What Facebook’s News Feed & Fan Page Redesign Means for Application Developers

Facebook is launching a redesigned home page next week focused on the Live Feed. What does this mean for application developers?

1. Increased News Feed distribution for application stories

The most important implication of the redesign is application feed stories published through Feed Forms are now guaranteed to be displayed on their friends’ home page, we understand.

If users share it, their friends will see it. That’s a big deal for developers trying to maximize the exposure of their feed stories in the News Feed. (One line updates will most likely not get syndicated to the News Feed.)

In other words, there is now a greater incentive for developers to provide compelling ways for users to share application information through Feed Forms on their Walls.

Two weeks ago, Facebook shared prelimiary mocks about the future of News Feed at the Palo Alto Developers’ Garage. There, Facebook began encouraging developers to start thinking about feed stories less as “third party journalistic news” and more like “first person updates.”

Facebook said that updates to Feed Forms will be coming soon where users will be prompted to add comments before publishing feed stories. It looks like the new Live Feed will show feed items in this new way whenever users add comments, so developers should encourage it.

2. Application bookmarks go away, application feed filters arrive

In the current Facebook home page, up to 6 application bookmarks exist on the right side of the page. However, in the redesigned home page, those bookmarks are no longer present, which will probably ruffle developers. The applications menu still exists in the menu bar on the bottom of the page.

However, Facebook has also added application News Feed filters on the left side of the page, under the friend list filters. Presumably, Facebook will show the apps that users share most with by default. Clearly, Facebook is increasing the emphasis on and incentives around sharing through applications with this update.

3. Application tabs for business profiles

Now that Facebook is merging business Pages with Facebook profiles, the way that applications can integrate with Pages is changing. Now, instead of integrating big custom boxes on the Page, Pages will default to a “Wall” tab which will be full of status updates and the other latest updates.

However, Page owners can now add custom application tabs to their profiles, which provide more real estate for applications. While application tabs will not be the default tab users see when they navigate to a business page organically, Page owners CAN drive traffic to application tabs through Facebook Ads. This means that application tabs could become the new “microsites” for businesses wanting to engage users within Facebook.