Now that the Timeline feature has been up-and-out on Facebook’s individual and on organizational and business pages for a week or so, people are starting to dig into the metrics about how useful and/or successful Timeline has been. The proof of most things Facebook is in the metrics of those who visit and interact with the pages. Timeline’s strikingly graphical interface and the ability to feature content certainly seem to be huge draws. In some instances the numbers back the enthusiasm. But in other instances, they don’t. So what do we know so far about Timeline and increased engagement with organizational Facebook accounts?
The early signals − especially when Timeline was rolled out to a subset of organizations and companies on FB − were really strong that thein many brands. Livestrong and Toyota saw rises in visits to their pages of over 150%! Yes, a few also suffered losses (Old Spice slipped 67%), but the winners had fresh content as well as an integrated and updated Facebook face.
John Bell of Social Media Today puts the credit for the notable rises in customer visits to the at the top of one’s page to keep the focus there before moving it back to the general Timeline:
Pinned posts are great. They can keep more valuable content at the top of the page for those who visit. Facebook would like to increase the value of the brand page and the actual “visit.” This does a pretty good job. Community Managers can tell when a pinned post is starting to lose steam by the fall off of interactions.
He also notes the fact that Facebook’s programmers have made posting images and video much easier than earlier versions of the social-media platform. He draws statistics from Simply Measured to point out how pinned photos and videos generally have drawn notably more eyeballs to sites with Timeline than before Timeline was implemented (see the chart to the right).
But others have wondered if the uptick in interaction has more to do with the content than with the features of Timeline. Many social-media experts have noted the fact that all Facebook traffic falls off in late March/early April as the winters recede. More specifically, Marisa Peacock of CMSWire.com argues that Timeline as an interface is but a novelty, whereas the content put into a nonprofit’s timeline will be making the difference once the novelty wears off.
Now that every Facebook page has converted to the new layout, visiting company pages becomes a novelty — we want to see how they have designed their page. Such activity may result in some new fans and increased activity, but when the novelty fades, Facebook pages will still be about engaging fans via news feed rather than actual Facebook page visits. Unless companies with interesting Timeline designs can make posts that remind fans to visit the page, the effect will be minimal.
She takes a notably skeptical approach to the new interface, stressing the fact that, without meaningful content, an organization’s Timeline or website, or email blast will drift toward obscurity.
It is worth noting as well that the boom in interest in Livestrong and Toyota probably came largely from the fact that they were touted as early adopters of the new features of FB. Thus people were drawn to them to check out how they implemented the features. Will they stick around? Will Toyota keep people engaged in their products and services? A bit early to judge, but we consider Marisa’s sanguine observations well worth heeding. Especiallyand how to engage their visitors in those stories. To tell the stories via Timeline is certainly easier than the old way Facebook worked. But the glitz of the new interface will soon become the same old same-old unless you are offering compelling content to keep them coming back.