Last month we looked back at 2011’s top developments for Facebook marketers and social app developers. The list included Facebook Insights upgrades, new ad targeting options, and Sponsored Stories.
Now, let’s pull out the crystal ball and peer into Facebook’s future. Here are three developments we expect to see in 2012.
1. Timeline for brands. Perhaps the biggest story for Facebook users in 2011 was the new personal profile layout called Timeline.
When can brand marketers expect their brand pages to mimic personal profiles? Recent history indicates soon. Fan pages lost their tabs within months of personal profiles losing them too. It’s only a matter of time.
As Facebook told Mashable back when Timeline launched: “Consistency in both functionality and appearance is really important to Facebook, so we hope to make Pages more consistent with the new Timeline in the future.”
Here’s our projection of how Facebook Timeline for fan pages might look:
2. The Year of the Verb. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg referred to 2010 as the year of the noun. Brand marketers collected likes around their brand (the noun) by developing basic Facebook contest and sweepstakes apps and spending on ads.
As Zuckerberg says, 2012 will be the year of the verb. You don’t just like Old Navy. You want that sweater. You dont’ just like McDonald’s. You’re eating a Big Mac. We’ve already seen a glimpse of the future with music apps alerting friends that you don’t just like Bon Jovi, you’re listening to Livin’ on a Prayer right now.
In 2012, the pressure will be on marketers to develop social apps that drive verb-based engagement with their brands – on e-commerce sites, on mobile, and on Facebook itself.
3. Facebook as offsite ID. Facebook has worked for years to serve as the driver’s license of the Internet – verifying who you are, unmasking anonymous trolls, and harvesting lots and lots of user data off of Facebook.com.
Facebook OAuth offers a huge opportunity to brands with large content and e-commerce websites. Social apps with gamification functionality (like points, prizes, and leaderboards) can fuel loyalty programs that reward active buyers, commenters, and sharers.
And, of course, those social apps will have to feature the right verbs. In 2012, it won’t be enough to ask visitors to like a blog post or a sweater. Marketers and app developers will have to push visitors to argue with a post’s author, create a custom sweater, and more.
So, what Facebook marketing developments do you expect in 2011? Let us know in the comments!