Have you noticed changes on your Facebook profile? Or on the content you see in your News Feed?
Facebook is making some significant changes as we move further into 2014.

Here we predict five that will make a splash in the new year:

1. New “trending” tool

The term ‘trending topics’ might be familiar to you from Twitter. Rumor has it that Facebook’s will be personalized to your interests. According to Facebook, topics that are popular across the whole platform and align with your personal interests will determine the trends shown to you. This feature will also allow more use of hashtags, which will easily connect themes and campaigns.

Key differences to Twitter’s trending topics:

  • Facebook isn’t allowing companies to pay to promote stories as ‘trending’
  • Trends are chosen by a topic’s spike in popularity instead of the volume of posts on a particular subject

“Trending” is currently rolling out in select countries on the web (which is why you might not see it, yet) and their mobile aspect is still in the works.


2. Throttling Organic Reach


Do you remember why you first joined Facebook? I bet it was to connect with your friends. Not with Hilton Hotels, Unilever, Absolut, or Gap. Now, Facebook will be attempting to make the overwhelming presence of brands less noticed. This means that brands will need to try new methods to trigger organic conversation around their brand.


3. Intimate conversations


Facebook has acquired Branch Media. along with its two services:

1. Branch: a conversation service that makes it easier for users to talk with friends about anything on the web
2. Potluck: a link-sharing iPhone app

Facebook hopes that this acquisition will lead to the creation of niches within the social network where users can hold intimate conversations. This may be a strategic move to lure back the younger generations that are leaving Facebook for more selective social media networks, like Snapchat (which it failed to acquire).


4. Even Simpler Ads


By the first week of April, sponsored stories will end. Facebook’s advertising partners will be encouraged to use page posts and page like ads, which have better social context. Ad partners will have fewer options for advertisements resulting in a sleeker look for all Facebook ads. This new concept focuses on targeting Facebook users with four main points:

  • Location
  • Demographics
  • Interests
  • Behaviors

This allows audiences to be more targeted and precise, making them a specific fit to a brand’s target market.

5. Testing out the payment space


According to AllThingsD, Facebook has been toying with a product to enter the payment arena. Key information still needs to be determined, like the amount of credit card information Facebook can hold on its file – so testing continues. When it is launched to the public, the service is thought to rival PayPal, especially on smartphones. This checkout service could also provide Facebook and their advertisers in-depth details about the different products users are buying off of Facebook, and give them more market insight.


Splash Thoughts

Do you think these changes will positively or negatively affect you? Or your company’s Facebook use?
Tell us what you think in our comment box!