[IMPORTANT UPDATE]: We’ve accessed a live page with the new design and there is a bug preventing applications from working properly. Read more here: https://www.agorapulse.com/blog/facebook-page-redesign-pros-cons-bug
The Facebook marketing world is shaking again! Major changes are coming to the business page Timeline layout. The streamlined look and feel will be more efficient, and closer to the personal profile design released two years ago. It’s been two years already?
Some of the proposed changes are looking great:
- More information about competitor’s pages
- Larger visuals on posts
- A single column content layout (it was about time!)
- Easier access to insights
- Plus, a few other things our friend John Haydon has described in a recent blog post.
You can also check the Facebook’s article on the subject.
The major change that has everyone talking is the disappearance of App tabs. Yes, they’re gone. As you can see on the screnshot below:
Apps will most likely appear under the “more” drop down menu, a long way from a visitor’s first eye contact with the page.
Once again, app vendors and marketers alike have donned their ‘The End is Near’ sandwich boards. The blogosphere is on fire with predictions on the end of apps, the death of app vendors and the collapse Facebook marketing world…
I wonder if ZuckDawg has a fiddle?
Apps are not dead. App tabs have been dead for nearly two years, whether you’ve known it or not.
Let’s all take a deep breath and a sober look at this change, what it really means, and what it doesn’t.
What this really means for marketers and app providers
Facebook started by removing the mandatory default landing page 2 years ago. Then, they allowed businesses to run contests on their pages without requiring the use of third party app. Now, they’re hiding apps from the page.
If there is one clear message in all these moves it’s this: Facebook couldn’t care less about page apps or their tabs. Is that a bad thing? Yes. And, no, because they have to live with them anyway. Apps are now part of every page’s strategy to recruit and engage fans. Removing them altogether would likely trigger a violent riot at 1 Hacker Drive, Palo Alto. Apps are not dead. On the other hand, the message to the Facebook marketing community is not a positive one- “We tolerate you, but we don’t like you”. It’s hard to predict what Facebook’s future moves will be, but one thing is for sure, the trend isn’t in favor of Page apps.
Social isn’t free
Facebook doesn’t want you to get free traffic on your apps (at least not from Facebook). Sure, you can get organic traffic from posts mentioning your app, but we all know that this traffic is limited and won’t be increasing any time soon.
A ‘buzzed’ Environment
Many marketers who have invested a lot on their Facebook page feel they’ve been abused (whether or not this feeling is justified is another matter) and this move is not going to make them feel any better about it. The defiant stir toward Facebook from the marketing community isn’t going to get any better, thus, we can expect a lot of ‘doom and gloom’ sentiment posing as tech/marketing journalism in the near future.
What it doesn’t mean
Fan recruitement will remain the same
The first reason page admins use Facebook apps is fan recruitment. The bulk of these new fans will not come to the page unless they’re asked to (through an email, an ad, a mention on a website, etc.). And, all these communication channels were already directing the traffic directly to the app, not to the page timeline. If you’re using apps to recruit new fans, you’ll continue to do business as usual with the new layout.
Fan engagement and qualification will remain the same
The second reason page admins use apps is to qualify their fans and obtain (at the very least), their email address. Your fans do not come to your page. On average, a mere 1% go to the page itself once they’ve become a fan. The other 99% only hear about or from you in their newsfeed. So if you want to re-engage your current fans to obtain an email address, you’ll have to publish a post on newsfeed promoting your app, then sponsor the post to reach more of them. Here again, no big change, if you were using apps to engage with existing fans and qualify them, you’ll also continue to do exactly the same things after the new page layout comes into play.
Apps are not “dead”
Actual page visits are dismally low and have been for some time. App tabs have been dead or dying since Timeline was released. Smart marketers can accomplish all their goals without visible apps on the Timeline. Without apps, pages won’t be able to recruit new fans (at least not in a scalable way), nor will they be able to get qualified information about them (email being the highest priority). Consider this: if you can’t grow your fan base and obtain more than a “like”or two, are you going to continue to invest in your Facebook page? I wouldn’t. Is it in Facebook’s interest to send you away? Hell no! The likelyhood that Facebook will get rid of page apps, no matter how mauch they dislike them, is close to zero.
Your turn! What do you think the effect of this new page layout will have on applications? Let me know!