Facebook Timeline for Pages

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Today Facebook formally announced Timeline for Pages, which will alter the default view of your business’ or organization’s Facebook Page to look more like the personal profile pages they rolled out a few months ago. You can check it out now by going to any of your Pages and clicking the “Preview,” button in the blurb from Facebook at the top of the page. On March 30th all Pages will roll over to the new design.

Our take on Timeline for Pages is that this will ultimately be Good. The Timeline offers some great opportunities for branding your Facebook presence. But, as usual, Facebook’s rollout is a little clumsy, with some features just missing and others not working right. Here’s our take.

Don’t update to the new Timeline view yet.

In the long run Timelines for Pages are a good thing. In the short run, we recommend that you don’t activate the new view until Facebook works out a few of the kinks.

The Good

  • As you know from your profile, Timeline looks pretty sweet. The cover photo/profile photo combination looks great and you can do some really cool stuff with it.
  • Your Timeline will now be the default view of your brand’s Page, so this is an opportunity to do some branding in prime visual real estate.
  • Wider Tabs – you’ll have more branding space to work with on your Tabs. Also your Tabs will now appear near the top of your page, just beneath your cover photo, which is nice and the icons are bigger, which is also nice.
  • Your “Fans,” are more likely to be True Fans – ie. people who are genuinely interested in your brand, who are actively seeking out your content and want to interact with you. This is a result of a change that for now at least is “Bad.”

The Bad

  • The major issue Facebook should address before we recommend the update is the enabling of “Fan Gating.” Fan Gating allows your Welcome Tab to “automagically,” reveal your premium content when a visitor “Likes,” you. In the current beta version of Timelines for Pages, if you want your visitors to “Like,” you before they can get to any premium content, you’ll have to prompt them to refresh, or to go to another Tab after pressing “Like.” This is not ideal from a usability standpoint, and we hope Facebook will deal with it before the full, mandatory roll out.
  • Welcome Tabs are pretty much going away, so you’ll have to make premium content available on another Tab. This is a big change, that may end up restricting the raw number of “Likes,” you get. But those “Likes,” aren’t necessarily that meaningful or valuable anyway (see earlier bullet about “True Fans”).

The Ugly

  • As usual, with Facebook user interface changes, the rollout isn’t being handled as well as you’d expect a global superbrand to handle them. But at least we’re getting a full month to figure out how to use it effectively.

You have an option to update your Page to the Timeline view now if you want, but our advice is to hold off until some of the Bads and Uglies are transformed into Goods.

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