Facebook is tinkering with its News Feed display yet again. While the Open Graph means we can do just about anything application-wisse when it comes to Facebook, all of that data (at least, the public or semi-public data) has to have somewhere to go. To deal with this, it appears Facebook is trying to cram as many of these news stories as possible into the home stream.
Two-column Open Graph stories
Facebook is trying to figure out how to get its Open Graph integrated partners the biggest bang for their buck. And what’s happening now is that news of our friend’s interactions with Facebook-integrated apps is given more space on the News Feed and more content is packed into one module.
At first glance there are two columns of content in these Open Graph stories. Each column shows the relevant image, which is considerably larger than the thumbnail image in the older Open Graph stories. As a frame of reference, the images in the new Open Graph module are 196 x 196 pixels wide, 2.6 times larger than the 75 x 75 pixels that it used to display.
If there are more than two stories to the module, the unit can be expanded to display additional stories. And at the very bottom of the expanded module, at least for Facebook games, you’ll notice a call to action labeled, “Play Now.” Keep an eye out for this call to action since it’s used in all Facebook game-related ads now.
Three-column ad unit
The next ad module was reported on by Inside Facebook late last month, but it’s worth mentioning since it’s starting to appear in more user’s News Feeds. Facebook is testing a three column advertising module, which essentially squeezes three ads into one unit. Its strategy is appropriate considering that there’s little if any retail space left on the News Feed. The three-column ad recommends Facebook pages, but in this case the ad unit recommended three Facebook games that our friends were playing.
As you can see from the screen shot above, Facebook tells you exactly which one of your Facebook friends are playing the games and you’ll also find that call to action labeled “Play Now.” If you refresh the page, the games recommended change every time.
Facebook is running out of space
Sometimes Facebook’s tactics are questionable. For instance, the screen shot show a News Feed none of us would ever want – and that’s an unaltered image. The social network has had the difficult task of balancing organic stories published by friends with the native ad modules, which of course we could live without. But Facebook has a new dilemma and that’s to work within the space that it has left on the News Feed. We now know that Facebook is getting creative with how it displays ads, but is the social network flirting with the our tolerance?