Facebook Ads and the Internet Sales 20 Group

Facebook Addiction

Next week, I’ll be discussing Facebook advertising at the Internet Sales 20 Group in Los Angeles. Even before traveling to the event itself, I’ve already received a couple of questions about the topic itself. The most important one was, “What value can we get out of this if we don’t use Facebook advertising?”

My response was not what she expected:

“What value can you get out of Facebook without advertising?”

Of course, she shot back a handful of things that are important about Facebook that didn’t require advertising. My reply surprised her once again.

“Now take everything you just told me about the value in Facebook and multiply it by 100. That’s the difference between Facebook with and without advertising.”

It’s unfortunate but expected that Facebook has become a “pay to play” endeavor, but it’s the truth. I hate it, really, but that doesn’t change the facts. I’ll let you all know how it goes during the IS20Group.

Thumbs Up or Down? Facebook is Killing the Thumb.

New Facebook Like Button

The iconic thumb is dead (well, dying at least). Facebook has removed the thumb from most of their standard like and share buttons, replaced by the Facebook logo itself.

This is a smart move. The thumb was getting old. People are starting to see the Facebook logo pop up everywhere and the thumb was a little ambiguous to some. While the majority of people knew what it was and who it represented, now there’s no doubt what social activity you’re doing with a post when you click the button.

I like it. Do you?

Here’s the report from The Verge:

Aside from design, Facebook is also pairing its Like and Share buttons in hopes that websites will include both. Most people might not know the difference between them, but Bao emphasizes that there’s a distinction. The Like button instantly posts content to Facebook, while the Share button lets you add a comment before posting, or lets you share the content in a specific place like a private message. In Facebook’s tests, the new buttons got clicked more often than the old ones, possibly because they’re a bolder, more visible color. As the web gets flooded with more ways to share links, it turns out even one of the most popular websites in the world still needs to stand out.

Read More: The Verge

Facebook Wants to Track Your Cursor

Facebook Cursor Tracking

There are heat maps that show where people click. That’s not good enough for Facebook. They want to see where your cursor goes on the screen. This extreme level of data collection might not make much sense, but from a marketing perspective, it’s an important thing to know.

They already have a good idea about whether or not you’ve seen something on your screen, but they want to improve that as well. Right now, they present a virtually infinite number of posts on news feeds, but different people scroll different lengths as they progress down the page. They want to know exactly what made it into the visible part and what did not.

This will help them understand user interaction (or lack of interaction) to better serve content that is more relevant to a user. For example, if you’re presented three ads three different days by the same company and you did not interact with it at all, scrolling passed it or ignoring it, then they know you’re less likely to find it valuable and will start serving you ads from someone different. This is why you should never, ever waste a Facebook post. They all count.

Here’s what the Wall Street Journal reports:

Facebook Inc. is testing technology that would greatly expand the scope of data that it collects about its users, the head of the company’s analytics group said Tuesday.

The social network may start collecting data on minute user interactions with its content, such as how long a user’s cursor hovers over a certain part of its website, or whether a user’s newsfeed is visible at a given moment on the screen of his or her mobile phone, Facebook analytics chief Ken Rudin said Tuesday during an interview.

Read More: Wall Street Journal

Check Your Google+ Pages for the Custom URL Option

Google Plus Custom URL

If you’re like many who use Google+, you may not check your pages very often. With posting and monitoring tools out there, you might not log into your actual account very often. You should. Custom URLs are now available.

For individual users, you should be getting an email if you meet the minimum requirements. These “requirements” are very minimal. Have a profile longer than a month, have at least 10 followers, and have a profile picture. If you can’t meet these requirements, you’re not really trying.

For pages, you have to log into your page accounts themselves. An option will pop up at the top that looks like this:

Google Plus Custom URL Claiming

It’s very easy with pages. With profiles, you have to verify with a text message.

I actually like the way that Google is doing this. I was on a plane when Facebook made the custom URL option available. By the time I landed, my name had already been taken. This method makes it much easier as long as the name isn’t too common.

Businesses that don’t see the option but that meet the minimum requirements should be fine. Just wait and keep checking until it pops up. If your name is common, it appears as if Google is adding location indicators to the URLs to help differentiate.

Keep checking. More importantly, don’t give up on Google+ any time soon. They’re still pushing forward and they aren’t going to be denied just because so many naysayers call it a ghost town.

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The Most Comprehensive Blog Marketing Infographic You’ll See, Ever

Blog

The word “ever” is a bold word. It means that you’ll never see an infographic that’s this long, this comprehensive, ever the rest of your life. Normally, I would never make such a claim about anything. Babe Ruth’s 60-homer season was never supposed to be broken, either.

However, I can say with confidence that this one will not be beaten. It’s huge. It’s so huge that I had to split it up into four parts to have the images hosted on the site, then decided to just keep it hosted on the source site because it really does need to be seen in all of its glory. Hattip to Venchito Tampon Jr from Digital Philippines for bringing this to us.

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Infographic by Digital Philippines

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LinkedIn Tops a Quarter Billion Users

LinkedIn

The king of professional social networking reached a major milestone recently when they broke the 250 million user mark.

Since going public in March, 2011, LinkedIn has had an up and down road. This can be expected from any social media site that goes public (just ask Facebook) but LinkedIn has been relatively stable. They’ve had some missteps. They’ve faced challenges. They seem to come out on top the majority of the time.

Here’s what Mashable had to say about the milestone:

LinkedIn now has 259 million monthly active users, up from 238 million in the previous quarter and 187 million a year earlier.

