3 imminent Facebook changes that could affect brands

The social network is making a big announcement tomorrow. Here’s what could be in store for companies on Facebook.

This could be big for brands on Facebook.

Tomorrow, the social network will probably give its news feed a “new look”—a move that could affect the ways brands do business on Facebook. It is believed that during a press event scheduled for Thursday, the company will unveil multiple news feeds, possibly including one for brand pages only.

TechCrunch reported that Facebook plans to roll out “multiple feeds and larger images in posts by users, pages, and ads” at the event on Thursday.

The new “streams,” as TechCrunch called them, will reportedly give Facebook users a new way to filter information and keep them on the site longer.

“If the ‘new look’ for the news feed that it’s unveiling works, it could get us spending more hours on Facebook and seeing more—and more intense—ads,” TechCrunch‘s Josh Constine wrote Monday.

The more intense ads could include not only large images, but also videos and “richer media,” as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg referred to it in an earnings call last month.

Most prior Facebook upgrades have been user-focused and geared toward making it a better experience for users. This is a rare one that may be more brand-focused. Since becoming a publicly traded company, Facebook has had to do more to please those who pay—and at the moment, brands are the only ones doing that.

To prepare you for what might come, here are three changes that Facebook is expected to announce on Thursday, and what they could mean for brands:

1. Multiple feeds.

Currently, Facebook users see their main news feed, which consists of updates from their friends and the brands or celebrities they follow, as well as the occasional ad. However, there are other feeds that exist on the site, for instance, a feed dedicated to updates from pages. It’s practically lost in the left margin of your Facebook feed, but it could point to what Facebook has in store for brands—their own feeds.

Observers expect Facebook to roll out a feed dedicated to images—those posted directly to Facebook and those shared via Instagram, which Facebook bought last year—as well as a feed for music. Facebook already has a music feed, but it, like the pages stream, is not readily accessible.

There’s also speculation that Facebook could roll out a stream for news (as in, real news—not the announcement that your friend just completed a 10K run) in a bid to challenge Twitter.

The new feeds would be featured at the top of a user’s page, near the search bar, according to TechCrunch. A report from Mashable noted that multiple feeds “would … allow advertisers to target specific interests.”

2. Larger images.

The common belief among many social media managers is that images work best for drawing “likes” and shares. That belief has been challenged of late, because of Facebook’s last algorithm change, but it remains a safe equation: Compelling art equals more eyeballs. It appears Facebook is doubling down on that and will give users, and probably brands, the ability to post larger images.

How this will play out remains to be seen, but it’s likely that brand pages will see more posts such as this one from Sony PlayStation:

3. Video and “rich media” for users—brands will get it eventually

Better polish your video-editing skills, because Business Insider is nearly certain that Facebook will unveil a video platform for users. It probably won’t happen immediately for brands, but it will be a part of the social network’s announcement Thursday.

During an earnings call in January, Mark Zuckerberg said he expects that advertisers will soon have the ability to share larger images, richer media, and videos, but first he wants average users to be able to share these elements as well.

Here’s how Business Insider summed it up:

“Translation: We’re not going to show video ads (‘paid content’) in the news feed until Facebook users are used to seeing video from their friends or selected content providers (ESPN? YouTube? Hulu? ABC?) in the News Feed.”

Look for Zuckerberg to announce videos for users—and expect it for brands later.


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