When Facebook first announced Timeline, it was sold as a completely new Facebook experience. Users could customize their profile to remember and share their important life events from the time they first signed up for Facebook to the present and beyond.
For brands, the Timeline was a chance to add another layer to their social strategy. They could now tell the story of their company, and design a narrative that people could buy, along with their products.
It has now been over two months since brands were forced to switch to the Timeline, and many of them are wondering if it has fulfilled its promise of delivering more engaged fans. There have been a few analyses done to answer that question, but they mainly focused on early adopters, and covered a very short time span. Now that some additional time has passed, let’s take a quick look at Facebook engagement data, and try to determine what affect, if any, the Timeline has had on Brand Facebook engagement.
For this analysis, I was able to gather data from Facebook Insights on 11 brands of varying size, and across several different verticals using our proprietary software, tra.cx For each brand, I looked at Daily New Fans, Interactions per Post, and Unique Pageviews for 58 days before and after the Brand launched their Timeline.
The Daily New fans metric paints a mixed picture with five brands seeing lower numbers of daily new fans, and six brands seeing an increase in daily new fans. As we will see this mixed finding will be a theme.
Once again, we see mixed results on the impact of the Timeline on Facebook engagement. In this data set, seven brands saw a decrease in profile pageviews after the Timeline was launched, while only 4 of them saw an increase.
As with the previous two graphs, the results are mixed. Six brands saw a decrease in engagements per post after the Timeline, while five saw an increase.
Now that I have impressed you with my ability to make column graphs in Excel, it’s time to provide some context. This is a very small sample of brands, and there are, of course, a lot of different factors that could affect Facebook engagement, such as media buys or targeted campaigns, that haven’t accounted for within the data but based on the above data sets, it is safe to conclude that Timeline has had very little impact on brand engagement. This makes sense because as Brittany Darwell points out, most interaction between fans and brands takes place in the news feed and not on the brands page.
Still, Timeline cannot be considered a definite success with such mixed results. Make sure to do your homework on your own brand’s engagement before you invest resources into Timeline marketing.