Last week, Facebook announced a major overhaul of its popular newsfeed. In an effort to rid the site of clutter, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the new design will provide users with their own “personalized newspaper.” The redesign, currently being rolled out to a small group of users, will provide a largely visual experience.
According to The New York Times, 350 million photos are uploaded daily by individual users and brands, accounting for half of the mega social network’s posts. The growing popularity of specialized social sites like Instagram and Pinterest, where engagement centers around photo sharing, has inevitably contributed to the new changes at Facebook.
In addition to an expanded visual experience, users will also be able to segregate newsfeeds. New preferences will allow users to customize their feeds where they can see posts by friends in one stream, photos in one stream, posts by artists they “like” in another and posts from brands they “like” in yet another. All of the topline info will still be viewed on the homepage (much like the front page of a newspaper), but users will have more choices on how to view the items of interest to them as well as have the opportunity to dig deeper into select interest areas (much like the way readers can choose defined sections of the newspaper).
So what does all of this mean for faith-based and faith-friendly advertisers? For one, with the increase of photo use, advertiser images will gain additional real estate; and, in turn, hopefully catch the attention of more users, resulting in higher CPMs. This change also makes imagery more important than ever to every Christian non-profit or corporate social media strategy. Faith-based marketers need to be thinking of creative ways to use photos to tell the story of their brand. While Facebook hasn’t revealed in-depth guidelines for where advertising will fall within the new model of multiple streams, it doesn’t appear that there will be any fewer ads. Segregated streams could also allow for brands to more easily target consumers.
However, streamlined feeds could pose a problem for brands who rely on the effectiveness of content marketing on their brand pages. While consumers might enjoy showing their loyalty to a certain brand by “liking” their Facebook page, they may not desire to interact with the brand on a regular basis, and may find content marketing annoying rather than compelling. If brands are relegated to a separate stream, does that mean users will ignore their posts altogether?
The new design will be extended to Facebook’s 1 billion monthly users in the weeks to come.
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*photo courtesy of ABCNews.com