Facebook revamped the pages businesses can set up on its online social network, providing a new way for brands to promote their goods to Facebook's 845 million users.
The new feature lets businesses, as well as celebrities and bands, create self-contained mini websites within Facebook using the Timeline format Facebook introduced for its users' profile pages earlier this year.
The introduction of Timeline for businesses comes ahead of a big event Facebook is holding in New York City on Wednesday to introduce various new services for marketers.
The world's No. 1 social network is ramping up efforts to attract the attention and budgets of large companies and advertisers ahead of its initial public offering.
Earlier this month, Facebook announced plans to raise $5 billion (3.1 billion pounds) in an IPO expected to value the company at between $75 billion and $100 billion.
Facebook generated $3.7 billion in revenue last year, with 85 percent of it from advertising.
Businesses can set up pages on Facebook for free, but the idea is that companies whose pages experience a lot of customer interest might be interested in advertising on the service as well.
Macy's Inc, Coca-Cola and Walmart Stores Inc were among the first businesses to roll out new versions of their Facebook pages, which gives companies more control to design splashy, media-rich pages. A chronological timeline on the right-hand side of the page lets businesses create customized pages for past years that incorporate images of memorabilia and milestones in a company's history.
(Reporting By Alexei Oreskovic; editing by Mark Porter)