On March 30th, Facebook will forcibly migrate all Pages onto the Timeline redesign, but Facebook tells me it only took 10 days for 8 million of the more than 37 million Pages that have been set up to opt into the change. The stats are a sign of success that show the added features are ones admins want, considering tons of Facebook Pages get set up and forgotten about.
However, it will take a while to see whether Timeline actually helps Pages market more effectively. So far the most popular Pages that have switched haven’t seen growth rates increase. With more to look at, the Like button might be overshadowed.
Reach Generator which launched at the Facebook Marketing Conference and allows Pages to pay a fixed fee to guarantee distribution of their content to over 75% of their fans is picking up customers. Dr. Pepper reached 83% of its 8 million U.S. fans over a 28-day period, had a 140% increase in people talking about it on Facebook, and saw an 80% increase in engagement. Ford plans to buy logout page ads where big photos of their cars can be featured, which wouldn’t fit in Facebook’s tiny traditional sidebar ads.
Typically when Facebook launches redesigns they’re met with fear and apprehension. But Timeline’s big flashy cover banner seems to be pretty for Page admins to resist. There are some concerns about the removed ability to set a custom promotional app as a default landing page, but those are offset by eagerness for pinned posts, bigger photos, and more presentation flexibility.
Brands also probably didn’t want to get left behind by competitors, leading roughly 1 million Pages per day to migrate to Timeline in first days after its launch. Now they’re likely taking the time to go back, hide irrelevant or weak posts, and add milestone moments to their story. 2 weeks after launch and 2 more before the forced migration, Facebook tells me a “significant percentage” of Pages have switched. In its S-1 Facebook noted that 37 million Pages had been set up as of December 31, 2011.
While the long-tail of Pages are actively migrating to Timeline, Facebook’s most popular Pages have been conservative with their adoption. Only 8 of the top 20 Pages have migrated, and none of those have seen their rate of new fans increase significantly according to Inside Network’s PageData tracking service. In fact, some are seeing slower growth, possibly because users have to re-learn where the Like button is.