Facebook's News Feed Gets Personal

For the first time since 2006, more or less, Facebook has finally made some massive changes to its news feed, giving it a new look and enhanced functionality to act more like a "personalized newspaper."

Perhaps the biggest change to come from Facebook's facelift, or at least the most noticeable, is a clear image-heavy focus. Now, news "stories" are going to be much more visual, which is in line with the type of content that social media users tend to favor sharing and engaging with. Images will be larger and more heavily emphasized, taking up almost half of all news feed stories. Bigger photos will also be accentuated with a cleaner, easier-to-navigate design.

Although images are getting all of the attention, the more useful upgrade to the news feed is that users now have access to an even greater number of feeds with specific types of content; they will also be given more control over how those feeds are displayed. For instance, a user can subscribe a to new type of news feed (such as All Friends, Close Friends, Photos, Games, Music, etc.) that will only show posts from certain individuals or that feature a certain kind of content. Plus, these news feeds will (finally) feature an option to view posts chronologically.

And last, but not least, the news feeds are going to be compatible with mobile devices; in fact, they were built with mobile users top-of-mind. Many will notice that it looks quite similar to Facebook's mobile applications, as it features a side navigation bar and a lot more white space. The new news feeds will help provide a much more consistent user experience across multiple platforms and devices.

Of course, many of you are probably wondering what effect these changes will have on your business, especially as it relates to promoted posts or sponsored stories. Well, the fact is we just don't know, yet (this was all just announced yesterday, after all), but Chris Marentis, founder and CEO of Surefire Social, thinks that there are two important things that business owners on the Web should remember.

The first is that all of these social media technologies, including Facebook, are still young and "will continue to change and evolve over time." But that being said, he still thinks that they can provide a great opportunity right now for your brand to reach out to and engage with your target audience in a way that was heretofore impossible for most companies.

In addition to that, he said, "Whatever changes Facebook makes are in an effort to be more advertiser-friendly without disturbing their relationship with the users. They want to maintain the integrity of the user experience. Also, the changes that Facebook has made recently, particularly with the introduction of Graph Search, prove that the company is serious about advertising, as well as search and discovery for businesses on the platform. As a business owner, you should want to be on top of and taking advantage of these changes."