You may have noticed that Facebook updated the newsfeed look earlier this week to include larger photos, new icons and fonts. There is also a new “streamlined” look for Facebook Pages coming in 2014.
Facebook Pages 2014: Facebook is in the process of rolling out a new streamlined look for Facebook Pages on desktop this week.
Facebook claims that these new changes will “make it easier for people to find the information they want and help Page Admins find the tools they use most”, but I am not so sure about that. I think they have another goal in mind. Can you guess what it is?
Facebook Page Timeline Design
Facebook is doing away with the previous two-column display of your Page’s Facebook Posts and will now display all of your Page’s posts in one column. This is a welcome update, as I don’t know about you, but I used to go cross-eyed darting from one side of the screen to the other when browsing down Page Timelines in the past. This one-column post display on Page Timelines is consistent with the changes Facebook made to Profile Timelines back in 2013. Consistency makes sense.
Facebook Page Design 2014
Facebook Page Design 2013
There will still be two columns, with the narrow left-side column now featuring information about your business. This is where you map, business hours, contact details, photos and videos will now be found.
It seems that “Highlighting Posts” to stretch them full-width across the Page Timeline to attract more attention to them will be a thing of the past with this new design.
Businesses that were reliant on traffic from their Facebook Apps that previously stood prominently at the bottom of their Facebook Cover Image will not be too impressed with apps now being moved to the narrow left-side column, as well as buried under the “More” tab under the cover image, similar to how they are displayed on Personal Profiles. You have to wonder what impact with will have on traffic to your Facebook Apps? This move by Facebook is no doubt due to the fact that Facebook Apps don’t work natively on mobile devices. Keeping in mind that more than %70 of Facebook total monthly users access Facebook via a mobile device, Facebook appears to be downplaying the use of Apps on Facebook altogether by this move.
I have always been a big advocate of the need to promote Facebook Tabs if you want visitors to them. This is going to be necessary now more than ever. If you intend to continue to use Facebook Apps, then my advice would be to schedule regular posts giving people a reason to visit your tabs, using the direct link. However, for this to be effective, it will need to be a mobile friendly URL. Shortstack provides a mobile friendly URL will all of the apps developed on their platform.
Whilst, the actual dimensions of the Cover Image will remain the same (851px by 315px), your businesses may need to go back to your designer (again) to tweak your cover image due to a few changes in the layout. Namely, the profile picture will now sit a little higher into the Cover Image area (it has been moved up 22 pixels and shifted 9 pixels to the left) and the Page name and action buttons will now sit within the Cover Image itself. Facebook has also added a gradient to darken the bottom of the image. This is necessary to make sure that the white text for your Page name and category shows up when overlaid on light images, but this could mess with your design if you had text in that area already or any details that will be lost in the shaded area.
Facebook Page Admin Tools
The new navigation for Page Admins at the top of Facebook Pages will make ti easier to access your new likes, notifications, messages, activity, insights and settings.
Your Facebook Page Admin Tools, that were previously only accessible in the Admin Panel at the top of your Facebook Page Timeline (which, by the way are only visible to Page Admins), will now be accessible by Page Admins regardless of where you are on the Page. Interestingly, in their announcement of these changes, Facebook was keen to highlight that “The Build Audience menu at the top of the Page offers direct access to your Ads Manager Account”. Previously it gave you access to the “Promote Page” advertising feature, which is a feature I always told my clients not to use. I am hopeful that as a result of this change less Page Admins will fall victim to using the poor excuses for Ads that the “Promote Page” option provides. I put “Boost Post” in that same category by the way.
In this new design, Facebook also appears to have made it easier to view information about the ads you are running – again Facebook pushing it’s ads platform to the fore-front of your Facebook Page!
See Demystifying the Facebook Page Admin Panel: Activity, Insights & Settings for more information on the new look Facebook Admin Panel that was rolled out with the new look for Facebook Pages 2014.
Facebook Pages To Watch
Even if you haven’t had the new Facebook Pages design rolled out to you, you may have already noticed a change to the “Pages to Watch” feature. This allows you to create a list of Pages similar to yours so you can compare your performance against theirs, including engagement rates on individual posts. No big surprise here, but Facebook also provides you with “Get More Likes” button to “Keep up with the Pages you watch”. Funny how they encourage you to follow your competitors so you can see when your Page is under-performing compared to them and then be more inclined to pay for Facebook Advertising so you can catch up. 😉
So Why Is Facebook REALLY Rolling Out A New Look For Facebook Page Timelines?
Probably partly to keep it in line with the look and feel of Profile Timelines. Possibly also to ensure a better user experience when people visit your Facebook Page. But most likely to get you spending more on Facebook Advertising!
The majority of the changes are structured around encouraging Page Admins to invest in Facebook Ad spend. This is very thoughtful of Facebook as a solution to the recent changes to Facebook’s (Edgerank) newsfeed algorythm that has resulted in a major drop in reach for most Pages.
Facebook is not what it used to be in terms of the organic results you can achieve by just showing up, interacting with your community and then having other people on Facebook being exposed to your Facebook Page organically as a result of that activity. I remember when Pages first came out in Facebook, I used to get a notification everytime one of my friends Liked a Page. Those days are gone and these days you need to pay for that kind of exposure as a Page.
I am not saying that you can’t be successful on Facebook without using Facebook Advertising, but there are definite benefits of going down that path. Page Admins should be open to at least considering Facebook Advertising and weighing the pro’s and con’s up against the other ways you spend money to promote your business. Facebook is now making that even easier for you by putting it’s advertising platform within easier reach for your business.
RELATED POST: Check out Facebook Page Redesign 2014: 8 Changes You Should Know About for the latest tips to help you transition into the new layout now that it is live on most Pages.
What do you think of the new “streamlined” look for Facebook Pages? Share your thoughts in the comments below.