On February 29, Facebook is hosting fMC—its first event specifically for marketers. The invitation-only event lasts from 12-6 pm and will include keynotes from Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, Chris Cox and David Fischer. Chief among the activities, it is widely assumed, will be the rollout of Timeline brand pages.
Currently the feature is only available for user profiles, but Ad Age reports that the brand pages will launch in beta and then be released to more marketers in stages. It will be a significant change for brands—especially in conjunction with last month’s expansion of Open Graph, allowing apps to custom create their own action verbs on Facebook.
A Timeline for brands also would level the playing field between early Facebook adopters and new-to-the-party companies as the page would no longer date from when it was created, Ad Age noted.
Now content can be used to illustrate its entire corporate history even in pre-Facebook times.
Practical Ecommerce predicted as much earlier this year, noting that the combination of the recently-expanded Open Graph and Timeline could give a boost to e-commerce.
"Timeline apps may generate more sales of merchandise, because they rely on Facebook users to do the sharing, rather than merchants."
Another Way to Spend that Facebook Ad Budget
These new tools also come as companies are clearly stepping up their Facebook ad budgets. Facebook ad budgets grew 109% month-over-month in Q4 2011, according to February 2012 data from Kenshoo, which analyzed 100 billion ads delivered on Facebook worldwide by its customers through Kenshoo Social.
And while the company notes that some of the growth can be attributed to seasonality, the increase in global Facebook ad budgets compared well to search channels like Google, Bing, and Yahoo which, in aggregate, saw paid search ad budget growth of 27% globally on a quarter-over-quarter basis.
Using Open Graphs to create custom apps to be used on a brand’s Timeline, could be a key area of investment as ROI figures start to come in. One company, Wanttt.com, has been offering the Want button for use with Facebook, for the past 6 months.
For retailers–200+ ecommerce sites so far–it allows shoppers to auto post to timeline and the ticker. A beta test earlier this year with SharperImage.com showed promising returns, the company said. "Wanters" convert at a 5x higher rate and have an average order value of 25% more than retailers without the Want button.