Did you know that only 2% of people who like a brand Fanpage on Facebook ever come back to that page? And almost none come back a second or third time. And yet brands are spending millions, if not billions, of dollars on applications for their Fanpages. Entire marketing campaigns rest on applications hidden away in Tabs inside the Fanpage and most users never see them.
As that wasn’t bad enough, the recent changes that took place for brand Fanpages being switch to the new Timeline format has made the situation much worse for Tab based applications. Studies show that user engagement with Tabs has decreased 53% since the introduction of Timeline. Part of the reason for this is that brands can no longer set a custom tab as their default landing page for non-fans. Without the option to set a custom tab as the default view, most users will never use tabs. Tabs are also less visible in the Timeline layout. Many users don’t even realize tabs still exist with Timeline. This generally forces brands to have to push their fans, through links in sponsored posts or ads, to their Tabs where the applications are located.
Even with all these major disadvantages to Tabs, the worst one is still to come – mobile compatibility. Most brand applications for tabs are not optimized for mobile use. This represents the most serious disadvantage to a Tab based marketing strategy on a platform which is now 57% used over mobile devices.
Considering all of these factors, it seems clear that this year a major shift will happen towards brand applications moving completely inside of the News Feed. Not only is the News Feed the most natural way users use Facebook, with the majority of time on the platform being spent there, but it is also the place where the majority of engagement takes place. It is THE place where users engage with the brands they love.
YouTube and SoundCloud pioneered the use of the News Feed for engagement purposes with their media players. It would be unimaginable today to watch a video or listen to music anywhere else on Facebook other than your News Feed. The same will be true of brand based applications in the coming years.
The challenges to developing News Feed applications are often significant. From the small amount of screen real estate available to the intricacies of designing and coding one and the same application to be used both on desktop and mobile seamlessly, developing brand apps for the News Feed can be tricky. However the benefits of mobile compatibility as well as maximum engagement make News Feed applications an absolute must for brands in 2013!