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Personalized Newspapers and How the Newsfeed Will Affect Marketers

Published: March 14, 2013

Author: Audrey Cueto

Last week, Facebook held a press event announcing what users can expect when they roll out the updated news feed. So what exactly can users expect, you ask? Imagine a personalized newspaper (the metaphor often used during the event), customized to fit your needs and interests. Here’s a brief overview of what to expect and how marketers can capitalize on these new changes.
“The world’s best personalized newspaper”
Just like with any newspaper, the updated news feed will allow you to pick out which content you’d like to focus on. With a newspaper, you’re able to pick and choose which section you’d like to read without first having to go through content you don’t care about. Similarly, the news feed will allow users to determine which content they’d like to view without having to scroll through content they’re currently not interested in.
Consider the following example: you’re interested in viewing photos in your news feed. Rather than scrolling through status updates, upcoming events, trending articles, etc., the enhanced news feed will give you the option to view a feed of photos, leaving out content you may not be interested in viewing at the moment. Do you care more about the latest news and updates from pages and/or people you follow? There’s a feed for that too:
fresh facebook feeds
Alongside a richer experience, the enhanced news feed will exhibit a more visually appealing look throughout the site, which includes bigger images and better arranged content. Via newsroom.fb.com:
better newsfeed images
For an in-depth description on what users can expect to see once the news feed rolls out, check out Andrew Foxwell’s post.
An opportunity for advertisers
As Facebook lays the groundwork for a richer visual experience for users, advertisers are presented with an opportunity to attract their target audience in a more visually engaging manner. The news feed will display relevant information from pages that users ‘like’ or follow. The graphic below, from Danny Sullivan’s Twitter feed, show how this will be done in a more visually aesthetic way:
makeover for newsfeed
Though the impact on Facebook Ads weren’t brought up during the press event, advertisers can consider the following:
The value of relevant content
Pushing out relevant content is more important than ever. The value of your clicks will be worth much more with the updated news feed. Within the old news feed, consider a user who has liked NPR’s Facebook page. When this user logs on, he may be only interested in viewing his friends’ updates. Within the old news feed, NPR ads would have appeared within a mix of various information: photos, statuses, news, event updates, etc. The ad would have appeared despite the user’s lack of interest in the ad at that very moment.
Within the updated news feed, users have the option to view specific feeds. Let’s say the same user now views a news-related feed. An NPR ad placed within that feed would be far more effective at reaching its targeted audience.
Keeping this opportunity in mind, it’s important for advertisers to push out content (organically and through ads) that grabs the user’s attention with a catchy headline and high-quality images relevant to their audience’s interest. This is where knowing the fundamentals of reaching the right audience comes into play.
New ad formats
As Danny Sullivan points out, ads weren’t forgotten in the news feed facelift. Alongside images and content placement, ads have also increased slightly in size.
Note the differences in the way ads are displayed (below). The ad copy is now aligned to one side of the ad, allowing the image to stand independently on the other side. Arranging the ads in this way makes the image stand out more, becoming more of a main feature for the ad.
As Foxwell points out in his FBPPC post almost 50% of news feed stories are photos, making image selection for ads all the more important. The ads’ new look also blends more with the content users will see on the updated news feed, making them feel less bombarded by advertisers.
Check out the refreshed look of the ads on the right:
improved facebook ads
It’s too early to tell how successful the updated news feed will be. However, considering that users will now have more control over what they wish to view, I feel rather optimistic that users will welcome the change with open arms.
One more thing: the updated news feed is not yet available to the public, but those who wish to try out can join the waiting list.
– Audrey Cueto

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Chicago, IL 60602(650) 539-4124


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