Legend has it that the digital universe, as we know of it today, evolved from ARPANET. And a lot of websites, portals, directory sites and search engines lay claim to the ownership of this digital universe in its early days, until Google came along and put a method to the madness. It became the de-facto gate-keeper of this world. If Google did not know of you, for all practical purposes, you were just some digital litter in some corner of this universe !
For the past few years, Facebook is challenging Google’s role as the gate-keeper of this universe. Already the total number of minutes spent on Facebook by netizens equals the number of minutes spent on Google. And Facebook’s understanding of relationships, and of likes and dislikes in the cyberworld is by far more deeper than what Google can ever achieve.
And now, with the launch of “Timeline” feature for brand pages, Facebook is signaling perhaps its strongest intent to move to the centre of this digital universe. Here are some interesting features that implementation of timeline gives to brands:
- Brand pages on Facebook are now no longer pages, they actually become a brand website anchored in Facebook.
- The new timeline feature gives huge real estate on the brand Facebook page, for a brand to communicate its message. Once upon the time, the only real estate that the brand had was a very small display picture (DP) and a small left hand aligned banner. Pretty much all Facebook pages looked the same !
- But now there is complete masthead that stands out and fills almost 1/3rd of the screen, all it screaming brand. We will see very creative uses of this real estate, in time to come, which will enable brands to communicate their differentiation to the audience.
- Brands can pin a story of their choice, to the top of the fan page, thereby ensuring that page visitors definitely view that story. Again some more opportunity for brand communication
- Fans always had the facility to communicate with the brand using the wall. But this was a one-to-all kind of communication. Now a fan can send a message to the page and do a one-on-one communication, almost like a “contact us” kind of communication.
- With the entire tab navigation now moving prominently to the masthead, and with a compressed drop-down list, a brand can create a complete website with these tabs (with individual tabs for about us, products, services, testimonials etc)
So now a brand can have its complete digital presence as well as its community.….both at one place. And as more and more of us depend on ‘referral’ based inputs for our decision making process, rather than ‘information’ driven inputs (that Google offers), we might see both consumers and brands finding the Facebook eco-system more conducive than the current Google dominated ecosystem.