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

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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:

facebook changes - images

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

facebook changes - mobile images

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.

facebook changes - news feed

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.

facebook changes - engagement

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

facebook changes - fans online

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.

facebook changes - fans timing

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

 facebook changes - fans vs non fans

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.

4. Finally, you can now edit already published posts

A really recent change Facebook made is the introduction of an “edit” feature on posts. The feature is being rolled gradually out to web and Android users first, with iOS still on the way.

facebook changes - editing

This is the first time we’ve had the ability to change posts rather than simply deleting them when we realize we’ve made a mistake too late.

facebook changes - edit post

As well as editing a post after publishing, the new feature will let users keep a history of changes they’ve made.

facebook changes - editing history

5. You can now Auto-play videos

A lesser-known feature that’s only in a testing phase right now is auto-play for videos in the News Feed:

Now when you see a video in News Feed, it comes to life and starts playing. Videos initially play silently, and if you want you can tap to play with sound in full screen. Scroll past if you don’t want to watch.

facebook changes - videos

Initially, only videos from personal profiles, verified Pages, and Pages of bands and musicians will auto-play.

To start with, this feature is only being tested on Facebook for mobile, and should be rolling out over the next few weeks.

6. Public Feed API and Keyword Insights API

In an effort to make Facebook discussions part of the global conversations around trending topics, Facebook recently opened up two new APIs to selected news partners like CNN, Buzzfeed and Slate.

The Public Feed API will display a “real-time feed of public posts for a specific word.” Only posts that are public (i.e. from Pages or profiles with the “follow” option turned on) will become part of this feed. This will allow news partners to display a feed of Facebook posts about breaking news alongside their coverage.

The Keyword Insights API uses data from all Facebook users, and pulls out anonymous insights about the number of mentions of a specific term. This can also include demographic breakdowns, such as gender, age and location.

So far these tools are exclusive to a small group of Facebook news partners while they’re tested and improved. This is definitely an area to keep an eye on, though. With so much of our data in its hands, it will be interesting to see how Facebook puts it to use.

7. You can embed Facebook posts – Get more likes and follows

At the end of July Facebook announced that posts would be embeddable on other sites. Public Facebook posts from profiles and Page (not groups or comments) including all types of media can be embedded.

facebook changes - embed follow

Users can engage with posts that are embedded on other sites by liking Pages, following users, liking or commenting on posts and watching video posts.

facebook changes - embed like

Kristi Hines makes some great points on Social Media Examiner about how to use embedded posts well, including replacing screenshots with embedded posts so that users can engage with your examples and using embedded posts to share photos or videos to encourage more interaction on your Facebook Page. Kristi also points out how useful this can be for increasing likes on your Page:

While you can’t always like or comment on the embedded post itself without being taken to Facebook, you can click on the button at the top right of the embedded post to like the page.

This means any embedded posts you use from your page could help boost your number of fans!

To see that in reality, here is a recent Buffer facebook post embedded for you:

 

 

Did I miss anything? Have you got thoughts to add on any of these new features? Let us know in the comments.

Image credits: Jon Loomer, NBC News, Facebook 1 and 2, Inside Facebook

P.S. If you liked this post, you might also like 7 Powerful Facebook statistics you should know for a more engaging Facebook page and A scientific guide to posting Tweets, Facebook posts, Emails and Blog posts at the best time.

About the Author

Belle Beth Cooper

Belle is the first Content Crafter at Buffer and co-founder of Exist. She writes about social media, startups, lifehacking and science.

  • Belle Beth's Website →
  • http://dinavil.com dinavil

    Well, it changed the size of the links preview image too, but only when you post them directly to Facebook, if you post through Buffer they will still appear in the old small size. Hopefully you guys will update this soon.

    • LeoWid

      Hi there, that’s a great point! Looking into this right now and see if there is anything we can do to have big images come up every time through Buffer! Will keep you posted! :)

      • http://dinavil.com dinavil

        Thank you, right now I’m using Buffer only for images and scheduling directly to Facebook, but that fails quite often. I miss you guys, will wait for your notice to make a full come back.

      • DanCarr

        Yes please please look into this and let us know. With everyone having large images in their feed with their links, when you use Buffer and just end up with the small image your post gets totally drowned out in the feed visually. :(

      • Bookyourdive.com

        HI Leo,

        @dinavil:disqus is right. I am spending a lot of time now to schedule links manual to FB so I a sure the image is displayed correct. This new fb feature increased our CTR enormous and therefore I keep scheduling manually. It would be great/awesome!! if buffer could do this.. :)

      • Marcos Nobre

        I have the same problem with big images on buffer :/

        When i post by hootsuite, it’s ok, but in buffer appears small images

        Please, update this, cause i wanna very much use buffer like my main social media tool

      • Marcos Nobre
    • lg

      yeah, keep me updated, too. none of the things like these work:
      $status = $facebook->api(‘/me/feed’, ‘POST’, array(‘access_token’ => $page_access_token, ‘fields’ => ‘picture.height(960).width(1833)’, ‘message’ => $text, ‘icon’ => ‘http://www.renoi.de/images/lg.jpg’, ‘link’ => $link, ‘name’ => $title, ‘user_generated’ => ‘true’, ‘images[0]‘ => $pic2, ‘source’ => $pic2, ‘height’ => ’960′, ‘width’ => ’1833′));

      really annoying …

  • Lucy Chen

    The changed image size certainly makes a difference to me. Thank you.

