The Consequences of Facebook’s Timeline for Pages

By Deane Barker on August 21, 2012

The Facebook tweak that killed a billion-dollar industry: Facebook recently made a change to their interface for Pages that has had a massive effect on companies using Facebook for their digital presence.

Tabs have been minimized and […] companies can no longer set a default landing page.  For brands, a critical chance to make a first impression is gone. The first thing users now see on Pages is a fluid, ever-shifting Timeline of recent posts and comments.

Here’s the problem.

[…] user engagement with tabs on Facebook Pages is down a staggering 53% since Timeline launched.  […]  “We’ve heard from several users they didn’t even realize tabs still existed with Timeline.”

This article is chock full of interesting takeaways:

  • We’re seeing a continuing transition to river content over tree content.  The static Facebook tab is becoming like the Flash intro of 10 years ago.  Anil Dash just wrote a brilliant post on how we should stop publishing pages and start publishing “streams.”  This is more evidence of that.  Facebook is forcing companies to get out of their trees and step into rivers.
  • Using Facebook for your primary Internet presence is looking like less and less of a good idea.  If you do this, you are no longer in control of the customer’s experience.  You are beholden to what Facebook does, and some of these things you aren’t gonna like.  Even if the changes are ultimately good, they will likely require significant financial investment to adapt to on little notice.
  • Is the concept of Timeline any good?  I’ve never heard anyone praising it, and – while I don’t mind it personally – I have never found any particular advantage to it.  Could Timeline ultimately be like v4 was for Digg – the beginning of the end?
  • Facebook singlehandedly destroyed an nascent industry – the dozens of “Facebook page builders” that had popped up.   Overnight, they’re all more or less irrelevant.  This is why software sharecropping is not a good idea.  These companies had built a business model on the idea that Facebook was never going to change.  Whoops.
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Comments

  1. Using Facebook for your primary Internet presence is looking like less and less of a good idea. If you do this, you are no longer in control of the customer’s experience.

    It seems no matter how many times people are told this they can’t get over the idea of trying to make a short term gain by going all in with with FB. I don’t know who made the original comparison with AOL (how companies would own AOL keywords and use that as references in all their ads) but it is spot on.

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