Social Media

Why Facebook’s News Feed Redesign Is a Huge Win for Referral Marketing

Facebook has recently rolled out a change to it's timeline. We break down what you need to know from a marketing standpoint. Come see what's new!


On March 7, Facebook announced the first major redesign of its News Feed (the center column of the home page) in more than three years, which places greater emphasis on visuals and provides options that allow users to tailor the information they consume based on their specific interests. The changes are considered to be a win for Facebook users and a big win for referral marketers.

Facebook News Feed: Before - After

Facebook’s decision to emphasize photos makes a lot of sense from a marketing standpoint. Studies have consistently shown that brands that include photos and calls to action in their posts experience much higher rates of customer engagement.

The larger amount of available real estate for in-stream ads benefits marketers because it gives them more space to utilize photo sharing as a marketing tool. And it allows brands to get creative with not only pictures, but videos as well.

The News Feed is streamlined across desktops, mobile phones, and tablets, allowing a cross-platform consistency that’s vital today. Marketers will no longer have to deal with a lack of compatibility with mobile consumers because Facebook’s revamped News Feed is entirely streamlined for consumption at home and on the go.

For some time now, effective content marketing has been considered the Holy Grail for brands utilizing social media. While in the past it was possible to optimize ads for audiences, this opportunity was somewhat inhibited by the larger, diverse base of users viewing those ads. That is no longer the case today. The new tailored News Feed options allow users to pick and choose their content, which assists brands as they target campaigns to specific online audiences.

For instance, if your customer base is interested in music, you can target music-specific ads to their feeds, thereby integrating the personal aspects of your brand that are so important to fully engaging customers online.

Some in the social media marketing community argue that allowing users to view a “Friends Only” feed, which is another new feature of the redesign, detracts from a brand’s ability to engage fans beyond targeted news feeds. But such arguments only highlight the utility of referral marketing campaigns even more.

Let’s say one Facebook user is very engaged with your brand on her music feed, while her friend mainly hangs out on a friends-only feed. With the right incentives to share, it makes no difference where a single potential customer spends her time; the activity of that loyal customer will immediately be shared with her entire network.

That means marketers are getting the best of both worlds: not only are they posting targeted content that loyal fans are likely to share, but those posts will get more publicity in the less-crowded feeds of the fans’ friends and family members. In return, the brand will get more shares, more loyal fans, and more sales.

With so much attention focused on in-stream ads, Facebook has begun downplaying ad space that was traditionally reserved for the right bar of the home page. While this change has a few negative implications for brands utilizing cost-per-click (CPC) ads, it’s actually beneficial for referral marketers.

With referral marketing, you’re not paying for clicks or impressions; the main goals are shares and engagement with users. In Facebook’s newest form, users won’t be distracted by pointless ads, but rather focused solely on the content in their own personal feeds.

Facebook seems to get the big picture of social media marketing. It’s not about the ad. It’s about the engagement that a campaign creates with a brand’s fans and followers.

What do you think of Facebook’s newest redesign?

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