In recent years, Facebook has moved away from tab applications as the way brands run campaigns on its platform, like contests and sweepstakes, and focused on creating valuable consumer experiences with highly shareable, personal content. In March of this year, the new Facebook pages redesign put focus back on News Feed content, where EdgeRank determines the quality of content that users experience. Marketers are finding that people are less likely to visit a page’s timeline, and would rather engage with a brand by seeing content in their News Feed. And with organic reach continuing to decline, there’s more focus on ads or promoted content within the news feed as Facebook looks to monetize its platform. Apps are not a part of Facebook’s strategy and are being slowly deprecated and de-emphasized. Over the next couple of months, Adobe plans to follow Facebook's lead by deprecating tab applications and refocusing on features and functionality that enhance the user experience in the News Feed.  

Our decision has been informed by the following updates from Facebook on its direction and focus:

  • On March 10 2014, Facebook introduced a new design for Facebook Pages, signaling that they are moving away from tab applications. According to Facebook, the new streamlined Page design is meant to make it easier for people to "find the tools they use most."
  • Although we are seeing a heavy trend toward, mobile compatibility in the social space, Facebook never delivered on making tab applications mobile-friendly on their platform, and has backed away from roadmap plans to do so.
  • On November 5 2014, Facebook stopped allowing “like-gates," which require a user to “like” a brand page before entering that page’s contest, promotion, or giveaway. Incentivizing users to “like” your page via a tab application is no longer allowed.
  • Tab applications are no longer displayed as images beneath the cover photo on pages, there is now a text link to your first tab application- and the rest are in the More drop-down list.
  • Facebook now allows users to “like” a page directly from a Promoted Post, de-emphasizing this functionality on tab applications and refocusing on their Ad’s product.

Additionally, in August of 2013 Facebook updated several of its Facebook Page Terms to allow certain types of engagement in the News Feed that were previously only allowed through Canvas Pages and Tab Applications:

  • Facebook dropped its guideline that promotions must be administered within Tab Applications on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or a Tab Application. Facebook now allows businesses to host a promotion on their Timeline.
  • Facebook dropped its guideline that prohibited users from entering a promotion by using Facebook features, such as “liking” or commenting on a post. Marketers can now encourage people to enter a promotion by liking or commenting on a post.
  • Facebook now allows businesses to contact promotion winners through a status update or a direct message.

Deprecation timeline

We are currently targeting our April release to retire tab applications from the Adobe Social product. This includes the removal of all apps-related metrics and data. If you have any apps currently deployed to your Facebook page, our recommendation is to start working on a plan for the migration of those apps to another platform. Additionally, for any apps you have built, we recommend that you download your app’s historical data.

If you have any questions, reach out to your Social Account Manager.

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