Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Why Facebook Timeline Will Continue to be Bad For Brands

What--Facebook Timeline hasn't performed as well for brands as Facebook led them to believe it would? Say it isn't so!

I am not at all surprised--here's why:

  1. Timeline is a UI nightmare. Where the hell are you supposed to look? With so much emphasis on images, pages take forever to load. There are two columns--except when there aren't when an image spans both columns. And don't even get me started on the way the admin panel takes up an entire screen. My eyes don't even know where to look when a page finally loads; apparently I'm not the only one who is confused.
  2. Timeline totally discourages fans from commenting. It used to be that Facebook Pages were equally about the brand and the fans--for better or for worse. Now, instead of getting equal billing and visibility on a page, fan comments are all rolled up and relegated to the tiny "Recent Posts by Others" block on the right half of the page. This is nice for admins who don't have to worry about those glaring negative comments splashed across their pages anymore, but in terms of "engagement" it's a huge step down. You want authentic engagement? It's messy and it's a give and take, not something that can or should be relegated to a tiny, easily-missed segment of the page.
  3. Timeline doesn't work on mobile devices--or at all half the time. One of the biggest mysteries in the world is why Facebook, the richest company in the world right now (yes, I realize that's not an actual fact--but with its crazy valuation, cash flow is obviously not an issue), can't manage to figure out the app thing. Yes, I know they just bought Instagram, primarily because clearly there was no other way to develop a usable mobile app other than spending a BILLION DOLLARS to purchase an entire company that happens to include some crackerjack app developers. But for now, if you use Facebook via an app--as 40% of users do you are not seeing much of anything, because much of the time posts and/or comments that show up on the Timeline don't show up in the app version. Not to mention brands who have now changed their Facebook posting strategies to capitalize on the awesomeness of Timeline have done so without realizing that 40% or more of users are not seeing their fanciness--or possibly anything at all much of the time. Hopefully this has smoothed out now that all pages have been migrated to the Timeline version, but I can tell you that during the time between when Facebook announced that all business pages would be migrated to the new version as of March 30 and when March 30 finally came, managing a page was an absolute nightmare with half of your posts and/or fan comments not showing up, then showing up, then not showing up, willy-nilly. I'm sure that didn't do great things for brand's engagement numbers. As recently as today I had issues with posts not appearing correctly on the page I admin.
Those are the main reasons that come to mind for me--did I miss anything? 

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