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What Brands and Marketers Should Pay Attention To on the New Facebook
Posted on September 29th 2011
In a world that is moving increasingly fast, we thought it would be useful to remind everyone what happened last time Facebook updated its users’ profiles. The redesign involved moving the tabs from the upper part of the page to the left column. Brand pages kept the old design for a while, but sure enough, they ended up getting the revamped look a few months later.
You know what? We predict the same thing is going to happen. After all, the proverbial “history repeating itself” works for Facebook too.
All we know about the future brand pages is that they won't look exactly like Timeline but will be "consistent" with the Timeline look and feel, according to Facebook VP-Global Marketing Solutions David Fischer. In short, we bet they will be picture heavy and automatically organized to showcase the most important posts in a brand's life on Facebook.
So what can brands do until the change is announced? First and foremost, they should pay close attention to what is happening: the marketers who will study the recent changes closely and learn to master them will be one step ahead of the pack when brands' pages catch up.
Until then, we believe it will be harder for brands to stand out on Facebook. Here’s why.
1) Bigger photos… Except for brand pages
Users’ pictures now appear bigger than ever on newsfeeds. However, pictures uploaded by brand pages do not benefit from the upgrade (see examples below)
Facebook users’ pictures now appear bigger in newsfeeds:
Brand pages’ pictures still appear much smaller:
So what does it mean? First of all, pages and users do not play on the same field anymore. It will become harder for pages’ pictures to stand out, as they will appear in between much bigger pictures posted by the users’ friends. Pictures may not be as efficient anymore to generate good engagement rates.
2) The news ticker of death
The newly implemented News Ticker appearing in the right-hand column was launched to replace the “Most Recent” option that used to appear on top of your newsfeed. However, we discovered that some stories may only appear in this news ticker, and not in your newsfeed.
Notice how the page’s story only appears in the news ticker:
This can be explained by the post’s weak edgerank, or by the fact that I hadn’t interacted with this brand in a while. Nonetheless, it is good to keep in mind that some of your posts may only appear in the news ticker, reducing their visibility.
3) New tools for page admins
However, Facebook did implement a few new tools for brand pages’ admins.
The “Share” function for instance will show you which fans shared the content you originally posted, thus becoming real brand ambassadors. However, what lots of people missed is that this “share” function will only show you the posts that your fans share as “public”.
It is also worth noting that users can now interact with your page (i.e. liking and commenting posts) even if they are not fans. It can be a double edged sword: it could improve the number of interactions generated by your posts, but it could also make it harder to gain new fans. It could also lead to attacks from group of users who are not even members of your community.
So, is the situation really that bad? The truth is: it isn’t. Most marketers are incredibly excited by these new changes. We believe that they will make your page’s edgerank even more important than ever before: pages that can generate lots of interactions will end up in the “top stories” section. The others will go straight to the news ticker, and will barely be seen. It is up to your agency to create a strong momentum for your brand…