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Eye-tracking: Consumers disorientated by new Timeline
The new Timeline is taking some getting used to by both consumers and brands. New eye-tracking research by SimpleUsability gives brands an idea of how consumers are looking at the new format and suggests how brands can make the transition easier and maintain engagement.
Without the ability to set a default landing tab or application, brands now have to make the most of the new Timeline format. The cover image and pinned posts will now have to work harder than ever. But what are consumers looking at when they arrive at the new format?
Ironically, they're not looking at the cover image or the pinned posts. SimpleUsability's eye-tracking research found that consumers dismiss the cover image as advertising and, with little to distinguish pinned posts from other content, they are often missed. According to SimpleUsability, "no users realized the pinned post was intended to be highlighted".
The "About" section is important to Facebook Page visitors. Participants in the study said that it was easier to find out information about a brand via the "About" section on Facebook than on a website. Also of interest to users is a company's history, although some users appeared confused as to how something that happened pre-Facebook could be incorporated.
According to SimpleUsability's report "New Facebook Brand Pages: A first look at usability" (.pdf), "Brands must focus on helping fans understand the new page layouts and indicate the availability of new content and functionality. Unless this barrier is overcome interaction (which is now key to increases a page's community) may be depressed."
A recent study by Simply Measured found that brands who switched to Facebook's new Timeline increased their brand engagement by an average of 46%. The study was small, with a sample size of only 15 brands across various industries, but the results show that all brands except three (AT&T, Target, Old Spice) showed an increase in engagement, with Livestrong, Toyota, and The Humane Society achieving the largest increases.
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