Chas Begley: Drawing on the results of a study by Simple Usability (available here: http://goo.gl/mJV49) Jeff Bullas takes a look at the effectiveness of Facebook's Timeline for brands.
Perhaps against the commonly perceived notions the study found that cover images have did not have a major impact on users.
However it also revealed that people are interested in companies' histories particularly in their earliest days. The article highlight's Ben and Jerry's use of pictures from their humble beginnings to illustrate the point.
One major lesson was that regular updates are vital and that users rarely waited for older sections on the Timeline to load or scroll back more than a month. What visitors to a Timeline particularly took note of was their friends interactions with the brand and that this encouraged more interaction from the user themselves. In other words; interaction encourages interaction and creates momentum.
Other areas covered in the article were that users often missed the fact that a brand had pinned a post it considered important and that users were not interacting the row of apps at the top of the Timeline and missing the 'more apps' arrow.
Simple Usability's MD Guy Redwood said of the study:
“the average user doesn’t fully understand the new layout, or interact with it in the way intended. The mechanics of obtaining ‘Likes’ has become more difficult for brands, they now need to drive engagement more than ever. Page editors no longer have the ability to set targeted landing tabs or applications for non-fans. In the past you could direct people onto a particular tab to encourage likes or interaction with a promotion“.
These were the main takeaways from the report:
1. Brands should also make full use of new functionality – such as the Timeline and cover Image – to engage users, being aware that the latter has to be used imaginatively and not just considered to be a Facebook ‘billboard.’
2. Page managers should consider how promotions, competitions and themed content can be contained within a specific timeframe that doesn’t require excessive scrolling.
3. There is also no longer the opportunity to set a default landing tab or application, so brand managers should think about how the cover Image and pinned post functionality can support and reinforce competitions and campaigns.
4. The relationships and interactions a user’s friends have with a brand are now more prevalent than ever before, as such brands should focus on nurturing positive brand mentions wherever they may be on Facebook.
The article can be read here on Jeff Bullas' blog: