I recently (re)watched The Social Network and there were some fleeting moments in the film that reminded me of what Facebook looked like a mere three or four years ago. I had almost forgotten that we didn’t always have a newsfeed, let alone a timeline. Was there a time where it was really that simple? Having said that – not too much has changed with Facebook’s newsfeed since it’s initial launch in 2006. Yes, we’ve seen advertising slowly creep into our newsfeeds, along the sidebar, and slight style changes along the way – but for the most part, over the last few years, the focus has been on personal page layouts, brand page layouts and slight reconfiguring to let photo and app integration flourish.
Later today, Facebook will make an announcement unveiling the latest changes to the newsfeed. Currently, all we know is speculation that the new layout will allow users to filter the content shown in their newsfeed based on categories. Pictures (Instagram included), Music, News, Videos, may all be sortable options.
With this new layout – the benefits could be twofold: the user now has more streamlined control over what is seen in their newsfeed, making for a more enjoyable user experience. On the flipside, this layout could open up more space for advertisers and partners. Advertisers could really target their audiences and have their product stand out in a sea of content. The filtering systems could give apps like Instagram and Spotify a lot more dedicated screen time.
It will be interesting to see this new layout unfold and how exactly it will impact brand visibility. With the option and power to be selective, will it mean that some brands will lose visibility? Or, will users be tailoring their content more appropriately – making branded content even more impactful? We’ll be listening in to the coverage today and will follow up with thoughts on how these changes could affect how we use Facebook.