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With Google no doubt feeling slightly sheepish after the recent ComScore announcement that Google+ users spend on average a paltry 3 minutes per month on the network – Facebook have announced that on 30th March brand Pages will now also get their own new Facebook Timeline layout.

Those who have been using the new Facebook Timeline for profiles will be largely familiar with the new layout which, compared with the boring old Facebook ‘Wall’ (even the word ‘wall’ is dull, why didn’t they call it something really exciting like ‘fun zone’?! ),  is a much more visually appealing, ‘modular’ experience.

As with personal profiles, brands will now also be able to feature a large cover photo (terms and conditions apply), Facebook ‘tabs’ now feature prominently above the Timeline, and Page owners can now send and receive private messages from fans (alongside various other changes).

The recent introduction of the ‘ticker’ feed, the extension of gestures beyond simply ‘like’, to ‘read’, ‘listened’ etc, and the slew of new engagement metrics which were introduced at the end of last year (not to mention the new Facebook Ad products centred around content on the Page) *inhale*, all re-emphasise the fact that engagement is key. Success will not just be measured by ‘likes’ of your Page alone.

Gone are the days of hiding content behind a ‘like’ gate, or gently prompting visitors to ‘like’ your Page via a sexy landing tab (with a giant arrow screaming at them to click the ‘like’ button). Now more than ever, ensuring that content is relevant and engaging is critical. The launch of Timeline and the increased control it gives Page owners over content should make for a much more compelling brand experience.

So, not only do we now have the tools to provide more immersive and engaging brand experiences (for example it’s possible to curate an easily navigable ‘history’ of a brand using Timeline’s  ‘milestone’ feature), we have the means to closely measure and track this engagement. It’s not enough to meekly shrug and say, “the number of fans doesn’t matter, look how many people liked that update!” It is imperative we make full use of this data to ensure content is continually optimised, and learnings are fed into strategic planning.

By Peter Warner

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