Facebook is adding lots of new friends in Washington, D.C., if the company’s fourth quarter report is any indication.
Marking a Facebook first, the company’s lobbying budget broke through the million dollar ceiling last year based on the fourth quarter reports filed recently.
While the 2011 lobbying figures will be reported later this month, estimates put the last year’s lobbying budget at $1.35 million.
Papers filed with the U.S. government Friday reveal that Facebook spent $440,000 on lobbying in the last quarter of 2011, up 30 percent from the same period a year ago and a whopping 85 percent increase over the $38,117 spent in 2009.
Facebook’s fourth-quarter lobbying budget was the most the company spent in any reporting period last year.
The company’s lobbying is still dwarfed by the amount spent by other major Internet and technology companies.
In comparison, Google spent $3.76 million in the last quarter of 2011.
The increased outreach to policymakers appears to be an industry trend.
Most tech companies — actually most companies and industry trade associations — saw a marked increase in their lobbying budgets in the fourth quarter of 2011 over the same period last year.
One reason could be more confidence in the economy from the business community.
Employment figures have been slowly ticking upward. And Congress is generally more active in the year before a presidential election.
It will be interesting to see if Facebook’s higher federal lobbying budget holds steady or continues to grow in 2012. While the federal government — Congress, the White House and various agencies — will continue to consider core issues such as privacy, the real action will be in the presidential and congressional races, as well as local and state races.
So, how did Facebook spend its cool million in the nation’s capital?
For one, Facebook may have laid the groundwork in 2011 for their recent victory against the .
And the social network reached a much publicized deal with the Federal Trade Commission in the fourth quarter.
The social network expanded its Washington D.C. office. Additional staff generally portends more activity, and Facebook has been active on several fronts in 2011. The company participated in the recent Hackathon on Capitol Hill and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg met with lawmakers on small business issues.
Facebook’s filing states that its representatives met with members of Congress as well as federal agencies, including the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, the U.S. Commerce Department, The U.S. Department of State to name a few.
Topping the list of issues Facebook lobbied on were , online security and safety. Specifically, the company names the Child Online Protection Act, mobile Internet access issues, the Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights and the Do-Not-Track Online Act, as well as the Irish Data Protection Act.
The company also educated lawmakers on the platform itself. Members of Congress are using Facebook in different ways –from buying to conducting town halls – -as a vehicle to boost engagement with constituents and expand their support.
Facebook is still a relatively new platform on Capitol Hill, and the social network plans to educate lawmakers about how best to use the technology.
We asked a Facebook representative for a statement and will update this post when we receive it.
Do you think Facebook should be spending increased amounts of money on federal lobbying?
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While most of the attacks between Arab and Israeli hackers seem to have quietened down, a pro-Israeli hacker who goes by the name Hannibal has released log-in details of what he says are 100,000 Arab Facebook accounts.
Last night, Hannibal warned the public that he would be sharing unspecified new details soon, and today the log-in details emerged via his Pastebin account.
From testing a number of the log-in details, all of which belonged to Malaysian Facebook users, a few of the password combinations were correct, but not all of them. Some accounts had been locked by Facebook because they had been previously accessed from unrecognized devices or locations.
He accompanied the log-in details with a message calling all Israeli hackers to bring an end to their attacks on Arab sites and accounts. The post, exactly as it appears on Pastebin, reads:
I post this 100k accounts list because i want show the my huge strength. The Arabs should learn a lesson and know not to mess with me.
Jewish people named me as the general of Israel’s hackers.
I have about 30 million email accounts, 10 million bank accounts, 4 million cerdit cards of Arabs from all over the world
I received thousands of emails from Arabs who are begging me to stop publishing their bills and hurt them.
Because I noticed that lately the Arab hackers are gone, I declare cyber war termination.
Israeli hackers, stop! Cyber war stops until further notice I will post again if they attack the State of Israel.
If they appear again, I again come to save Israel. Trust me. I’ll always be around.
Hannibal’s attack is the latest in a long string of attacks by both Israeli and Saudi Arabian hackers, in which targeted websites have included those belonging to the official Saudi Arabian, United Arab Emirates and Israeli stock exchange.
The year may be just a few weeks young, but already the stakes have increased with a number of cyber attacks taking place across the Middle East. You can keep up with how things have developed since January 3 with our comprehensive timeline of events.
