Thursday, 08 March 2012 02:00

The Future of Facebook

Facebook's highly anticipated Initial Public Offering (IPO) is going to mean big things for marketers moving forward. They are repackaging their advertising opportunities to create a better environment for brands on the legendary site. Facebook's changes provide more commercialized support for brands with ad potential that has a focus on revenue. This all started with their announcement last week introducing their Timeline feature for brands that have already been in use by everyday users.

The Brand Timeline, which will officially roll out on March 30th, will give companies the opportunity to build an emotional connection with its fans. It provides brands with the opportunity to show their story all the way from their inception. This will help customers gain further insight into the various companies that pique their interest and help them develop a closer relationship with these brands.

Facebook is also looking to finally start displaying ads to its 425 million mobile users which has been long awaited. This provides marketers with even more exposure in an area that has been overlooked for too long. The changes also extend to Facebook's new premium package with their updated “page-post” ads that are said to increase click-through rates by a factor of five to ten. Currently, Brands are only reaching about 16% of their fan base, but the new “Reach Generator” will increase exposure to as much as 75%.

Businesses are hoping that these changes will increase engagement as much as exposure  Even most of the popular brands on Facebook have less than 1% of fan engagement. Passion brands like Nike and Harley-Davidson had an average fan engagement of 0.66% while the ten brands with the largest fan bases had an even lower 0.36%. Despite these shockingly low numbers, the less than 1% of engagement is usually of most value to a brand, because this represents the active brand "advocates", who speak for the 99% of  followers that simply don't want to talk directly to the brand.

This IPO marks the beginning for the future of Facebook as they continue to reinvent how to advertise on the popular site. Despite marketers being shocked to find that only 16% of their fan base were receiving their content, it doesn't come as much of a surprise to discover that increasing this exposure won't be free. Regardless, marketers should be relieved to know that they will have a better platform where they can better reach potential customers.

Check out FiG's Facebook Timeline!