Have you said goodbye to Facebook custom tabs?

by Amy Sample Ward on July 6, 2012

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As Mashable shared yesterday, PageLever’s analysis of 500 Facebook Pages (each with 10,000 fans or more) shows a dramatic decrease in custom tab views on Facebook after the transition to Timeline. Jeff Widman suggests, and I agree, that a major contributing factor is that Page owners/organizations can no longer set a custom tab as the default landing content for new visitors, instead of the Wall. (You can see a larger version of the graphic here.)

I’ve watched many organizations use custom landing tabs as a critical element for increasing the number of supporters directly connected to the page (aka fans!), and as a way of directing people to specific actions and content. The custom tabs even worked to set the tone for the kind of content and relationship  a supporter could expect to continue after connecting with the organization. Timeline does allow Page owners to arrange the affiliated pages so that the three of your choosing at the top of your Page. (There are four boxes visible, but Photos can’t be moved – reinforcing Facebook’s preferential treatment of graphical content.)

Have you rearranged content to highlight a Welcome or Action custom tab at the top of your Page? Have you changed the way you think about, create, or use custom tabs with Timeline? I’d love to hear your experience and feedback!

  • alynsen

    I’ve ditched the “welcome tab” entirely since they stopped letting us make it the default landing page. I now focus on pinning important content and using promoted posts to garner attention for critical things (amazing what a $5 investment can do, I have to say). But in a lot of ways, it just feels like Facebook is making it harder and harder for brands to be heard amidst the noise.

    • http://amysampleward.org Amy Sample Ward

      Thanks for weighing in, Annie! So great to hear how you all have been tackling these changes. Has your experience/testing with the pinned posts been positive? We’ve tried it at NTEN but have seen the things that get traction are still based on Facebook’s focus/prioritization on graphics and images. Would you be up for sharing more about the ROI you’ve seen on promoted posts? Maybe even in a guest post here?

      • alynsen

        We’ve had mixed results with pinned posts, but very good results with promoted posts. Far and away more views and “likes” than other posts (like, 7-8 times more). It’s a huge difference with just a small investment. Definitely graphics/images get better play than other types of content, but the promoted posts are a low-cost way to get fantastic exposure, unlike anything I’ve even seen pre-Timeline.

  • http://johnhaydon.com John Haydon

    Amy – great post here. Default welcome tabs are just one use among many for custom tabs. In my experience, they’re still very useful – especially when using them for specific campaigns. 

    • http://amysampleward.org Amy Sample Ward

      Hi John-

      I’m more focused on making it the default landing page, regardless of whether the content is “welcome” or “action” focused. As Annie pointed out, unless you are using other promotional tools to point people to those custom tabs, they really aren’t going to see them anymore. I’d love to hear if you’ve had success with custom tabs with Timeline though!

      • http://johnhaydon.com John Haydon

        I’ve had a lot of success, but as Amy said, you need to direct track to these tabs.

  • Drew

    Amy – One of my partners and I were just chatting about this topic last week. I think the graph is true, but might be a bit misleading without also looking at the click through rate for page apps. Facebook stopped sending the default traffic to page tabs when they launched timeline so it’s no surprise that traffic went down, it had too because Facebook stopped sending them. People who weren’t expecting to land on a page app were being sent there before; just for visiting a page.  Now all of the visits are people that click directly to them either through shared links (from email, wall posts, direct shares, etc) or from the tab list on the timeline (does anyone actually click on those? :-).  Although there is no way to prove it, I suspect actual clickthrough rates on page apps actually went up for most pages post timeline. 

    • http://amysampleward.org Amy Sample Ward

      That’s a great point, Drew! Thanks for weighing in. I have also noticed that many organizations don’t realize they can rearrange the order of the apps/widgets from the default view so it isn’t just photos, likes, etc. on the top fo your page. Move those things around so that your location finder page and get involved pages are front and center!