Featured page owners get subscribe button – Fans can now more easily subscribe to Facebook page admins who make themselves visible as “Page Owners.” Facebook added a subscribe button to this featured section of pages on Friday. This only applies to page owners who have enabled subscribers.
Zuckerberg weighs in on SOPA - Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in on the Stop Online Piracy Act on Wednesday, writing in a Facebook post, “We can’t let poorly thought out laws get in the way of the Internet’s development.”
Facebook fifth in video viewers – ComScore reported this week that Facebook was the fifth most popular destination for online video behind Google, VEVO, Yahoo and Viacom. This is among the 182 million Internet users in the U.S. who watched online videos in December. Last year Facebook placed sixth, but generally has not seen steady growth in this category. [Image via ZDnet]
Employees increasingly use social media at work - Palo Alto Networks found a 300 percent increase in social networking on corporate networks this year. Specifically, bandwidth consumption for Facebook apps, social plugins and posting increased from 5 percent to 25 percent since October 2010.
Update on Koobface virus - Facebook security team posted an about the Koobface virus this week, noting that after three years the company is been able to keep the virus off the platform, but is still seeking those responsible.
Next gen iPad includes Facebook code - iMore is reporting that buried within the iOS 5.1 beta 3 code for iPad3 are “ongoing references to Facebook.”
MTV uses Facebook for scholarships - MTV has partnered with the College Board and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to run a campaign called My College Dollars, which guides students to college scholarships for which they can apply.
Despite two average debate performances in South Carolina and news this week that he actually lost the Iowa caucus, is surpassing the other Republican presidential hopefuls in every other Facebook metric, from user interactions to overall fan growth and user engagement.
These details appear in a new infographic from Socialbakers at the bottom of this post.
Using its social media analytics platform, Socialbakers says it reviewed 10 million Facebook pages and places, and billions of individual user interactions to compile the results. If the election were held today, Socialbakers concludes that Romney would win based on Facebook user sentiment alone.
Here are some of the highlights from Socialbakers’ report:Facebook User Interactions
Throughout the past 30 days, Romney had the greatest number of interactions* by Facebook users to his posts, 60,000 more than Paul, four times more than Santorum and more than three times than Gingrich.Fan Count
Romney has maintained the greatest number of Facebook fans since July 2011. Ron Paul trails in number of fans, followed by Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.Fan Growth
Since September 2011, Romney has maintained his fan count lead by sixfold when compared to Newt Gingrich’s fan count and approximately two times that of Paul.Talking About This
Romney has nearly five times the number of people talking about him on Facebook when compared with Gingrich, and fives times the number of people talking about him when compared to Santorum.
Do you think Facebook metrics will accurately predict the winner of the GOP presidential primaries?
Last year we wrote about the lawsuit brought by Timelines.com against Facebook, suggesting that Facebook was infringing on its trademark of the term “Timeline”. Facebook struck back and counter-sued, hoping that Timelines.com would be stripped of its copyrights saying that “Timeline” is a generic term.
A PaidContent report shows that the two companies are aiming to do battle in court sometime in 2013, but a settlement could be reached before then:
The parties have discussed settlement of this matter and submit that an early settlement conference with a magistrate judge may facilitate settlement of this matter.
Here’s the status report document that was filed today, stating that both companies would like to proceed with a jury trial:
Timelines Status Report
var docstoc_docid="111196081";var docstoc_title="Timelines Status Report";var docstoc_urltitle="Timelines Status Report";
Do you think that the word “timeline” should be copyrighted by anyone, or is it a generic term that any company should be able to use?
Let us know in the comments!
Newt Gingrich got a boost in new Facebook Likes since Rick Perry endorsed him Thursday, according to our .
Rick Santorum is also on an upswing ahead of the South Carolina primary on Saturday. Mitt Romney, who has fallen in the polls, had erratic growth on Facebook this week. Ron Paul has once again passed him in new Likes per day.
Perry and Jon Huntsman both dropped out of the race this week and have since lost fans on their pages.
Paul was the most mentioned GOP presidential candidate among Facebook users this week, according to information from Facebook and Politico. The companies partnered to survey voters before the South Carolina primary and track mentions in user posts across the social network.
Image credit: Politico
Facebook and Vevo have met at least twice and the most recent talks took place earlier this month about bringing the popular music video service to the social network’s platform and sharing ad revenue, according unnamed CNET sources.
