Facebook's redesign of its News Feed signals a new era in marketing for the site, centered around replicating it's mobile advertising success.
“Goodbye Clutter. Hello bright, beautiful stories.”
That was the line coming out of Facebook HQ last week when founder Mark Zuckerberg revealed a newly designed News Feed for the social networking site.
While users look set to benefit from the simplicity of the new design, industry analysts expect a clash of conflicts between users and advertisers.
"Facebook’s latest move is shrewd in that it is has redesigned the News Feed to mirror that on mobile where it has proved successful from an advertising perspective," says Andreas Pouros, COO at London-based digital marketing agency, Greenlight.
"But the conflict between user experience and driving more ad dollars looms large."
The update means adverts on the site will be far more visible to users as they will now take up more screen space.
Facebook was quick to deny this however, insisting there was another objective behind the update.
“In the last earnings call Zuckerberg stated Facebook had not seen any evidence that the increased advertising it introduced at that stage had had a negative impact on people," Pouros says.
“The challenge now is to 'reinvent' advertising so people don't feel they are being bombarded by ads.
"Facebook is now championing 'high quality advertising' in an attempt to do that.”
In January, Zuckerberg revealed Facebook's mobile ad sales more than doubled on the previous quarter to total US$306m, accounting for 23% of overall advertising revenues.
“Facebook has taken the success of advertising in peoples' newsfeeds on mobile and based its News Feed redesign on mirroring that format (or close to it) on all devices - this should boost revenue," Pouros says.
But Pouros believes the company may need to pace itself a little less aggressively when it comes to cashing in on its advertising sweet spot.
“Notwithstanding, a small minority of users think that Facebook has gone far enough with ads already (using tools like Facebook Purity to strip them out entirely)," he says. "Only time will tell if Facebook has. And if it has not, when is it too much?
"The conflict between user experience and driving more ad dollars looms large.
"It did with AltaVista historically, who were then unseated in the search engine wars with a new upstart (Google), with a cleaner interface and better user experience.”
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