a better experience consuming the content that you want to provide.