After several weeks of speculation, Facebook today unveiled admin previews of its Timeline for brand pages update. 

Speculators (including more than a few in the Econsultancy office) have seen the move as inevitable for some time. Here’s a quick run through of the changes, highlighting the most important points. 

Overview 

In terms of layout there’s nothing too surprising here. Timeline for pages matches the now familiar personal layout, with space for a cover image and timeline to the right of the page.

Optimised landing images

In addition, the new layout showcases important figures and pages.

In the case of the Econsultancy page, the default shows number of likes, pictures, a link to our welcome tab and our events page.

Helpfully, Facebook has made these editable so you can easily promote your most important content.

Content Optimisation

There’s also increased content optimisation features. When this rolls out, page owners will be able to ‘pin’ their most important or relevant content to the top of the page, making it more visible to new and returning visitors:

This is an interesting decision by Facebook.

Conventional wisdom tells us that content receives its largest number of interactions in the first 20 minutes or so after publication (In Econsultancy’s case, this is slightly different, with a higher than usual amount of on-page views for content), so there are questions around the best ways to exploit this feature.

It’s unclear (and currently doubtful) whether this will have any effect on the way your content is viewed in your fan’s timelines. 

Messages

Facebook has also made its ‘recent message’ integration more visible, clearly separating them from regular updates with a clear list of messages, making it faster and easier to respond. 

Admin Panel

Finally, there’s also a new ‘admin panel’, with an overview of recent insights and interactions, as well as a useful overview of new likes. 

Currently it’s unclear just how interactive brands will be able to make the new layout, but based on what we’ve seen from custom pages, it’s likely we’ll be seeing some interesting new uses of the banner picture soon. 

From an admin’s perspective, all this certainly makes tracking easier and more visible, although there may be some user confusion on initial launch. There will also be a message section where customers can contact brands directly and privately for customer service needs.

By the end of March, Facebook will also be rolling out five different admin levels so you can change permissions to dictate how your team accesses and uses your brand page. You can also learn more about the new features of Facebook pages through Facebook’s new video walk through.

Do you think this will add value to brand pages? As usual, we invite you to comment.