Facebook improves rich media in the News Feed

Facebook has announced that as of September 30, they will no longer enable Adobe Flash directly in the desktop news feed and will focus on optimizing the mobile rich media experience. This is great news and something I’ve been expecting. Here are the main reasons I think this is a step in the right direction and how this change will impact your social rich media campaigns.

1. Two Thirds Mobile and Growing

Today, 71 percent of all activity on Facebook is on a mobile device. In Q2 2013, Facebook shared that over 219M people are mobile-only users and it’s growing by ~30 million a quarter. At this rate there will be more mobile-only Facebook users at the end of 2013 than total users of Twitter. Social is mobile.

2. More Posting Flexibility

Flash in the desktop News Feed required a “video link” post – on both desktop and mobile. In my experience, across many different types of campaigns and clients, other post types often perform better. Photo and link posts, for example, can vastly improve expand rate and reach performance.

3. Flash Limited Engagement Possibilities

The expanded Flash unit in the desktop news feed limited functionality, keeping marketers from incorporating Open Graph actions, limiting sharing, social login and pre-fill weren’t possible and tracking was minimized, to name a few challenges. HTML5, the new standard, enables all interactivity, sharing and tracking.

4. Improved Desktop Experiences

Flash in the desktop News Feed constrained the width and height of rich media experiences to a mere 376 x 398 pixels. However, with responsive design experiences on the desktop, social consumers will see experiences that will take over the browser enabling much larger and richer executions.

This is part of Facebook’s ongoing effort to deliver real business outcomes for their marketing and media customers. For brands and their agencies, it’s no longer optional to think of Facebook as solely for community management and customer support. Marketers must merge the full power of their creative and media expertise with Facebook’s remarkable ability to reach and engage key audiences.

Rich media in the news feed is the best way to maximize the return on these efforts, period.

As CEO at ShopIgniter, Matt Compton continually seeks social+mobile innovation for leading brands.  Matt has served as venture partner at Madrona Venture Group, as well as VP Media and Strategic Partnerships at Yahoo. He can be reached on Twitter at @mattccompton.

Image courtesy of ShopIgniter.