As we inched toward the home stretch 2 years ago, I wrote a post about creating “Facebook tabs” for our clients - and how that was considered at the time, forward-thinking.
The last line of that post was: “So goes the story of technology in political communications today - every cycle changes dramatically.”
As we enter the home stretch for 2012, I wanted to do a followup. Social tactics and creative tactics for campaigns on Facebook have indeed radically changed. And in some ways, it’s as much a step back as it is a step forward. Since the full implementation of Facebook Timeline, large, eye-catching photos have dominated our news feeds. When it comes to political content, President Obama’s campaign team spearheaded creating these graphics that other campaigns have attempted to adopt throughout just the past couple of months.
We wanted to make sure we stayed up on the trend. Above are examples of some graphics we’ve created for our clients. Through this process, we noticed a couple of things:
1) The Tumblrfication of Facebook.
Big photos that take up real estate on feeds did not originate on Facebook - it started on Tumblr. Magazines began putting their covers and spreads on Tumblr long before Facebook Timeline emulated the format.
2) The Instagramifcation of Facebook.
Instagram’s filters and photo dimensions have also heavily impacted Facebook. We are now used to filtered photos as a society, and almost all of the memorable political graphics people have seen on Facebook have applied filters. The square shape of Instagram photos and Facebook’s square settings have also pushed the “squaring” of all graphics.
3) Less Coding, More Visuals.
When Facebook tabs were created, at least a two-man team was needed: a designer and a developer. Facebook apps and iframes also required the hand of coders to make sure they functioned well. The reliance on sharing and liking in Facebook Timeline has returned Facebook’s utility to design, not interactivity.
We are at the end of the day visual people. Interactivity might not have a place in the plethora of content bombarding a person’s news feed by the minute. We’ve returned to the simple reliance of design to catch one’s eye and impact a message.
4) This Study: 50% of Consumers Value a Brand’s Facebook Page more than Its Website.
There is no reason to panic, web designers (I am one). People will always need websites - which are pure, controlled experiences from the organization/campaign itself. But the results of this study show that a Facebook page has become priority no. 2 after creating a website.
Finally, below is the graphic that started it all for us. It’s Elizabeth Warren’s quote from Netroots Nation over the summer. It received more than 8,000 shares on Facebook, found itself onto the back of campaign shirts, and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. Who says strong, emotional visuals can’t influence a campaign?
For us, there is so much more to observe. Facebook’s new promotion of video content housed in Facebook itself gives the video a much bigger screenshot preview. Will that cause more people to stop emphasizing YouTube or Vimeo posts and post to Facebook directly? It’s already starting as many of you may have noticed. We’ll see how far that strategy goes.
I will end this post with the same thing I said last time: So goes the story of technology in political communications today - every cycle changes dramatically.
See you in 2 years.