Things are looking up for brand marketers on Facebook. Last year was a major one for new products and changes to enhance the user experience, occasionally at the expense of marketers. But beta tests and launches of new Page admin features indicate that Facebook is focusing on improving the experience for advertisers and community managers in 2011. A new advertising platform and tools for Page activity notifications and analytics could help improve moderation and promote engagement.
Facebook’s big announcement last week was Sponsored Stories, a new ad format that allows brands to highlight organic News Feed items, such as Likes and checkins, to increase the chances friends see these stories and take actions to connect with the brand.
It’s too early to know how well these will work, but the announcement suggests Facebook’s self-serve ad platform will be getting a much needed update in the next few weeks. The interface for creating ads is not as functional as it could be, and the ad preview is outdated since Facebook changed the layout of profiles. Facebook advertisers should look forward to improvements for both ad creation and reporting.
Page Insights have already gotten an upgrade this year, with admins now able to easily select a date range for data. There’s also a movement toward real-time impressions data for posts. Page admins will be served well if this is part of a greater push to provide more up-to-date analytics. Page Insights are often a day or two behind.
On the community management side, a major new feature will be the ability to receive notifications about fan activity on a page. (Some admins got a preview of this when a bug accidentally revealed prototype features in December.) Admins of popular pages know how hard it is to keep track of new comments and posts. Third-party apps don’t track all activity, but Facebook’s pending feature is likely to be more complete.
Other things Facebook has in the works include a top posts filter for pages and a new way to promote page updates in the latest Facebook Messages product.
On Friday, the company redesigned the interface for creating new pages, further signaling that Facebook is putting more thought toward the experience of people who use Facebook for business.
2011 could be the year admins have been waiting for.