boy with a worried face
boy with a worried face

Facebook’s Default Landing Page Is Going Away on Timeline. Now What?

As Facebook Pages are converted to the new Timeline format, you may be worried about the impact this change will have on your Facebook marketing.

In particular, as of March 30, the ability to set a default landing page or “welcome tab” is going away.

This means that new visitors to your Page will no longer be directed to a special page that you set up to welcome them. Instead, they will go directly to the Timeline wall.

Not surprisingly, this has caused a lot of concern and confusion.

Does it mean that the practice of “Like-Gating,” or creating custom pages to offer something special to new fans in exchange for a “Like” of your Page, is now obsolete?

Let’s take a closer look at what the switch to Timeline and the removal of the default landing page really means for your Page.

The default landing page didn’t work like you thought it did

Sure, in theory, it was great to have a default page to welcome new visitors and entice them with an exclusive offer for “Liking” your Page. But in reality, “set it and forget it” is no way to manage your Facebook Page.

“Like-Gating” isn’t going away. But now there’s even more emphasis put on the importance of promoting your “Like-Gated” offer specifically.

In order to see real growth, you need to be actively driving people to the landing page via email, Facebook posts, and promotion on other social networks. This promotion is the key to gaining new “Likes” for your Page and having people act on your offer.

For example, Sugaree’s Bakery promoted a coupon they created on a Facebook landing page with Constant Contact. By sending people a link that led directly to their “Like-Gated” offer, the bakery gained more than 200 new “Likes” over the course of four days.

BellaSoleil.com, a Tuscan home-décor retailer, received 75 new “Likes” within the first two hours after it sent out an email promoting its “Reveal a Deal” social campaign. The promotion of this social campaign also led to nearly $10,000 in revenue.

Do you think these results would have been as good if the businesses relied solely on the default landing page without promoting it to their networks?

It’s all about engaging your existing network

You already know how important word of mouth referrals are to your business. When you create and promote exclusive offers to your Facebook fans, you’re really doing two things:

1. You’re providing them with what they want. Our research shows that the top three reasons people “Like” a Page on Facebook are for promotions and discounts, exclusive content, and continued support of an organization. When these things are relevant to your existing or potential fans, the more likely they are to respond and stick around for more.

2. You’re increasing your potential to reach your next customers. As people engage and interact with the landing pages you create, their friends see these interactions and the offers you’re providing. And it’s likely that your fans’ friends would want to take you up on the offer as well.

Again, the reason behind your landing pages gaining any traction is promotion — from you to your existing connections, and from those connections to their networks. And the framework on which Facebook is built makes it really easy to reach new customers with these social campaigns.

But can’t you just run promotions on your own website? Why bother with Facebook landing pages?

Absolutely, you can run promotions away from Facebook. But it works better to start new relationships and build on existing relationships where your people are already spending their time. Eventually, you’ll look to bring people to your own turf, such as your blog, website, or email list. Each of these tools feed one another.

But that is a gradual process that happens over time. The easier you make it for people to opt in and share content on Facebook without having to go off-site, the better your chances of people taking the action you’d like.

Timeline is built with engagement and relationships in mind

Even though the default landing page is going away, Timeline has some real advantages.

The new Page layout is more visually engaging, you can “pin” (Facebook’s word for “lock”) select posts at the top of your Page (hopefully, the ones that lead to your “Like-Gated” landing pages), and you can also set the tab links (including their images) visitors see on the upper portion of your Page (you can include text with these tabs to entice visitors to click through to your special offer as well.)

And of course, Timeline allows you to enter milestones about your business or organization to better tell your story and offer additional ways for your fans to deepen their ties with you.

example of tabs on Facebook's Timeline for Pages

The bottom line

Timeline actually encourages YOU to take action and engage with your current and potential fans.

And taking away the default landing page is a great motivator to use Facebook in a more focused way. It means you can’t just sit back and wait for things to happen. You need to be driving engagement around your Facebook Page and the landing pages you create. And we have plenty of tips to help you do just that.

What are your thoughts on Facebook retiring the default landing page? Do you think it will encourage businesses to be more focused on how they are using the social network? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Comments:

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  1. I found this article especially timely and relevant to help me get the several pages I am managing up to snuff before the end of the month.

    One question that is specifically directed towards Constant Contact. I have added these blogs to my Safe Sender list on my work e-mail, but these posts still go directly to my spam folder. Any tips on where to look next to rectify this?

