Most noticeable is Facebook abandoning its most recognizable characteristic, the Facebook blue color scheme, changing its top bar from a blue to a white. This is a huge brand adjustment. We can't help noticing that they're aligning closer with the Messenger brand than their traditional core branding.
The top navigation makes a lot of sense and it’s interesting to see how they think about the apps inside and outside of Facebook’s Core platform. For example, to get to Gaming or Events, you need to click on the Home tab first.
In contrast, Marketplace or Groups, are directly accessible in the top navigation. Facebook clearly sees TV, Marketplace, and Groups as the most important features of its core app.
I’ve always seen the Home tab as a jumping off point for new products that Facebook launches in their ecosystem. Groups used to be only accessible from the Home view and not the top level navigation. If I’m right, that means any one of their sub apps can graduate to the top bar. It would be interesting if their top bar were dynamic: if you were a heavy user of Events, the Event’s icon would replace Marketplace in the top navigation.
A curious note of the sidebar in the Home interface is the absence of Pages. Always been a prominent navigation link in the old FB interfaces, it looks like Pages will be hidden behind “See More.” Ads Manager is probably buried in there, too. With two of their highest revenue-driving products tucked away, we wonder if this isn't a PR thing with these shared screenshots.
The significant attention that Events, Groups, and Marketplace are getting in the redesign show FB doubling-down focus on local and community.
Groups, Events, and Marketplace have already been tightly integrated into Messenger, and there’s a lot of call to actions that encourage messaging. Traditionally Messenger in FB core popped up from the bottom but it looks like this interaction will probably be disappearing. I’m assuming the Messenger link in the top navigation will open the Messenger app directly, but I'm curious about what the experience will be: will users be switching between apps or will the app be embedded in a clever way to keep users in Facebook core? A few screenshots show that there is an embedded experience in some situations.
Events is getting a huge facelift, with a lot of emphasis on event discovery. It looks like they’ve turned Events from a page inside of FB core into its very own application.
Facebook is putting in a framework to curate and control event inventory. This is basically what Spotify can do with record labels, force functioning labels to throw content into Spotify or miss the listenership entirely, giving Spotify the power to control the market via demand. It’s unclear if Facebook is going to get into ticketing themselves, but with owning the control point for demand, they don’t really need to. Native checkout is already built into the interface, so all Facebook cares about is keeping users within their app. Consumers will think that FB is selling the tickets to them directly.
Stories are getting a lot of attention in the redesign. They're definitely being prioritized over the news feed. On opening the app it, Stories takes up most of the fold.
Stories have definitely become a dominant part of the Facebook ecosystem, especially with its integration into FB Core, Messenger, and IG. Stories placement will become a big part of their monetization strategy and something marketers should integrate cross all campaigns as soon as possible, especially considering the creative requirements are the same.
I don’t see anywhere for sidebar ad placement in the redesign, and it's likely this placement will disappear as the redesign rolls out. I never saw sidebar ads as being effective placements but this revision will definitely impact Facebook’s bottom line if they are not able to shift advertisers to placements like Stories or Messenger fast enough. This correlates directly with Facebook’s insistence on advertisers enabling all placements so they can start making that shift in placement internally.
Lastly, the redesign hints that Facebook is going to be shifting away from the traditional news feed and putting more emphasis on apps like Messenger and Events, along with sub-apps like Stories. This means less “sharing” and more “conversation.” This shift from news feed will also mean that inventory will decrease overall, costing advertisers more to stay in front of a target audience. Ad placement is going to start getting more specific to reach active users of apps like Events; targeting is going to be come even more crucial in getting to the right users at the right time.
Overall, this redesign reflects a positive outlook for the health of the Facebook app ecosystem. It focuses on creating a better experience for end users while opening up new kinds of inventory and areas for marketers to reach their target audiences. Excited to see this roll out.