Posts Tagged ‘facebook pages’

What Marketers Need to Know About Facebook’s Switch to iFrames

24 Feb

Jeff Ente is the director of Who’s Blogging What, a weekly e-newsletter that tracks over 1,100 social media, web marketing and user experience blogs to keep readers informed about key developments in their field and highlight useful but hard to find posts. Mashable readers can subscribe for free here.

Facebook has recently announced a lengthy list of significant design and feature changes for Pages.

One particular item is emerging with perhaps the greatest challenge and the highest potential for Page owners — there is a new way to present custom content on Facebook Pages. Tabs and FBML are going away. Get ready to friend iFrames. Here’s a basic rundown and some tips on how to make the switch.

Background: Starting With a Clean Canvas

frame image

iFrames are not new. An iFrame is a standard HTML tag that allows one page to be inserted into another. It would seem like a pretty obvious way for Facebook Page owners to customize content, and Facebook did experiment with it a while ago before discovering security issues. But as of February 10, iFrames are back. Facebook Markup Language (FBML), which has been the primary custom content creation tool, is being deprecated.

FBML is a subset of HTML that has additional Facebook specific functions. For example, the FBML tag <fb:visible-to-connection> requires a user to “Like” a page in order to see certain content. Existing FBML Pages will still be supported, but new ones cannot be created as of March 11. There is no immediate need to worry about existing FBML based Pages. In the software world, the time horizon for “deprecated” is often measured in years, if not decades. Still, you’ll want to continually delight your Facebook visitors, which means that there are iFrames in your future.

Learning to Love iFrames

iframe chart image

The switch to iFrames means that developers can create dynamic web apps using their standard tools (HTML, CSS, PHP, ASP, JavaScript, Flash, etc.), register them as a Facebook “Canvas” app and then embed the app on a custom Page via the iFrame. Some limited info about the Facebook user is available through the API.

This all sounds much more complicated than it really is, and in fact it is probably simpler than the old process. Most developers are celebrating. “iFrames allow marketers the creativity and flexibility similar to that afforded by webpages, while developers can streamline integration with one process for Facebook canvas apps, Facebook Connect website widgets, and now Facebook custom Pages,” says Vikas Jain, director of business development for Wildfire Interactive. If you can create something for the web, respect Facebook’s ToS, and (preferably) hold it to 520 pixels in width, you can now present it as custom Facebook Page content.

Great content is only the start. Page owners can now have a more direct relationship with their Facebook visitors. “Right now the implications are countless,” says Patrick Stokes, chief product officer for Buddy Media. “Conversion tracking is probably the first thing that marketers should be focusing on. iFrames mean that you will be able to recognize the visitor, track their source and note their IP address in order to present a customized response. These capabilities are much stronger through iFrames than they are in FBML”.

Mark Spangler, director of client services at Stuzo|Dachis Group is also expecting “exciting personalization options which should now appear seamless to the user: Customized landing views based on user location or referral source, dynamically updating the view for specific content, loading of Flash elements and interactive front-end features which formerly could not initially load on custom Pages.”

But don’t expect things to change overnight. This is a change that lies firmly in a divide between the aspirations of the marketing department and the freshly fueled capabilities of web developers. Companies that can bridge that gap wisely will likely see the best and fastest results. Involver’s VP of marketing Jascha Kaykas-Wolff is advising marketers to proceed slowly and plan carefully for the best results. “The switch from FBML to iFrames is not earth-shattering right now. However, in the future — and as Facebook evolves their ToS — iFrames will allow for a much more immersive experience consistent with your brand’s corporate experience. The evolution of Facebook becoming the replacement for the branded micro-site is well on its way.”

Using Facebook

frame image

The best and simplest news for Facebook marketers is that they may not have to try and pull someone away from Facebook to get them onto their site. There are now better options for accomplishing their sales or branding goals entirely within Facebook. “We’ve found, in doing Facebook ad testing, that Facebook ad respondents tend to convert better when they land on a page within Facebook,” observes Search Mojo CEO Janet Miller. “iFrames now opens up a whole new world of possibilities for what can be delivered, including e-commerce, directly through a Facebook Page.”

Some of the selling may first have to occur internally as social media initiatives frequently need to fight for budget. Linda Bustos, director of e-commerce research with Elastic Path Software, notes, “Any new web development poses a challenge for social media. C-level execs want to see ROI from social initiatives — something that has historically been hard to prove.” In this case, she points to the improved tracking capabilities and the ability to monitor activity via Google Analytics as a unique opportunity to measure social media costs versus benefits. Additionally, businesses should find it easier to convert existing web apps for Facebook use with iFrames.

The Endgame for iFrames?

The concept of businesses investing money to keep users on Facebook may seem like part of Facebook’s master plan. It probably is. Will Facebook Pages evolve into self-contained store fronts? “It will be interesting to see how Facebook handles this. One possibility is that they will require that all transactions be transacted in Credits, which is how they would get their cut,” speculates Buddy Media’s Patrick Stokes.

iFrames for Pages may be a win-win for all sides but it will require planning and some investment. As always with Facebook, you can’t ignore the huge user base, and you have to be open to new opportunities to interact. iFrames is very much a work in progress that warrants serious attention.

Disclosure: Buddy Media is a Mashable sponsor.

