How Does Facebook’s New Timeline Impact Engagement?

There have been reports released regarding the impact of Timeline on brands’ Engagement. Timeline does not impact content within the News Feed, where a vast majority of Engagement takes place. These studies seem misleading, and confusing, so we investigated the issue with our own data using a significant sample size of over 3,500 pages.

Timeline Median Engagement/Fan Change

We examined over 3,500 Pages to figure out the impact Timeline has had on Engagement. To increase accuracy, we examined when each Page converted to Timeline between 2/29 – 3/26, and used this time frame to analyze Eng/Fan. For any Page that converted between this time frame, we used the switch date until 3/26 to compile “Converted” data. We created a control group of Pages that did not switch over the same time period. We compared this data against the same group of Page’s performance from 1/1 – 2/28 (the “before” period).

What We Found
Regardless of switching to Timeline or not, the typical Page experienced a decrease in Eng/Fan. Pages that switched to Timeline experienced a slightly smaller loss (-11.57% vs -10.12%). This slight variation is most likely due to the larger brands that received excessive promotion during this same time period. We believe this is not an indicator of a long term trend.

We examined the percentage of Pages that experienced an increase or decrease of Eng/Fan over this same time period. Both the control group (No Conversion) and the Pages that converted to Timeline experienced nearly identical ratios. Roughly 60% of the Pages analyzed experienced a Decrease, while roughly 40% experienced an increase. It should be noted that converted Pages did experience slightly better results again, however, the difference is minimal.

How many Pages Experienced A Decrease/Increase?

This data seems to imply that the Timeline has no direct impact on Engagement for brands. As a vast majority of all Engagement takes place within the News Feed, this data is not surprising as Timeline has no direct impact on content within the News Feed.

It appears that a majority of Pages experiencing abnormal changes in Engagement/Fan is due to the publicity that has occurred since the implementation of Timeline. Many high profile blogs are discussing the changes, how to use it, and which brands are using Timeline best.

What Does This Mean Going Forward?
Brand managers can rest assured that they are not experiencing significant losses when switching to Timeline. Nearly all Engagement takes place on the News Feed, not on the Page itself. Regardless of how Facebook changes the appearance of a Page, this should rarely have a significant impact on Engagement. This also suggests that Brand Managers must continue to focus on optimizing Engagement within the News Feed as usual.