Timeline for Pages Features Summed Up

As anticipated, Timeline is being rolled out for Pages.  Admins now have the option to publish Pages in Timeline view. All pages will automatically get the new design on 30 March, 2012.

Here are some of the features we made notice of at first glance:

· Cover photo: Pages will have a cover photo just like profiles. The dimensions should be 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall. If you upload a smaller image it will be stretched to fit the dimensions. The cover photo must not contain information about product prices, offers, contact information or other kinds of call to action. 

· Profile photo: Many brands have created a long photo. Now all profile photos is square and at least 180 pixels wide.

· Views and apps: The different apps you use for your page as well as number of Likes are show in the boxes below the cover photo. Only a maximum of 12 boxes can be shown, but for admins it is possible to rearrange the order of them to have those you want to place focus on first. Photos will always be shown first by default, which leaves 3 boxes of your choice.

It is no longer possible to have a landing page as this feature does not correspond with the idea of Timeline. Instead all tabs are shown in the apps boxes. When you go to an app, there will also be a shortcut to the other tabs available on the page. If you wish to direct people you can link directly to the app URL or feature it in an update.

· Timeline management: With timeline you have more options as an admin to choose what content to emphasize. Hover over your updates and you can either edit (pencil) or highlight (star) a post. When you edit, you can choose to either delete the post, hide, report/mark as spam or pin to top. Hidden posts will feature in your admin panel, from where it can be activated again. When you pin a post to the top, it will be displayed on the top of your Timeline for the next seven days. This is a nice feature if you wish to place focus on a status update that directs to an app, contest or campaign etc. If you choose the highlight (star) feature, the update will be shown in wide, taking up the space for two columns.

Along with doing updates and asking Questions, admins can now also add a milestone for the page, which will automatically be expanded in wide screen and visible to everyone. The milestone can contain a headline, location, date, details and a photo. Alternatively, it is also possible to create an update and change the date to the past.

· Admin panel: Admins of pages have access to a panel shown in the top of the Page. It shows the latest notifications, new messages, new likes and an entrance to Insights. This gives you an overview of recent activities. The admin panel can be hidden or opened from the Admin Panel button in the upper right corner of the Page.

· Messages: As a new feature, you can receive and respond to private messages from users. The message button is show on top on the page and new messages will be shown in the admin panel. This may require an extra effort of responding to consumers from a customer service point of view. It is possible to switch off the message function in your admin settings.


With the new Timeline, there is much more focus on visual content. Also images that were before shown on the wall are displayed much bigger and brands even have the option to make updates wider to make it more visible.

That Pages are now shown as a Timeline is Facebook’s encouragement to brands to work with storytelling. Brands can add content to their Timeline back in time and thereby create a Timeline of stories, videos and photos to explore. This means that this is not only a design change but also a shift in the way that communication can be thought out.

Of course, the user’s feed is not changed, so the updates that Pages do are shown in the same way to users. In that sense, creating content is still about creating engagement. Only now, brand pages can strategically work with how they portray themselves throughout time when users visit the Page. Take for instance Coca-Cola’s Timeline, which goes back to 1886 where the company was founded. This leaves a huge space and possibilities for content to be added.

This is how Coca-Cola’s Page now looks like:

Instagram’s New Algorithm – What You Need to Know

IMG_8423Nearly 6 years after its initial release and 400 million users later, Instagram is fast-approaching the ad-supported dominance of Facebook. Last week, it introduced its very own algorithm, following in the footsteps of Twitter and its parent company Facebook. Whether this is an enhancement is debatable and many seem to be divided on the matter as it stands. It begins with co-founders Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom explaining that “on average, people miss about 70% of the posts in their Instagram feed”, which may be alarming to some.

 

Twitter jumped onto the algorithm bandwagon only last month and has received its own amount of backlash from it. The fear that it will destroy live-tweeting and the key reason people love twitter is amongst the concerns. Of course, users tend to prefer what they’re used to on social networks and aren’t very welcoming to change, so this may pass.

Facebook’s introduction of its algorithm, which was due to extraordinary growth, was a much-needed overhaul of the News Feed. The fact that Facebook is bigger than the largest country on earth makes it almost essential for it to filter out unwanted posts and let its users receive the most relevant content. The question now is, does Instagram need it too?

Facebook Instant Articles was also released last year, which is a great way for Facebook to avoid the standard embedded browser mechanics that so many apps rely on. This allows users to view news more fluently by delivering a more native user experience. It also coincided with the release of the Apple News app, which has recently opened its doors to all publishers. The fact that developers are now realising the public’s thirst for news makes things extremely well-timed for the ever-growing amount of algorithms social is seeing. We need news, whether it be world news or friend news, and we need it fast – even if we missed it being posted.

 

What This Means for Brands

From a brand perspective, it is unquestionably going to become more complicated to market on Instagram. There are many visual-based brands that invest a great deal of money into Instagram to be able to reach a specific audience or age group. One example is brands paying influencers to promote their product, which has ultimately made it possible for those influencers to make a living by monetising their audience on the platform. This is achieved with a combination of brand sponsorships from companies, product promotion and follower reach. So how will it affect their livelihood? Companies will be much more demanding when it comes to requesting the influencer’s actual reach once it’s available, which will very likely decrease the amount that influencers are paid. This, in translation, means that influencers could ultimately be forced to take a pay cut with the introduction of this algorithm.

In layman’s terms, brands will be required to pay for their posts to reach their fans. This is especially true if the posts have little engagement, which exactly replicates Facebook’s model as Instagram takes its big brother’s handy advice. A key question here is, will the quality of posts increase due to content ‘needing’ engagement to push through?

Additionally, until now, brands have been supplied with little to no data on their Instagram channels. With this algorithm and a clear business objective from Facebook to increase ad turnover on Instagram, the company knows that advertisers expect something in return. The exchange is a classic eyeballs and actions for paid budgets and to prove delivery of reach and actions, Facebook will need to provide data and show that brands are getting their money’s worth.

 

Implications & Considerations

As general guidance, it may be efficient to stop thinking about news feeds as stories. A profile is a story and will probably always remain that way, but a news feed is a different beast altogether. With the algorithm, your followers might see some of your posts in their feed but far from all, making feed storytelling pretty much impossible. The challenge is to create a valuable brand presence on social that is recognizable without the context of other content.

Another discussion point is how Instagram profiles compare to Facebook profiles for brands. Facebook Pages made it easier to separate personal and brand pages, but Instagram has yet to do such a thing. Will we see something similar in the future? If so, it is sure to bring a great deal more features from Facebook to Instagram, which is undeniably the path we’re on with the two companies. Another thing to start considering is whether Instagram will eventually suppress almost all organic ads, like Facebook does. After all, having an algorithm like this can undeniably camouflage the real reason followers are missing so many posts.

Overall, Instagram is rapidly growing to greater capacities, users are posting more and we ultimately live in an algorithmic world as far as social is concerned. And as Instagram ads are managed through Facebook, they are extremely easy to target to a specific audience, which appealingly makes use of Facebook’s limitless data. These will undoubtedly merge together to form one giant supply of data and algorithms will most likely do the same. So it could be Facebook’s existing model that Instagram slowly turns into. Simply put, like father, like son.