One of the most important benefits promised with the advent of Facebook Timeline is increased engagement for brand's pages. As it turns out though, there have been some mixed results. According to an early study on the Impact of Facebook Timeline for Brands conducted by Simply Measured, average engagement increased in the pages studied by 46% after implementing Facebook Timeline. However, the study is not only early, but also very small. It was conducted before the March 30th mandatory switch to Timeline, and a very small population of brands on Facebook were early adopters, leading to only 15 brands participating in the study.
Another study performed by Wildfire includes a larger sample of 43 brand's Timelines, building on what we have learned from the previous study by SimplyMeasured. It seems that the benefits to engagement that Timeline has to offer apply most notably to brands with less than 1 million fans. Brands with between 1 million and 10 million fans will see more moderate increases, and possibly even decreases in engagement. Meanwhile, brands with more than 10 million fans seem to take the hardest hit with losses in engagement on average, though it is not yet clear why.
So, what can you do to make Timeline an asset, rather than a liability for engagement? As we already well know, visual content has always been important, and has only grown even more critical with the launch of Timeline. A page's Timeline looks rather barren without graphical content, compared to how eye catching and engaging a good photograph with an interesting description or link can be. The SimplyMeasured study confirms our insights, showing that multimedia content has become far more engaging than other types of content, though it should be noted that another highly viral type of content, Facebook Questions, is apparently missing from this data. An emphasis on visual content may be one of the best ways you can utilize Timeline to get your message in front of your fans, and spark a conversation!
While some naysayers deny that Timeline could have any effect on engagement, it's difficult to ignore that the changes Timeline has introduced have affected, and will continue to affect, the way fans interact with brands on Facebook, how brands will interact with their fans, and which types of content will be most effective at engaging your fan base. While the changes brought on by Timeline are not the only factors in how well you engage your fans, they certainly are an important factor that must be considered if your Facebook community will succeed!
What affect has Facebook Timeline for Brands had on the engagement of your pages and the success of your content? Let us know in the comments below!