Brand Channeler

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Timeline offers design and content opportunities for brands

by Cone Communications

Facebook Timeline launched for brands yesterday. By March 30, it will become the de facto Facebook experience for all brand Pages, affecting both design and content. Before you make the switch on your Page, consider the following:

Design: Timeline affects three key design elements.

  • Cover Image: Your new Timeline-enabled Facebook Page will now feature an 851x399 pixel cover image, with a 125x125 pixel thumbnail inserted in the lower left frame. This will mean that your brand Page can now illustrate a bigger piece of brand creative. Consider a logo, piece of photo imagery, custom art or a collage. (You should not use this space to run promotions, as Facebook “frowns” upon this.) The smaller thumbnail will remain the main icon people see in your posts, so it’s best to keep it simple and on-brand.
  • Tab Size: At this point, we’ve all gotten used to working in a 520 pixel Web width for Facebook tabs, but with Timeline you now have up to an 810 pixel width. This will allow your Facebook tab to look and feel more like a traditional website and will make it far easier to iFrame an existing site into your Facebook tab. If you have existing Facebook tabs in the 520 pixel width, a re-design is likely in your future. For now your imagery will just look like it’s floating in a large white frame, and in a few months, it will look a bit outdated. If you’re launching a new tab or Facebook campaign in the months of March or April, we’d recommend designing directly into the new 810 pixel width and switching your brand to Timeline as a strategic part of your campaign launch.
  • Available Tabs: You are now limited to 12 total tabs, which include custom tabs, photo tabs, likes and any other combination available to you. With a limit on the number of tabs, you will have to be more mindful of the number of custom tab experiences available to consumers.

Ben & Jerry's Facebook Page (Cone Communications Client)

Ben & Jerry's (client) Facebook Page featuring Timeline


Content: Timeline offers a compelling way to add new content, which can be illustrated by uploading an image, video or text and assigning a timeframe and location to the experience. Content concepts include:

  • Telling your brand’s heritage or origin story
  • Highlighting the evolution of your logo, leadership or brand
  • Talking about product innovation over the years
  • Talking about cause or CR goals and commitments
  • Featuring celebrities that are associated with your product
  • Featuring old advertising creative

Content Manipulation for Design: Timeline provides new content-management features for Page admins, including “pinning” and “starring.”

  • Pinning: You can now “pin” important content to the top of the Timeline, ensuring visitors to your Facebook Page will see the pinned content first. You can pin any form of content and display it in the top spot in the left-hand column of the Timeline.
  • Starring: “Starring” content is a lower-priority way of highlighting content. The content remains at the existing spot in the Timeline but is given more space by expanding the post across two columns. This is especially powerful when sharing photos, as the image is displayed in a larger format and can be used to highlight significant events or milestones.

Other Considerations

Admin Panels: When you log into your brand Page as an admin, you will now see a dashboard or “Admin Panel.” This provides a quick summary of Page activity, new likes, private messages and a link to Insights.

  • Messages: Previously, consumers who wanted to engage with your brand on Facebook had no other option than to post a comment on your wall and hope you respond. With the new Timeline, users will have an option to send a private message to the Page admins, which will show up in the “Messages” area of the Admin Panel. You can then continue the private conversation in an interface that mirrors the messaging area between two regular Facebook users. Messages cannot be sent from brands to users without the user initiating contact first.
  • Advertising: With a new focus on Timeline content for brand Pages, expect to see more “Sponsored Stories” being pushed out in Facebook advertising.

As with all things Facebook, this is a moving target, but there are some immediate content and design implications that you should be aware of and plan for today.


--Mike Hollywood, Director of New Media, @mikehollywood

--Alex Nicholson, Director of New Media, @Alex20001




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