Timeline image

Facebook has built a giant ad business around companies being able to create custom and engaging content on their landing tabs. If you visit just about any serious brand on Facebook, they have invested in getting a custom tab. Then spent money on Facebook ads to get people to visit it. Now why would Facebook shoot that in the foot? What they will do is find a way to make these tabs more powerful and easier for their ad buyers to create.

Custom tabs and applications on Facebook now only have 520 pixels of width. When you compare that to websites, that is just over half the width of the average page. The current fan pages skinny space limits the power of many marketers to get their materials above the fold on most screens. So what is one of the easiest ways for Facebook to solve this common problem? Make the tabs and applications space wider on fan pages. They have even already started testing it right in front of us, and no one is noticing.

Old Fan Page Tabs

The Wall Street Journal released their beta version of their Facebook app a few months back. This application takes full advantage of the new Open Graph, and it shares like a beast. Currently the application is on a Facebook Canvas Page, but if you look at the size, it fits pretty well with the specs of timeline. As you know Facebook wants its platform to have a universal feel, and nothing about the 520 pixel wide tabs feel like timeline. So over the next few months as Facebook rolls out it news fan page timeline, you will also notice the change in how Facebook applications display on fan pages.

WSJ Application

With wider custom Facebook tabs, marketers can get more information in front of consumers. This will in turn help Facebook grow its ad revenue, because fewer people will leave their platform to visit websites. If your tab can hold all the information of your website and take advantage of open graph, you have found a new way to convert customers and spread the word. Any item clicked on your new wide tab is shared live on their news ticker. Say they decide to make a purchase or download, it is automatically shared in their news feed, and they never even clicked share. This is what the Open Graph is all about, frictionless sharing.

WSJ Timeline with Custom Tab

This all helps Facebook to expand what they are truly trying to do. They want to make a platform that is both enjoyable for normal users, but also effective for business owners buying ads. At times you have to remember Facebook is testing new ad ideas all the time. By making Facebook tabs wider, they are only making it easier to advertise more products on their platform. Havent you heard the hype about them changing premium ads? BTW Premium ads cost a minimum of $25,000 a month.

So for everyone who is worried about losing their custom Facebook tab, I say “Don’t worry, just order your next one wider”


Dan Mcgaw