With the updates announced at fMC, Facebook has continued their mission to emphasize stories and engagement over traditional advertising and one-way messaging. The combination of Timelines, Reach Generator and Premium Ads as well as an updated Messenger product and access to real-time analytics, has provided brands with a huge opportunity to create rich, adaptive stories and personal connections to their community.
Below is an overview of the updates, ideas from Edelman Digital global leadership and key implications to keep in mind as brands adapt to the new enhancements of this platform.
Kevin King, Global Chair for Edelman Digital:
Facebook is clearly focused on how timeline pages give brands more creative freedom on the platform. They are also ramping up new paid units that allow you to better amplify your stories, all supported by real time analytics.
However, what isn’t being discussed is the immediate impact timeline will have on a brand or organization’s reputation. At a time where trust factors into purchase decisions, companies and brands will need to address their history – the good, the bad, and the ugly. This is an immediate opportunity for savvy brands and companies to demonstrate the positive impact they’ve had on the world and further build loyalty and credibility with their customers.
Timeline for Brands
Shifting brand layouts to Timeline is the first step towards making brand pages “mission control” for featuring and distributing content. While the design updates of Timeline allow brands to express their identity in a greater more visual way than ever before, there are key updates that will affect a brand’s content strategy.
New story layouts feature larger photo stories, video stories, and link stories and with cover the full width of timeline. Album stories will feature one main image and a strip of photos underneath to encourage communities to explore more of the image gallery.
Brands can select a Pinned Post to serve as semi-static content for up to 7 days at time, granting brands the ability to increase the visibility of key messages. These can be geotargeted by region, thus giving brands an option to serve up the most relevant content by market.
Page posts can be “starred.” Starring makes a post go full width across the Timeline to prominently feature the story. Posts can also be “hidden” from the public view, but still visible in the admins Activity Log.
Milestones allow brands to share retrospective content over the years (e.g. “Walmart** opens 1000th store” or “Diet Coke launches to world”). This feature can also be used to showcase community Milestones like hitting 1 million likes.
Friend Activity is now surfaced on a brand’s Timeline. If someone likes, comments or mentions the brand these stories of how your friends engaged with the brand are surfaced. A more relevant and personal experiences can be delivered for each user of the page by being able to see how their friends are engaging.
Additional Updates to Brand Pages
- The Cover photo provides a canvas to visually represent your brand.
- Tabs have the same functionality as before but a new location on the page, appearing under the cover photo.
Ads are good. Stories are better. The upgraded ad platform is the next step to driving content distribution beyond your immediate community and seamlessly connecting your paid, earned, owned and social efforts.
- Reach Generator updates Sponsored Stories by offering greater social context and a larger ad format.
- Premium ads on Facebook distribute your story to more places across the platform with displays on the Homepage, in User News Feeds on both desktop and mobile, as well as the log-out page.
- Offers puts promotions in front of your customers and allows them to be claimed with one-click, where they are then sent to a user’s email or mobile device.
Libby Pigg, SVP, Digital:
Finally, the convergence of engagement and advertising makes Facebook the only platform that allows brand to communicate to fans in a way that is timely and relevant yet on a massive and targeted scale. Creative content and thoughtful community management is more important than ever before.
- Facebook Messenger will now allow brands and their fans to engage directly through private messaging.
- Facebook Analytics is set to provide real-time insights, changing how reporting influences and informs content, tone and engagement.
Sharing stories on Facebook has become like airing a spot on the Super Bowl everyday with the reach of the platform. The shift to Timeline and improved distribution tools has made it essential for brands to focus on how they present themselves through the content they create and share.
Social Content Optimization
How are your stories transformed as they circle through your communities? Is it being viewed, commented on and shared? Brands must analyze real-time reactions to the content it develops and adjustment to the community. Knowledge of how your content is being discovered and consumed must factor into the type of content you produce (does it need to be optimized for mobile) and how you write about it. Equally important, there needs to be an awareness and connection to when content reaches a certain level of engagement where the best performing content is amplified through Facebook’s new products in a timely matter.
Being able to engage “someone like you” is becoming increasingly important as brand stories enter the user News Feed through paid efforts. The messaging used in News Feed placements should focus on engagement over branding. Additionally, the new admin platform provides greater insight to community managers driving further expectations for immediate, impactful actions. Another notable feature is that organic posts are global and brands have the ability to turn this feature off. Admins can review the posts before they go live to the page. Implications could be rather large (good for crisis, bad for business).
What It All Means
A Media Ecosystem For Business
In short, Facebook is making good on its emerging business model, which relies not only upon the engagement and regular usage of individuals but also the participation of big brands that are actively evaluating how they spend their digital dollars. For brands willing to take advantage of everything Facebook has to offer, it will require coordination between paid and earned efforts. The changes highlight that a company’s dedicated resources whether in house or agency/partner side will be more critical than ever—after all, real time analytics are of no use unless a human being is there to monitor and make sense of them. Facebook is no longer a social network for individuals—it’s officially becoming a media ecosystem for business.
This post was compiled by: David Armano, Suzanne Marlatt, Zach Pospisil, Libby Pigg, and Kevin King.
* Ben & Jerry’s is an Edelman Digital Client
** Walmart is an Edelman Client