It seems that 2011 is bringing big changes to the internet marketing world. It started with the big change Facebook made to its pages platform a month ago (which was a good change according to many), continued with the Google Algorithm update on February 24th that made a big impact in the SEO and Internet Marketing world (which many believe was a bad move by Google) and now Facebook is making another big change by “killing” FBML and moving to HTML5 iFrames.
Facebook officially announced that businesses and other page owners can now use iFrames to build custom tabs for their Facebook pages instead of Facebook’s Markup Language (FBML). Starting March 11, 2011, businesses will no longer be able to create new FBML apps and will no longer be able to add the static FBML app to their pages.
The moving from FBML to iFrames is a pretty big move and I suspect it would have big implications. An iframe is an inline frame, an HTML structure that allows another HTML document to be inserted into an HTML page.
Here is an image that shows the main difference between FBML and an iFrame:
There are many reasons for Facebook to make this change and here are just a few of them:
By using an iFrame canvas application the content of your application is located in an HTML document that is not hosted on Facebook’s servers. The external hosting that the iFrame is allowing is something many developers feel to be the main reason to move to iFrames.
The main advantage for using iframes for custom tabs and applications over FBML is that you will be able to use your own CSS which will help marketers and businesses to make custom tabs more consistent with brand guidelines and design. Basically, moving to iFrames removes all FBML design limitation.
Content within an iframe actually resides on your own site, but is displayed on your Facebook Page. Because the content is on your site, you can use your own web analytics and lead tracking software. By leveraging your lead tracking and web analytics you will be able to measure your Facebook marketing efforts and determine most effective tactics for your business.
For eCommerce companies, the move to iframes will help them to become better at selling through Facebook. It will be much easier to add product pages to the companies Facebook page and create calls-to-action to drive more sales directly through Facebook. I wonder how Facebook will make sure they will keep their cut from all these potential sales.
Good or Bad?
It seems to me from doing some research that moving from FBML to iFrames is a very good move by Facebook. Developers are very happy as this change allows them to use their regular tools for creating web apps. Tools such as HTML, CSS, PHP, ASP, Java, Flash and all kinds of other stuff you probably never heard of or know nothing about (you are not the only one).
It looks like this change is something many were waiting for and I am pretty sure that the long term implications are yet to be fully realized. There is no doubt that moving from FBML to iFrames will have significant and good implications. We will just need to wait and see what developers will be able to do in the near future.
You can be sure to see some major changes in your favorite Facebook pages and after reading this post you will know why those changes were made.
First, there is no need to panic about the upcoming change.
Second, If you want to learn how to update your page and make the most out of this update than I recommend you check out Pat Flynn’s, How to Create a Facebook Landing Page (HTML / iFrame Edition) post where you will find a detailed explanation on how to survive this update.
You can also check out MyTechOpinoin post, How-To: Add an iFrame to Your Facebook Page as a Tab, which they call as the unofficial guide to iFrame page tabs.
I am also certain that some products will pop out in the coming days surrounding this new update and the “panic” it may cause among those that have no idea about how to use iFrames and will have no idea how to update their pages and make full use of the new features.
If you know of any other resources that can help in understanding how to make full use of the new iFrames than please share it with everyone by commenting below.
To your success (and mine ),