It’s a blog, it’s a website…it’s Facebook’s Timeline for brands!
Published March 08, 2012 Share
Remember when Google AdWords first came on the scene? It took a while for it to find its footing, but, wow, did it come into its own, quickly becoming the genius advertising platform that it is today.
I think that’s the model Facebook wants to emulate. Facebook knows it has something really amazing brewing and it is trying to find the iteration that helps it best realize its full potential.
On the heels of news that many major retailers, like Gamestop, The GAP and J.C. Penny, are closing their Facebook stores, Facebook has launched their new Timeline format for brands, a change that could have those same brands taking new interest in the platform this year. The new Timeline format is spectacular. Unlike the original, classic Facebook layout, the new Timeline format looks and functions more like a blog or website. They have taken the beauty of Facebook’s original infrastructure, and instead of attaching new features to it here and there, they have incorporated everything that works and is powerful about Facebook fan pages…and made it elegant.
However, as fabulous as these changes are, the hiccup is that the amazing features of Timeline have not yet been translated in a usable way into the Newsfeed, which is where most Facebook users spend the bulk of their time. According to this comScore study, “In May 2011, 27 percent of engagement on Facebook.com occurred on the homepage and Newsfeed, followed by profile viewing (21 percent), photo viewing (17 percent) and usage of apps and tools (10 percent).” That means, while your updated Timeline-powered fan page will give new visitors an exciting and dynamic experience, your existing fans will probably continue to interact with you through their unchanged Newsfeed.
And as those fans continue to interact with more and more businesses, your opportunity to dominate or even find your way onto any of the valuable real estate on your fans’ Newsfeeds diminishes. Facebook estimates major brands with large numbers of fans are only reaching 16% of their fans through their Wall posts. Accordingly, Facebook has revamped their advertising suite to make it possible for brands (right now those with a hefty advertising budget) to reach up to 75% of their fan base. They have also expanded their advertising options to their mobile platform.
In addition to adding more interactive, Wall post-like features to their standard advertising options, they are heavily promoting Sponsored Stories as a way to effectively reach fans in a format those fans are already receptive to—as a sponsored status update that persists in their and their friends’ Newsfeeds rather than getting lost in the shuffle. Facebook hopes that these and further advertisement upgrades can bring the Google-esque success I was talking about at the beginning of this post. It does not seem like they have gotten there yet, but I think this is a great step. If they can somehow figure out how to get brands even more seamlessly integrated with the Newsfeed, they might have the solution.
fCommerce may be on the bench for the season, but I get the feeling Timeline is Zuckerberg and his team’s way of telling us they plan on making their massive market penetration work better for them (and your brand). Time will tell…
Other resources you might like:
Why Brands are Facebook's Biggest Fans
Mobile Brings “No Boundaries” Shopping Power to Merchants, Too
Are Flash Sales Good for Brands?