Data Shows Visits to Custom Tabs on FB Pages Cut in Half By Timeline (-53%)

, Co-Founder, PageLever

July 5, 2012

Are fans still visiting custom tabs after the Timeline redesign?

With the introduction of Timeline,  two things happened that affect tabs. First, you can no longer set a custom tab as the default landing tab–timeline is always the default. Second, tabs are much more difficult to find in the new layout.

We measured tabviews over the past several months to see the impact of the changes:

graph thumbnailsize Data Shows Visits to Custom Tabs on FB Pages Cut in Half By Timeline ( 53%)


(Click image for full-size)


Data Shows Visits to Custom Tabs on FB Pages Cut in Half By Timeline (-53%)

Facebook began allowing Pages to opt-in to Timeline on February 28th. On March 30th, all the remaining Pages were switched over. You can clearly see the downward trend of tab views start during the opt-in period, then drop precipitously once Timeline rolled out to all pages. It’s a 53% drop from pre-timeline to post-timeline.

Now that Timeline has arrived, custom tabs are a waste of time for FB marketers.

Without the option to set a custom tab as the default view, most users will never see a tab again. We’ve heard from several users they didn’t even realize tabs still existed with Timeline.

Facebook Users explore Facebook pages more on weekends than weekdays.

See the consistent two-day spikes in the data? Those are weekends. We unexpectedly learned that people explore Facebook pages deeper on weekends than weekdays because they view more tabs per visit. It doesn’t mean more people visit your Facebook page on weekends, just that weekend visitors explore more than weekday visitors. I’ll research this more in another blog post.


I wanted to measure views of custom tabs, so I excluded views of the wall and timeline tabs. I also normalized the data to be tabviews-per-visit to verify that the decline wasn’t due to people visiting Facebook pages less frequently, but rather to visiting custom tabs less frequently.

So the actual formula is: (Daily Total Tabviews -Wall, -Timeline)/(Daily Unique Pageviews). The tabview counts come directly from Facebook’s Insights API.

I averaged this data across 500+ pages that had over 10,000+ fans.

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