Mark Zuckerberg promises a better user experience with the upcoming newsfeed changes, but what should brands expect?
The Problem the Redesign Solves For
Facebook wants to improve the user experience while scaling their ad business. As a marketer who has begged my Facebook rep on more than one occasion “Please tell me how to spend more money on your platform!!!” (And really, who ever hears that in business?) It was clear that Facebook had a scaling problem. Ad performance was great, but I couldn’t get through my budget without a ton of work. At the same time, users are complaining that they are being served too many ads and threaten to leave.
In order for Facebook to make more money, they need to ramp up the quantity of ads shown in the newsfeed. How to do this without causing users to revolt seems to be a daunting proposition. This new design is their solution.
Scaling ads (I’m using ads and Promoted Posts interchangeably) only works if users don’t rebel against the ad’s presence, so they need to look nice and interest the user. As a brand, you need to make your ads more engaging and look prettier.
Tell Me A Story (And Pay A Lot)
This redesign puts the onus on the brand to create compelling ads that people interact with, or to pay a premium to have boring ads continue to appear in a person’s main newsfeed.
Facebook positions “telling stories” and ” visuals bring your Newsfeed to life” as the new criteria for getting into the main newsfeed. The new redesign will make the newsfeed into front page real estate of “your personalized newspaper” (Zuckerberg’s words) so you should expect to pay a lot to get there.
If you don’t want to pay, and no one in your network is interacting with your posts, your page posts are tucked away into to another feed: the “Following” feed. If the way users interact with brand page tabs is any indication, users will never check this feed. It’s akin to users willfully navigating to a webpage of solely display ads.
It should be noted that there is an opportunity for brands to be seen in the Photos feed. Based on the popularity of Instagram, people will check this feed. So, start posting some quality photos to Facebook!
The Need For Quality Content
Brands need to churn out visually appealing content to remain in the newsfeed and the photo feed. Otherwise the brand is relying on the user to check in on it’s page. It’s not going to happen – unless a brand is adding so much value that users really wants to seek them out.
When would that maybe happen? This example come to mind: Nike’s workout of the day from Serena Williams on the Nike Women’s Facebook page. This Nike page post is already Facebook’s dream scenario of a branded ad; visually interesting, relevant content that the brand is also paying to promote.
Needless to say, making campaigns like Nike’s is way more work, and take a totally different expertise, than A/B testing different display ad creative on your standard ad network. If your brand can’t produce then you’ll need to pay up to be seen.
My two big questions about the newsfeed redesign:
- Will users actually be more tolerant of ads in this format?
- Will marketers become more savvy in their ability to advertise on the platform?