Guide to the New Facebook Page Layout for March, 2012 – Including Fan Gates

Huge changes are here with the new Facebook page layout in 2012, we have until March 30 to adjust.

Top five tips for page admins below!


1. Facebook Fan Gates are going away!

  • Direct from Facebook: “You can’t change the default landing view to another view or app, but you can link people directly to a particular view or app on your Page.”
  • What this means: you can no longer have non-likers dropped onto your fan gate by default, assuming they come from with Facebook.  Boo!  The app will still exist, but not as a default landing page.
  • Tip: If you’re linking people from your website or elsewhere to your Facebook page, you can hardcode the destination URL to drop people onto the fan gate page!  That will leverage some of the existing capability, but it will also push existing likers to the “wrong” spot, as you’d like them to get to your wall, so keep that in mind as a tradeoff.    To work around that, you can update your fan gate to say “If you’re already a fan, visit our wall” with an arrow to the wall link.

2. Cover Photo

  • Direct from Facebook: “Cover photos are 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall. If you upload an image that’s smaller than these dimensions, it will get stretched to this larger size. The image you upload must be at least 399 pixels wide.”
  • What this means:  start right away on designing an image that captures the nature of your brand and causes an instant desire to like your page.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: a call to action is against Facebook’s terms and conditions, so this technique is risky, not advisable for large brands.  To recover from not having a fan gate, aka Facebook page reveal, some may be tempted to use the cover photo as a fan gate replacement by having it point to the like button. (Note: Example text and arrow was added by me, it’s not a literal example from their page).   Don’t do this unless you run a small page, even then it’s risky.


3.  Pinned Posts

  • Direct from Facebook: “A post a Page admin pins to the top of their Page will remain there for 7 days. After that, it’ll return to the date it was posted on the Page’s timeline. Posts from people who like a Page are not eligible to be pinned posts. Page admins can only pin posts created by the Page.”
  • What this means: This is great! As an admin you can control what goes at the top of your page.  Be sure to pin something at least once a week.  You’ll see a small orange flag on pinned posts.
  • Also, you can widen a post: Hover over a story and click on the star to make it wider. This is great to highlight your best pics.
  • How to pin a post: Click the pencil icon in the upper-right corner of your Page’s post. Then select “Pin to Top.


 4. Page Apps

  • The “Photos” app will be required on the left, but you can select any of these three on the right: Likes, Videos, Events, Map and a Page’s custom apps.
  • What this means:  This is a huge win for page owners (and app developers) who want to highlight custom apps.  Put your key apps or content here.  This gives a lot more incentive to develop a custom app.   ALSO, update your App icons and names to describe the app’s purpose.  As you can see with Ford below, it’s totally unclear what the apps do.
  • How to set this up: click the drop-down icon to the right of the tiles, click the ‘+’ button to import your custom apps, and then hover over them and click the pencil to move them around.



5. Private Messages from Fans

  • Fans can now send you private messages.  This is huge for being able to handle a side discussion, especially one that you don’t want show to all fans, such as a customer service issue.
  • What this means: Once you’ve published with your new format, make sure you announce this new feature to fans.
  • It’s on by default, but if you want to turn this off, go to ‘Manage’ >> ‘Edit Page’ >> ‘Manage Permissions,’ and unchecking the ‘Messages’ box.

Private Messages in New Facebook Page Layout 2012

More Info



Those are my top tips to get started today.  I’ll continue to update this guide to the new Facebook page layout – a reminder that it’s required by March 30, 2012.

Please leave questions below as comments and I’ll work to answer them soon.


P.S.  For more online marketing tips, find me on Twitter @JonnySack.заказать кредитную карту приватбанка


#1 Rocky on 03.01.12 at 1:28 am

Thanks for the update. It is so sad FB is getting rid of landing pages. My landing page has vastly increased the frequency and volume of likes on my page.

