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Facebook’s revamped ‘News Feed’ could be a boon for agents

Increased emphasis on visual content may make listings more visible

Facebook announced a revamp to its News Feed today that places more emphasis on photos, video and other visual content that surfaces in users’ feeds, along with other changes aimed at making the Facebook feature the "best personalized newspaper."

The redesign’s focus on images and video could help generate more interest in listings real estate agents market on the social media site.

The announcement comes as Facebook continues to roll out its search engine, Graph Search, a tool that’s also expected to help real estate agents and others generate more leads on Facebook.

"News Feed has become primarily about visual content," said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, when unveiling the redesign today. "The design of your News Feed needs to reflect this evolving face."

The redesign makes visual content more prominent primarily by enlarging the size of images that appear in a user’s News Feed. Those images include those posted individually or as albums as well as those associated with stories and pages.

"It works really well for pages and brands and businesses," said Julie Zhuo, director of design at Facebook.

Screen shot demonstrating the greater emphasis on visuals in Facebook’s revamped News Feed. Image via Facebook. 

In addition, the spruced-up News Feed caters more to third-party apps, Zhuo said. Zhuo and Zuckerberg both mentioned Pinterest as an example of one website that the revamped News Feed aims to empower.

Zhuo said photos from the image-driven social media posted to News Feed "will be more reflective of that content that you’re sharing."

News Feed’s new focus on Pinterest may provide more of an incentive than ever for real estate agents to embrace the site, which some have criticized for not removing copyrighted images of listings that are posted without agents’ permission.

But even if more agents do not sign up for Pinterest, News Feed’s emphasis on visual content in general could spur more agents to post listing photos. Due to its redesign, such photos could pack more of visual punch and make a larger impression on prospects.

Enhancement of visual content was just one aspect of the retooled News Feed that Facebook introduced today. The revamp now hosts several news feeds that users may toggle between. Those feeds, which include an "all friends feed," allow users to isolate certain categories of information, something that many users have said they would value, presenters said.

The redesign also has a function that aggregates the most popular stories from news outlets a user follows based on other users’ reactions to stories that run in those outlets. And it allows a user to see conversations among friends revolving around a posted video by moving a cursor over the profile photo of the poster.

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