Until recently, few people have asked the important question of Facebook’s new Timeline design: is the new page actually an improvement? Does the new design do anything to improve fan engagement with brands?
With a new study released last week indicating a serious increase in fan engagement with Facebook Timeline pages, the short answer is yes. But this wasn’t the case earlier this year, just a few months ago.
In January of 2012, AllFacebook.com’s Brian Carter wrote an article that reported the results of 4,000 brand pages tested for engagement. The result? Fans only saw 17 percent of posts from a page. Pretty dismal.
Furthermore, the study showed that from June 2011 to December 2011 the impressions per fan dropped from .99 to .41. What Carter’s article showed is that when 83 percent of a page’s fans do not see the brand’s posts, the cost of posting is six times what the brand actually spent. Having a fan you can’t get your message to is pretty much worthless.
So, brands were screaming for more engagement; Facebook’s design wasn’t working. And with certain brands stashing tens of millions of fans, Facebook needed to change.
This is the crux of the new Facebook Pages design; now, brands will have to learn Facebook Pages anew. Aside from being more visually appealing, the pages are more fun to browse and explore. The right side of the page shows interactions between the users' friends and the product, which creates an immediate personal connection, and the right side features the content the brand wants their fans to see.
Brands can pin stories to the top of the page, add milestones in their company’s history, and star stories to make them larger in the Timeline. Additionally, because of the lost call to action for liking a page, brands have created a ton of clever ways to gather support, like interactive tabs and promotions.