Will Timeline, Ticker, GraphRank Break Facebook Marketing?

How will today's f8 announcements and yesterday's Facebook user experience changes affect Facebook marketing?

How will today’s f8 announcements and yesterday’s Facebook user experience changes affect Facebook marketing?

Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and others just announced some huge changes to Facebook, right on the heels of yesterday’s shocking changes to the news feed and introduction of the ticker.

The new timeline will continue the journey where the Profile has taken us, and apps will integrate new verbs, possibly changing the single-verb culture of like that has predominated.

Chief Technology Officer Bret Taylor introduced GraphRank, which effectively supersedes EdgeRank. So let’s review.

Reaching Fans

Most of current Facebook marketing relies on reaching business page fans via the news feed — about 27 percent of engagement happens there, and 21 percent on profiles.

There have been huge changes to the news feed, the introduction of the ticker, and now GraphRank may behave differently than EdgeRank has.

Advertising

Facebook advertising also plays a big role, but it has not been mentioned in all of these changes.

Perhaps there will be ripple effects and new features, but no changes to advertising have been mentioned yet.

And although the ticker takes up some valuable right-sidebar space, I still see at least one ad above the fold, and multiple ads on deeper pages like photos.

Most reassuring is that it’s likely that anything that has worked for you with Facebook advertising so far will continue to work through these changes — especially if you have been sending Facebook ad traffic to websites, rather than building fan bases.

Do The Newsfeed and Ticker Changes Break Fan Page Marketing?

But will the changes to the news feed and the addition of the ticker affect fan marketing? Will pages be able to reach their fans? Will it be worthwhile to spend ad money to build fan bases?

The jury is still out. I am waiting for more data to see if yesterday’s changes will reduce the visibility of Facebook page posts to fans. I’ve heard anecdotally that this has happened for some, but we need more data to be sure.

Some have theorized that the news feed will now be even more hard on pages that get low feedback rates on their posts. That makes page posting best practices even more important.

Best advice for now: Focus even more on getting higher feedback rates, and do quality posts two to three times a day. Watch your data and adjust accordingly.

Recency, More Frequent Posting, and EdgeRank

And the blending of recent and top news (part of the changes to the main feed announced two days ago) means that posting more often may give you an advantage.

However, this is dangerous — don’t let the anxiety to post more make you post less engaging content, because that will hurt your feedback rate and could keep your posts from getting into top news.

The idea that posting more frequently will help you assumes that you are hitting an EdgeRank threshold that makes you visible to fans.

What’s Up With GraphRank?

This is going to be the source of a lot of debate and study for the next year. The biggest clue Taylor gave us about how it’s different is that it will include friend and family lists. Facebook may not show your mom something it would show your friends.

Does that change how we market? Probably not.

Fundamentally, these ranks serve to tell Facebook when to tell your connections about your activities (either as a profile or a page).

So if you continue to do things that cause interest and engagement, you will continue to get visibility.

Brian Carter is author of The Like Economy: How Businesses Make Money On Facebook.