Facebook strikes again

Just 6 months after the announcement of Timeline at F8, Facebook is now releasing timeline for brand pages (available on March 30th)

Exactly like timeline for users, timeline for brand pages rolls out some major tweaks and of course, like any Facebook change it’s meant for a better end user experience…  but won’t please everyone.

One of the most striking differences is the cover: a giant 851 x 315 pixel banner across the top of the page. Because Facebook puts their users first there are some restrictions to the cover photo and brands won’t be able to display calls to action (25% off/ like the page…). The cover is specifically designed for branding and I am sure some agencies will get very creative. I can already see great potential for cross platform (outdoor & mobile/ TV & web)
Wondering if the 851×315 is going to become a standard?

Nike_cover

Not as visible but non the less important: brand won’t be able to set up default landing pages anymore, and therefore no more “like gates”. That’s the one that is going to piss marketers off! Apps were a great way to get users to Like a page… in other words: set up a kick arse competition, market to your existing community and watch your fan base grow for free… well apparently default landing tabs only drive 10% of the total Page traffic. So surprise surprise, with no more “Like gate” one of the most efficient way to grow traffic will be Facebook advertising!!!

Other new features worth noticing: users can filter the content of the timeline by their friends activity… for sure very relevant, and as demonstrated below, you could be surprised what your friends think about your favorite brand!!

Friends_activity

Facebook also makes a clear attack to its competitors.

Why should Twitter by the King platform for CRM?
With the direct message option users can send private correspondence to the brand. For sure it’s cheaper than call centers and customers will now expect a 247 service.
Why not kill Pinterest before it becomes too influential (by the way, yes Pinterest is big and important. In fact it’s already as big as Tumblr but onlu10 months old!!!),

Pinned posts, highlights, milestones will get picked up by the EdgeRank news feed visibility algorithm… reminds you of the Google index search results doesn’t it?? 

Overall the new timeline for brand pages is much more interactive than standard pages, I feel like saying we are now entering Facebook 2.0 and yes it feels like Facebook is now dictating the rules of the web:

Like Box (right hand side/ below the fold), or the Facebook equivalent to Link building…

Likebox

So, yes Facebook strikes again…. Opening the way to a new internet…

Marie Sornin

 

Timeline starts now!

Have you seen or played with the new Facebook Timeline? If you haven’t here is a sample.

Timeline

Pretty different from your current Facebook profile, isn’t it? And it ironically looks like a iGoogle page, don’t you think?

Last week at the annual F8 conference in San Francisco, the Facebook team unveiled the major changes we had been hearing about for the last couple of months. It comes very timely with Google + threatening Facebook’s monopoly on social networking and also at a time when Facebook needs to develop a deeper level of engagement with its 750 million users. On this one we can say that Facebook is literally re inventing itself staying true to its mission statement: “to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected”. From now on, it’s all about discovering content from your friends.
 The Facebook wall is dead. Long live the Timeline.

I won’t go into too much details about how will use Timeline but in summary Mark Zuckerberg proudly presented it as “all your stories, all your apps and a new way to express who you are” (You can watch the full video presentation below). What I want to focus on is what it means for advertisers and marketers. To me, there are a few changes that will get us to re think deeply the way we use Facebook for brands:


– Levels: multiple levels of importance and distribution is given to the users to publish their activity on Timeline, which of course impacts the time/ place their connections can access the information. That’s where it’s important for brands to understand where/ when/ how their info will be displayed. A Facebook strategy must be different for a financial institution, which sits it at one en of the privacy scale than with media & entertainment brands which are naturally social (and given priority in the release).


– Patterns and permission: Until now, things were relatively easy. On Facebook, you could pretty much Like & share, right? Well, from now on, users will be able to express real things like: read, watch, eat, run…. Facebook will give its users the opportunity to set the level of importance once for all for any interactions they have with brands. Facebook is then going to analyze patterns in the long run on what information to push to users…. Sounds a lot like the Google algorithm that spits out the most accurate search result!


– Cross platform: Facebooking will be seamless across web- mobile- tablet… opening up opportunities for real time interaction TV, radio & print!

Although the applications of the new Timeline and open graph are still very blurry, my initual thoughts revolve around the 3 points below:


– Social currency becomes more relevant than ever! 
– Think long term utility rather than campaign based promotion (eg: Netflix, Ticketek)
– Embrace transmedia story telling

Everyone is on the same boat waiting to get more details on the roll out, so please join in and share your thoughts and any information you have had access to so far!

 If you are interested in watching the full presentation, here it is:
 <div style=”font-size: 11px;padding-top:10px;text-align:center;width:560px”>f8live on livestream.com. Broadcast Live Free</div>

Marie Sornin