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New Facebook Pages Timeline: What You Need to Know & Why It Doesn’t Matter (That Much)

March 2, 2012

At the end of March, all Facebook pages will convert to the timeline format which we believe is a net gain for Brands.  If you administer a fan page, you are free to execute this conversion to the timeline format immediately.  However, if you procrastinate, Facebook will do it for you at the end of the month.

Because Facebook owns the web, what they do matters.  Just check this chart (sorry it’s a little hard to read… Facebook is the top line).

Social Network: Average Time Spent

Since the blogosphere has been lit up for days now on what it means, this post will offer you our quick take and some good summaries in case you are playing catch-up.  Then we will go on to suggest that you keep all the hubbub in perspective because you are lucky if 2% of your fans ever visit your page.

Our quick takes:

  • Opens new doors for great branding
  • Gives you more control over page, what shows up and how you display it
  • Fans can message you directly and you better be ready.  If you turn the feature off (which is an option), you may come across as inattentive/uncaring.
  • New ‘reach generator’ and ‘offers’ are paid mechanisms to drive traffic to your pages

Some good overview reads:

Some excellent Insight/Analysis Reads

While the latest evolution of Facebook Pages for New Market Entrepreneurs is net positive, we urge our readers to keep things in perspective.  The vast majority of fans you work hard to earn (or buy!) will rarely– if ever– visit your fan page.  This is because most can and will interact with you when you generate compelling content that shows up in their newsfeed.  Unless you make it compelling to head over to your page, your fans rarely need head over.  We’ve seen countless references to the reality that the best Brands can expect in terms of interaction with their page is low single digits.  Here’s an example and an excerpt.

…just around 1 percent or so of those “liking” a particular brand on Facebook actually engage with it in any meaningful capacity.

The marketing think tank drew up a list of Facebook’s top 200 brands – by number of fans – and tracked all of their related activity over a period of six weeks. Assisting the researchers in this task was Facebook’s “People Talking About This” metric, a part of Facebook’s Insights analytics platform that tracks all user activity related to a given page: Likes, posts, comments, post sharing, question answering, mentioning a page in a user’s status update, et cetera.

According to the researchers, the percentage of “People Talking About This” versus the brands’ total fan base was around 1.3 percent in total – as in, a very small percentage of those “engaged” with the brand, by initially showing interest it, were actually interacting with the brand in any capacity.

Subtract Facebook “likes,” or the simple act of clicking on a particular status update or other Facebook object to “vote” an interest in it, and the brand engagement percentage drops to around 0.45 percent.   -read more

So while we encourage New Market Entrepreneurs (especially those with highly visual products or services) to dive in and embrace all that the new Facebook Timeline has to offer, we encourage you to keep it in perspective– Unless, of course, you have some marketing dollars to experiment with to test some of the very interesting traffic building tools Facebook will offer.  If you have resources, you may want to check out:

  • Facebook Offers: a new way for brands to distribute deals and discounts to their fans via the newsfeed (it doesn’t appear to be a daily deals type product from what we can tell)
  • Reach Generator: a tool for brands to increase the audience for their message (brands currently only reach 16 percent of their fans currently)
  • Premium For Facebook: a holistic content distribution product for brands advertising on Facebook: brand content that originated on their page can now be advertised across the home page, the newfeeds, the mobile newsfeed, and the logout page
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