Will Facebook’s new News Feed be good for brands?

That depends on your photos.

 

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Not long ago, Facebook frustrated page owners—chiefly, businesses, celebrities and publications—by kicking the soap box out from underneath their feet. Basically, now only a fraction of each page’s followers see what’s being posted, meaning fewer views and less user engagement—unless, of course, you opt to pay Facebook to promote your content.

But the company announced yesterday that it’s changing its News Feed once again, in a big way this time, and the question for brands is: will Facebook extend an olive branch this time, or will things only get worse?

Mario Zelaya, managing director at Majestic Media, a Facebook marketing agency, thinks the changes will actually be good for brands. The main reason being that now images will appear much bigger—indeed, each photo will take up most of your feed. “That is amazing real estate,” Zelaya says. “There’s no ad unit in existence that can do that amount of targeting.”

His agency already recommends brands use photos, as data shows users are more likely to engage with visual content, but now, “more than ever before, people are going to start obsessing over using images.”

There’s also another big change coming that, at face value, would appear to be good for brands, but here Zelaya is skeptical. There will now be a “Following” tab users can select to view an alternate News Feed that only displays content posted by pages. But history has shown filters like this, including those on Facebook, are rather unpopular.

“The average user doesn’t tend to filter that type of content,” he explains. “I think it’s a great idea in theory, but in practice I don’t know if it’s going to pan out for brands.”

For now, Zelaya recommends brands worry about images, which, as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pointed out during yesterday’s announcement, now make up half of all News Feed stories—up from only 20% in November 2011.

“Photos are going to be the next big engagement piece,” Zelaya says, “and Facebook’s numbers show that.”

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