Facebook is in the testing phase (or early stages of a rollout—it’s not saying which) for a new layout and features for business pages that could affect your organization’s social media presence.
In typical Facebook fashion, the changes feel a bit like social media behemoth is incorporating the best of other platforms to make Facebook a one-stop shop: Search (Google), reviews/local (Yelp), real time search (Twitter), mobile first.
When you make $5 billion a quarter, you can do what you want.
Here’s what to expect when the changes roll out platform-wide:
The call-to-action button has changed from white to blue and will live just under the cover photo. These changes will help the CTA button pop more and might make it easier for the customer to take action.
CTA buttons for Facebook pages were announced at the end of 2014. Options included Shop Now, Contact Us, Book Now and Watch Video. The buttons were intended to make it easier for brand managers to boost customer acquisition or drive purchasing, but they’ve been underused.
The change to the call-to-action button is a nod to one of the biggest problems for social media marketers: It’s traditionally been hard to prove ROI on social media. Providing the opportunity to get people to shop from social media could be Facebook’s nod to helping marketers demonstrate their effectiveness and impact on the bottom line.
The layout now features more white space, and the cover photo and profile picture are separated. This layout change may give more flexibility when designing a cover photo—though this is the death knell to those playful integrated profile pic and cover photo layouts.
The left side of the new page layout features a sticky menu, which means your profile picture and tabs will stay on the page even when you scroll. The right side features the about box, page videos, custom tabs icons and current events. The middle column includes cover image, weekly insights and then timeline posts. On mobile devices, the tabs are listed across the top for ease of navigation and increased visibility.
A search feature appears on the right-hand column and enables users to search content specific to a brand’s page. Instead of scrolling for ages to find an old post, the search button is now clearly visible. The search feature enables you to search and index your own content, in addition to checking out what your competitors have posted.
The new search feature provides historical insight about topics, events or products. Search results are also improving and expanding to include posts from potential influencers. Predicted search is improving to identify search items and connect users with real-time global events.
When viewing a page with the new layout, ads from other brands will no longer be featured on the right-hand side. This change is in its early stages, so ads might be added down the road.
With advertising seeing the highest click-through rates in the newsfeed, where users spend most of their time, it’s no surprise right-hand column ad units are no longer featured.
The overall look of the layout is much cleaner, with greater focus on accessibility for the user. Hopefully, this not only will enable your audience to click around quicker, but also will steer them to your call-to-action buttons. The design is cleaner on desktop, but most important, it’s cleaner on mobile screens, where there are 989 million monthly active users.
Eleanor Pierce is the digital content manager at Lindsay, Stone & Briggs. A version of this article originally appeared on the LSB Blog.