I won’t be surprised if 2012 goes down in the history books as “The Year of Facebook.” First the well thought move of buying Instagram, then a spree of few more startups acquired in the mobile space followed by the big IPO and now the silent feature upgrades to the personal profile as well as the brand pages. So it’s time to take a look at the recent major design changes as well as the addition of certain features on the profile page as well as the brand page.
Facebook Personal Profile Page Changes:
1. Trending Videos: The Facebook news feed is getting overloaded with information day by day. It started with the sponsored ads first and then the trending articles accompanied them. Now its the recent addition of trending videos, which will allow Facebook users to check out popular videos by the community. The feature that has a slider option to view all the videos is a good way to accommodate multiple videos. Trending articles in the recent past has been criticized for being not much of a value and spamming the news feed. However this is Facebook’s way to highlight content that one would have missed and apps like Viddy and Socialcam would benefit by this last upgrade as reported by TheNextWeb. I have personally witnessed this feature rolling out at my end on the web version and with time, this should be out for everyone.
2. Social Games: Facebook which has also been the popular destination for social games, has introduced a new feature by which game developers can give a small preview of the game in the news feed itself. So from now on, you don’t need to go anywhere but play the game in the news feed itself. This feature also gives an opportunity to reach out to more users by providing a preview of the game to the users. For sure this will give the game developers a chance to post content on behalf of the user with engaging stories. Initially, one could send game requests to friends but this feature is going to give more visibility to the games. However as a user, I wish that my news feed doesn’t turn into a gaming arcade. To know more on how to use this feature and for other details click here.
3. Close Friends: Last week Facebook had another feature introduced – Close Friends, which will make sure that you don’t miss out on any of the updates from your bunch of close friends. Facebook would ask you to select your best friends and once you select them Facebook assigns them as “Close Friends” list with a star. So the major difference between your Close Friends list and other lists is that you get instant notifications of your friends activities. The customizable list is definitely an interesting addition when it has become impossible to keep a track what your best friends are doing or if you would only like to share stories with your best friends and not with the world. In addition to this, you can manage the list by stating what kind of updates you should be made aware and how should it be communicated to you. Do check these features or otherwise get ready to see a bunch of notifications if you have friends who are 24 hours hooked onto Facebook.
4. Facebook Timeline: According to a recent update shared by Mashable, Facebook is again testing a series of cosmetic changes to the top of the users timeline. Have a look at the screen shot shared below:
It is not a major change; your personal details move up and features like photos, friends, etc. are now a small link. I suppose users won’t be affected by these cosmetic changes. But the bigger question is that now Facebook has a big chunk of empty space right below your cover page as the new look is more of a leaner look. So what do you think the space is going to be used for? Let me predict that we might see some more ads.
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4. Highlighted Status Update: Facebook was testing this feature some time back as we had reported. The feature that would be rolled out soon allows you to reach to a maximum number of friends. At present, your content can reach to maximum of 12% of friends of your friend list. However this would be a paid feature but will it get a good response from personal profiles is a question to be pondered. As I had earlier shared that this kind of feature would get a bigger response if it was implemented on the brand page like LinkedIn has done recently. And I would be surprised if in future Facebook avoids it. However, this feature could be misused too as we know many brands and influential profiles have created personal pages for their business, which is against Facebook guidelines. So how is Facebook going to tackle such cases or is it not bothered like the insane Facebook ads that are delivered often.
5. The Facebook Ticker: Another cosmetic change that Facebook has made is that you are no more allowed to resize the Facebook Ticker. Previously, you could resize it but now Facebook has fixed it. So that will make you witness more Facebook ads. However I would have loved if the Facebook Ticker allowed me to customize and showcase lists into it. May be this could be a future upgrade but for now it is fixed. As someone recently commented, quite cheekily that is it a GM Facebook ads pullout after-effects on Facebook.
Facebook Brand Page Changes:
1. Instant Insights For Posts: The biggest challenge today for brands on Facebook is to reach out to the maximum number of fans and Facebook has been working on it quite for some time now. According to a recent update from Simply Zesty, Facebook is testing a new roll out where as a brand you can see instant insights on what percentage of your fans managed to see the content. A screengrab of the new feature looks like this.
So along with the percentage, make sure you have seen the small button to your extreme right – “Promote”. It gives a clear hint that Facebook will provide a way of integrating this feature with an ad campaign. Guess it is good news for brands as well as agencies.
Do you think these updates would soar the interest as well as engagement on the network?