The Most Valuable 258,000 Pixels You Own

16 Dec

There’s a battle about to break out and it will rage behind your back. Actually just behind your head shot, on Facebook.

If you haven’t made the jump yet to the new timeline format profile, what are you waiting for? Aside from the visual difference between the old profile and new photo-intensive design, the new layout represents a fundamental shift in how you project yourself.

Until now Facebook has been about a snapshot in time. What are you doing now? What did you snap a picture of last night? What topics/pages do you like? Sure they were archived, but really the past was lost. There was no context.

Welcome to the new profile

Now you have a canvas on which to tell a much richer story. And it starts with a big 310X833 pixel cover image that goes behind your head shot. For now, most people will put a pretty picture there, maybe from a vacation or some idealized scene. (If you want to get creative here’s a handy guide.) But that won’t last.

No, it is only a matter of time until the brands you love will recognize that you’ve got something they want. You’ve got a billboard where you can profess your passions, and they want in.

Back in the early part of last decade we in advertising and marketing talked about how teens and young adult used brands like a compass and a canvass. A compass in that the brands they wore and loved identified them as part of a group. The canvas was their unique way that they put the pieces together, a personalization within a broader group.

Now think about Facebook, and you can see that theory come to life on steroids. We brand ourselves with the pages we like, the content we share, the way we word our status. And now, we proclaim our personal brand with a big banner at the top of our profile.

So it’s only natural that my runner friends will want to borrow from the brand imagery of Nike, or ‘tweens will start building cover images with tons of Twilight influences. I guess I’ll have to look for lots of imagery that exude sunbeams and happiness.

Savvy brands will make it easy for their advocates by creating entertaining experiences that deliver a custom canvas that users can make their own with just a click. And no sooner will that go up, than another brand will start chipping away at the user’s satisfaction until finally they create a new cover.

And so it goes, on and on. For now the timeline template is only for users. I can’t, for example, implement it on my branded page. But agencies are already playing with designs based on what we’ve seen so far.

Sure, we’ll still make apps and trendy digital toys for people to play with because those allow us to tap into user’s social network. But the holy ground, the mountaintop, will be the canvass.

So are you ready? How much are those pixels worth?