Facebook’s New Brand Pages: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

With Facebook’s recent rollout of timelines for brands and businesses, and new advertising alternatives for marketers, Facebook has once again signaled to current and future investors that the company is slated for continued (and possibly huge) growth. That’s good for Facebook, because with their recent IPO, future investors — you know, people like us — are going to be looking for a company that isn’t going to simply be stagnant, but one that will see explosive growth. And Facebook’s revenue stream, by developing increasingly different and unique advertising methods for marketers, might start benefiting from these new features.

And yet, with all ‘new’ things generally comes something different that individuals may or may not approve of. This has especially been the case with Facebook, which, since its conception, has seen its fair share of likes and dislikes. With every new feature, addition, or subtraction, there have always been those that haven’t been completely satisfied.

And that (won’t) necessarily change with the rollout of Facebook’s revamped brand pages. For the most part, brands (and marketers) will certainly be happy with the changes, as it gives them new alternatives and options for spreading their individual brand messages. Consumers on the other hand? We’ll have to wait and see. But without further adieu, here are the good, the bad and the ugly of the some of Facebook’s new features.

The Good: Greater Brand Interaction

Mostly, what these new features aim to do is to create a closer bond between Facebook’s users and the advertisers that inhabit — and, thus, bring in revenue to — Facebook. And they plan on doing this with new additions including (finally) implementing Facebook timeline for brands, newsfeed ads, a revamped side-bar ad system and, now, mobile ads.

Facebook is dubbing these ‘Premium’ ads, and marketers can expect to spend as much (or as little) as they want, based on what sort of ads they want their consumers to see. Facebook’s goal, ultimately, is not only to increase ad revenues — an obvious point, really — but to also increase interactivity between users and brand pages. They want brands to become an increasing part of user’s timelines and interactions, and they’ve found a few ways to convince advertisers to pay for that interaction.

And in general, the new timeline brand pages are far more attractive. With cover photos, apps, milestones and other information, consumers are no longer simply subjected to simple (and often repetitive and boring) walls, but rather large, inviting canvasses of photos, videos and whatever else that particular brand has posted over the years.

The Bad: For Brands, It Will Take More to Stand Out

And with Facebook’s emphasis on delivering more engaging, relevant content to users and thus to drive greater interaction between brands and those users, the competition will be fierce. Indeed, large brands won’t have any difficult maintaining (and even driving) interaction among their fanbases, but for medium-sized and smaller businesses, creating content that will stand out will certainly take, well, more.

More effort, certainly, but more varied content. Content that is also emotionally appealing will continue to thrive (as it always has), and that content which is simply blatantly marketing (or just boring) will sink. Facebook wants marketers to think deep in coming up with content, and to be creative. Those that fail in this regard will be increasingly relegated to the bottom of the pile, also known as Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm.

The Ugly: Ads, Ads, and Ads. Oh, and more Ads. 

And what these new changes to Facebook’s advertising and brand pages further emphasize — something that anyone with two eyes and ears has known all along — are that Facebook is essentially a massive advertising platform. Certainly, with its hundreds of millions of users it’s is also more than just that, but it’s also simultaneously just that – Facebook, with these new additions, hopes to see massive growth in their advertising revenue.

In turn, users will start seeing ads on their log-in pages, in their news feeds, and now, on their smartphones. Where Facebook has a presence, advertising will continue to proliferate. This certainly won’t be a startling revelation to anyone, but to some users it might come as an upsetting change. The Facebook that was once a social networking site that was relatively free from advertising (aside from the tiny banner ads in the corner of their screens), will now appear as a full-blown ad machine, attempting to make coin off of their every click and look.

The Not So Ugly Conclusion

And yet, there have been no signs of any upheaval from Facebook users. Facebook, most likely, will continue to thrive for years. I think that most users have accepted that ads will always be an inherent part of Facebook as long as it remains free. And, for most of those users, that will be perfectly okay.

As long as Facebook keeps making its social networking site (and advertising platform) more and more attractive to users, they will probably be able to accept a little change here and there, even if it does come with a Coca Cola symbol attached to it.

What are your thoughts on Facebook’s new changes?