Facebook Launches Revamped News Feed

Facebook introduced a brand new news feed for users this week, and in the process, it’s cleaned up a lot of clutter that surrounded it. The update was inspired by the news feed on Facebook’s mobile app, which is much simpler and focuses on the content.

One of the most striking updates is an even heavier emphasis on photos, which are much larger and take up a lot of real-estate on a user’s screen.

Facebook also emphasized the idea that the news feed is now more like a newspaper with different sections that you can flip to. Users can switch their news feed to focus on photos, music, games, public figures, friends and a ‘following’ section, which is where brand Facebook Pages will be located. The ‘old’ news feed with content placed there by Facebook’s algorithm will also be available, but if a user just wants to view all of their friends’ content, they can do that by switching the feed.

The update will roll out to users in the coming weeks.

Facebook’s approach is pretty clever.

Its algorithm has come under scrutiny as users question why they see one piece of content and not another piece. Now, the control is turned over to the users. It also follows the visual style of Google+, which is a much simpler layout. Facebook has streamlined everything to make the platform more inviting.

Marketers should view this as both a challenge and an opportunity. Their content will now primarily be featured in the ‘following’ feed, which means if a user doesn’t want to see it and wants to live in his or her friends-only feed, they might not see brand content. The opportunity here is that people who do take the time to see a brand’s content will likely be looking for it, giving it more resonance. The additional real-estate a brand piece of content takes up means messages should also be more impactful.

Marketers should re-evaluate their approach but continue to make their content as compelling as possible. Users will need all the incentive we can give them to check their following feed. Marketers should also emphasize photos and visual content as that’s the type of content that will really stand out with this new update. Finally, because feeds (besides the news feed curated by Facebook’s algorithm) will feature content in chronological order, marketers should consider posting more frequently throughout the day and benchmarking their engagement when it comes to time of day to ensure that when they do post, it’s at the right time.

Read more about Facebook’s revamped feed at AllFacebook.

Google+ Gets Design Overhaul

The day before Facebook was scheduled to announce changes to the news feed, Google+ made changes of its own with redesigned profile pages. The changes include much larger cover photos with a maximum size of 2,120 px by 1,192 px and users will be able to take advantage of the real estate by experimenting with different kinds of photos than they were able to previously.

Another update is the addition of a local reviews tab. Users will now be able to see all of their local reviews in one place along with favorite restaurants. If users don’t want the tab, they can hide it.

The final piece is an updated “About” tab, which breaks things out in separate sections, visually separated into squares. Users will be able to use the new format to more easily manage what content is shared with different Circles.

Google is continuing to invest massive resources into Google+ and it shows. The new design is beautiful and Facebook has certainly taken notice with their latest update to the news feed. Facebook’s news feed is going to be simpler, emphasizing photos, something Google+ started. Google+ is getting Facebook’s attention and they’re clearly attempting to entice users to update their profiles with a more aesthetically pleasing layout.

For more on Google+ design refresh, find it at TechCrunch.

Twitter and Nielsen Launch Survey Tool

Nielsen and Twitter launched a survey tool for the Twitter platform called brand surveys that displays surveys that look native to the Twitter platform and is intended to determine the effectiveness of Promoted Tweets. The tool is available for all ad partners in the U.S., UK and Japan.

Twitter’s been testing the new feature and has come up with a few insights:

  • Promoted Tweets increase the rate at which users associate a brand’s message with its Twitter presence.
  • Promoted Tweet campaigns are more effective in creating ‘brand lift’ when they’re continuous instead of one-offs.
  • People who engage with Promoted Tweets have an increase in favorability and purchase intent.

Twitter teased these surveys last year and they’ve clearly worked the design to be more in-line with Twitter’s look and feel.

This is another move by Twitter to boost its advertising. It recently launched its Ads API, partnered with Nielsen to deliver a social TV rating, acquired Bluefin Labs and worked to cut down on the number of third-party apps used to access Twitter in order to get advertising in front of more users. 

Read more about Twitter’s new brand survey tool on AllTwitter.

News Quick Hits

  • Twitter announced that it will discontinue the AIR, Android and iPhone versions of TweetDeck. The app will be removed from the app store in early May with support ceasing shortly after that. The company is instead focusing on its web app and an app for the Chrome browser. (Read more at Mashable)
  • Rumors are circulating that YouTube will soon be launching a subscription music service that would compete with platforms like Spotify. Users will be able to play songs for free with ads or pay a fee for an ad-free experience. YouTube is already one of the most used music services out there. (Read more at CNNMoney)
  • Facebook has announced that more than 15 million businesses have Facebook Pages, a jump of more than two million in the past three months. More than 8 million businesses are using Facebook’s mobile management app to maintain their Pages. (Read more at VentureBeat)
  • The ambient location-based social network Highlight is adding photos and events to its app. Users will have access to photo filters, the ability to upload photos, the ability to contribute to collections of photos of events and locations and a new map view that will show people and events nearby. (Read more at TechCrunch)
  • Twitter’s latest update do its iOS app has cut down on the options for video upload. Users will no longer be able to upload videos through Mobypicture, Vodpod or Posterous. Twitter is working to cut down on the number of third parties on its platform. (Read more at SocialTimes)
  • Twitter’s app update made search faster with new features. Now, when a user opens a link within Twitter to go to a web page, the tweet that had the link in it will be displayed at the bottom of your mobile web browser, giving additional context to what you’re seeing. The second update is improved autocomplete suggestions that come up in search and when writing a tweet. Finally, when you search for something on Twitter around an important topic, a Top Tweet will be at the top of the search results, separated from everything else. This tweet is deemed more valuable based on engagement and relevance, so finding the best tweets in a search will be easier. (Read more at AllTwitter)
  • Quora is now allowing users to write reviews and leave star ratings for things like movies and cars. (Read more at AllThingsD)

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