Facebook reportedly is preparing to roll out a new News Feed display that boosts the size of link previews, making them more prominent in comparison with other content. Inside Facebook reports that the link preview is increasing from 90×90 pixels to 154 by 154 pixels. The rollout reportedly began today – although I don’t yet see it in my News Feed.
It will be interesting to see how this affects users’ interactions with shared links. If you have a website with good content that visitors want to share, it’s likely this will make your shared links more noticeable in people’s feeds, and therefore result in a higher click rate. You might see better response to the links you share on your organization’s Facebook page, and more viral lift from those links that your followers pass along on your behalf.
Here are a few suggestions to help you make the most of the change:
- Add a notation in your website analytics indicating when this change takes effect. If you start to see a boost in traffic coming in from Facebook, it will be handy to have this date indicated so you can see the correlation. For those of you who use Google Analytics, here’s a simple video explaining how to do this:
- Once you see the change in effect in the News Feed, do some experimenting. See if you start to see a higher interaction rate with the links that you post on your page. If you typically have been seeing better responses to your photos and videos than to plain content links, see if this gap starts to close at all.
- Your website already should be set up with social sharing links to make it easy for people to share your content on social media. (If not, make this happen yesterday.) With the footprint for shared links expanding in the News Feed, double-check to make sure that your content is optimized to share “well” on Facebook.
You want the right headlines, images and descriptions to be picked up by Facebook, not generic boilerplate or gibberish. If someone shares a link to one of your website pages, the shared link should show the headline of the page, not just your website’s name (see notation 1 in the image above), and you want page-specific images to be available for use as the preview image (notation 2).
It’s entirely possible this change by Facebook won’t actually affect clickthrough rates from links, but I doubt it. For those with great website content, I think the larger link footprint can only be a good thing.
What are your thoughts? How can web marketers, and particularly associations and nonprofits, take advantage of this change? Please share any advice in the comments.