The user profile redesign released yesterday alters how Pages are discovered, and will provide more user information for advertisers to target. User Likes have been moved off of the primary tab, but reinforced with images, and users are prompted explicitly and socially to enter more biographical information. Better ad targeting will increase revenues for Facebook, while its unclear how Page discoverability changes will affect spend on ads for Pages.
We’ll examine the key changes below, and focus on how this will affect Pages and advertisers in the Facebook Marketing Bible later today.
Pages – Hidden, then Vividly Represented
When Pages are easy to discover and there is organic growth, brands see Facebook as a healthy communication medium to which they should devote resources. This includes augmenting discovery with paid traffic through Facebook ads which make the social network money. Facebook’s other efforts to improve Page discovery include the release of a Page Browser, prompts for new users to add more Likes of Pages, and the introduction of a more compelling feed story for when friends Like a Page.
The profile redesign removes the Likes panel from the bottom left corner of a user’s profile. Users see the Likes they have in common with the person whose profile they’re browsing, but there’s no longer a way to discover Pages on the primary view of the profile. This may decrease the rate of new Likes, especially amongst casual users who don’t click through to the info tab. This could scare brands who are only focusing on Page growth, but not other analytics such as click through rates of links.
However, within the secondary Info tab, Likes in the main categories (people, arts, entertainment, activities and Interests) now show their pictures. This makes Likes much more attention-grabbing than the text links of a user’s Likes from the old Info tab. That means more experienced users who do navigate to the info tab are more likely to discover new Pages. Pages in the people, sports, and music categories which appear first will benefit most, while Pages in the interests and activities categories which appear last may be hurt by the change. Facebook has released statistics that Likers, who are often experienced users, click outbound links 5.4 times more often, meaning Likes stemming from the profile redesign may lead to more conversions in the long run. It’s these conversions which translate into revenue for brands and increased advertising spend which benefits Facebook.
Advertiser Will Have More to Target
The more information advertisers have to target through Facebook ads, the more relevant those ads will be to the recipients, and the higher the conversion rates will be. Facebook can then charge more per click, and advertisers will buy more volume. To improve targeting, Facebook now allows advertisers to automatically broaden age targeting, and view analytics on ads which include friend recommendations. Facebook is also testing engagement ads which utilize a user’s own words, and has filed for a patent for inferential advertising targeting based on a user’s actions, browsing behavior, and the interests of their friends.
The new Profile Info Summary which now appears in the center of the profile shows a user’s job position and employer, concentration and university, current city, relationship status, languages spoken, hometown, and birthday. Previously this info (other than birthday) was only shown in the secondary Info tab, meaning that information’s author and their friends rarely saw it. The redesign causes a user and all their friends to see that information frequently, so users are naturally inclined to keep it up to date. Along with IP addresses and other data, Facebook can use this to ensure that when a user switches cities or employers, advertisers can keep showing them relevant ads and aren’t paying for the wrong audience.
If a user leaves elements shown in the Profile Info Summary blank, they’re prompted to “add your…”, and there’s always a link to “Edit Profile”. This means that while users only need to enter their name, gender, and birthday to sign up for Facebook, they’re constantly encouraged to enter additional personal information which helps advertisers target them better.
If someone lists themselves in a romantic relationship with another user, that person’s profile picture and the relationship status appears at the top of the Featured Relationships pane on the left side of the redesigned profile as well as the Profile Info Summary. When users see this on the profiles of their friends, they internalize a social recommendation to list their own romantic situation. Relationship status indicates a great deal about the identity and purchasing habits of a user, so more users adding this info should lead to increased ad spend and more money flowing to Facebook.
Lastly, the redesign added a “Sports You Play” info category to the profile, allowing users to create a special connection to a community Page indicating they participate in that sport, not just appreciate it. Facebook may soon add a way for advertisers to target users based on the sports they play, creating big opportunities for the retailers and manufacturers of a wide variety of consumer goods.
It will take a few months for Page growth to show in the metrics and for bid prices and ad volume to adjust to the profile redesign. The changes seem to be a net positive for brands, advertisers, and Facebook, but users will also benefit from seeing ads and Pages they’re interested in. The redesign succeeds in putting pressure on users to enter more information without making them feel that they’re explicitly helping Facebook to make money.
Learn more about building your brand and growing your audience with our comprehensive guide to marketing on Facebook. The Facebook Marketing Bible is available at FacebookMarketingBible.com