Back in the day, we used to wake up in the morning, get dressed, brush our teeth, enjoy a cup of coffee and set out onto the world. Nowadays, we connect with the world long before we even get out of bed. With smartphones by our side, our first instinct after our alarm goes off is to take our phone and catch up on everything we missed.
News feeds play a huge role in that. Whether it's on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any other social site, news feeds provide an instant summary of what’s happening in the world and which stories are trending, as well as a glimpse into the lives of our friends, family, and acquaintances.
So it’s no surprise that people adore news feeds. It's a common denominator on many social sites for good reason--they attract people. Here are some great statistics that prove it:
While this number may not seem significant, news feeds are the single most interactive feature on Facebook. This means that people tend to like, share, and comment on content shown within the news feed at a higher rate than all other locations within the site. In fact, Facebook’s second most interactive pages (profiles) receive 6% less action than the beloved news feed. This shows that people are not only viewing, but actively engaging in the content they see on their news feed. This could be due to convenience, or Facebook’s algorithm--but either way, it seems that if you want your content to have impact, the news feed is the place to put it.
Going along with the previous assumption, 2014 saw a 50% increase in news feed video views.
Two years later, watching a video from inside our news feed is practically second nature. After all, if a topic grabs our attention in a convenient place like a news feed, we are automatically tempted to watch the video. Perhaps the biggest development in this arena is Facebook’s auto video play and the increase in subtitles. This way, viewers can easily watch videos anywhere, without the need to grab headphones.
The rise in news feed video content has witnessed many trendsetters, most notably Tasty (a venture from Buzzfeed) which teaches viewers how to make delicious dishes in a step-by-step, quick, and easy to follow format. Tasty receives over 190 million views in just one month and is one of Buzzfeed’s most successful channels.
If your goal is to boost your brand recognition, Facebook ads are a great way to do that. Simply by appearing in the news feed, people will remember your name and get a feel for what you do. As a result, you might be the first resource that comes to mind once people need your specific product or service. Large brands such as Starbucks for example, received 151 more impressions when they appeared on the news feed versus other pages. This means people saw their ads at a significantly higher rate in the news feed than on the sidebar or anywhere else.
This fact reveals a lot about how people feel about news feeds. While many argue that customers are so bombarded with ads, messages, and news that they are losing focus, it seems that these same individuals do have the time to focus when messages are convenient or in a context which is ideal for them. If the above data is correct, it seems like the news feed might just be that ideal place.
As great as impressions are, conversions are the end goal that many sites are hoping to attain. Given that news feed ads convert at a 44% higher rate than other ads, it's safe to assume that people are spending time on their news feeds and are ready to interact both socially and otherwise in this particular location. As a result, news feeds have grown as a key place for storytelling whether it’s in the form of ads, videos, pictures, or an ever increasing span of interactive content.
At the end of the day, people are just looking to be entertained. That’s why everyone love news feeds. There you can see great new recipes, pictures of cute puppies, the latest celebrity gossip, and what’s going on in the life of your high school crush all in one place.
Taking this into consideration, it's no surprise that links and videos outperform all other types of news feed content. Therefore, as a brand, it’s critical to understand the purpose and appeal of the news feed in order to develop entertaining content that relates to your target audience.
When we consider why we love social media in general, specific features of the sites don’t necessarily come to mind. Yet, when we stop to think about it, the news feed is actually kind of revolutionary. Never before did we have a one stop shop which aggregated content from our network of friends and acquaintances as well as the outside world. As a result of the news feed, we are a world connected. It’s time that brands and individuals alike learn to understand the power of the news feed in order to attain the most benefits and reap greater overall success.
Nadav Shoval is the CEO & Co-Founder of Spot.IM , an on-site community that brings the power back to the publisher. Prior to Spot.IM, Nadav has developed and founded 4 technology startups. Spot.IM is his fifth venture. Nadav is a technology erudite and a sports addict.