Will Facebook’s New Fan Page Design Kill Your Apps/Tabs?
I’m going to assume you’ve heard the news. Facebook just announced that it is (for certain) changing the Fan Page design…again. If this is the first you’re hearing of it, allow me to give you a quick summary.
The New Fan Page Design – “A Streamlined Look for Pages”
In their announcement earlier today, Facebook announced a new design for Fan Pages that simplifies the Page timeline into a single column on the right side of the page and puts consolidated info about your business (hours, website URL, etc,) on the left side of the page. What are conspicuously absent from the screenshots Facebook provided, are the app thumbnails that currently exist right below the cover image. Here’s a look at what Facebook showed us yesterday.
At this point you’re probably wondering what this means for your business, and specifically all those amazing contests you’ve been running to capture more leads from your Facebook Fans and other social media followers. First of all, have no fear. Third party applications are not going away. According to InsideFacebook, “Custom tabs will be in the “more” button, according to a Facebook spokesperson.” I realize this means there will be no more visible real estate for apps/tabs on the Page timeline. However, I’m going to ask you not to freak out just yet. Instead, let’s consider a few things…
The other changes you didn’t know about…
Let’s take stock of the other changes that Facebook is making to the Page timeline. They are consolidating the timeline into a single column. This is a HUGE deal that visually declutters the Page timeline and makes it easier to read. This will allow fans and other visitor to more easily engage with your content when they visit your Page.
Facebook also announced that they are rolling out “Pages to Watch” to all Page admins. This feature makes it easier to track your Page engagement against the Pages of competitors, which will help you fine tune your Page content and overall strategy. Here’s a quick look at Pages to Watch.
Finally, on the heels of changes like Facebook’s improved visibility on link share posts from businesses as well as their announcement from last week that they are re-designing the newsfeed to add emphasis to images, it seems pretty clear that Facebook is sending brands a strong message, namely…if you want reach and engagement, you need to share tangible and visual content. The more targeted and visual your posts are, the more reach they will have and the better engagement they are likely to get. So put your design hat on and start sharing!
Why “hidden tabs” are currently seeing 32%+ conversion rates
About those missing app thumbnails…personally, I think getting them off the page is a good thing. Since Timeline was rolled out to Business Pages, the majority of traffic to contests and other third party apps has come from promotion, not the app thumbnails. This is happening for two reasons.
The first is that, while Facebook usage is still growing (over 750MM daily users), fewer people are visiting Pages. Here at Heyo we see most engagement with contests and other campaigns coming from promotional traffic (posts, emails, etc.).
The second reason is that mobile usage on Facebook has increased over time…a LOT. In fact, according to Shareaholic, more than half of all clicks from Facebook are coming from mobile devices, up from only about 27% in September 2013. And as we all know, those cute, little apps are not viewable from a mobile device.
You may think that Facebook is about to hide your tabs, but let’s face it…with the drop in Pages visits and the increase in mobile usage…they are already hidden.
The good news is that here at Heyo we are only seeing our customers have MORE success leveraging third party apps as part of their social media strategy. In fact, businesses like Squaw Valley Ski Resort and Nicollet Island Inn are seeing conversion rates of 25%, 30%, or more when they run a smart, well-targeted, and mobile optimized campaign.
The simple way to capitalize on these changes
At this point, it may be incredibly obvious what you should do to capitalize on the new Fan Page design. If not, let me break it down for you into three simple steps.
- Double down on relevant and visual content – With so many brands and consumers on Facebook, your content needs to be relevant and engaging to cut through the noise. What’s more, Facebook is telling you that posts with images and links get the best engagement.
- Focus on promotion – Those thumbnails weren’t doing much for you anyway, and now the distraction is gone. Focus on targeted promotion and get creative. The more exciting and shareable your content is, the more reach you will get.
- Optimize for Mobile – This is critical. Mobile usage on Facebook will only continue to grow, so you need to make sure your campaigns are ready for mobile, or you’ll miss out on tons of potential leads. The good news is that tools like Heyo make it easy to create beautiful and effective landing pages that are also mobile-optimized (I know, shameless plug).
Update on March 13, 2014
There’s been a new development on these changes that I wanted to share with our customers and readers. Facebook’s “Facebook for Business” Page has been updated in the new style. Go ahead and click here to give it a look. It’s certainly nice to be able to see a live version of the changes and get a feel for how your own Fans will be able to interact with your Page. However, the big surprise is on the left side of the page below the “About” section. Check it out.
That’s right. It looks like there WILL be real estate for apps on the new Fan Page design. However, it’s still unclear as to whether this is fixed or can be swapped with some of the other content areas on the left side of the page (photos, videos, etc.). Let’s also take a look at how these apps will display.
It looks like when a user clicks an app icon in the new Fan Page design the Page header will stick at the top of the page. In a lot of ways, I think this will improve the user experience. However, it also means that businesses that use apps to run contests, capture leads, or launch other promotions will now have less space above the fold.