Facebook’s Responsive Facelift: Upcoming Changes to Timeline

Last week, Facebook made an announcement about the most sweeping changes coming to Timeline since its launch. These changes will be rolled out gradually in upcoming weeks. Managers of business pages should educate themselves on the future changes so they can adapt their Facebook marketing strategies. In this post, we have summarized three main changes in the new Timeline. Next week, we will share action items for business page managers to take advantage of the new News Feed.

What are the Changes to Timeline?

The first change is a layout adjustment in response to visual content trends. According to Mark Zuckerberg, almost 50% of News Feed content today is composed of photos and other visual content. Facebook is putting more weight on visual images and videos by expanding the News Feed column width and adding captions over the photos themselves. See the image below for a before-and-after example.

Posts linking to articles/blogs will also have larger images and titles:

Any action users take, such as “friending” or “liking” pages, will now include the cover photo of that page, as well as thumbnails of friends who also like the page:

The second upcoming change, which also might have the biggest impact on businesses, is Choice of Feeds. Now users will be able to see a News Feed composed solely of activity from close friends, photo statuses, music statuses, or games (see image below). Additionally, business pages will have their own subfeed, so users who want to see what their favorite brands are saying can choose to view that feed.

The third change to Timeline is a new responsive design! In its review of the design, Tech Crunch said, “The idea of ‘desktop only’ design seems to be dead, at least at Facebook HQ in Menlo Park.” The new layout is consistent for all screen sizes including desktops, tablets, and mobile devices (see image below). Facebook wants the user experience to be free of clutter.

What About Advertisements?

Facebook has been relatively quiet about what is happening, or not happening, to advertising on Timeline. My theory is that Facebook is trying to encourage more businesses to buy sponsored posts (so their content still appears in other subfeeds) by pushing business pages into their own subfeed. Who knows if the “Following” subfeed will be popular? If not, there will definitely be an increase in sponsored posts, and probably an increase in cost as well.

Sponsored posts will remain in all subfeeds and will reflect the same visual changes as image posts (meaning larger images and captions on the image). Additionally, the right-hand sidebar advertisements will be smaller. This could be for two reasons: One, in-stream sponsored posts are more costly than sidebar ads and Facebook needs as much revenue as it can get. Two, advertisements on the right side create more clutter, exactly what Facebook is trying to remove with the new responsive design.

There are also rumors that Facebook is preparing to include video ads in the News Feed, but nothing has been officially announced yet.

New Layout, Better Interaction?

Facebook is becoming responsive to create consistency in layout and minimize clutter. Hopefully users will respond more favorably to the original Timeline launch and become more engaged with Facebook. Brands will have more opportunity than ever to advertise, although, with potentially less visibility to their pages. Stay tuned for next week’s post for strategies on how to maintain momentum on your business’ page.

Images via Hubspot

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