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As you’ve most likely heard, the layout for Facebook Pages has changed — again! Custom Facebook apps have moved to the left-hand side of the page but you can also choose one app to appear in the top menu bar.
The update is rolling out slowly; we’ve only seen a few businesses that have it. According to Facebook, the new streamlined look for Pages is meant to make it easier for people to find the tools they use most. Some of the biggest changes to note are a single column News Feed so status updates will all appear in the same column; a large call-out to the business’s “About” section on the left-hand column; easier access to key admin roles, and a “Pages to Watch” feature which allows admins to create a list of Pages similar to their own, making it easy to compare performances.
At ShortStack, we’re excited about the new Page design. It’s clean and easy to follow. As we noted above, apps have been moved to the left-hand side, plus you can choose to feature a single app on the menu bar. All apps are listed in the drop-down “More” menu as shown above. For businesses hosting apps, this means that campaigns are highlighted in two different places on the Timeline.
We continue to receive numerous questions about the relocation of apps and how it affects businesses, so we’re addressing that question here, and providing some insight into why we think it doesn’t matter where custom apps are located within Facebook.
The relocation of apps (mixed with Facebook’s latest algorithm changes) may sound scary to businesses, but here are four reasons we’re not worried:
1. A Majority of Fans do not Access Apps from a Page’s Timeline
It’s been known for quite some time that fans don’t often revisit a Page’s Timeline after having Liked the Page. For example, our Facebook Page averages about 270 Timeline views a day (that’s 0.4 percent of our fans). It’s a pretty dismal number for organic returns. Of course our stats don’t reflect everyone’s experience, so we reached out to a handful of our marketing friends and asked if they’d share their Timeline-visit numbers with us. All of the businesses we spoke to reported Timeline visits as less than 3 percent a day (most were less than 1 percent). Most of them were also surprised at how minimal their visits were! Either way, it proved our point that most fans are not visiting the Timeline. Instead, they’re following businesses through their News Feed and Facebook ads.
Here is what a few industry experts had to say about the Timeline changes and fans visiting a Page:
The key takeaway here is that the promotion of an app is essential. Apps can increase visibility, boost engagement and give you the opportunity to collect valuable data from your fans. All of this is only possible if you make your apps more visible to your fans. In this free resource, we provide you with 12 ways you can promote your app on a minimal budget.
P.S. If you want to see your Page’s daily Timeline visits stats, open your Pages Insights, click on Visits, and under the second module titled “Page and Tab Visits” you’ll see an option on the right that says “Timeline.” Click on Timeline and you’ll see two numbers; “Your Average Last Period” and “Your Average This Period.” This number is the number of visits you get per day and the “period” is the date that is set at the top.
2. 77 Percent of Users Access Facebook Through Their Mobile Device
Recent Facebook numbers show that Facebook currently has 1.23 billion monthly active users. Of that number, 945 million of those users are accessing the platform from their mobile device. And as of October 2013, 48 percent of Facebook users were accessing the network ONLY through mobile devices.
So why does this matter for Page apps? This tells us that the location of apps on a Page’s Timeline does not matter much. The current Facebook mobile app does not support custom apps. Pages have always had to deal with the consequences of this and utilize third-party app providers who use Smart URLs and offer mobile capabilities. The fact that at any given time 77 percent of fans are visiting your Page from their mobile device, shows that fans have never been discovering custom apps from the Timeline, they’re finding them through News Feed posts and advertising.
3. Apps are Still Very Valuable
Custom apps remain the most valuable and convenient way to collect fan data through Facebook. Data collected through the social network can be exported and used to build leads and for further marketing efforts. Apps also drive engagement and can convert fans into customers. The new location of custom apps won’t affect these things.
The most popular types of custom apps currently being used are promotions. Promotions are the perfect way to engage with your fans, thank them by offering a chance to win a prize and learn more about them for future marketing efforts.
4. You can Still Link to Your Apps in the News Feed, Ads and Outside of Facebook
We seem to always be talking about the importance of promoting your apps, and that has not changed. Even with Facebook’s new Page design, businesses should still be linking to their custom apps using a Smart URL. With these changes it will be more important than ever to craft consistent News Feed posts directing fans towards your app. It will also be important to take the leap into Facebook advertising and put a few dollars behind an app.
Facebook advertising remains one of the most inexpensive forms of advertising available. You can target an audience of 1.28 billion people, with 12+ categories of targeting criteria for as little as $1 a day. To reach 1,000 people using traditional advertising, such as Newspaper ads, can cost up to $32.00. Facebook ads cost $.25 to reach 1,000 people. If you haven’t jumped into Facebook ads, now might be the time to look into it.
Savvy marketers know the importance of promoting an app within and outside of Facebook. The users we see with the most success are talking about their apps on their Timeline, in their cover photo, in the News Feed, on their other social networks, on their website and blog, and through email marketing. We’re also beginning to see more businesses placing their custom apps outside of Facebook. With ShortStack, we make it easy to run apps on Facebook, your website, your blog, your Tumblr Page and anywhere else online that you can place an iFrame. The more places you run your app the wider audience you’ll reach and the less you can rely on any single platform. When your message is reaching your fans on multiple levels they discover your apps and that’s when you see success.
Do you have the new Pages design yet? Let us know what you think of it in the comments! And please share a link so we can take a look.