What Facebook Timeline for Pages and Premium Ads Means for You

March 2, 2012 •

No, Facebook did not fly to Ireland to propose to its boyfriend on Leap Day (though that would have been cool), but it did make some big announcements that will change the way brands interact with their audience on Facebook.

We know a lot of people are writing about this—but we’re sensing a great deal of confusion from our clients and contacts, so we thought we’d explain the most important changes.

Details are still coming out, and we were not at the invite-only Facebook Marketing Camp Wednesday where announcements took place, but here’s a recap of the most important changes from the past few weeks as it applies to marketers.

Timeline for Brands

Ever since Facebook Timeline pages were rolled out for individuals, we suspected that this would be coming soon for pages. Well, timelines are here, and you must switch over by March 30th, whether you like it or not. Here are three things you should know about right now due to this change:

No more landing tabs: You can no longer set a default landing tab for your page. If you were planning on running a contest, driving people to click “like” to get a fan-only coupon, or even pointing ads to a particular landing tab, fuhgetaboutit. Applications will still work in Facebook, but they will show up in the same place where the photos, videos, and friends buttons are now on an individual profile. Woohoo for the bigger image to advertise tabs and apps, but boo for the loss of the landing tab.

Cover photos: Just like an individual user, you will now have a giant space at the top of your page. Better figure out what to put there before March 30th! We recommend using your logo, and only your logo, for the small square space (the whole thing has to shrink down to 32 by 32 pixels, so you can’t fit much else). For the cover photo, B2B marketers could try a collage of client logos, and B2C marketers may want to consider a customer photo. After all, Facebook is about engaging with your audience. Unfortunately, there are some stringent regulations about these photos which disallow brands from having a big call to action for the like button. Read this before you design your photo.

Direct messages: If Facebook has to take away landing pages, at least they can add something cool in return. This feature gives your fans the ability to message your page, and once they message you, you can reply as your page.  This is a great tool for replying to customer feedback and questions.

Pinning posts: On the new timeline, you can “pin” a post to a fixed position at the top of your page. This is a great way to get attention, but does not equal a custom landing tab, of course.

For a step-by-step guide to setting up your page, I recommend this Hubspot post. But Timeline wasn’t the only thing to change recently for marketing on Facebook, so onwards!

Facebook Ads

With an IPO in the works, Facebook is quickly focusing on how to better monetize its advertising platform. If you’re running a Facebook ad campaign, or thinking about running one, here are the biggest things you should know about the new Facebook ads.

Decreased character limits: Before, Facebook ads gave you room for 135 characters in your ad copy. Now, you have only 90 characters. Ay carumba! Get that virtual red pen out and cut!

Sponsored stories directly in the newsfeed: Facebook has slowly started rolling out Sponsored Stories to display directly in users’ news feeds, rather than on the side of the news feed. This will be more prominent now, with the announcement of premium Facebook ads.

Sponsored stories on mobile devices: With about a third of Facebook posts coming from mobile devices (and that’s from May 2011), Facebook has to take its ad network mobile. With its new premium offering, Facebook will allow for placement of ads on mobile devices. Looks like this will only come with a commitment of $25,000 a month, though—ouch.

How does your brand plan to change its Facebook strategy in the face of the new changes? Comment and let us know.

 

About the Author

The Marketing Trenches blog provides thought leadership from actual marketing practitioners, not from professional thought leaders. Designed to help business leaders make more educated marketing decisions, our insights come directly from our experience in the trenches. You can find more from Right Source on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

  • Nice summary! Thanks for putting it together!

    • You bet! Thanks for coming by and reading. 

  • Kwalinskas

    Going to be tuff to get ads into 90 characters. Thanks for keeping up with this stuff.
    Karl

  • I think that the direct message option is huge.  It could mean that more people will be sending you messages on Facebook, which means that you need to have your customer service team on board and frequently be checking the messages.  Since people are using Facebook anyway, this might be easier than picking up the phone to call or sending an email.  

    • Absolutely agreed. We’ve had some clients really struggle in the past to address customer service complaints on Facebook and get customer contact info confidentially so they can look up accounts,  etc. In the past, we were asking customers to send an email with their contact info. Now, they can just send a message. The onus for the next step is still on the customer (not ideal), but it is much smoother.

We’re always looking for exceptional, new Right Source talent. See Career Options