Now that Facebook has strong-armed everyone into the Timeline format, a skirmish has broken out over how much incremental engagement brands can expect.
Introduced with claims that Timeline increased engagement for Toyota by 161 percent and Livestrong by 156%, expectations ran high. It turns out that this study covered only 15 brand pages over a 60-day period and covered Facebook’s beta partners, like Red Bull, Coca Cola, Walmart or Macy’s, who had strong existing brand social presence, and who switched over early and were highly publicized and hardly representative.
When you dig into the hyperbolic work done by Simply Measured, you discover that response to status updates declined on Timeline while clicks to and views of pictures and videos went up. Increased size for visual assets easily accounts for the increased engagement activities.
New data from Edgerank Checker based on an analysis of 3500 brand pages in the Timeline format found that sixty percent of the pages studied experienced a decrease in engagement. But since the majority of friends and fans visit the brand page just once and the real locus of engagement is on friend’s Newsfeeds, the real impact of Timeline on brand engagement is basically neutral.
The bottom line is that the format change has little ort no impact on genuine engagement. The game still turns on brands’ ability to create useful and interesting content sufficient to overcome the edgerank algorithm and gain access and response on friend’s newsfeeds.