Facebook 2013 timeline changes

Facebook is about to launch a new version of its timeline feature. How will it affect your business profile page? Well, details are scarce at the moment but we’re going to run through what we know and how you can prepare for the changes.

Facebook has undergone many changes, some of them widely accepted and some not quite so readily embraced. The social media giant is set to unleash a new version of its timeline feature in the next few weeks to compete with upcoming rivals, Google+ and Pinterest. Whenever Facebook introduces an updated timeline or newsfeed, there’s invariably some backlash with some users preferring the “old” feature set.

Whilst a portion of the internet disliked the 2011 timeline feature, businesses lapped it up. A large banner image at the top of the page was introduced, crying out for branding attention, you could have a historical timeline, profiling major business events or detailing your business history, you could promote your business through promoted posts and a host of other features helped to cement the new timeline for businesses big and small.

Now it’s set to change again with the first major timeline update since 2011. There’s a lot riding on it and businesses are keeping a close eye on the new changes.

Images are larger

Taking a page straight out of Google+’s book, videos and images are going to play a much larger part in your timeline than before, with images appearing up to 50% larger in people’s feeds. This gives your business the chance to showcase your brand and page much more visually. Think about how you can use this to your advantage. As one of the Facebook employees says in the video below “it’s like going from a 20cm TV to buying a widescreen”. This will give your business much more reach potential, which will help to showcase your products better.

Adverts are more prominent

Facebook adverts are set to get much more prominent - this is something that is likely to divide users but has to be included for Facebook to make a good return on their business. What they need to make sure of is that the adverts aren’t so large that they ruin the user experience, but are big enough to be obvious in people’s feeds. If they get this right, they could go head to head with Google for your PPC marketing spend.

At the moment lots of businesses say that Facebook’s PPC is somewhat lacking. If they can improve on this then it may be worth sticking your toe into Facebook’s advertising market to bring in new customers to your business.

Much cleaner interface

The new, updated timeline is set to be much cleaner and tidier. While this is more superficial and isn’t something that’ll directly affect your brand, it’ll make navigating your page much more user-friendly, which can only be a good thing.

Different feeds

With more and more people following more and more sources such as business pages, celebrities and also their friends, there was a concern that the newsfeed was getting cluttered and messages were not getting across. Facebook are going to do some spring-cleaning of users’ newsfeeds, putting each relevant story into separate feeds. For example, you’ll now have your ‘friends’ feeds and ‘following’ feed - businesses fall into the latter.

There will still be the default “news feed” that everybody will see when they sign in so brand pages will still show up under this. This is more of a general tidying up by Facebook and something that most users will appreciate.

Facebook search

This one is something that’s very much in the air at the moment - nobody’s quite sure how this is going to affect businesses or users as not much has been seen of it apart from a few promotional videos and press conferences. The idea is that Facebook want search to be more contextual, so instead of searching for “business insurance” within Facebook, you’d instead search “what business insurance do my friends use?” and you’d be given specific results based on that criteria.

Looking at the videos and user photos of the new Timeline, it appears that Facebook Graph will be integrated into it. As soon as there are more concrete details on the new search feature, we’ll let you know.

Make sure your business page is up to date with all your relevant company contact details, local address details and that you’re posting regularly. This will make sure that when people do search for you, they can find all the relevant details quickly.

So, what does this all add up to? We’re looking at an almost complete redesign of the basic timeline and news feed - with more focus on images, video and content. There’s been some positive feedback from initial users but only time will tell if it’s a success or not.

What do you think the changes will mean for you and your business? Let us know in the comments below!

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