  • http://www.johnrmeese.com/p/about-me.html John Meese

    Somehow I always seem to comment on the last part of your posts… I guess that make sense, it’s the last thing I read! Next time I’ll read the post backwards.

    I think it’s fantastic that Facebook has started to allow us to embed posts on other sites, that’s a great way to widen their influence and ours at the same time. A big drawback at this point, however, is that it doesn’t transfer to a reader app like Feedly. The example here came through as “Post by Buffer” (with “Post” and “Buffer” as hyperlinked text).

    I’m curious, do you know if embedded posts carry over to emails to your subscribers?

    • Belle

      Hi John,

      That’s a good point—being so early still, there are definitely some improvements to be made so that this will translate across all of the places we interact with content.

      I can’t say for sure about email, since it was too far down the post in this case to show up in the email version. My guess would be it probably does a similar thing, but we’ll need some more testing to work that out for sure!

  • DanCarr

    I’m not sure that this information relating to FB image sizes is correct. From my understanding, and subsequent testing, ANY image that is less than 560px wide gets reduced to the old small size and layout. As soon as you hit 560px though it triggers the new larger image layout in the feed on both desktop and mobile.

    Having said that…. this is only if you manually post a link to Facebook. Currently if you use Buffer, no matter what the size of the image, it doesn’t seem that Facebook will use the new more photo prominent layout.

    But I guess you guys would be working to fix that soon no?

    • http://www.christiankonline.com Christian Karasiewicz

      @DanCarr:disqus, the image sizes that are listed are correct. He just pulled this information from the Facebook Ads and Sponsored Stories Guide.

      Here’s a link to all of the information from Facebook.

      https://www.facebook-studio.com/fbassets/resource/82/UpdatedAdsandSponsoredStoriesGuideasofSept102013.pdf

      • DanCarr

        The SIZING is correct yes. In that these are the sizes they are now displaying images at. But the implication in the article is that a 400x209px image is now a recommended size. But in fact it is not. If you use an image that is only 400px wide, it won’t display at 400px wide in peoples stream. It defaults back to the old thumbnail method of showing images. You need at least a 560px wide image to trigger the new layouts. The size that Facebook is actually recommending is 1200x629px . This was the size they mentioned on their media page when they rolled out these changes. We can assume that this large size is for future proofing posts for their plans. For now though 560px width is a minimum to get this new layout to work. Even though it will only display at 400px wide in some scenarios, it still needs to be at least 560 wide to begin with.

        • http://www.christiankonline.com Christian Karasiewicz

          Correct. Unfortunately, it’s still not a perfect system.

          If you’re looking to update old posts – so that when people share them on Facebook the images look right, be sure you use the debugger tool.

          Here’s how to do that:
          http://www.christiankonline.com/facebook-image-optimization/

          -
          Christian

  • Josh Armstrong

    Great post, Belle.

    The 1.91:1 ratio that Jon mentions in his graphics are specific to images that you use as link thumbnails. I know Buffer is primarily used to share links, but if you are just posting photos (no links) then 4:3 images will take up the most real estate in your fan’s news feeds.

    Also, as long as the main features/focal points (faces, text, etc) are all contained in the middle of the photo, 4:3 images will also look great on your page’s timeline after being cropped down to 1:1.

    Final tip: Bigger is better. I always try to use photos that are *at least* 800×600 pixels.

    • Belle

      Thanks for sharing those tips, Josh!

  • Amy

    An excellent, detailed, and thorough summary of the updates. Thank you!

  • Cheryl Keyworth

    What an incredibly informative article! Thank you for sharing these recent Facebook changes. I’ve been waiting for that edit after posting bonus.

  • http://2asuccessdreamblog.com/ Alecia Stringer

    Woe, I’ll have to see #5 in action! Great updates.

  • Wendy Neiswonger

    Hi, If you’ve ever been blocked by a person, their image used to revert back to the blue male-female silhouette. As of last week his photo reappeared. Why is this? Thanks much :)

  • DK

    HI,

    Do you know what recent Facebook change caused the

    “Like · Comment · Share” hyperlink options in Facebook Notification emails, to NO longer work, going to this basic “page Not Found” link below, instead??

    https://www.facebook.com/sig_t?sig=AVK_Lzl5yS-YVQQ8

    • Belle

      I don’t know the answer to this one, unfortunately. I checked all the recent news published by Facebook and can’t see anything there about changes. Maybe try a different email app?

  • LucidGal

    No “edit” feature on published posts on my page. Take a look: http://screencast.com/t/OPrBapusIn4S

  • Jorabi

    Very informative article. I have two problems with the new features – (1) It’s been three months and I still don’t have an Edit choice on my posts, and (2) I can’t find a way to embed a post on another website such that I only have to embed it once, and it always shows a specific post. In other words, a restaurant posts their specials every day on FB. I want that post to appear on their website. Naturally, the post ID would change every day, so the website has to be touched to fix it. Is there any way to do this by reference and somehow ‘tag’ the post that is the one to be embedded?

  • Mike Johnson
  • Robin

    can someone tell me where are all of the articles that I have shared on Facebook? like a recipe that says to save it share it