Facebook tests larger photos and icons to increase the prominence of links

Facebook is testing a new link format with larger photos and no headline or summary. Another test looks the same as other link posts, but includes a small icon in the bottom right corner to indicate which site the link is to.

With the first test, an image takes up the full width of News Feed, appearing as large as photo posts but being clickable to a third-party website. Previously, if a person or page wanted to share a full-size image along with a link, they had to make a photo post and put the link in the caption. When users click a photo, it opens the image in lightbox view. Users have to click the link separately. With the test as seen below, users can click the large image and be taken to the site. However, the headline and summary for the article or webpage are not visible.

In another test, Facebook has begun showing domain-specific icons along with links that are shared in the new desktop News Feed. The icons, which appear in the bottom right corner of a post, help make links more noticeable in the feed.

Facebook has made a number of improvements to link posts recently. First, increasing the size of the thumbnail image from 90×90 pixels to 154×154 pixels. Then, with the redesigned News Feed, making link titles and body copy larger and putting them in a serif font to stand out from the rest of the site. Now, a 25×25-pixel icon that is specific to the domain being shared, is an additional way to catch a user’s eye. The full-size clickable photos are even more prominent. These changes could improve clickthrough rates for organic posts and News Feed ads that direct users off Facebook. To win over direct response advertisers and publishers, the social network has to effectively drive traffic to third-party sites. Theses latest tests could find a better way to do that.

Compare the way link posts look in the previous version of News Feed, in the redesigned feed along with icons, as well as in the new full-size image format.