"When Facebook implemented the ‘Timeline’ format, there was more criticism than praise; this may have been due to the chore of learning how the new function worked. Happily, the recently enhanced News Feed function appears easier to learn, and this article is a good guide to use for adapting to the changes."
4 Ways Publishers Can Optimize for Facebook's New News Feed
by Lauren Indvik
March 8, 2013
Facebook unveiled its "new" News Feed Thursday, and while we won't know the full range of effects it will have on the pages of brands and publishers for some time, Facebook has provided a few clues to help administrators optimize their pages ahead of its rollout.
First, let's take a look at the changes. The new News Feed is cleaner, more visual and has more filtering controls. The size of photos and videos have been enlarged, making the quality of visual media more important than ever before. That's great news for magazines and other publishers with deep photo resources; for publishers that rely largely on Creative Commons or stock imagery, the challenge is greater.
In addition to larger photos and videos, Facebook has introduced a number of "sub feeds" to give users greater control over what updates appear in their streams. Users can opt to view updates from All or just Close Friends, only photo updates, only music updates, only updates from pages and public figures they follow (i.e., subscribe to), only updates from Groups and only updates from game apps. They can also view updates in reverse-chronological order.
While these changes could have a negative impact on publishers' pages, particularly if users opt to spend all or most of their time viewing updates from their Close Friends, Facebook insists it could be a boon as well, because users can switch over to the "Following" feed to get updates outside their friend circles precisely when they want them.
Beyond those changes, the look of the new News Feed is far more consistent across smartphones, tablets and desktops than previously. For a visual overview of the alterations, click through our slideshow, or check out Facebook's official overview.
Publishers can make some changes to their content to take advantage of the coming changes. Here's a few recommendations:
1. Invest in high-quality, high-resolution images. High-quality imagery is more important than ever before. Photos now make up nearly half of all News Feed stories, according to Facebook, up from 30% just a year ago. That growth is likely to accelerate now that Facebook is enlarging the size of photos in the News Feed. Facebook recommends publishers use images with a width of at least 552 pixels. As a bonus, publishers no longer need to upload full-sized images next to their story links. According to one Facebook source, Facebook will now display thumbnail photos pulled from story pages at the same size as images uploaded directly to the News Feed. As such, it's important for publishers to upload thumbnail images with a width of at least 552 pixels on their sites.
3. Post about trending topics. News stories about a single topic will be highlighted in thumbnail-rich carousels in the News Feed, like the one featuring Taylor Swift stories, below. Thus it may be more advantageous to share trending rather than outlier stories on Facebook.
Images courtesy of Facebook