What Facebook’s Timeline Changes Mean to Brands

Facebook’s announcement of timeline updates late last week gives the option for users to filter out content from brands. The three main things coming to the newest version of Facebook’s News Feed are richer stories, new choice of feeds and mobile consistency.

Both ads and stories will be richer, as photos and videos will now be larger across the feed. The photo size increase will affect posted photos and photos on posted links and extend them to the full width of the News Feed.

Facebook is also attempting to better target trending content to users. Users will now have a choice of feeds. The feeds include “All Friends,” “Music,” “Photos,” and “Following.” Rather than all of this content combined into one feed, as it has been until today, users will now be able to choose whether to view only posts from friends, see what their friends are listening to, view only photos or see every post made by Pages they like.

The new “mobile-inspired” look for the News Feed will be streamlined across mobile and desktop web browser editions to have a more consistent design across devices.

Facebook has made the change to accommodate users who quickly exhaust the available stories found in the News Feed by providing a more diverse content experience.

What does this mean to brands? The changes could benefit or hurt brands, depending on how often a user frequents the segmented News Feeds. Whereas users previously only saw Page updates on their News Feeds through Facebook’s own EdgeRank filters, they can now choose to see the Pages-only “Following” feed.  However, they can also choose to only view the “All Friends” feed that is brand-free.

What we at Fleishman-Hillard are telling our clients is simple: As a brand, there has never been a more important time to get to know your customers and start an open dialogue with them.

Brand advocates are the new billboards, the new double page spread and the new TV commercial. If they’re not doing the talking for you, chances are your message isn’t being spread as widely as it could have in the past all because people now have the control to cut you out.

We are pretty sure other platforms will be rolling out this ‘more control’ strategy in future.

Over the next few months, we’ll be placing extra emphasis on impressions and reach to measure how the segmented News Feeds are affecting the delivery of Facebook posts.

You can sign-up to be one of the first to receive the new Facebook timeline here.