Tomorrow Facebook will announce a brand-new News Feed, and sources tell TechCrunch's John Constine that the redesign will likely include separate feeds for different types of content—news, pictures, and music. Which roughly translates to: more space for targeted ads. Facebook will take its singular News Feed and split it into a bunch of more specific ones, Constine explains. "Two sources said that on the web, buttons located at the top of the feed below the search box will let users switch to view one of the different feeds at a time." The photo feed will show stuff from both Facebook and Instagram, and music might get its own section, too. News, Videos, and Apps would make sense, too, but sources haven't confirmed those yet. While this makes it easier for Facebookers to see the content they want, it's also a genius plot to get more ad space, in more verticals, and at a higher CPM.
By adding more depth, Facebook has also added more surface area for which to put advertisements. Right now there is one News Feed — well, two if you sort by "Top Stories" and "Most Recent," but it's all one stream of stuff. Soon, maybe even as soon as this week, users will have delineated home pages, and marketers will get a huge increase in ad pages. The News Feed of 2013 is Facebook's September issue, only with five subdivided sections of the second most popular website in the world.
And these new feeds have more specificity, which marketers love. Someone who likes looking through photos will respond better to a photo-based ad, the thinking goes. Plus, by putting Instagram in the News Feed, Facebook will (finally) start to make real money off that $750 million purchase. If people start looking at images via the Facebook website (or app) at the same high rates as they do the native apps, that means a lot of new monetizable eye balls on Facebook. Because Instagram, you may have noticed, has no ads anywhere.
The new News Feed will also help track what people like to read in a way that Facebook couldn't before, and big data is another big thing advertisers love. The number of posts you liked, the number of comments you write, click-through rates — all of these things help the social network and its ad partners personalize sponsored content, but people consume a lot of stuff on Facebook that they never digitally touch. The News Feed tabs should help determine what specific Facebook users tend to actually do on Facebook. If you're a big Spotify listener, for example, expect more music-related ads right in your face, if not exactly your ears.
Speaking of advertising, Facebook will also take this revamped News Feed as an opportunity to make its ad units "glossier," according to Constine's sources. "Facebook will also start displaying image and link posts in a larger format, whether they’re from users or Pages or are ads," he writes. Expect bigger everything, including sponsored posts. Right now, the News Feed takes up a little over a third of space in the middle of the site:
It sounds like Facebook will expand that to a larger view, which means bigger, more expensive, ads as well. It might look something like this, Constine suggests:
By increasing all types of images and posts, Facebook is probably hoping that users won't notice the bigger ads, too. But, um, those are pretty hard to miss.