Last Thursday, Facebook revealed its plans to restructure the look and layout of its “newsfeed” page, which is the first page that viewers land on when they log onto the site. This page is where a person can see the top posts from their “friends.”
CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that this move correlates with Facebook’s agenda to feel like a personalized newspaper, with stories and content that are relevant specifically to the user based on the interests of his or her social sphere. Thus, the organization of how content appears will also gain greater significance. Facebook hopes that making the appearance easier to navigate, people will stay on the pages longer and navigate them more skillfully.
One key aspect of implementing this new agenda is a renewed focus on the appearance of photos on the newsfeed. Rather than tossed in among other content, the newsfeed will be segmented so that photos (and other niche media, such as music files) will have their own display area.
Because images will now be further emphasized on this section of the social media website, it also means that advertising on Facebook (such as through traditional banner ads) will also have the opportunity to become more prominent. Ads have been directly incorporated into the newsfeed since 2011.
Since then, however, the amount of Facebook content being posted has surged. Facebook has been adapting its algorithm to try and cull the mass of stories posted so that users can find the items that are most relevant to them with greater ease. However, the appearance itself has been largely unchanged since the newsfeed’s inception. And some advertisers have complained that it’s far too easy for their ads to get lost in the shuffle due to visual cluttering on the page.
The new look and specialized sections are expected to lead to greater user engagement from Facebook’s approximately 1 billion members, which could be reflected in more click-throughs and greater traffic (and thus, profit) for Facebook’s ads.
A focus on images also makes sense given Facebook’s ownership of growing photo-sharing service Instagram.