    Reply
    • Dave Charest •

      Glad you found this post helpful Kathleen.

      In regards to your question, right now the subscription is managed through WordPress, just to check is it this address you’ve added to your safe senders list: donotreply@wordpress.com?

      Reply
  2. Josh–Great timely information, as always. Since you can’t beat them (Facebook is projected to hit 1 billion by August!), the best course of action is to optimize the new Timeline features. In the future, we plan to use the “pin” feature to drive people to our like-gated offer of a free 30-minute Constant Contact consultation. (www.facebook.com/DudleyandNunez)

    Reply
  3. I have a band and have had a perfectly good website that has served me well for many years. Now Facebook has come along and I’ve had to join them (much to my dismay) and it has done everything it can to “foil” me in trying to promote my band. For example, when I want to send out an invitation to an event (in our case, it’s a gig), I can’t simply send an invitation to all my “friends”. That would be too easy. Instead, I have to sit there and sift through hundreds of names and decide who to invite. The geographical location of many of the “friends” is unknown to me so I”m not even sure who to invite in some cases. I have a Page for my band but for some reason I can’t send invitations from my page. Thanks, Facebook. I don’t even have the capacity to see a list of my friends from my page! It’s just incredibly stupid. And when you want to find out things about what Facebook can and cannot do, it’s like some oracle that nobody really understands. You can’t get accurate answers about Facebook. So I’m not surprised that they’ve decided to turn my profile (which i only have because Facebook forced me to have a profile in order to have a Page) into a timeline. Well what if I don’t feel like sharing photos from my life to people that barely know me? And why should I have to “offer” some kind of deal in order to get people to friend our band? If they need some kind of enticement to friend me, then forget it. It should be based on our music and whether or not they like it– and not because of some stupid “offer” or coupon!
    The fact that Facebook has now changed the landing page completes the stupidity that Facebook shows towards bands and the like. I don’t want to have to spend time “blogging” and saying other things that nobody wants to hear. It’s just too silly for words and as Betty White said, “What a waste of time.” In short, it looks like Facebook has done it again—found a way to keep me on my computer, wasting my time with trivia that has nothing to do with my passion in life, which is music. Thanks, Facebook.

    Reply
    • what a true summary! thanx

      Reply
    • Josh Mendelsohn •

      Cynthia,

      Thanks for the comment. I totally understand how the Facebook changes can be frustrating. I actually think because you are already producing great content in the form of audio and video and promoting your upcoming shows that Timeline may make it easier for the people who come to your page to see what’s coming up next because you can highlight key events making them appear larger and highlight a post that contains a video. It will also let you feature an awesome photo of your band at the top of the page. And for most users, the Facebook experiencde will be the same. If they’ve liked you and you post great content they’ll be able to see and interact with it in their newsfeed. Hope that helps!

      Josh

      Reply
    • Dave Charest •

      Cynthia,

      I totally get your frustration with Facebook. You may want to explore Facebook ads with your gigs. You could easily target your fans based on location. You can also target the friends of your fans. It’s worth checking out. And as you mention Facebook is not the best method for reaching everyone when you want to reach them which is why we encourage people to build email lists.

      As for offers, you’re right people should “Like” your band’s Page because the like the music, but I would suggest you could create an exclusive video or download for your fans as a thank you for showing their support. One of top reasons people “Like” Pages is for exclusive content, doing it in this manner makes it about your art and your fans relationship to it, not about an offer or coupon.

      Reply
    • Carol C. •

      My sentiments exactly!

      Reply
    • The next phase in dumbing down the human race. This next step, I’m afraid, takes more time away from the important issues of life… enjoying nature, our children, and our “real” friends–live and in person. We are already spending way too much time on these digital networking sites which we willingly and freely give up “all” our private information. It wasn’t enough, now we’ll give them more…in a timeline format all in the name entrepreneurship. I know I can’t stop it, but I don’t have to like it or participate.

