March 7, 2013
Facebook’s Revamped News Feed Offers Richer Media For Users And Advertisers
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Facebook is expected today to unveil changes to their News Feed stream of data, including larger images and multiple, dedicated feeds. According to TechCrunch, Facebookers should soon start seeing larger Instagram pictures and other photo uploads as well as feeds dedicated to music and concerts.
These changes are not only meant to be more engaging for the users but also to make the News Feed more attractive to advertisers. During the fourth-quarter earnings call last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg mentioned these changes, saying that the new, paid content is only mirroring what users have been posting for years.
“So, historically, advertisers want really rich things like big pictures or videos and we haven´t provided those things historically,” explained Zuckerberg, according to Business Insider.
“But, one of the things that we´ve done in the last year is you´ve seen the organic news feed product that consumers use moving towards bigger pictures, richer media and I think you´ll continue to see it go in that direction. And, I think that a lot of the success of products like Instagram is because of that. It´s a very immersive — even on a small screen, just — it´s a wonderful photo product.”
The new News Feed is expected to give users the ability to choose from content-specific feeds. These feeds could include posts specific to music with links sourced from Rdio, Spotify or other streaming services linked with Facebook. These feeds may also include concert schedules for a user´s favorite artist as well as notifications for new album releases.
There could also be a separate feed for photo uploads, either from Instagram or another uploading service. Images in this feed will be much larger than they currently are in News Feed. Another feed could be filled with posts from pages followed by the user.
The newly redesigned News Feed is also expected to trim up some of the cruft currently found on the site, such as the bulging sidebars and navigation chrome, giving more attention to the feeds.
Advertising is clearly a primary motivating factor for Facebook as they roll out the changes in News Feed. “Larger images” also means “larger ads,” the separate pages meant to make users feel as if they´re controlling where they see these ads. They´ll see the same amount of ads, of course, but these ads will be more tailored to the specific feed they´re viewing.
Facebook´s stock has yet to live up to the hype of its IPO last year. Although stock prices started at $38, they haven´t spent much time over $30 since. The social giant has been in a mad dash ever since to bring in more revenue as well as show the potential for growth and stability.
Unfortunately, recent studies have shown that the general public and even young people are growing bored with Facebook. A Pew Poll found that 61 percent of all American adults have taken a break from the social network at least once, while another 20 percent claimed they´ve already left the service for good.
Facebook may also be losing ground with teenagers to other more mobile friendly services like Instagram and SnapChat, a point which Facebook mentioned in their recent 10-K report.
Given Facebook´s rough history with rolling out design or layout changes in the past, users could immediately bristle at these new changes. What´s left to be seen, however, is if larger and more targeted ads in a new form factor will be the final straw for many Facebook users.