Breaking: Facebook Launching New Pages Product This Month

Until now Facebook’s Pages product had not been affected by the profile redesign. Apparently that all is about to change. According to a few brand managers that I’ve spoken to, Facebook is working on converting the fan page design to mimic the the new profile design. What’s the result? Most significantly is that applications have now been relegated to a “Boxes” tab or a custom tab.

There is also a publisher just like on existing profiles except that there is no down arrow for publisher attachments (as pictured above). There has been an ongoing discussion about fan pages versus groups. For brands, fan pages often make a lot more sense for a couple reasons, one of which is the robust customization opportunities with integrated applications, and the second is that they tie directly into Facebook’s social ads.

While applications can still be implemented, it will no longer command the same type of presence that it previously could. To counter this, Facebook is telling developers that they can use a unique URL which directs users to the application tab within a fan page. The updated pages which will be rolled out at the end of the month will go live for all pages, not just those willing to pay the estimated $5 CPM on homepage engagement ads. With a minimum budget of $10,000 to $20,000, engagement ads are often times too expensive for most brands.

As such, many agencies have been suggesting to brands that they pay for the significantly reduced Facebook ads that are placed on the right hand side of all pages aside from a user’s homepage. For most companies I think traditional Facebook ads are a better deal but many large brands want to promote on the Facebook homepage, especially since it can instantly drive a lot of new fans.

More Virality

The updated pages will have more viral features then before. The primary source of promotion through the social graph will be through news feed stories. Previously, the only stories that were published were when users became new fans of a brand. Now, fan page activities including the creation of events and the publishing of discussion topics will be included in each user’s custom news feed algorithm.

So far it appears that Facebook will be reserving the publishing of status updates and feed stories to the primary news feed for those brands that choose to purchase engagement ads. This update appears to present a huge opportunity for premium fan pages in that they will be treated as a user’s friend when determining what feed stories to publish.

New Emphasis on Discussions

Facebook Pages previously included a discussion thread but in the redesign, they will have a greater presence including a “Discusisons” tab (as pictured above) and a link that says “Start New…” for creating a new discussion topic. Also interestingly, comments can be published by users on status updates and other posted items which means brands will most likely need someone to monitor comments.

Many brands previously requested that page mangers turn of page walls because they wanted to avoid spam comments or any sort of negative postings. As far as we know, brands don’t have the option to turn off comments currently. We’ll be sure to update this post if Facebook tells us something different.

Will Brands Be Caught Off Guard?

It sounds as though the change will happen without prior notification to many brands. The only participants in the alpha phase are those brands that have paid for engagements ads. Other brands will simply have an updated version of their page when it’s officially rolled out later this month. I would hope that Facebook would go through a beta phase during which brands can update their page as needed but as of now, it doesn’t appear that will be the case. We are currently trying to confirm this with Facebook and will report back any updates.

Do you think this updated pages product is a good thing? Do you like the existing features within Facebook pages? What would you like to see improved?

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