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Timeline v Old Layout: Ski Resort Page Performance Head-to-Head

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Over the weekend, Timeline went live for all fan pages. The new layout features a large cover photo, two columns to hold your and your fans posts, and a handful of features like pinning and the ability retroactively add content to tell your brand’s story. The day before the deadline arrived, I made a list of 30 hold-outs – the resorts who had kept the old layout all month long – to compare against 30 resorts who had adopted Timeline within the first couple days it was available.

The Goods
So, this data comes from 60 resorts total: 30 hold-outs, 30 early adopters. With so many resorts closing (something that greatly influences growth and engagement) toward the end of March, I took a two week period after I found 30 resorts with Timeline (March 3 – March 16) and compared those two weeks to the last two weeks of February before Timeline was announced (February 16 – February 29).

First up, is growth. As you can see, it’s not a matter of how much a resort grew, but as the season wraps up, it’s a matter of how quickly growth slowed.

The difference between the two, especially with the sample size and other variables, makes me think that Timeline had little or no effect on growth. What’s interesting to note is that the pages that didn’t adopt timeline, even after two weeks, were still growing slightly faster than those that had adopted timeline even though their growth slowed more than the adopters.

As for TAP (speaking of which, I’ve seen some major blogs use PTAT for “people talking about this” – TAP or “talking about percentage” takes that number one step further by dividing “talking about this” by “total fans” to get a percentage that allows us to compare any two pages, regardless of total fans), the clear winners in this regard are those that adopted Timeline.

The big question is why? My guess is this.

Part of adopting timeline is building out content from your resort’s history, adding and trying new cover photos, etc. In addition to a resort’s typical posting pace, they starting adding new profile pictures, cover photos, and past events. More content gave more opportunities for people to interact with that brand. From what I’ve seen, that’s the biggest change.

Sorta Like…
Adopting Timeline is like taking a weight loss class across town but having to walk 3 miles each way to get there. Is the class helping you lose weight or did the walk it took to get there make the difference? It’s really hard to tell.

Part of the pitch Facebook gave about Timeline suggested it could increase engagement. Maybe it helped get all that new content more exposure, maybe not. It’s tough for me to swallow that wall engagement increased that when only 14% of posts are viewed on a page’s wall

Going Forward
So, Timeline doesn’t seem to have much of an impact, if any, on page growth which is to be expected. Engagement increased as resorts built out their Timelines and added cover photos. If all posts were viewed on a page’s Timeline, this would be huge.

Unfortunately, the period of adoption was only a month long. The window for comparisons is now closed so let’s take the strengths of Timeline and move forward, doing the best with what they’ve given us.

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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