At Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference this week, a complete redesign of the Facebook user experience was unveiled. Mark Zuckerburg stated the new design "has a much bigger focus on communities and making communities as central as friends."
After spending time in the hot seat in 2018 regarding online security and privacy, Facebook’s redesign is more than just a surface level redesign-it also aims to address these issues concerning privacy, security, and trust in the network. This redesign, called “F5,” is one of the biggest changes the social network has undergone since its creation.
The major changes seen with the revamp focus on events, groups, and general platform color scheme. Cohesive with Zuckerberg’s statement, Facebook seems to be focusing their shift from a broad global content network to the user’s personal backyard, which could play a major role social media marketing strategy.
In the last few years, Facebook users have transformed how they utilize the social network. Instead of posting publicly, an increasing amount of users are posting in groups, and sharing content privately through the network. Today, there are millions of active groups on Facebook, and that number is only growing. When users find the right group, it often becomes an integral part of how they use the network. It is also what keeps users returning to the app/platform.
With the latest redesign, Facebook has made connecting with friends and people who share similar interests easier than ever before. The new Groups tab is now seated in the middle row of the redesigned menu bar. Once clicked, users have access to a personalized feed of updates from their various groups, as well as recommendations to join new groups based on their interests.
The redesign is also the first big stride Facebook has taken to support Mark Zuckerberg’s public announcement regarding prioritizing private communication and more privacy-focused features.
For Facebook Messenger, added privacy comes in the form of end-to-end encryption for communications, which includes not only text but also shared locations, video communications and others. This is a long-anticipated feature that will ensure communications between users are protected from outside eyes, whether those outside eyes are hackers, governments or Facebook itself. In addition, messages meant for close friends and family now have their own section inside Facebook Messenger.
Events received a nice makeover as well. To give you a more comprehensive view of events happening near you, a new Events tab can be found on the mobile app. Facebook Events now features a map view, including a public events view, that allows you to see what events your friends and other locals in the area are attending. You can coordinate with your friends, discover local businesses, and find new local restaurants based on your own personal preferences.
The new redesign features, when combined, “will end up creating a more trustworthy platform,” Mark Zuckerberg said in an interview. “Everywhere you can see and connect with friends, you’ll be able to see and connect with groups; it’s going to be woven into the fabric of Facebook.”
While the user interface did receive a major overhaul, Facebook’s ad styling remained the same. You may remember several months back when Facebook changed ads’ call-to-action coloring to blend in more with the native content. This ad change may have been one of the first moves to help prioritize community content.
With more emphasis on Facebook groups, Facebook may be trying to re-invigorate the right-hand column placement for desktop ads. This is now the spot where suggested groups show, and it could mean more ad placements as well. You currently cannot advertise in Facebook groups, so we are curious to see if this will eventually be an added placement based on user behavior.
The added visibility on Facebook events may also mean more successful event promotions. Previously, event response ads were one of the more costly types of ads, which often led to underperformance. With events in a new and prominent spot, event promotions more cost-effective than sponsored posts in the future.
Facebook groups and events will continue to dominate space, and they are only growing in popularity. This community-emphasized redesign shows us that Facebook is continuing its commitment to localized and behavior-driven content, and that we can plan on seeing the platform prioritize such content (and privacy) indefinitely.