      Reply
  4. I just signed up for Constant Contact’s Social Campaignes for $19.99 for the next 6 months. Have I wasted my non-profit’s money??? I have a landing page promotion now that is going until 4/15. From the sound of it, I will not be able to extend my current offer as obviously to new visitors to my page. Seeing a small icon for a promotion is not the same as getting a relatively full page promotion. I may be speaking prematurely, but I find what I just read discouraging. As a non-profit, we cannot generally offer the same enticements other companies can. I already felt that, given we previously paid $70 a month for emails and surveys. that $20 a month more for “social campaigns” ($19.99 a month at “1/2 price”) seemed a large price to pay for the ability to add a landing page. And now, just a meer month later, it’s changed? This might not be your doing, but it is what you sold. I would like the possiblity of a refund after I can see what I might be able to do on Facebook in the future. If my Facebook offer is to be primarily promoted to only my Constant Contact email list, that is a limited amount of people; the landing page was to catch others. From my non-profit, they have already had two enticements to become Facebook fans (which worked pretty well). If they haven’t become fans yet, chances are they will not. I too would like to optimize the new Timeline feature, but at how much per month given that visibility appears to be greatly diminished?

    Reply
    • Heidi •

      Yes, I would like more information about this too, as we signed up for social campaigns.

      Reply
      • I would like to know more as well, we are still in our free trial of the Social Campaigns and I am glad that I haven’t committed to anything yet

        Reply
    • Josh Mendelsohn •

      Suzanne,

      Thanks for your comment and I totally understand your frustration with some of these Facebook changes and their impact. The good news is that the default landing page is just one element is just one element of a successful social campaign and we believe that pinning a post, customizing the tab, and promoting your landing page’s offer through a stream of posts will work just as effectively as before. And if it doesn’t, we have a 30 day money back guarantee that you can definitely take advantage of. Industry data says that only about 10% of traffic actually comes from your landing page being the default and with some of the product enhancements coming in the next few weeks I think and I hope the product will be of great value to you.

      Josh Mendelsohn

      Reply
  5. Kristy Bentley •

    I too am frustrated with the constant changes and restraints; it is quite time consuming for me. I also agree with Cynthia – I want to have a business page, but not a public profile with my personal info and pics. She is right; it takes away from time that can be better spent elsewhere and it is difficult if not impossible for a small business to hire a FT social media moderator.
    Then again FB is marketing and that’s what they are doing with their own product they have successfully hooked the world on it and now it’s ‘WHAT??? You don’t have a FB page???’ if you indeed do not have one.
    I think FB can be a great tool, but it definitely has its downfalls. The Timeline? Give me a break. The layout of the page is beautiful – but who wants the world to research your personal life that you or someone else posted?
    Then add to that the frustration of parenting the social media / FB generation. Good grief.
    I think though, it goes along typically with the internet. There is good and bad in everything, and it’s what we choose to do with the tools at hand that will show what fruit is produced. And to go a point further, there is a choice to be made – go along with the flow or don’t. There are benefits as well as disadvantages to both options – but at least there is still an option.

    Reply
  6. A.Diana •

    Any advice on “Like-gating” for nonprofits who don’t have any special-offer type products?

    Reply
    • Josh Mendelsohn •

      Good question, thanks. Driving fan engagement and growth using social campaigns can be done whether you have a product or service or cause. For non-profits it might make sense to offer an exclusive video from your executive director or people you have helped. Or to like-gate information about upcoming events or a donation drive. Anything of value that you might want to offer to your supporters.

      Hope that helps!

      Josh

      Reply
    • Dave Charest •

      Hi A.

      Looks like you have a bunch a resources you could use as “Like-gated” content on this section of your website: http://www.reachoutandreadnyc.org/parents/parents.htm

      You’d just need to re-purpose that stuff into a different form, i.e. a download, video, or you could post the info on the reveal page in Facebook. You could run a social campaigns around each of those assets individually.

      Just some ideas for you. Hope that helps.

      Reply
  7. I agree with Kristy that these constant changes are too time consuming. We are a very small non-profit with barely enough staff to survive. It is impossible to spend time re-creating pages over and over. And it is discouraging that every service Constant Contact offers to assist us carries an additional fee.

    Reply
    • Marie,

      I totally understand your frustration with these changes, the time they take up, and the incremental cost of social media marketing tools.

      The good news is that there are tons of cool things you can do with your Page for free and certainly feel free to take advantage of our free educational resources like webinars, guides, and seminars. In addition you may want to check out our free social media monitoring tool, nutshell mail, to help you keep tabs on everything happening on your page. (www.nutshellmail.com)

      Josh

      Reply
  8. While I agree, that driving fans to your facebook page a great idea, I mean it is the modern day word-of-mouth marketing which is so powerful, I do not agree that driving them with discounts is the way to go. While people may like you for your discounts, you really want to build loyalty with guests who like you for much deeper reasons. You can read about this here: http://www.bmcdstudio.com/musings.php

    Reply
    • Josh Mendelsohn •

      Barbara,

      I totally agree. Offering discounts is one great way to build a fan base, but by no means the only one. You want to provide exclusive and valuable content that gets people to interact with you and share it. And there are lots of great examples of doing that without offering a discount.

