It looks as though Facebook will begin offering its Timeline format to brands in the U.S. starting this month.
At its F8 conference in September, Facebook introduced a dramatic transformation of profile pages for its more than 800 million users with the Timeline format, which generates picture-heavy, scrapbook-like collages spanning users’ entire history on the social network. It’s been rolled out slowly, with users still having the choice to opt in.
At the time of the announcement, the company said it would wait to roll out the new feature for brands. Facebook vice-president of marketing and business partnerships David Fischer said Timeline for brands would be “consistent” with the Timeline look-and-feel, but not a carbon copy.
The new pages for brands (which will arrive in February, according to executives briefed on the roll-out) will start in beta with a handful of partners and then be released to more marketers in stages, according to the sources. Facebook declined to comment on the product or the timing.
So what will Timeline for brands look like? For one, the tabs or apps marketers currently host on their Facebook pages to sell products or take polls may turn into boxes on the brand’s Timeline, much like how apps for Spotify or Washington Post Social Reader now live on users’ Timelines.
The format change could put the onus on brands to develop their own apps using custom verbs other than “like,” in the vein of Pinterest, which now has a Facebook app that tracks when its users have “pinned” something. Promoting the use and development of “Open Graph” apps, which can now have their data tapped for ad targeting, is an area of increasing focus for Facebook.
Timeline has significant implications for Facebook fan-page management. One top consideration is that a brand’s Facebook presence no longer has to date back to a few years ago when it joined the site, but can be represented with content populating its Timeline from throughout its history. (Coca-Cola, for example, could hypothetically add an event for 1892, the year it was founded.)
Facebook is expected to go into detail about the new pages at its first-ever fMC event, a day-long conference in New York on Feb. 29 that’s specifically for marketers.
Does your brand need a Timeline? Will this change or improve brands’ fortunes on Facebook? Post your thoughts in our comment section.
To read the original article in Advertising Age, click here.