Facebook’s new layout is creating a stir on the internet as millions of users have begun to see their favorite site remodel itself. For everyday users, the changes are just something they will learn about through trial and error. Business owners and social media marketers however need to understand these changes and how they may affect their business now. Though more information will be released in time from Facebook, here are five things business owners should know now about the new Facebook layout.
Perhaps the first things that users will notice about the new Facebook layout is the change in font. In addition to the sans-serif Arial fonts that are on Facebook, some news links, media posts, and promotional content will have the serif-heavy Georgia font. If nothing else, the difference is striking and makes the text jump out. On the other hand, some users have been quick to voice their displeasure at the font changes, calling them “ugly”.
Last year, Facebook ran an experiment with it’s mobile devices and desktop platforms to see what kinds of redesigned elements people liked the best. One of the more commonly liked elements was larger images. Facebook has accommodated this requested by with small tweaks to the layout. Specifically, they moved the picture closer to the left margin of the column and expanded the picture equally in the vertical direction. The result are pictures that are clearly bigger, but not so big that make the layout hard to navigate.
Facebook has also simplified and streamlined the design of pages by removing one of the columns from the timeline. This change should make it easier for visitors to find information on pages. Prior to change, when timelines had two columns, posts would sometimes jump from one column to another when new posts were added. Similarly, depending on the size of images, highlighted posts, and the amount of texts, the two column format led to uneven spacing between posts on the same column.
A big change for marketers and consumers who use Facebook is that the redesign is supposed to reduce the amount of ads that users see. This means that there will be fewer ads in the right hand column where ads, trending topics, and Facebook notices appear. There will also be fewer promoted posts in the feeds of users. Another key change is that Facebook is going to start detecting posts that engage in “Like-Baiting”. These are posts that improperly encourage people to like, share, or comment on posts.
Though there will be fewer ads shown to Facebook users, the company has given marketers a boon by making ads larger. Rather than the tiny image that used to be used in the right hand ads column, the new layout will have images that span the width of the column and have the verbiage under the image. In essence, these column ads will look like the Sponsored Stories but a little smaller. Ads will still be clearly marked as such, but it’s hoped that the increased size will increase engagement.
As Facebook continues to rollout the new layout, Facebook users and marketers will see both layout styles in play. Depending on the reception, some of the changes may not stick (e.g. Georgia font). Also, some marketers will be able to use the larger ads before others. Business owners who have not done so should go ahead and get on the waiting list for the new layout. Though there are a lot things different, there are definite benefits to the new design and the sooner marketers learn to take advantage of these features, the greater their advantage over the competition.