      Josh

      Reply
  9. I’ll admit. Sometimes I get SO annoyed with all the changes Facebook makes.

    I tell myself they always seem to come right when I master the previous system, but what i really mean is they always seem to come right when I master the system enough to be lazy. ;-)

    I’m excited for the changes because it gives me a chance to reacquaint myself with the platform, experiment and remember why I do digital media marketing in the first place, because I love the conversation!

    Thanks for the great article!

    Cheers,

    Tivi

    Reply
  10. Thanks so much for this post. While the new cover image was neat, I was wondering what would happen to other features. I will continue reading more about this!

    Reply
  11. [...] FULL article here: Facebook New Timeline Feature Photo credit: bigstockphoto.com Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInEmailPrintLike this:LikeBe the [...]

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  12. Every time I get accustomed to one thing it’s changed. To me, it was fine the way it was.

    Reply
  13. Theresa Rice •

    I’m new to this. This is just confussing me more and just feel this is alot of work for me. I’m alone running my business. Before there were 3 of us now it’s just me. Trying to set-up a web-site which is hard enough for someone my age. But, thank you.

    Reply
  14. working with Facebook is getting irritating with Facebook making some changes now and then. i have a few clients who have already paid me some advance and asked me to build an attractive landing page. with this now the landing page is almost useless.

    Reply
  15. Chris •

    As a marketing professional, while I find staying up to date on the changes, not only on FB but also Constant Contact and virtually any other social media offering, it’s my job and I invest the time to do it. What is interesting is that once upon a time, business of all sizes would either hire a professional to handle things like ads, commercials, incentives, etc., and not think a thing of it. Now, because they perceive social media as something “free” and that everyone can do, the value of the marketing professional, either internal or external is diminished in their eyes. Perhaps if there was a recognition that most likely you would not have taped your own commercial or set the type in your own newspaper ad, and remember that FB as a social networking tool is different than a social marketing tool, there might be less angst over the changes because your agency or social networking manager would be taking care of all of that.

    Reply
  16. Maleus •

    I just want to see the “What’s on your mind?” text box when I log in….. Is that too freaking much to ask for?!

    Reply
  17. [...] Facebook’s Default Landing Page Is Going Away On Timeline. Now What? (blogs.constantcontact.com) [...]

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  18. [...] Contact just published this very helpful blog post on the effects of the Facebook landing page going away. Reading this will help you understand [...]

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  19. When people come to my business page, I actually don’t want to hide content from them. I would rather they land on my timeline and see a nice header across the top. I don’t want to force anybody to like us to see our content anyway. However, if one were to have a special offer– a free ebook download– the Fan Gate enabled tabs would be a nice way to exchange goodwill for goodwill. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

    Thank you for your post sir.

    Reply
  20. One of the most frustrating things for me is that some website builders still offer the possibility of creating a Facebook Landing Page, despite the fact that they no longer work on the Timelines. Their software is often free but it just makes the whole thing even more frustrating!

    Reply
    • Dave Charest •

      Facebook landing pages still do work with Timeline. The only the they’ve taken away is the ability to set a default welcome page. The key is that you need to promote those pages by letting people know about them. You should also make sure is one of the visible tabs under the cover photo and you should also pin a post that links to the page to the top of your page.

      Reply
  21. I see other pages have a default landing page still, so it is still possible. I’m trying to find out how. Anyone know?

    Reply
    • Hi Rob, it just might be the old pages that were not yet refreshed to new Timeline format. Now it is completely not possible to set a custom landing page

      Reply
  22. I am confused and annoyed at the possible rule against using my page to run a contest for my next senior rep. I am a photographer and up to this point STRUGGLED to get my posts seen. I began a new junior campaign to reach high school juniors, modeling the idea after America’s Next Top Model and it is a hit. I am finally getting a ton of traffic but I read it is against FB policy to allow voting. This is crap. They want me to pay $7 to promote my post yet I find a way to do it myself and it is against the rules???

    Reply

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