Christmas in July: Planning for “Timeline’s First Christmas” and Other Facebook Firsts this Holiday Season


The Holidays are here! Yes, we know what date it is, but preparation is key. You don’t want your holiday Facebook strategy to be the digital equivalent of a hand-knit sweater from your Aunt Ruth. Do you?

We’ve been reflecting on the changes that Facebook has made over the past year and the best ways our clients can incorporate these changes into a holiday social strategy suitable for the new year.

Merry Christmas in July! Here’s our 2012 wish list.

Facebook Timeline

Brands will use their new Facebook real estate by displaying products that mean the most  to their customers. Retailers may want to sell the most of their newest, most expensive toys, but the smartest brands will save the most valuable spaces on their page (cover photo and pinned position) for the more accessible products.

The smartest brands will also develop a “story arc” for their users, rather than solitary posts. John Bell writes in his most recent blog post, “If we are trying to drive behavior, we had best use the most persuasive means to do so.  That means story. And likely today in the social age, it means stories that people can get involved in.”

Publish posts linked together by a common story, that persuade users to perform an action. The story does not need to be long, but it does need to be compelling.

New Canvas Apps for Timeline

With a one-click opt-in to complete sharing of social actions, brands will use the new app functions to allow customers to make and share virtual wish lists. Bonus points to the retailers who provide discounts and direct links to purchase. We also need to consider the various updates to Open Graph and Facebook’s desire to give power back to the creative.

New Premium and Marketplace Ad Products

No doubt, brands will be running campaigns around the holidays to put their products in the top of the consumer’s mind; we’ll be operating on higher-than-ever bids for Facebook ad space. Smartest brands will understand the value of reviews, and purchase engagement ads to promote third-party endorsements.

Oh, and let’s not forget about the logout page ad position. Serving as Facebook’s most expensive ad product, this real estate will definitely be reserved for brands with the biggest pockets. Smart retailers will purchase this space and create customized, capturing experiences and raise the bar for future advertisers. This may be the most interesting, unpredictable part of  Facebook’s 2012 holiday season. My prediction is that brands will hold the creative freedom.

Parent-Child Feature

Facebook is in the testing phase of a new parent-child feature for Places that allows corporations to manage all of their Places pages for local branches. This feature gives global businesses a localized presence. If you’re using Facebook as the Parent Page, you have full admin control over all the Children Places, including moderating content and editing page info. Parent Pages will also house a Locations tab app that let’s users search for the nearest location, using their Zip code and Children Pages will display a link to their Parent Page so corporations can gain grassroots Likes.

Check-ins at local Child Pages will be included in the total on the Parent Page to show global impact. Savvy retailers will recognize the value of the parent-child feature and give special offers to local residents. Possibly uploading store maps for those Black Friday enthusiasts, and giving a sneak peek into inventories of most prized deals. Cyber Monday may be on the rise, but some things will never change.

Social Commerce

Watch out, Pinterest! Rumor has it Facebook is gearing up to let consumers share their Wants and Purchases on their pages and timeline. The Want button would let consumers add their most desired products to a digital wish list, while Purchases would showcase users’ purchases and donations.  Let your friends decide if your purchases are naughty or nice.

What’s on your wish list?

Full list of contributors: Devin Zimmerman, Jessica Will, Brian Smith, Social@Ogilvy Atlanta

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Devin Zimmerman

Devin is passionate about the way you speak, digitally. She began her career on the 360° Digital Influence team at Ogilvy Public Relations in July 2010 as an intern, and is now a Digital Strategist in the Atlanta office. She’s worked with research and strategy for several different Ogilvy clients, including Intercontinental Hotel Group, NBC Interactive and BP. Devin has found her niche in research and metrics and specializes in utilizing tools to create a deep understanding of all things digital. Devin came to Ogilvy after several years of experience in the nonprofit sector where she led fundraising and communication efforts. She’s worked with the Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund and Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta. Devin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations from the University of Georgia where she also studied French and women’s studies. She also studied intercultural communications in Paris, France. Devin has mastered the art of social media with the Atlanta 360° Digital Influence team and continues to be a forward thinking trendspotter who stays on the peak of the social media wave. She believes that the digital world is always changing, and is dedicated to keeping her team at the front of the pack. Follow Devin on twitter: @devinz.