Facebook are set to unveil a new look for their newsfeed at a special press conference held at Facebook HQ in Melina Park California this Thursday. It will be the second time the social platform has updated the feed and at this stage there is little indication of how significant the changes could be. However, with their recent move to push ads within the newsfeed itself and a greater push on mobile, what will this mean for advertisers and users alike?
Whilst insight into the design itself has been very hush hush, speculation indicates that Facebook are taking some inspiration from tile format sites such as Pinterest by creating a three pillar system to segment content (images, comments/status updates and video). This will allow users to select (or swipe if using mobile) which content format they want to view, for example - images only. This is potentially a great move for usability, and the mobile app has been screaming for a makeover since it was first developed – a tiny version of a full site really isn't good enough.
The big question for anyone with a commercial interest in Facebook is where will advertising fit in? Potentially, if content segmentation is the chosen path for the network, this may allow for a greater spread of ads to be pushed out across all three pillars or alternatively they may be reserved for areas of high usage. Facebook have a pretty good idea of where their users are, so this might allow them to build on and improve the highly contested effectiveness of their advertising platform - opening up an even greater range of advertising and targeting options to brands.
So far Facebook have seen little push back from users with regards to the increase in ads – particularly on the mobile newsfeed. However, sacrificing user experience for commercial gain is a dangerous path for any online brand or platform, Facebook owned Instagram being the prime example. The photo filtering application lost half their daily users – all 7.4 million of them, after changing their terms and condition to state that users would grant Instagram permission to upload their content for advertising opportunities as well as sharing their content and users info across to Facebook.
With this in mind we’re excited to see what the new feed will look like and the functionality involved – but let’s hope the user comes first.