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  • Timing more important to position than engagement
  • No place for brands in Top Stories

 In September Facebook changed the layout of its News Feed and the results are have moved the goal posts for travel marketers.

The News Feed is the first screen users see when logging on to Facebook and is a content page for the latest activity and updates from their friends.

In the screen shots below, you can see how Facebook has implemented a subtle change to the News Feed layout.

Comparison of Facebook News Feed layouts

News Feed changes mean strategy changes for Facebook travel marketing

Old and new News Feed layouts

In the old version (pre September 2011), News Feed displays posts either by Top Stories (those of most interest to the user) or by Most Recent. Top Stories was the default setting and posts were sorted by how often a user interacted with the author. If you regularly viewed, liked and commented on posts from a friend or a brand, Facebook counted that as a sign of your interest and pushed their posts higher up the  News Feed.

In the new layout, Facebook has split the News Feed into Top Stories (which appear at the top of the screen) and Recent Stories (which appear below the posts in Top Stories).

Top Stories includes People only

Top Stories still ranks posts by levels of interaction but is reserved for People only, so Pages from brands are never featured.

The number of posts that appear in Top Stories is affected by how often the user logs on. I recently spent a couple of days away from Facebook and found that my Top Stories section was full of posts on my return, with the result that my Most Recent section (containing all the brands I follow) appeared way down my News Feed.

When I am regularly using Facebook, my Top Stories section rarely features more than one or two stories, suggesting Facebook quickly moves Top Stories to the Most Recent timeline once the user has seen them.

The Most Recent timeline, where news from brands I follow does appear, orders posts by timing only and does not take levels of engagement into account.

What do Facebook’s layout changes mean to travel companies?

1/ Timing is key: your posts will only be seen in the Most Recent stories section, so if you add news in the morning but your Fan only logs on after work, every other post that is added after your announcement will appear above you in their newsfeed.

2/ One announcement is not enough: Facebook prioritises Top Stories from friends and family above news from brands, so if your post appears on the same day as lots of Top Stories you’re much less likely to be seen – so don’t rely on one shot for your news to be read

3/ Know your Fans: the more you understand the Facebook habits of your Fans the more successful your posts will be. Do research to find out at what time and on what day your Fans are most likely to use Facebook, and monitor your likes and comments to see what types of post generate most interest

Does your News Feed layout look the same as mine? Do you have brands appearing in the Top Stories section? How much planning goes into the timing of your posts?