Three big items were announced this week from Facebook, bringing further opportunities for businesses.
1) Timelines for brand pages
With Timelines added to new brand pages a whole new world is open to exposing audiences and fans to your brand and allows brands to be more effective at conveying their identity on Facebook’s platform.
When you visit a brand Page in Timeline layout, the experience becomes more personal. A prominently displayed section on the landing page shows how many of your friends like the brand, as well as your friends’ public mentions of related topics.
“The goal is to make Pages more engaging and more social,” said Gokul Rajaram, Facebook’s product director for ads.
Page administrators have new options at their fingers too. An admin panel hides or expands on command, meaning you don’t have to navigate to a separate page to make changes, updates or improvements. The panel includes notifications of activity on your Page and chart-based performance data. Best of all, you can now respond directly to private messages without added hassles or obstacles, a feature also directly accessible from the admin panel. – Sam Laird, Mashable
2) Real-time Insights and other new metrics
Pages Insights now shows your last 500 posts (going back to last July) and tallies the total number of engaged users, People Talking About it and virality. The latter measures the percentage of users who commented on the post, though sentiment isn’t taken into account. - Todd Wasserman, Mashable
For marketers, this is a new way to understand how competitors are performing on Facebook. Businesses can use that information to establish benchmarks for their own efforts. Most marketers have little to compare their Facebook growth and engagement to. For a long time, the only way to know how companies were doing on the social network was to look at total Likes. This became a skewed metric as more pages began to buy fans and launch programs that inflated their numbers but didn’t result in lasting engagement. With more public insights, it will be harder for companies to appear more successful than they truly are. – Brendan Irvine-Broque, Inside Facebook
3) New ad formats and applications
An article on The Australian said Facebook has invited marketers and journalists to New York to discuss new, potentially lucrative advertising opportunities designed to lure its 845 million-strong user base.
It is expected Facebook will try to integrate ads into people’s experience, so that friends’ posts about brands are showing up alongside their news links and puppy photos.
“Facebook is making serious money from ads right now, but they are not making serious money from major brand advertisers, and that’s where the ad money is,” said Rebecca Lieb, an analyst with the Altimeter Group.
On Mashable, Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst with eMarketer, told Bloomberg that Facebook still has to win over much of Corporate America. “It really comes down to brand advertisers,” she said. “They just need to do a better job of convincing the big advertisers that ads are effective and that they perform.”
Additionally, an article in Internet Retailer mentioned that the social network announced it is adding its Sponsored Stories ad format to Facebook’s mobile application and also adding those types of ads to the Facebook log-out screen. Sponsored Stories enable advertisers to highlight posts or actions, such as when a consumer’s Facebook friend Likes a product, checks into a store, plays a game or uses a Facebook application. The move marks the first time mobile users will see ads on the social network.
Facebook is also adding back the free Offers program, which enables merchants to offer discounts via their Facebook pages.
Consumers will initially see about one Sponsored Story a day, Facebook says. “We want to make sure that over time the marketing messages are as good as the content that you see from your friends and family,” said Caroline Everson, vice president, global marketing solutions.