Facebook Changes It’s User Interface
In March 2014 Facebook announced their intention to unroll a major redesign to their social media platform’s homepage and Newsfeed. The platform released a “revised” version of their Newsfeed in 2013, which according to an article written during March 2014 by MarketingLand was well received. So well received that the article observed that the majority of Facebook’s users liked things the way they were. Due to this a level of conflict has emerged between the platform’s users and its advertisers, some have argued that as part of this conflict it has been the advertisers who have received the raw end of the deal in recent months.
Ultimately, the changes involve seven key aspects which Facebook users should be aware of, these are as follows:
- The Build Audience Menu: moving the cursor over “The Build Audience” menu reveals to users a number of key statistics, including page likes, reach and ads running. It also provides Page Admins with direct access to their Ad Managers account.
- New admin navigation and associated tools: Page Admins will find admin navigation at the top of their Page, including settings, activity and insights. The layout has been deliberately designed to be simple yet insightful.
- The right side timeline column: Posts from a Facebook Page will have the same overall appearance regardless of whether they are viewed in the Newsfeed or on the Page. In order to accommodate this change Facebook had made all posts which appear on a Page’s Timeline appear in the right hand column.
- The left side timeline column: In this column information about a Page’s business or non-profit organisation appears, this information includes contact phone number, physical address, website URL, pictures and videos.
- Pages to Watch: One of the best changes made is the enhanced Pages to Watch feature, this is a benchmarking tool which enables a Page Admin to compare the performance of their Page with other Pages, such as peers and competitors. The stats which can be found here include, total page likes, new page likes, engagement and number of posts.
- New location for custom tabs: Under the changes, custom tabs can be found in the left hand column underneath the info box.
- The ability to view top content from the Pages being watched: under the changes Page Admins are able to view the most successful posts, in terms of engagement, from Pages they are watching as part of the Posts Report.
Another major change which has turned some heads is the disappearance of the Apps tab. It is likely that apps will now instead be found as part of the “More” drop down menu.
But what do all of these changes actually mean?
What the changes mean for Facebook marketers and App providers:
- Social is not free: Facebook does not want apps to gain free traffic from their platform. Apps can still gain free traffic from user’s mentioning an app in a post, however the traffic this generates is limited.
- A continuation in the hard done to sentiment: A number of marketers, especially those who have invested greatly in their Facebook Page, feel like they have been wronged. In all likelihood these changes are unlikely to alleviate the situation.
- The overall trend: this trend began over two years ago when Facebook removed the default mandatory landing Page. Following this Facebook allowed Page’s to run contests without the services of a third party app. Now with the most recent changes, apps have been completely hidden from the interface.
These actions present a clear message, namely that Facebook has little concern for Page Apps and their associated tabs. Whether this is a bad thing or not can be argued both ways, however ultimately Facebook is stuck with apps. This is because apps form an integral part of the overwhelming majority of Page’s strategy to both recruit and engage followers. Simply put, apps are not dead. However the Facebook reaction to apps is one of lukewarm tolerance. Moving forward it is unclear what the future of apps will be but it is clear that further changes will most likely not be in favour of apps.