Facebook Testing Out New Page Information Options to Help Small Businesses
In September last year, Facebook unveiled a new, more mobile-friendly look for business Pages, with additional display options to help provide more information for on-platform visitors.
Among those new additions were the 'Shop' and 'Services' tabs which enable business to provide comprehensive lists of their products and offerings and make it easier for Facebook users to complete more transactions entirely within Facebook.
Now Facebook's looking to expand upon these tools as they evolve the platform towards more eCommerce and direct transactional services - a shift which could, eventually, supplant the importance of websites entirely (which may or may not be a good thing).
First off, Facebook's adding more specific listing options - as you can see here, the new services section includes a price and, upon clicking through, an option to book direct from the Page.
For comparison, here's the new version and the launch variation side-by-side.
As you can see, the new version is simplified, with the prices listed on each item as opposed to a description - users can click through for further details. It also enables businesses to showcase a specific offer or event in the larger, top listing.
The updated variation seems like a much clearer and easy to use format, providing the crucial info - what services you offer and how much they cost - on a single page.
Over on the 'Shop' tab - which is only being made available in certain countries at this stage - users are able to look through the products that business has for sale, then get in touch with the Page via Messenger to make a purchase.
As noted (and why this example is listed in another language), the Shop section is only being made available to businesses in Thailand, Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, India, Argentina, and Taiwan to begin with.
While both additions are relatively small within themselves, they form another part of Facebook's wider strategy to incorporate more business activity on site. The more businesses that are on Facebook, the more people will spend interacting with them - and considering Facebook's now seeing more than 2 billion searches being conducted on the platform every day, and rising, there's clearly demand from Facebook's user base for more of this type of information there.
These tools also lessen the burden for businesses to build and maintain their own websites - if you can list all your information on Facebook, where people are already looking for it, and in a format which loads fast and looks good on mobile devices, why wouldn't you? Of course, that does come with a level of risk - building on rented land puts you at the mercy of Facebook and their rule changes, which have hurt brands in the past. But at the same time, Facebook's working on building a system which encourages increased business use, not so they can restrict them and squeeze them for cash in future once they become reliant on it, but so they can boost overall on-platform activity and better monetize through ads.
In this respect, it would make little sense for Facebook to make it harder for brands to succeed on the platform. While organic reach declines are one thing (and they generally make sense in terms of boosting overall user engagement, without which nothing else matters anyway), it's in Facebook's best interest to ensure users can find and connect with the businesses and brands they want to - otherwise they'll just go to Google and find what they need through other means. Facebook's primary aim is to keep users on-platform for as long as possible, and if they can do that by providing more options and information on Pages like this, or improved connection tools through Messenger, then that's what they'll do.
There are now more than 60 million active business Pages on Facebook, and as noted, search activity on the platform is growing at a steady rate. Building out your profile with the latest tools and options, makes good businesses sense, regardless of whether it forms something of a risk or not. The best advice on this front would be to ensure you maintain strong ties to your owned properties (i.e. your website) while utilizing these updated features, using both in conjunction, as opposed to dumping one for the other. But eventually, as Facebook's dominance grows, it may make sense to increase your focus on the platform and look to post more of your content direct to it, as unsettling as that might be.
Each business is different, of course, but it's worth testing and considering how best to reach your audience with the tools available to you.
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