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Facebook's Newsfeed – Customized, Curated, and Highly Visual

Published: March 7, 2013

Author: Andrew Foxwell

One billion users are soon going to have customized newspapers, thanks to Facebook’s just-announced redesigned Newsfeed experience, which will also allow you to see all content from friends in chronological order.
The presentation included many references to the newspaper analogy – and how a newspaper has sections and allows you a choice of what to look at. Previously, this had been a fairly crowded experience: brands, ads, friends, news all in one place – which is nice, but at times people want to separate those things out and see updates in different sections.

updated Facebook newsfeed
A clean and simple look that spans desktop and mobile

One of the most interesting things I heard in the presentation was about how many Newsfeed stories are photos – almost 50% are now photos as of January 2013. This shows that overall, throughout all users’ Newsfeeds, almost a third of content at any time is visual.
newsfeed content
Even when FB wants to reward more text in EdgeRank, photos are still #winning.

This is a good thing – especially since there’s a bunch of data out there showing that visual content is the most engaging – but real information from friends means a lot as well. Conversations, not just photos, are a valuable piece of the Facebook experience, and they’ll have their territory as well.
For a long time, I have said that Facebook is all about curation. It’s about ensuring you know who you’re friends with and what brands you’re following, so your Newsfeed isn’t all clogged up with irrelevant information. You have to invest time in it to get the most value out of it, and the new redesign helps you do this very thing. By allowing users to show everything from everyone – friends and brands – you are able to see and be aware of who it is that you’re friends with and if you want to actually be connected with them anymore (Facebook’s new “no-clutter” mantra).
device-friendly newsfeed content
The redesign works across devices

Overall, it’s clear that this redesign rewards visual media – and especially quality visual media. From Facebook, in a post-announcement release: “In the same way that all content from friends is getting more visual with this redesign, Page posts, ads and sponsored stories are also becoming more visual, giving marketers a vibrant creative canvas to reach people in the most engaging placements of the site.”
It also brings you more information but in a more organized way that helps you to sort things out. And more options to look at, means you’ll spend more time within their ecosystem, which is exactly what they want (even without any ads updates, this is good news for advertisers).
So, think about this in reference to the redesign: a billion customized newspapers with engaged readers. No shock that more info on new ad types is on the way soon.
– Andrew Foxwell

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