Facebook underwent several updates in the last few weeks, and according to last week’s Facebook f8 conference, we’ll be seeing even more. If you didn’t watch Mark Zuckerberg’s presentation, here’s a rundown of Facebook’s latest evolution and what it means to you as a marketer.
Facebook Changes: Timeline, Ticker, the Open Graph and Graph Rank
Timeline is the new Facebook profile page. It allows users to tell their life story on a single page. It’s a collection of top photos, posts and apps that help you tell your story. Content appears in chronological order and special moments can be added anywhere along the way.
The further back you go, the more Facebook summarizes and collapses your content. Timeline can be sorted according to the type of content such as videos or photos. With the integration of Timeline and new social applications, users can share a complete picture of who they are and what they enjoy, the music they listen to, the places they’ve visited and the movies they watch.
If you’ve logged into Facebook within the past two weeks, you’ve noticed a scrolling status update frame in the upper right hand corner. This is called Ticker, and it’s Facebook’s answer to Twitter. Ticker provides real-time actions of your friends and the Pages you follow. This replaces “Recent Stories” and allows Facebook to display all user actions while ranking the most important posts and actions as Top Stories in the News Feed.
The Social Graph becomes Open with New Applications
With the Open Graph, Facebook is expanding its social app capability, from music and TV to news and lifestyle apps. You can now read an article on Yahoo! News, watch a movie from Netflix and listen to a song on Spotify while never leaving Facebook.
The Open Graph may be the most significant update to the Facebook Platform since it launched in 2007. This will create opportunities for marketers and application developers to add unique actions to a user’s updates based on brand interaction and engagement.
The Graph Rank News Feed Algorithm
Why do certain stories rise to the top of your News Feed? Why doesn’t your Page update show on all of your fans’ News Feeds? The answer is Facebook’s News Feed algorithm. With the new Open Graph system, Facebook introduces Graph Rank.
Graph Rank manages the News Feed, Ticker and Timeline. It’s designed to give more prominence to highly engaging content. Graph Rank is personalized based on your actions with your friends and your favorite brands.
What the New Facebook Means for Marketers
These updates will have a powerful impact on the way users interact with a brand and its Facebook Pages. Here are a few things that marketers need to consider:
- Updating Your Pages: With the new Timeline, Facebook will likely update brand Pages to reflect this change. With updated Pages, brands will be able to showcase their history, their products and their services in more detail. Facebook has always valued consistency, so marketers need to be ready to make the change to their Pages when it’s announced.
- More Engaging Posts: Based on the Open Graph algorithm, users won’t see brand updates as often unless the user is actively liking, commenting and posting to the brand’s page. Instead, these updates will appear in the Ticker. Brands and marketers are going to need to work harder to have their posts be more interesting and interactive to rise through the clutter.
- Brands Will Spend More on Facebook Advertising: To encourage this interaction, brands will need to market their Page through Facebook social ads or develop custom applications.
- The Importance of Apps: Custom application development is going to become more important as users further integrate Facebook into their web activities. Apps will be the way brands connect with their fans and a unique way for users to show their loyalty to a brand on their Timeline.
- Analytics: Facebook will provide additional metrics for marketers to measure the success of their campaigns and applications. Marketers will have the ability to filter detailed metrics by demographics, impression distribution, likes, clicks, engagement actions, objects, and time.
- Improved Targeting: With the new Timeline profile page and the additional information Facebook collects from outside applications, marketers will be able to target message to actions and behaviors, not just demographics.
What’s your opinion of the new Facebook? What impact do you expect these changes will have on your brand Page?