A Marketer’s Take on the Death of Facebook Tabs


Facebook PagesOriginal thoughts published on Facebook, edited and appended by author and Social Fresh

Ryan Holmes published a great article on CNN Money yesterday morning on the disappearance of Facebook tabs as an industry.

In the article he speaks to Facebook’s “permanent beta” approach and how this has impacted the service, both for end users and the companies that are leveraging Facebook as a platform. More specifically, Ryan explains how Facebook’s Timeline roll out affected pages that are highly dependent on Facebook tabs, and the products centered on tab-building.

Ryan references stats from Pagelever that show a 53% drop in Facebook tab traffic since the Timeline rollout.

And he concludes that brands should focus on engagement and that Timeline is ultimately good for both pages and Facebook users because of this. Fewer interactions on marketing heavy tabs equals more engagement on real content.

I completely agree with the conclusion

At Samsung, we’ve always focused on our fans (customers and potential customers). Engagement and lightweight interactions with real people can have a valuable impact over time.

While Facebook, like all companies, has its own agenda (more engagement = more time on Facebook), I believe that Facebook is also doing its best to build a robust platform that brands can use to build trust, not just quick hits.

A Facebook experience with meaning

Tabs and applications still have a role, perhaps a very important one, but Facebook has basically forced brands and page owners to create *meaningful* experiences, not just fan-gated pages with minimal value.

In social media, value has to go both ways and in many cases, Facebook tabs used to provide more value to the brands than to the Facebook user.

If I could add one thing to Ryan’s article it would probably be that I believe the beginning of the end of the tab-as-the-center-of-a-brand-page “era” (if we want to call it an era) actually started when Facebook first announced that FBML (the original Facebook tab markup language) would no longer be supported.

Today, FBML apps no longer work. That means that anyone that can create a web page can also create a Facebook tab through an iframe: No special coding needed, no fancy or expensive modules to worry about.

Relationships take time

Bottom line: Brands should focus on the entire Facebook experience, realizing that their fans are real people with real lives, and that it takes time to create and enhance any kind of relationship between a company and its customers.

When you think about fans as people you start asking the truly important questions:

  • Why would anyone care about our content and experiences?
  • Why would anyone share our content and experiences?
  • What can we do to enhance our fans’ experience with the brand in both the short-term and long-term?

Brands should really think about these questions not only when building Facebook “experiences,” but also when creating any form of digital content.


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