5 Things All Page and Brand Managers Should Know About Facebook’s Recent Updates

Facebook Marketing Bible

Yesterday, Facebook made a slew of product roadmap announcements at the Facebook Developer Garage at its headquarters in Palo Alto. In addition to the recent updates to the News Feed, this means significant changes are happening across the Facebook ecosystem that marketers and brands need to be aware of and account for in their products and strategies.

Here are 5 of the most important implications of the changes that Facebook has announced in the last week:

1) News Feed distribution to all fans is no longer guaranteed

With the previous version of the News Feed, all content shared by a user’s friends or Pages they’re a fan of appeared in the stream by default. In the current News Feed, an algorithm determines what appears for each user. This means that no longer is simply publishing content sufficient to guarantee exposure to all your fans – instead, Page owners will need to optimize the content they publish for maximum News Feed distribution (“News Feed Optimization,” as we like to call it).

pages-feedSo, how does Facebook decide which updates to show? When the News Feed rolled out last week, Facebook Product Manager Peter Deng told us that Pages are conceptually being treated similarly to friends. In other words, Facebook will take into account:

  • How many people (and especially your friends) comment on and like stories from Pages you’re a fan of
  • Which Pages you visit frequently
  • Which Pages you interact with frequently

So, engagement is now a lot more important – it’s what earns you News Feed presence. However, Facebook may be using other factors as well. Remember, Facebook’s News Feed knows what you did last summer (and the summer before that, and yesterday, and last week), so it should be able to come up with some “serendipitously” good suggestions.

Of course, there’s always Facebook Ads for those Pages that want to increase their exposure more quickly.

Note: Even in the new Live Feed, Facebook chooses a subset of friends and connections if you have more than 250 overall, though you can increase that default number – to see all Pages updates, users will need to click on the “Pages” filter in the left hand menu.

2) The upcoming email API creates new opt-in opportunities

Facebook announced yesterday that it will be creating a new API to enable users to easily deliver their email address to developers when they so choose, in order for developers to be able to directly communicate with users.  For brands who’ve built Facebook applications, this could present interesting new opt-in email opportunities.

While applications have been able to collect opt-in information manually in the past, this new “1-click” type option could reduce friction and make gathering fan contact information easier, bridging email and social media marketing opportunities in new ways. The API is scheduled to go live sometime in November.

3) Tab widths on Facebook Pages are NOT changing (UPDATED)

Yesterday, Facebook also announced that in “late 2009 or early 2010″ tabs on Facebook profiles will change width from 760 pixels wide to 510 pixels wide. We assume this means that tab widths will be changing for Facebook Pages too (we’re currently awaiting confirmation from Facebook on this). If so, this means that all Pages that have created custom tabs (for example, application tabs, or tabs designed around special promotions) will need to be updated to fit the new width. (UPDATE: A Facebook spokesperson has confirmed to us that “Pages will not be changing at this time, however we are continually making upgrades to products. We’ll share more when we have further details.”)


4) Expanded platform policy enforcement team should increase overall application quality

In addition to the product changes we’ve covered, Facebook also announced yesterday that it was modifying its approach to platform governance again. Now, it’s getting rid of the “Verified App” program, and instead says it will be building out its platform policy enforcement team and applying verified app principles to all developers.

While this may spell trouble for developers of some applications, especially lower quality ones, it means good things for brands. With time, users should start to have a higher view toward applications overall, which should keep application engagement strong in the long term.

5) The new Open Graph API, while still at least 3 quarters out, indicates that Facebook doesn’t just want to bring brands and businesses inside Facebook onto Pages

open-graph-apiThe Open Graph API, which was the broadest idea presented yesterday, is an important signal on Facebook’s 12 month product strategy for brands and marketers. The “Open Graph” API is Facebook’s plan to make any website a first-class object in the social graph. In other words, Facebook wants brands and publishers to think about their website almost like a Facebook Page – with the Open Graph API, any website can have access to all the communication channels that a Facebook Page does, while living outside Facebook.com.

Here’s how it will basically work: when a website is registered with Facebook, users can then become a “fan” of the site itself. Webmasters and publishers can then publish content to users’s News Feeds through the stream publishing APIs. This means that Facebook could become a more important distribution channel for publishers even if they don’t have a Facebook Page – which could be very powerful for both Facebook, brands, and publishers across the web.

Learn more about building your brand and growing your audience with our comprehensive guide to marketing on Facebook. The Facebook Marketing Bible is available at FacebookMarketingBible.com

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Leave a Reply

24 Responses to “5 Things All Page and Brand Managers Should Know About Facebook’s Recent Updates”

  1. Luke, Reach Students says:

    Fascinating reading, thank you.

    There are some positive changes here (number five especially), but these announcements always remind you how vulnerable we as brand owners are on someone else’s platform.

    When you invest a lot of money pushing traffic to a page through facebook, it always causes nervousness to see them changing the game at will.

    Still, I think encouraging brands to work harder for engagement is good, though a bit dictatorial.

  2. eModeration's Social Round-up #10 - A Sense of Community - Blogs - Brand Republic says:

    [...] will affect brands’ strategies – some for the better, but others, not so much. Luckily here are Inside Facebook and Venturebeat to get you up to speed, pronto. Facebook is running out of world to conquer – so [...]

