Facebook Announces Redesign of Pages and News Feed
Heraclitus once said, “The only constant is change.” In no social media channel is this more true than Facebook.
Ten days after announcing a change to the News Feed algorithm, Facebook revealed two additional redesign updates. These include notable changes to Pages, as well as minor updates to the News Feed.
- Changes to Pages reduce the prominence of tabs. Many pharmaceutical companies use the tabs to house important content for page visitors. This change makes interacting with fans in the News Feed even more important.
- Changes to Pages may also affect pharmaceutical companies’ review and submission of their Facebook Pages. Companies should review their original submissions of their Facebook pages against this change to determine if a re-submission is necessary.
- Changes to the News Feed are minor and mostly aesthetic in nature, and generally do not affect pharmaceutical companies’ use of Facebook. The change does, however, re-emphasize the importance of visual content within the social media space.
CHANGES TO PAGES
On March 10, Facebook announced a redesign of Pages. This change, currently being rolled out, has implications for both Page visitors and Page admins and is reportedly focused on providing both roles with a more streamlined look.
One important change is that Page tabs are no longer as prominent as they were in earlier layouts. Instead of being displayed at the top of the Page, the tabs are now housed along the left-hand side, as well as within the “More” dropdown menu.
Facebook said the redesign should provide Page admins with easier access to their most-used tools, such as the number of ads running, Page likes, post reach, and unread notifications and messages, as well as direct access to the Ads Manager account.
For Page visitors, the redesign will make it easier to find information. The left-hand column of the new design is devoted to information about the business or group: a map, hours of business, phone number and website URL, and photos/videos. This leaves the right-hand column open for housing posts and comments.
PAGES TO WATCH
Facebook is also rolling out a new module specifically for Page admins called “Pages to Watch.” This feature will be located within the Insights section of the admin panel and allows Page admins to compare their metrics with the performance of other pages that they consider to be their competition (up to five other Pages).
When this tool is added to a Page, Facebook will suggest other pages to consider for comparison based on the theme of your own Page. As part of the monitoring, admins can easily see key stats related to the Pages they are watching, such as the net gain or loss of fans (Page likes), the total number of posts a Page added in the past week, and the engagement for the week.
Page admins receive a notification when their Page is being watched by another Page, but the alert does not specify which Page is watching.
CHANGES TO THE NEWS FEED
On March 6, Facebook began rolling out the redesign of its News Feed, intending to more accurately personalize users’ content. These changes are designed to resemble the mobile view, with the News Feed now having a larger footprint, more noticeable photos, different fonts and a larger search bar at the top. This redesign incorporates feedback from a previous Facebook redesign in which users said they preferred the larger pictures and fonts but didn’t like the features that made navigation difficult.
WHAT THESE DESIGN CHANGES MEAN TO PHARMA
CHANGES TO PAGES
The biggest consequence of the recent Page redesign relates to the location of tabs, which have historically been used to publicize company websites, product information, physician locator maps and other helpful content. It’s worth noting that, while tabs still exist after the redesign, users may not realize they are in a new location, and therefore, tabs may be less effective in drawing the attention of visitors.
Also, the changes to Pages may affect pharmaceutical companies’ review and submission of their Facebook Pages. Companies should review their original submissions against this change to determine if a re-submission is necessary.
The good news is that the new Page layout resembles the layout of user profiles in the placement of the “More” box, meaning users are more likely to understand how to access additional content in that location. The bad news is that getting users to visit a Page once they Like it—not just interact in the News Feed—is already a challenge. Now, instead of being visible to the limited number of users who comes to the Page, visitors must take an extra step before having access to the tabs.
To pharma companies, this means that interacting with fans in the News Feed is more important than ever. This is especially true when trying to direct fans to content housed in a tab. As a best practice, Pages should provide direct links to tab content and promote posts using Facebook advertising to ensure the content is getting in front of the intended audience.
CHANGES TO NEWS FEED
As Facebook indicated to Mashable, “We want to be clear that this update does not affect ad specs, ads performance or optimization. These changes are visual updates and do not affect how content is surfaced to people, nor do they change how stories are ranked in News Feed.”
In other words, the changes are purely visual, rather than functional, and are minor in nature. However, the fact that the News Feed now has a larger footprint and more noticeable photos re-emphasizes the importance of visual content within the social media space.
Pharma Page owners will want to be sure to regularly include creative content in their editorial calendar and understand that the vast majority of engagement will take place in the News Feed. This will be the key to organic reach, especially taking into consideration Facebook’s continually evolving algorithm that favors highly engaging content.
While pharma marketers do need to be aware of the Facebook redesign, the key principle remains that if Pages provide valuable, compelling content to their community, they will be successful.
Intouch Solutions will continue to monitor the ongoing, frequent changes to the Facebook design and algorithm and provide regular reports to our clients. See the full history of Facebook updates here on intouchsol.com.
For more information about these Facebook changes, contact your Intouch Solutions representative.