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More About: business, facebook, facebook pages, iframes, MARKETING

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Facebook Pages Upgrade to Business Class

11 Feb

Facebook Pages Upgrade to Business Class

This content from: Duct Tape Marketing

Yesterday Facebook rolled out what amounts to one of the biggest overhauls of the pages offering ever. I for one think the update is a major upgrade for businesses and brands using pages, but I know that app makers, custom page designers and people that have been using their personal page for business use are scrambling today.

Facebook pages upgrade

The new Facebook Pages look

You can find more about the upgrade for Facebook pages here. While all pages will be automatically upgraded by March 1st, page admins need to activate the upgrade as it is rolling out across the network. You can see the status of your pages here.

You might also want to grab the Pages Manual put out by Facebook.

The overarching change in my mind is what feels like a move to separate the business and personal profiles. While you still need to have a personal profile to create pages the two are no longer linked in the way that used to be. (More on that)

From an aesthetics point of view, I think the page looks cleaner as well.

And now for some of the most important feature updates.

iframe Tabs for pages

While most of the coverage and whining about the pages change will focus on the design, the most significant change may be the fact that developers can now create tabs using iframe instead of the Static FBML app or FBML code. (Although since the tabs moved to the left sidebar they aren’t really tabs anymore.)

There will be a ton of scrambling over this in the FB developer world as iframe allows for a great deal of flexibility for delivering content from your own pages and blogs as it basically goes out and grabs content designated in the frame. Most people may be familiar with this kind of code from embedding a YouTube video. It will also allow for things like lead capture and display of dynamic content without having to fumble around with all of Facebook’s mark-up.

It will however take a little bit of learning for the casual do it yourselfer, but I suspect services such as Faceit Pages or ShortStack to jump all over this. (More on this to come)

To get started you enable iframes by editing the Facebook Integration settings on the Developer App

iframe in Facebook tabs

Facebook further claims they are depreciating the FBML language and the static FBML app will go away in March, but all existing FBML will continue to work. Pretty big bummer for those folks that have written lots of FBML apps. (I would also go add a couple installations of the Static FBML app before March 10th to cover your bases as who knows what will happen down the road and you won’t be able to add it after that date.)

There are restrictions to iframe use and Facebook made some significant changes to Platform Policies, so make sure you understand these restrictions.

Look and feel

Tabs (or do we call them apps since they aren’t really tabs anymore) have moved from the top of the page to the left sidebar. This seems to be causing some of the loudest objections, but I think it’s just a matter of getting used to it and I prefer it.

  • The photo stream has move to the top in the ribbon fashion that was added to personal pages a few months ago. Again, I think I like this look and it certainly makes images a prominent feature. It appears that the default images are the covers for albums.
  • Page admins can now be publicly displayed on the page by selecting edit info > featured.
  • The profile picture size for Pages has been adjusted from 200 x 600 to 180 x 540.
  • The editing function is much more logical and housed in one place rather than hidden under several rocks as before.


One of the biggest business changes is the fact that you can use Facebook as a Page admin instead of just as your personal profile. So if I like another page I can choose to comment there as Duct Tape Marketing or as John Jantsch. If you admin several pages you can select who you want to comment as. I think this has major implications for brands. You can flip back and forth and choose your identity through the Account tab in the upper right corner.

You can now use your Page identity to interact with other pages

One point that has a lot of folks up in arms is that the wall posts are no longer served in chronological order. Under the everyone tab posts are being served up in a what Facebook calls “relevant” manner. Not sure about this one sticking around as Facebook is now using some algorithm to determine which posts go to the top and my guess is some page admins aren’t going to like the fact that they don’t control the order of the content on the Wall.

  • You can now choose in permissions > settings to get email (or sms) notifications when someone comments or posts on your wall or any of about 100 other things.
  • You can prefilter profanity by selected a setting in manage permissions.
  • You can choose up to five featured “likes” (other pages) to keep in rotation on your page.

As is often the case with Facebook changes some will stick, some will go, and some will evolve, but on the whole, I Like!


Facebook Pages Getting New Design and Checkins [SCREENSHOTS]

05 Dec

Facebook appears to be on the verge of launching a new design of its Fan Pages.

This change seems to include the site’s location-based Places checkin functionality, enabling “likers” of the page to check in to it.

Although Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is said to be giving a sneak peak at the new Profile Pages design on 60 Minutes tonight, it seems that more change is in store; you can already see the new Pages design in action on select pages, such as Ellen DeGeneres’s Fan Page. On Ellen’s page, you will notice a count for the number of checkins the Page has. According to Facebook spokesperson Meredith Chin, the Ellen Page is a merged page that includes the functionality for checkins available shortly after the feature launched a few months ago. Basically, your brand page will then take on the Places page designs, which appears to be the inspiration for the new profile pages that are to be released as well.

“As long as the address of the official page and the place page match, it should show you a prompt and ask you if you want to merge them,” Chin said.

You can see screenshots of the new design below.

Current Pages Design

The current Pages design, similar to Profile Pages, has the Page navigation tabs (Wall, Questions, Photos) at the top.

The New Pages With Checkins

The new Pages design includes checkins, profile information (which includes some basic information about the page and the Wall postings below it), a narrower left column and more.

New Tabs

The new Pages also feature the navigation tabs on the left-hand side.

Reviews: Facebook, pages

More About: facebook, facebook pages, Facebook Places, mark zuckerberg, social networking

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