Research conducted by Recommend.ly on a sample of 500 Pages shows a traffic jump of 59.8% for Pages after switching to Timeline and a whopping 102% jump in traffic to Apps (other than Wall and Timeline). Apps have in fact benefited from Timeline with enhanced visibility through larger thumbnail images and placement right below the cover photo, even though Facebook allows only four Apps in the first row to be visible to fans in default view.
The new design got App makers and vendors worried but they have reasons to cheer the trends emerging in their favour. The new Timeline design forces Brands to choose the best 4 Apps to show on the first row and make them more attractive with thumbnail images of 107×70 pixels, increasing the chances of click-through. This seems to be definitely working, as the study shows.
About the Study:
The random sample of 500 Pages was drawn from Recommend.ly’s beta user base after anonymizing the identity of pages and page owners.
- Pages in the sample represented Small to Medium Brand Pages on Facebook with a fan count range of 31 to 864,455. The distribution is as follows:
|Fan count Range||No. of pages|
|100k – 1 mn||25|
|10k – 100k||48|
|1k – 10k||121|
- Average Fan count for the sample is 19,269
Key Findings of the research
- 64.4% of the Pages in the sample had voluntarily transitioned to Timeline by 28th March. The rest either planned to move in the last two days before the 30th March deadline, or opted for default transition by Facebook
Pages that have moved to Timeline have seen the following trends in Page traffic statistics:
- After March 10th, the overall fan traffic to the Pages on Timeline has gone up by 59.8%
- The biggest gainers in traffic are the Apps, with a massive jump of 102.1%
- Apps also have gained in ‘share of traffic’ after Timeline. In the period prior to March 10th, Apps constituted 54.8% of total traffic to a Page, which has grown to 69.3% later
- Default Apps for a Page such as Info, Photos, Videos, Events and Notes have seen only a modest 24.2% increase in traffic
- Within default apps, traffic to Info tabs dropped by 14%, whereas traffic to Notes tabs remained constant. Expectedly, traffic to Photos and Videos Tabs got a bump of 59.9% after Timeline. Events tabs have seen a traffic growth of 120%.
- Default apps aside, here’s a huge reason for App makers to cheer: Customized Apps gained the most, with a massive 107% jump in traffic after Timeline
- Customized Apps have also seen an increase in share of Traffic from 51.3% of total page traffic before March 10th to 66.6% afterwards.
- Wall Tab suffered a 21.5% drop in traffic as a result of Timeline
Notably, Pages that did not move to Timeline had no change in overall traffic, but had seen the Wall tab eating into the share of Apps.
- Pages not moving to Timeline had drop in traffic by 0.8% – an insignificant change
- Apps on these pages, however, had seen a drop in traffic by 33.1%, cannibalised by a growth of 20.5% in traffic to the Wall tab
- Traffic share of Apps has also fallen from 46.1% of total page traffic to 31.1%
- While reasons are not known for the fall in App traffic on Pages not yet on Timeline, disabling of default landing tabs or suspension of Ads and special campaigns until Timeline is fully implemented may be among the reasons we can guess. Only a thorough analysis of each Page can reveal the correct reasons.
The study shows that Pages making extra efforts to redesign their Pages to adapt to Timeline have gained in overall traffic. There could be several reasons for this: – Fans wanting to check out the new design and the attractive cover photos put up by brands, additional efforts by page owners to gain visibility to their redesigned Pages etc. Whether these early gains in page traffic continue to hold over a longer period is to be seen over time.
However, the interesting part of these early trends is the increased traffic to customized Apps, giving App makers in the Facebook environment a reason to celebrate.
Recommend.ly is neither an App maker nor affiliated with any App makers. This study was carried out to understand the impact of Timeline, which is such a hot topic in the Facebook circles world over.
Key Assumption: Pages that voluntarily moved to Timeline are more likely to have spent efforts and resources in curating an attractive Timeline view. Such Pages would have designed custom Cover photos, highlighted the most important Apps in the first row, acquired thumbnails for Apps, brought out a ‘story’ on the Timeline by hiding/highlighting posts etc. as suggested by Facebook in fMC .
Keeping this in view, the study extracted page data on 30th March 2012, just before the mandatory switch to Timeline was imposed by Facebook. As a result the sample reflected Pages that made efforts to take full advantage of Timeline and Pages that did not make any efforts. The study assumes that Timeline’s immediate impact after March 30th may not bring out this kind of contrast since not all pages would have made efforts to utilize Timeline’s features.
The Study observed traffic trends on the selected Pages during an 18 days period from February 22nd to March 10th and the corresponding 18 day period from March 11th to March 28th. The study assumes that changes in traffic trends are best observed from March 10th onwards for Pages moving to Timeline. This assumption was made necessary by insufficient page data from Facebook about Timeline (for example, data extracted by us for traffic to Timeline tab showed that more than 75% of the Pages moved to Timeline before March 7th, which is unlikely since only a handful of invitees had the privilege to preview Timeline before it was announced on March 7th)
Comments on the research:
Wildfire Director of Analytics Jordan Drewitt: “The Recommend.ly study results are in line with an engagement study Wildfire conducted on the impact of brands switching to Facebook’s timeline format. Post timeline, we saw “comment” engagement improve by 40%, and “like” engagement improve by 60.3% for brands in the <1M fan count range. The increase in app traffic, uncovered in Recommend.ly‘s study, appears to be a key factor in the overall engagement lift we found in our own Facebook Timeline Engagement Study.”
SocialAppsHQ, Rajat Garg, CEO: “Traffic to apps like ‘Welcome tab’ have dropped through the floor (mainly due to discontinuation of default landing tab). Contest and other tabs have however, seen a nice lift – we have seen 30% jump on existing campaigns but it’s harder to quantify as there are lot more factors that can contribute to that”