Are Facebook Timelines Hurting Engagement?

I'm not a fan of the new Timeline layout in Facebook, especially in brand Pages. Custom tabs used to be the only way to give a page 'personality' and any sort of unique function within Facebook, and combined with a landing page (or a Like-Gate), it proved very successful (if implemented correctly & changed up often). Now, eh. Tabs are all but hidden from navigation, and instead of offering fun things to do on a brand's Page, a good number are cutting right to the chase and dumping you to an ad or strong call to action. Again, eh. In the +Mashable article:

"According to data provided to Mashable by PageLever, tab engagement has dropped off 53% since brand Pages began adopting Timeline."

* The findings were drawn from approximately 500 Pages with more than 10,000 fans apiece.

I'm not surprised at all over this finding. Other developers, community managers, and strategists I talk to have seen a steady decline in activity and results despite throwing even more time and money at the 'problem'.

#blog  

Embedded Link

Facebook Tab Engagement Down 53% Since Timeline Launch
Tabs on Facebook brand Pages are getting a lot less clicks since Timeline was introduced.

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About Lynette

Lynette Young has been a pioneer in social media since she began blogging in 1997. In 2006 she founded Purple Stripe Productions, a social technology and strategy firm. Lynette works with companies, organizations, and professionals to help them have more meaningful conversations with their customers in new and engaging ways using digital publishing platforms. She's also a makeup junkie, shoe collector, gamer geek, and fan of Doctor Who (and all things David Tennant).

Comments

  1. I hardly ever look at my timeline…If I do interact, it is on the stream…

  2. Facewhat?

  3. This should not make me happy, but it does…

  4. Personally, I've clicked Facebook a whole lot less since Timeline.  In fact, I got rid of the account.  I liked Facebook before they sold out to advertising money and Zynga.  Seriously, if I want crappy "commercials" I'll just turn on the TV.

  5. As a career and business, it's my job to help clients navigate through social media technology and communications. I live this stuff day in and day out 24/7. I'm seeing neutral / no change positions to results with the new Timeline but I see way more perceived negative impact to results (and Insights). The strange thing is, I get asked quite often who someone could call or contact at Facebook to give their opinion on it or air grievances. I laugh…

  6. I'm still trying to figure out my own Facebook engagement levels. :P

  7. LOL +Chris Pirillo you type, people type back. Seems legit to me!

  8. Seems to me, peeps spend more time analyzing their interaction that they do interacting. 

  9. I agree the timeline has stopped engagement. Now having to pay for people to see posts is hurting even more.

  10. I don't feel that a landing tab was ever engaging though. Timeline is designed to promote true engagement (likes and comments) with users rather than just be another place to put a big banner ad. Though I can see how it may lead to less new likes, however this article doesn't really cite any data on less new likes (unless I missed it?). Yes, people are going to tabs less, but I've seen at least one study showing that user engagement with a brand overall is increased with Timeline.

  11. Mashable: "it may mean that brands will devote less resources to developing content on their tabs and more to the content that appears on their walls". I think this is the content users really want to see. Users are interested in the personality, values, and news of the brand they are interacting with. While I'll say coming up with fresh content like this is quite difficult, it is much more valuable and interesting. Personally, I'd rather look at real interactions with users than a big full screen ad in my face :)

  12. +Josh Dover I've seen probably 1000's of Facebook pages, either for research, clients, critiques, and whatnot and most are garbage for sure. If a company can actually get to 10k followers, something is working, even if it means running mainstream network television commercials to get it <grin>.

  13. +Lynette Young  Very true, but at the same time, I think likes with Timeline are somewhat more valuable then they were before.

  14. But one can't get most of your Likers to see your stuff, really?

  15. The other issue is the ever evolving definition of engagement. I would still rather see engagement directly with content rather than the pre-timeline Link-gates.

  16. >mandatory
    I still don't have timeline, is it mandatory only for some? (US-only?)

  17. +Linda Blatchford EdgeRank has pretty much always been in effect in Facebook, so yes, it is next to impossible to insure that followers actually see your content. For myself and my clients at least, I am more concerned with tracking engagement (likes, shares, tags, etc.) and matching it with actionable goals. Getting a follower isn't the end game, but some companies treat it as if it were. I track goal conversions and deltas in sales.

  18. The tabs are really hard to find now. Didn't even know they still offered tabs at first.

  19. This makes complete sense. Even photo albums can be difficult to find. I miss the landing page…But now on the brand page I operate it's all about photos more than anything else. I think the whole timeline is strongly geared towards photos which matches Facebook's recent purchase of Instagram and being a more photo-centric service probably fits with their core face values…haha. And to be honest when I scan through my timeline I find myself more interested in photos than anything else…these days posts without pictures have to be much more striking and to the point with the timeline. But the problem for Facebook is that in a time when they need to demonstrate the ability to make money both for themselves and brands they shouldn't be doing anything that lowers engagement. They should've come up with some hybrid timeline tab thing…

  20. I'm not a fan. I've slowed my use on Facebook because of timeline. It slows the loading speed down too much for me to wait!

  21. I'm in the US and still haven't been forced to use Timeline, but I'm sure the hammer will drop any day now.

  22. to 'counter' the problems introduced by the timelines (which we all know was for advertisers' benefit; they introduced the option to get certain people's every post (or important ones, etc.) and it just made it worse. It's impossible to keep up with folks now, I even have to check my own homepage to see what I've missed!

  23. Timeline makes some sense for personal pages, but for business, completely not. The metaphor does not translate at all. Timelines are a personal thing, not a business thing. I wish Facebook would really take some time to come up with something for pages that works. I have always thought that pages get the short shrift in most things. 

  24. Our suggestions? I have a feeling Facebook doesn't give a squat about anyones ideas. Zuck has a vision and he's going to execute it. 

  25. Timeline has finally killed off what was left of communication on FB and the privacy issues and people finally understanding what liking a page meant and how that like can be used..stopped people wanting to communicate ..I know many many people who removed all likes from pages, once they found out that they could be used to advertise that page. 

    The majority of people remove all interaction they have with pages from their timeline..apart from anything else because it doesn't look good it messes up "your timeline" with other peoples stuff. 

    People also stopped posting as much on public places when they realised that all their movement in FB could be seen through the Ticker. 

    People simply do not like being followed around and spied on.

    And now selling likes is a great way to build pages.. 

    MY Page looked great before Timeline and now is just looks a mess!! TL has killed any chance for me to make any efforts to use my page or add to it..which is hard enough to do if you are not a brand.

  26. Kevin Moses says:

    There's an extension that you may like. I have google chrome and have used it for months to block timeline. My eye's were going all over the place trying to see stuff. Go to the google chrome store to get it. It's safe and free….

  27. sridhar mohan says:

    well timeline is a little boy wait for facebook to grow it fully with our suggestions