  3. Dear Facebook : Why are you being so difficult? says:

    [...] a page were automatically published into news feeds. Facebook have now changed this, in a string of recent announcements on changes to Facebook pages. The emphasis is now more on engagement, which is certainly a [...]

  4. The Turkish Flag, Cheryl Cole, Jet Li and Other Top 20 Facebook Pages This Week says:

    [...] be featuring content in Top Stories based in part on engagement factors. As we wrote last week, components of the Top Stories algorithm [...]

  5. 5 Things Brand Managers Should Know About Facebook’s Updates says:

    [...] Read this post at: http://www.insidefacebook.com/2009/10/30/page-brand-managers-facebook/ [...]

  6. Did You Know Facebook Marketing is Changing? | innovatrs.com says:

    [...] recently discovered a great article on what you should know about the recent changes Facebook introduced. To assume that your target is not within the hundreds of millions using Facebook may be [...]

  7. Veronica says:

    Great read, thank you.

    But question – you said in the article:
    “In other words, Facebook will take into account:

    How many people (and especially your friends) comment on and like stories from Pages you’re a fan of
    Which Pages you visit frequently
    Which Pages you interact with frequently”

    How does it track which pages our fan pages visits, or does it track which pages admins visit/interact with??

  8. La selección de IA: 1-6 de Noviembre | Blog de Marketing Online | Internet Advantage says:

    [...] 5 Things All Page and Brand Managers Should Know About Facebook’s Recent Updates es un resumen de las nuevas novedades que ha añadido Facebook a todas las páginas, por lo que siempre es recomendable leerlas para estar al día y aprovecharlas al máximo. [...]

  9. Effects of the Facebook News Feed Redesign for Brand Pages « Vitrue Blog - we make brands social says:

    [...] is this happening? According to many industry insiders, including Justin Smith @ Inside Facebook, the algorithm which determines the content included in an individual user’s pre-filtered news [...]

  10. Planner Reads » Blog Archive » Links for 2009-11-05 [del.icio.us] says:

    [...] Shift to Mobile Web Means Marketing Opportunities : MarketingProfs 5 Things All Page and Brand Managers Should Know About Facebook’s Recent Updates [...]

  11. Facebook’s Algorithm Upps the Anty | Flog: The Official Fluid Blog says:

    [...] to Inside Facebook, the algorithm takes into [...]

  12. Facebook Development Resources - Flashgamemaker.com says:

    [...] 5 things All page and brand managers should know about Facebooks recent updates [...]

  13. Tim Ware says:

    Is the latest that Facebook is or isn’t reducing the width of their application tab pages, from 760px to 520px? This post states this, but strikes it out and the update is that Facebook won’t be reducing the width. However, on their developer page, they now say they *are* doing this late 2009/early 2010. I assume then that the strike out should be struck out, eh? Cheers. Tim

    FB Developer URL: http://wiki.developers.facebook.com/index.php/Tabbed_Profile

  14. ATTN Nonprofits: Major Changes Coming Soon to Facebook Fan Pages « Nonprofit Tech 2.0 says:

    [...] 5 Things All Page and Brand Managers Should Know [...]

  15. ATTN Small Businesses: Major Changes Coming Soon to Facebook Fan Pages « Small Business Tech 2.0 says:

    [...] Businesses Can Successfully Use Facebook and Twitter [New Changes will be covered beginning 12/17] 5 Things All Page and Brand Managers Should Know Alert! Facebook Pages Are Changing: Are You Ready? Note to Agencies and Page [...]

  16. Dave Fluegge says:

    I have to agree with Tim, are they or are they not reducing the size. I too found that on the developer page & would like to know if we need to schedule extra developer time on custom tabs. Considering we just created them in recent time, it would be nice to know more details.

  17. What all page managers need to know about recent Facebook changes: a simplified summary | Hilinsky Consulting Social Media Blog says:

    [...] API and get more detailed information on the rest of these changes please read the original article here. Here is a list of even MORE recent [...]

  18. Sean says:

    “The “Open Graph” API is Facebook’s plan to make any website a first-class object in the social graph.” – Is it a new Internet empire (big F) or just a try to make social Internet easier, more flexible and useful for everyone? Who knows… But the process and participation in it is quite interesting :).

  19. Valerie says:

    Great reading! Useful information! These all were taken into consideration while developing Facebook applications at Acceptic.com. Actually this post helped us to improve our apps: http://www.acceptic.com/facebook-applications-connect-development.html

  20. Realtor Facebook Fan Page Strategy Gains 4,000+ Local Fans in 12 Days | Agent Applause says:

    [...] Many of his comments have 20 or more comments.  This level of engagement is important as news feed distribution to all fans is no longer guaranteed, and instead is based partly on the level… His strong level of engagement makes it far more likely that his posts will be seen by his [...]

  21. Arturas Kvederis says:

    This has really been an interesting and worthwhile read, despite all the changes to the ui and platform.

  22. B2B Facebook Marketing Best Practices | Social Media B2B says:

    [...] to Facebook Product Manager Peter Deng, Pages are being treated similarly to friends. Facebook will take into [...]

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  24. eModeration's Social Round-up #10 | eModeration says:

    [...] will affect brands’ strategies – some for the better, but others, not so much. Luckily here are Inside Facebook and Venturebeat to get you up to speed, [...]

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