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fMC: Facebook Ad Changes and Timeline for Business Pages

At its fMC event in New York City this Wednesday, Facebook announced major design changes to brand pages. Page administrators were able to preview the changes starting this week and a mandatory roll out of the redesign begins on March 31st.

While Facebook Timeline for personal accounts incorporated cover art and other visually appealing elements to the Facebook page, Timeline for Brands is more than just a visual overhaul. Facebook has also incorporated new page management features that help page administrators curate the Facebook experience and highlight their most important content in conspicuous and attractive post formats. Also, for administrators of multiple pages, Facebook released functionality that streamlines multiple page management from one central location.

Timeline for Business does not change the core way that people use Facebook, but it does bring the importance of content even further to the forefront. Below is a summary of some of these and other changes for page administrators.

Ad Changes

Moving forward, Facebook has announced that sponsored stories will appear in the news feed instead of where they are currently showing in the right rail above other paid advertisements. In addition to this change, Facebook will begin to show ads that display in the news feed to users who are using a Facebook mobile app or viewing on m.facebook.com. Facebook has also made various changes to their Premium ad offering. (Premium ads are available to clients who sign an insertion order and spend a minimum of $25,000 per month.)

Timeline for Facebook Business Pages

While current business pages can “opt in” to the timeline functions starting on February 29th, all business pages will be forced into the new layout beginning on March 31st. Facebook has already stated that, later this year, this new layout will also be shown when users access your page using a mobile device.

You can see how companies are already using this layout here: facebook.com/cocacola or here: facebook.com/livestrong

Changes to Page Functionality

Facebook has announced a few key changes to the functionality of these new Business Pages.

Changes to profile image:

Profile images are now reduced to measure 180 pixels by 180 pixels. However, Facebook has added new image space with the ‘cover photo’. The cover photo will appear across the top of the page measuring in at 851 pixels by 351 pixels with the profile image to the left.

While businesses are able to choose this image, Facebook has set some strict ground rules to the use of this space. Facebook has stated that cover photo images cannot contain price or purchase information, contact info, calls to action, or references to Facebook functions such as ‘like’ or ‘share’.

Changes to page options:

With this update, pages are no longer able to set a default landing tab. All users will be sent directly to your wall. Facebook suggests using a post with a link to the tab you want users to visit in order to drive traffic to a certain tab. This post can be pinned to the top of the page.

Facebook has also added the ability for business pages to send and receive personal messages. Businesses are not able to initiate the conversation, but this is a great place for companies to respond to customer service issues without replying in public on the wall of the page.

Changes to tabs:

One major change is the change to tabs. Instead of a list on the left hand side of tab options, tabs are now displayed by images measuring 111 pixels by 74 pixels across the top of the screen. Currently, 4 tabs are displayed but more tabs can be added and will show as a drop-down option.

In terms of what the tabs look like when clicked, they are now displayed as individual pages with a small control bar at the top of the page. Apps can now be up to 810 pixels wide with this new expansion.

 

Changes to Page Posting Options

Facebook now gives a few new options when writing posts and managing them on your wall. You now have the ability make changes to any post on your timeline including the option “star” it or “pin” it.

When you “star” a post, the post goes from taking up one-half of the timeline to taking up the entire screen. Importantly, if you want to “star” a post with an image that is not the correct size, Facebook will alter the size and aspect ratio of the image. When an image is displayed normally on one-half of the timeline, the image is approximately 403 pixels by 403 pixels. When the post is “starred”, the image is increased to 960 pixels by 637 pixels. For past posts, Facebook crops the image automatically to fit the space.

A standard image post on timeline:

A starred image post on timeline:

As shown above, Facebook cropped the couch out of the photo in order to achieve the proper size.

In addition to starring a post, you now also have the option to “pin” a post to the top of your wall. This post will then remain at the top of your wall for 7 days unless you manually “un-pin” it.

Changes to Page Post Layouts

Facebook now shows new boxes on your Page Timeline, featuring friend activity, friend check-ins, friends who have posted about your brand in their status, and posts by other users. These boxes appear at the top of your timeline on the right hand side.

Friend activity:

Friend check-ins:

Friends posted about:

Posts by other users:

Notice above all posts to your wall that are not posted by you will be aggregated in the posts by other users box.

These new changes provide new opportunities for all types of businesses to better connect with customers. Get out there and create your own corporate story!

  • Melissa Addison Garza
    Melissa Addison is a Social Advertising Analyst at RKG.
  • Comments
    6 Responses to “fMC: Facebook Ad Changes and Timeline for Business Pages”
    1. Baffled says:

      You reported in your blog on Feb. 21 that the text limit for Facebook ads was dropping from 135 characters to 90 characters. However, the ad creation form still says the character limit is still 135 characters.

      No one has updated this since the conference. Facebook still says the limit is 135 characters. Did they decide not to change it? Or was this just a smokescreen to hide the news about the timeline?

      I am supposed to make a presentation to a client about this on Wednesday. I have been looking for an answer to this for a week. Facebook, of course, is not responding to messages. Please help!

    2. Hi Baffled,

      Sorry for all the confusion. I just found this information from a Facebook representative:

      “We are extending the deadline to restrict ad body copy to 90
      characters or less. You now have until March 31 to make all necessary
      changes. As a reminder: Ads with a body copy longer than 90 characters
      created before March 31 will still run. We have no plans to truncate
      ads, or to disable longer ads that are created and running before the
      change date, and will give you notice if we decide to do so. However,
      clients will not be able to edit and resubmit them, or submit new ads
      with a body copy longer than 90 characters on this date.”

      Hope this helps.

    3. Baffled says:

      Thank you for the quick response! I actually just found a form on Facebook where I could submit my question. I’ll let you know if I get an answer from them.

    4. Baffled says:

      Hi! Got a response from Facebook this morning:

      “Thanks for writing in. We have extending the deadline to restrict ad body copy to 90 characters or less for the self-serve marketplace and API developers. Marketplace and API clients will now have until March 31 to make all necessary changes to their ads. This additional time is intended to give developers sufficient time to make changes to their tools, and due to the way character limits are implemented in the system, we aren’t able to grant them this extension without extending Marketplace as well.”

      Thank you again for your quick answer. I very much appreciate your help!

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