Facebook Tests Home Page Redesign That Moves Ads To The Top

Facebook Ads Above Ticker

If you check Facebook today for real-time updates in its Ticker feed, you may find yourself staring at ads instead. Some Facebook users are now seeing a redesigned version of the home page that places ad units at the top of the right sidebar. Ticker, Events, and birthdays have been moved down beneath these ads. Similarly, some now see ads relocated above the Timeline profile’s navigation column in the right sidebar. Those in the test with windows wide enough for Ticker to be snapped to the far right see ads above everything else in the sidebar.

By making ads more prominent on some of the most frequently browsed parts of the sites, users may be more likely to click through or at least see them. If Facebook rolls out this redesign to the entire user base it could significantly increase the value of the site’s premium home page and profile ad inventory. Alternatively, by dynamically rearranging the home page and profile sidebar, Facebook could consistently trick users into looking at ads where they were expecting to see the Ticker or navigation column. Either way, the changes could allow it to charge advertisers more and increase revenues.

Facebook rarely places its bottom line above the interest of the user experience but here it has done so quite literally. The whole point of the Ticker was to allow users to consume real-time updates without having to switch to a separate “Most Recent” tab of the news feed. By burying Ticker below ads, users are less likely to notice a friend asking for someone to go to dinner with or a conversation developing around a posted link. They’re also less likely to notice they have Events or friends with birthdays that day.

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