The latest number, which came as part of LinkedIn’s third quarter earnings results, puts the professional social network firmly ahead of Twitter, which had 230 million active users last quarter according to its updated S-1. However, LinkedIn is still well behind Google+ (currently at 300 million) and Facebook (1.15 billion as of the June quarter).

Read More: Mashable

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BBM Early Access Launch Worked Perfectly

BBM

It might be too little, too late for BlackBerry, but their latest success (though it has been marred by some scandal) is another example of why exclusivity, even for a short time, is often the best marketing tool available. Their wildly popular instant messaging app, BBM, started off as an exclusive “early access only” app. Anyone could download it but it could only be used by the “special” people.

That lasted a week. Now, it’s open to everyone, making one wonder why early access was even necessary. It wasn’t, but that’s not the point. The reality is that people love to have things that others do not. It’s human nature. Every launch should be done with some variation of this theme. Launching to everyone isn’t as effective as launching to a select few and then releasing it to the world. It’s what really made Facebook the better option over MySpace in the early days and it will always work as a marketing technique.

In this case, BlackBerry allowed anyone to download the app, but only those who had requested information about it before were able to access it. That made them feel special, forward thinking, and in some ways mildly visionary. They were rewarded by getting something that millions of other people wanted. Now, after 10 million downloads, it’s open to all on iOS and Android. This all played out well for BlackBerry. Now, if they could only make their phones as effective…

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The Three Numbers to Watch on Facebook Posts

Tracking Your Facebook Posts

Understanding success or failure of marketing on Facebook can be broken down to the basic element: the post. Judging the effectiveness of your posts is clear and easy with Facebook Insights.

While the platform (finally) has a robust dashboard that allows users to dive deep into the effectiveness of their page, there are three numbers to monitor for each individual post that can help you know if you’re truly finding success.

 

Post Clicks

This is the easy one, but it’s also the one that needs a clear understanding. “Clicks” on a post are different depending on what type of post it is. Any link associated with the post counts as a click, so whether they click the name of the page, the date, the link if it’s a link post, the play button on a video, the image itself on an image post, or the “more” button to expose more of a status update, it counts.

This number has to be viewed in relation to other posts of its kind. For example, getting 50 clicks on a link to your website is more impressive than getting 60 clicks to an image because images get clicked a lot more often than links. Comparing how links perform relative to other links is the right way to look at these numbers.

 

Likes, Comments, and Shares

This is a no-brainer. Did they engage? Did they find enough entertainment or informative value in your post to do something publicly with it?

If you make statements, you should get likes from those who agree. If you ask questions, you should get comments from people replying. If it’s an image, are people sharing it? These are the pieces of information that you’ll want to track and improve upon when viewing this number.

 

Post Reach

This is the all-important number of the group. Regardless of how many people are interacting with your content or clicking through to your posts or links, are enough people seeing it? The previous two numbers have an influence on reach, but they are usually superseded by the advertising dollars spent.

If you’re advertising, the previous two numbers are still extremely important. Throwing money at bad posts will get you a short-term gain, but it isn’t sustainable. If your advertised posts are not able to get the positive algorithmic benefits of engagement and clicks, your dollars are going to start yielding less. Thankfully, the opposite is true as well.

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Over Half of the Internet is Posting Photos and Videos

Sharing Pictures on Smartphone

Everyone is a content producer or distributor nowadays, or so it seems. The real numbers are astounding; according to Pew, 54% of US internet users post their images or videos online.

The rise of smartphones has put a camera within reach all the time. The increase in the ease of posting on social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have made it as simple as the push of a couple of touchscreen buttons. This combination has led to the rise and there’s no reason to believe that it will stop any time soon.

According to The Next Web:

More than half of US adult Internet users (54 percent) post original photos or videos online that they themselves have created, while just under half (47 percent) take photos or videos that they have found online and repost them on sites designed for sharing content. These numbers are both up from 46 percent and 41 percent last year, respectively.

Read More: The Next Web

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Why Teens Love Snapchat

Teens on Snapchat

I know the feeling that many parents get when they find out their kids are using Snapchat. It doesn’t matter how much you trust them. The first question that comes to mind for those parents that know anything about the temporary messaging system is, “are they sexting?”

Thankfully for most parents, you’re children are not. As much as mainstream media would love for us to believe that the service is evil and part of the moral degradation that is gripping our country, the standard Snapchatting teen is using the service because they really don’t want their actions as teens to catch up to them as adults. It’s a mentality that makes Snapchat such a hot service and parents need to understand that in many ways Snapchat is a good thing.

Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of bad things that can happen on Snapchat and tons of reasons why parents should be concerned. Even if their children aren’t doing bad things on the service doesn’t mean that they’re not receiving bad things from their friends. It’s really no different from normal real-world interactions. Good things can happen and bad things can happen. It’s all about raising them to focus on the good things and to be able to handle the bad situations appropriately. It’s about parenting.

As was noted on Techcrunch today, kids see Facebook the way adults see LinkedIn:

Kids are in a petri dish, where their every social post can be scrutinized and used against them. That’s why disappearing media startup Snapchat is important, says its investor, Benchmark‘s Bill Gurley. Teens don’t want their daily lives permanently recorded. Gurley said at TechCrunch Disrupt Europe in Berlin that Snapchat board member Mitch Lasky’s kids tell him they view Facebook like adults view LinkedIn.

Read More: Techcrunch

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