#2 Jonathan on 03.01.12 at 7:53 pm

Rocky – Yeah, there was a significant investment in fan gates that going to be scrapped, which is tough. Plus the conversion rates will suffer. On the plus side, I think this change will benefit users in the end, which will keep Facebook a vital destination and thus help us preserve all the work we’ve put into building our Facebook pages and fan base. So in the short term it’s bad, but in the long run it’s probably good.

#3 Lorraine McNulty on 03.01.12 at 3:19 am

Great summary.
One question: How do you get the custom app image to fill the box (111px x 74px) when the icon area in the custom app is only 75px by 75px. Any ideas?

#4 Lorraine McNulty on 03.01.12 at 3:41 am

It’s ok I just found the answer – great summary though 🙂

#5 Jonathan on 03.01.12 at 7:49 pm

Thanks for asking, Lorraine. What answer did you come up with?

#6 Melissa on 03.01.12 at 4:32 am

Hey, a great and very informative post that I found after I implemented this new functionality (probably too soon!) but your explanation was very helpful. I will be creating a post that will link to you site in hopes to also assist my readers 🙂

#7 Jonathan on 03.01.12 at 7:49 pm

Thanks much Melissa, be sure to post a link to your post here.

#8 Leslie on 03.01.12 at 10:46 pm

Thanks for the info! I tried to click on the pencil to move our custom apps around to no avail. It appears to me that Photos, Likes and Map take three of your four visible spots. Am I missing how to move them??

#9 Jonathan on 03.03.12 at 3:48 am

Two ways:
1. On the new version, click on the pencil then select “swap position with.”

2. If you still have the old page format available: Go back to that and change the icon order by clicking at the bottom of the list on “more” then “edit” then you can move them with the little icons on the right. Then if you go to the new version, it should reflect that.

#10 Natasha on 03.04.12 at 6:42 am

Thanks for this great post! Implemented and I am sharing this with my friends via a new blog post soon.

#11 Natasha on 03.06.12 at 9:29 am

Hi Jonathan,

Here is a link to the article I’ve written geared towards helping actors in particular, which features your fantastic post:

Would love any feedback when you get a chance, as it’s my first tutorial and “how-to” post!


#12 pete on 03.07.12 at 12:11 am

Thanks for this!

Its been a worrying few days learning that the amazing fan gate was getting scrapped.

#13 Jonathan on 03.15.12 at 1:08 am

Glad to help!

#14 Leslie on 03.07.12 at 4:26 am

I didn’t see that swap position option at all but I do now. THANKS!!

#15 Julie on 03.09.12 at 1:12 am

Our fan page is very interactive, with lot’s of fan posts encouraged. Is there a way to let those posts stay in the timeline, rather than relegated to a small “Posts by others” box on the side?

#16 Jonathan on 03.15.12 at 1:50 am

Yep, that will definitely take some getting used to. I assume you have this selected right: go to Admin Panel> Manage > Edit Page > Post Visibility > and make sure “Allowed on Page” is selected.

So long as that’s the case, I have seen some historical posts remain on the timeline for the previous month. Also, people who visit the page will see wall posts by their friends highlighted, probably in the top right position. It’s a way that they can show activity by friends and customize the page for each person.

Personally, I like the cleaner view where people can’t spam up my page as much, but it does have a downside in that wall posts and tags by likers won’t be as prominent, so they’ll have less incentive, and therefore there will be fewer posts and less referral traffic. 🙁 But we’ll see.

#17 Charles on 03.09.12 at 3:05 pm

Does the no more call to action policy on the main page also extend to a ‘coupon’ page that could be a custom iFrame app? Something labeled ‘Facebook Coupons’ that when gone to will have the unliked/liked status with the ‘click to get blah blah’ text in it? Is that strategy now completely nuked?

#18 Jonathan on 03.15.12 at 1:51 am

You can have calls to action in your custom apps till you’re blue in the face. For a low, low price, buy now!… 🙂