What the heck is FBML you ask? It's not important now really, but it was Facebook's own markup language like HTML. It was also a giant pain in the hind for marketers. Just because you don't program/script/develop doesn't mean you should ignore this post.
Small Business Owners Should Know What This Means
There are a four major takeaways from this announcement for small business owners and marketers:
Setting Up Facebook Tabs and Apps Is Easier
The FBML arena was much more complicated than it had to be. Because of this, it took longer to make more complicated custom tabs and apps. This means that development time is shorter, and you really just need a web developer to make custom tabs now. It's not necessary to find an FBML developer.
Design Control Is Greatly Improved
You no longer have to take 'No' as an answer to customizing the look of your custom tab or app. Because an iframe is simply a window in a website that shows your website through the window, you have complete control over the colors/branding/and features of your custom tab now.
Tracking Usage and Analytics
One of the primary downers of the FBML era was that it was very difficult to track usage with your standard analytics package like Google Analytics. Because the iFrame content is hosted on your website, you can easily add tracking code.
Conversion Features Are Easy To Include Now
Have an ecommerce site? Maybe a site that features several opt-in or registration sections? No problem! Start selling/registering/opting-in on Facebook. This move to iFrames makes it a piece of cake!
So, What Is An I-Frame?
As I mentioned above, an iframe is essentially a window on a website page that shows another website through it:
As you can see above, this iFrame on the Facebook.com site, shows our homepage through it. Obviously, to make this iFrame more effective, we would not simply show the homepage, but rather a custom designed page on the website that fits correctly in the iframe space and is more usable.
Functionality That A Small Biz Can Re-Purpose On Facebook
Now that it's much easier to setup custom tabs and apps on Facebook, you should take a look at your website's functionality and see what makes sense to make available on Facebook. Here are some examples:
- Email Opt-In
- Employment Info and Application Form
- Items for sale through ecommerce
- Dealer or Rep or Product Locator
- Videos and Media
- Customer Service/Contact Form
There are clearly limitless more options, but this list is a good start. What are your thoughts on this change?