‘Trending’ trickles into Facebook’s News Feed

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Facebook recently added a trending section — a move reminiscent to the trending topics on Twitter — to the right side of News Feed. It shows popular topics buzzing on Facebook right now, and users can click to see the posts by friends, celebrities and pubic profiles.

Now it appears that Facebook’s trending feature is getting some prime News Feed real estate. Some users are seeing stories from publishers about popular topics, such as Bob Costas, as illustrated above. Sister site AllFacebook also saw instances where trending hashtags are getting into the News Feed. When a user clicks on the trending topic above the story, a lightbox pops up with posts from friends, pages and public profiles about the topic.

We’ve reached out to Facebook about this and will update the story when we hear back.


Facebook ads in 4Q better than ever — but are they relevant enough?

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a goal for ads on the site: someday a post from Target will be as timely and relevant as your best friend’s vacation photos. While this may seem crazy at first, Facebook’s advertising offerings are getting better, as evidenced by record ad revenue in Q4.

Facebook released its Q4 earnings and usage stats Wednesday, showing an incredible $2.5 billion in revenue — $2.3 billion of which came directly from advertising. In Q3, Facebook pulled in $2 billion total and in Q4 2012, that figure was $1.5 billion.

However, Zuckerberg thinks Facebook ads can be so much more, and he’s not thinking in dollar figures.


News Feed algorithm tweak: Status updates from pages moving down

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Facebook announced Tuesday another change to its News Feed algorithm, this time involving status updates. Some page admins last year found that plain-text status updates (or status updates including a link) were doing well in terms of reach. However, Facebook found that engagement was lower for these types of posts.

The social network decided that since status updates from pages behave differently than photo, video and link posts, they should be treated differently. While users may see more status updates from friends, pages may see a decline in reach for these types of posts, writes Facebook’s Chris Turitzin, Product Manager, News Feed Ranking:

As a result, the latest update to News Feed ranking treats text status updates from Pages as a different category to text status updates from friends. We are learning that posts from Pages behave differently to posts from friends and we are working to improve our ranking algorithms so that we do a better job of differentiating between the two types. This will help us show people more content they want to see. Page admins can expect a decrease in the distribution of their text status updates, but they may see some increases in engagement and distribution for other story types.

Many Page owners often ask what kind of content they should post. This is difficult to answer, as it depends on who your audience is and what they want to see.


Facebook officially launches ‘Trending’

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Facebook has been testing a trending feature similar to Twitter’s trending topics, but the social network announced Thursday that it will start rolling it out for users in the U.S., U.K., Canada, India and Australia. This may not be available immediately and is a roll-out.

On the top right corner of News Feed, Facebook will show trending topics based on popular conversations happening around the social network. Users can then click the topic to see public and friends’ posts about that topic.


Report: Flipboard-like Facebook reader coming this month


A Facebook reader, similar to the popular app Flipboard, has long been rumored, but a new report suggests that the social network could launch the product by the end of the month. According to Re/Code, Facebook will soon launch “Paper,” a Facebook product that acts like Flipboard, a visual news magazine app with customized recommendations.

If true, this falls in line with Facebook’s efforts to bring more and more features from outside the social network to inside, prompting users to spend more and more time within the site. Re/Code’s sources that this has been a “multi-year effort” by Facebook’s News Feed team, and it’s almost ready to come to fruition.


Facebook tests different fonts for News Feed


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants Facebook to be more like a newspaper, and a recent test discovered by Fast Company shows that designers are doing what they can to make this true. Facebook is toying with using serif fonts on link headlines, a small change to the untrained eye, but something very noticeable to font aficionados.

Above, the old lettering is on the left, while the new test is on the right. Facebook confirmed to Fast Company that this is something they’re testing among select users. Additionally, ads appear bigger within News Feed on this test.


Long live Facebook for retail in 2014


There has been much uproar over Facebook’s December 2 tweak to its EdgeRank algorithm and how it negatively affects the News Feed reach of business brand page updates. Nicholas Carlson over at Business Insider has infact claimed that “Facebook screwed lots of online retailers just in time for the holidays,” and in a way he’s right of course:

It has been a less profitable holiday season for many online retailers thanks to a small change Facebook made to how the site works.


Facebook changes ‘Following’ on News Feed menu to ‘Pages and Public Figures’


Facebook has apparently made a small change to the News Feed menu.

Where it used to say “Following,” allowing users to access a feed of pages they’ve liked and celebrities/public figures/prominent users they’re following, it now says “Pages and Public Figures.”

This would make it a little easier for users to understand just what’s in that tab, and would allow users to see a stream of posts from the pages they’ve followed, bypassing the controversial News Feed algorithm.


Study: Pages that showed organic reach growth in December also used advertising


After several admins reported a large decrease in organic reach for many Facebook pages, a new study of 1,000 pages by social media analytics tool Locowise shows that on the average, organic reach went up by 6 percent in December (compared to the previous month). But in terms of gross numbers, only 38 percent of the pages reported an increase in organic reach in December.

Locowise founder Ian Mullane said the pages were randomly selected, with fanbases as small as 257 fans and the largest at more than 50 million fans, and including the verticals of consumer packaged goods, car manufacturers, sports and music personalities, B2B, B2C and small businesses.

However, the use of paid reach rose in December, with 25 percent more pages choosing to advertise posts. Of the 1,000 pages tracked, 41 percent used some kind of paid media in December. Viral reach was down 3 percent in December. 53 percent of the pages showing increases in organic reach also boosted some posts.


The speed of the feed: Facebook’s real problem


Facebook admitted in their Q3 earnings call what many of us have been saying for months: Teens are bored with Facebook and not using it as much. What they have yet to admit is that a lot of people of all ages are bored with Facebook.

As I travel the country, speaking with my clients and giving presentations, I often ask the audience if they find Facebook less interesting than they did 6 months ago. The answer is nearly universally a yes.


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