Timeline Impact on Facebook Examined

Has Timeline Increased Engagement on Facebook?

Article Courtesy:  eMarketer



Most brands who have been participating in Timeline are seeing early success

While the average Facebook user may still not have made the switch to the social network’s new Timeline format, as of March 30, 2012, all brand pages were required to do so, and some brands have been seeing increased engagement as a result.

Social media measurement company Simply Measured looked at 15 brand pages that were early adopters of the Timeline format and found that average engagement on brand posts (i.e., comments and “likes”) rose 46% in the three weeks after the switch compared to the three weeks before.

Prior to the Timeline introduction, the 15 brand pages saw an average of 1,672 points of engagement per post, rising to 2,441 after switching to Timeline.

Effect of Facebook Timeline on Content Engagement Among Companies Worldwide, Feb 2012 (average engagement per post and % change)

However, when Simply Measured looked at individual brands, several companies, including Old Spice, Target, AT&T and Ford, saw less engagement with brand posts, which is in line with March data from Wildfire Interactive. The social media marketing software company looked at 43 brand pages, also in the three weeks before and after the Timeline introduction, and found that brands with more “likes” overall were often negatively affected by Timeline.

According to Wildfire Interactive, for brands with less than 1 million“likes,” comments per brand post grew 40% and “likes” per post rose 60.3%. The “People Talking About This” metric also increased, up 67.4%. For brands with between 1 million and 10 million fans, comments per brand post dipped 17.43%, while “likes” per post and “People Talking About This” both increased, by 13.56% and 28.58%, respectively.

For brands with more than 10 million fans, all metrics declined, with “People Talking About This” down 13.72%, comments down 16.72% and “likes” down 11.57%.

Fan Growth Rate and Change in Engagement Rates for Facebook Brand Pages After Implementation of Timeline, by Number of Fans, Feb-March 2012

Even more recently, in April, EdgeRank Checker, a Facebook analytics tool, released its own analysis of Facebook pages before and after their switch to Timeline, looking at 3,500 pages that both had and had not converted to Timeline. Of those pages that had converted to Timeline, 41% saw increased engagement and fans, while 38% of those pages that had not converted also saw increased engagement and fans, suggesting no substantive difference.

Change in Fan Engagement on Facebook Pages Worldwide, by Conversion to Timeline, March 2012 (% change)

“A vast majority of all engagement takes place within the News Feed…[and] Timeline has no direct impact on content within the News Feed,” the company said in a blog post about the findings.

EdgeRank Checker attributed the changes in fans and engagement to the buzz and media coverage surrounding Facebook and, in particular, the switch to Timeline.

It is a bit too early to determine exactly how Timeline will affect brand outreach on Facebook going forward.

For now, it seems users are still participating and engaging on Facebook and are curious about the new format when it comes to brand pages.

But whether or not Timeline can maintain their curiosity will be an ongoing question.

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