7 Big Facebook Changes You Should Know About for a Better Facebook Strategy

Read full article at Socialmedia Today

Facebook changes so fast, I often miss new features or updates to existing ones. Since there have been a few changes recently, I thought it would be helpful to do a bit of a wrap-up of what Facebook’s been up to.

1. Images are now bigger and wider – Here are the right sizes to use
Some recent changes to how Facebook displays thumbnail images mean that we need to be more aware of the size and aspect ration of any pictures we post. Because Facebook will automatically resize images that don’t match its specifications, we really need to remember these details for our images to look right.

The aspect ratio is very specific: image widths need to be 1.91 times the height. This will mean the image scales perfectly in both the desktop News Feed and on mobile. Images are now larger when shown in the News Feed, so keeping the aspect ratio right will make sure your images look great wherever the user sees them.

Recommended image sizes have also changed for Facebook’s desktop News Feed and mobile views. For the News Feed, Facebook recommends thumbnail images of 400×209 pixels. Images that are smaller than these dimensions will be resized to either 154×154 or 90×90 pixels.

Jon Loomer made some amazing graphics to show you what the right, new sizes are:

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On mobile, Facebook’s recommended image size is 560×292. Images smaller than this will be resized to 100×100 pixels.

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It seems strange that mobile images are expected to be larger than thumbnails for the desktop News Feed, but Jon Loomer suggests this could be due to the lack of a sidebar on mobile, leaving more space for large images, and the increased usage of tablets with larger screens than smartphones.

2. News Feed ranking is now smarter, including 100,000 individual weights
Not so long ago I wrote about how Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm works to determine which posts show up in a user’s News Feed. The algorithm has been developing alongside Facebook’s overall growth, and now uses up to 100,000 individual weights to determine which posts appear in the News Feed.

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The latest iteration of the algorithm could be compared to the growth of search engines like Google and Bing. Both use complicated algorithms with many signals included, such as social and personalization, to determine which search results to show a user. Facebook’s algorithm has become more sophisticated over time in a similar way.

When Facebook launched the News Feed in 2006, it was designed to show users the most important content from their friends all in one place. The tricky part is deciding what’s important to each user:

Facebook says that the typical user has about 1,500 stories that could show in the News Feed on every visit.

What shows up on a user’s News Feed is determined by measuring signals that show how close a user is to friends or Pages, as well as global interaction signals:

For example, if we show an update to 100 users, but only a couple of them interact with it, we may not show it in your News Feed. But if a lot of people are interacting with it, we might decide to show it to you, too.

The way users access Facebook affects what they see, as well. The algorithm takes into account that some types of content don’t perform as well on particular devices—for instance, some content is impossible to show on old feature phones.

It’s even smart enough to recognize when a user has a slow Internet connection, and show more text updates that load quickly.

Facebook recently announced a series of blog posts called News Feed FYI that will “highlight major updates to News Feed and explain the thinking behind them.” If you want to stay on top of changes to the News Feed algorithm, this is a good place to start.

3. There are new and improved Page insights
Facebook’s insights for Pages recently got an update that makes them more useful for marketers.

The new insights view includes graphs of Page likes growth, post reach and engagement. It also includes a post clicks section which shows how many times a post received a “stealth click”—i.e. a click that doesn’t result in a story.

You can add benchmarks to your insights now, to test how well your Page performs over certain time periods. This could be really helpful in testing different post types, times or lengths over short periods.

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Engagement statistics are now broken down to make them more useful—showing negative feedback, and the breakdown between likes, comments and shares.

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If you’ve read up about optimal times to share on Facebook, you’ll know that it can be tricky to nail down. Optimal timing can differ for each individual Page depending on the audience, so it’s best to figure out what works for you specifically. Thankfully, the new Facebook insights make this easier than ever before. You can now see how many of your fans are spending time on Facebook (in general, not just on your Page) on each day of the week.

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You can also drill down by a specific day to see how the timing changes.

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Lastly, you can break down your engagement insights to see how much engagement is coming from users who already like your Page vs. those who don’t. This can be really useful in working towards posting content that your fans will like.

Find the rest of the changes here.

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