Facebook appear to be testing out some new features to keep users engaged. According to The Next Web these are Upcoming Events and Recently Released Albums. Both will appear in the News Feed.
The AllFacebook blog discovered the new NewsFeed based feature, which lists events in a user’s area that they may not have be invited to. The module’s additional information message reveals that the feature gives “suggestions based on what’s happening nearby.”
Such a feature has previously been in the calendar , but is now being tested within the News Feed itself.
The Recently Released Albums module also appears in the News Feed, and shows a recent album by an artists that the user has listened to recently on Spotify. This can then be clicked on to stream the album through Spotify while still on Facebook, (similar to how you can watch embedded YouTube videos within Facebook.)
InsideFacebook is right to point out that these tests “show how Facebook can use Open Graph data and other cues to generate new types of stories.” The more information we are prepared to give Facebook, the more information it can give us back (and the less we have to leave the site.) They are also right that, even though these modules are not sponsored now, such content could have significant advertising potential for Facebook:
“Upcoming events, recently released albums, the hypothetical movie module or other similar features could easily be options for ads in the future. If Facebook moves toward a feed with these algorithmically generated stories — as opposed to straight friend activity and page posts — new ad units will feel more native.”
Things could go the opposite way though, with users getting increasingly fed up of being served algorithmically generated adverts in their NewsFeed, instead of pictures of a friend’s Saturday night out.
In typical fashion, Facebook is being rather cagey about these new features, telling The Next Web that “we’re always testing new features…we have nothing further to share at this time.”