Facebook changes. Again.
Towards the end of last week Facebook held their annual conference. As we have become accustomed to – in the days running up Facebook rolled out a number of updates (you’ll have noticed these on your personal profiles already). Then after a (bum-winkingly cringey cameo from Andy Samberg) Zuckerberg took to the stage to announce some wholesale changes to the platform.
While at this stage we're still trying to get to grips with the detailed impact these changes will have, we've taken a bit of an educated guess as to what we think this will mean for brands on the platform:
THE BIG UPDATES
This new piece of functionality replaces profiles and acts as a stream of information about you (YAY!). Starting from when you first joined Facebook - the information you're displayed becomes more compressed the further back you go. Facebook are encouraging folks to look on it as a personal scrapbook.
The LIKE is DEAD, Long live the GESTURE. Facebook have introduced the ability to turn any verb into a button. It’s predicted that the “LIKE” button will be looked on in years to come as a bit of relic. Now we’re moving towards “Watching” “Reading” and “Listening” - opportunities for how brands use this are huge.
Though not immediately exciting to those who don’t develop on the platform the change that Facebook have made regarding apps is significant. No longer will apps have to repeatedly ask permission. Once is quite enough. Could potentially cause some issues with the casual users of Facebook who haven’t been paying close attention.
This action is a prelude to them introducing something they are calling ‘Lifestyle Apps’ these are apps more integrated into the Facebook eco-system. They allow users to share information about their activities (such as exercising, cooking watching TV etc) and have partnered with several companies for launch such as Nike, Air BnB and Foodspotting. The Guardian have already launched a lifestyle app which allows users to consume Guardian content without leaving Facebook.
In order to make the ‘Timeline’ content more interesting and relevant to the user Facebook have moved some of the information and actions that appear in it to the 'Ticker'. The Ticker is now the place where all ‘lightweight’ info will live. So while we’ll no longer be forced to enjoy endless updates from “Mafia Wars’ or ‘Sims Social’ there is now also no place in the timeline for user interactions with brand page content, it’ll all go into the ticker.
You can now LISTEN to music, WATCH Television Shows, and READ the News all without leaving the confines of Facebook. What this also means is a higher level of social recommendations from friends and connections that are also consuming media and content within the platform. Facebook has so far announced partnerships with Pandora, Spotify, Yahoo, Hulu and Netflix.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT TO BRANDS
Content that people like on our brand pages no longer appears on Newsfeeds – this means less viral growth for our page. Content that people like outside of Facebook will still show up – part of Zuckerberg’s master plan to expand the Open Graph API across the interwebs? Possibly.
They’ve also changed the Edgerank algorithm, previously clever community managers had been able to work the system using tricks to ensure their content turned up in more NewsFeeds. However there is now much more priority given to relationships with friends, over relationships with brands. Likely to mean lower impressions for each of our posts.
The lovely new larger image display has not yet been updated to brand pages. Possible that this will follow though & excited by the creative opportunities this should open for us!
LONG TERM IMPACT FOR BRANDS
The introduction of the ticker means that the Edgerank algorithm (soon to be renamed GraphEdge) is going to behave differently. We know that 27% of engagement with brands happened via newsfeeds, with a further 21% happening through profiles. Expect that figure to drop considerably if your content is not engaging enough
For brands the platform is now less innately viral, meaning two things: 1. To get attention, and attract fans, you’ll likely have to spend more money on Facebook media 2. Once you have those fans you have to work harder to get their attention.
Content will be key in avoiding this drop off. We’ve seen many brands moving more towards the role of publishers. The work Burberry have done being a prime example. Its possible that to get the same interactions brands will need to look to post more engaging content more often.
Good page posting practice will become even more key if we are to break into the ‘top stories’ of our fans. • The introduction of lifestyle apps is likely to see a move towards brands owning actions, rather than trying to collect “Likers”. For example
“Candice is running” with running as an action being powered by Nike
The increase in functionality (and simplification for developers) of Open Graph means that Facebook is moving to own the internet, socialisation and personalisation (the semantic web) will appear everywhere, not just on Facebook pages. Its time to start thinking beyond the brand page....
We’ll be closely monitoring how the changes impact our day to running of the pages we look after and make sure to report these back to you.
SOME FURTHER READING
http://www.allfacebook.com/do-timeline-ticker-and-graphrank-break-facebook-marketing-2011-09 http://www.allfacebook.com/highlight-of-facebooks-f8-keynotes-the-timeline-ticker-news-feed-and-apps-2011-09 http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/22/spotify-ceo-daniel-ek-on-how-the-new-facebook-music-integration-will-work/ http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/22/button-down/