Tab Engagement Is Down and It Doesn’t Matter

Last week Mashable published an article based on data from PageLever that Facebook tab engagement dropped 53% since the transition over to Timeline. The article cites two reasons for the drop: brands can no longer set custom landing tabs and tabs are less visible on the Timeline layout.

The study’s worth noticing because many brands have invested significant resources in developing tabs to supplement their Facebook Pages. Once again, Facebook changed the rules, leaving some marketers with reason to question their current approach to Facebook.

In reality, it gets brands to refocus or continue focusing on where Facebook wins. In many ways, tabs can be a distraction from where success really occurs on Facebook consistently.

It’s always been about the News Feed.

Often marketers consider their Facebook Pages to be their primary avenues for reaching their Facebook communities when in reality Pages are only a means to an end. That end is the News Feed. The majority of a brand’s Facebook community isn’t going to go to a Facebook Page, but they will go to their News Feed (they have to to use Facebook).

This means brands must focus on content (text, photos and videos) that receives engagement (Likes, comments, shares) to have a voice in that News Feed. That’s the mechanism Facebook has put in place to drive engagement with its users on a consistent basis, and that means it needs to be marketers’ focus.

Facebook Is and Never Was a Microsite.

Facebook can’t be viewed as a microsite, but that’s how many brands have approached it in the past. Facebook’s taken the ability to even come close to making Facebook a microsite away with the removal of default landing tabs. A Facebook Page is a branded community driven by content and conversation between members of that community, and no tab can make it anything else.

Tabs Should Enhance a ‘Facebook’ Experience.

Facebook tabs should be viewed as a way to deliver a deeper Facebook experience by driving another level of interactivity, but they shouldn’t be the main attraction. They can’t be. So they need to justify user attention and should fit into the Facebook ecosystem by being participatory, entertaining and worth sharing.

Marketers can then userFacebook posts, ads and organic virality built into their tabs to drive traffic and attention to them.

An Opportunity to Refocus

Tab engagement may be down, but the opportunity to use Facebook as a community engagement platform is as high as ever. Facebook has refocused marketers on the content they’re creating to display in user News Feeds. Now’s the time to focus on content if you aren’t already. Tabs still have a place, but they take a backseat most of the time.