Scoring a deal with Vevo would be a huge win for Facebook over Google. The social network drives a lot of traffic for videos around the web, but is not a video destination itself. Vevo is an industry-backed website for music videos that are also syndicated on YouTube. According to CNET, the discussions are very preliminary — Vevo’s contract with Google is not up for another year yet – but could result in an ad revenue sharing model similar to what Google and Vevo have now. In November 2011, the NY Post reported that Vevo was looking to renegotiate its deal with Google, which since 2009 has given the company 35 percent of its revenue from the ads played before Vevo’s videos on YouTube.
According to ComScore, Google was the top online video content property in December with 157.2 million unique viewers, mostly on YouTube.com. Vevo ranked second with 53.7 million, and Facebook was fifth overall with 42 million. Vevo, though, is YouTube’s top channel overall, with over 53 billion views generating major revenue for both companies.
What Google could lose, Facebook stands to gain and possibly improve upon. Although YouTube is far and away the most popular video site in terms of unique viewers and time spent per viewer, it has not capitalized on its opportunity as a social network. There is little incentive for users to log in to YouTube and the site is filled with spam and hate from anonymous commenters. Google is likely looking for ways to incorporate Google+ to address these issues, but it’s interesting to see how Vevo is already using Facebook on its standalone site.
Vevo has Open Graph integration, which means that when users watch videos on Vevo.com, the activity shows in Ticker, Timeline and News Feed. When people watch the same videos on Vevo’s YouTube channel, the activity is not shared on Facebook. Vevo.com also uses the Facebook comments plugin, which surfaces comments from a user’s friends first and helps demote spam. Vevo.com similarly includes Like buttons that YouTube does not.
The social network currently offers video ads as a premium unit on the homepage, but because the units are small and opt-in, they are not ideal for advertisers who can get guaranteed views on other sites that run pre-roll ads. Facebook wants to preserve the user experience by keeping ads minimal, but billions of Vevo views suggest many users will accept these ads. A partnership with Facebook could allow Vevo ads to play directly in News Feed and Timeline. Currently Vevo.com links do not embed video on Facebook. Videos from Vevo’s YouTube channel do play directly within Facebook, but do not include pre-roll ads.
What is unclear, though, is how deeply the social network would incorporate music videos into its core product. For instance, Facebook could make Vevo videos discoverable from search as opposed to requiring users to visit a canvas app. The company positions itself as a platform for others to build upon, not a media site like MySpace, but to compete with Google, Facebook has to offer Vevo a bigger or at least more profitable audience.
Zynga’s seeking out partners.
While Facebook abounds with casino games, including Zynga titles, the social network’s rules don’t permit gambling for cash.
Thus any partnership with gambling companies would take Zynga much further along in its bid to diversify revenue streams beyond reliance on Facebook.
Whether thee partnerships involve deals with online casinos, brick-and-mortar betting establishments or both, gambling has the potential to bring in more money than anything involving Facebook Credits does.
The question remains whether Zynga’s ongoing diversification efforts might pressure Facebook to make Credits more profitable for developers, who currently have to share 30 percent of revenues from the digital coinage.
AllThingsD broke the news of Zynga looking for gambling partnerships, including the following statement from the developer:
We build games and experiences that our players want and love. Zynga Poker is the world’s largest online poker game with more than 7 million people playing every day and over 30 million each month.
We know from listening to our players that there’s an interest in the real money gambling market. We’re in active conversations with potential partners to better understand and explore this new opportunity.
Of course, cash wagering presents a whole array of regulatory hurdles, but by working with a partner already in the gambling space instead of starting from scratch, Zynga might be able to move more quickly.
And Zynga would still be able to leverage its strong presence on Facebook to drum up business for gambling elsewhere online: The social network adjusted its advertising rules over the past year to allow ads for money-betting concerns.
Readers, what sort of gambling applications do you expect to see in Zynga’s future?
Irish realtors’ eyes may be smiling on Facebook, as the social network is reportedly looking to more than double the size of its European headquarters in Dublin, .
Bloomberg reported that Facebook may try to lease as much as 120,000 square feet of space in Dublin over the next five years.
The company’s current headquarters there, established in 2008, occupy about 54,000 square feet.
On the other side of the pond, Facebook into its new headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., last month.
Sources told that Bloomberg proposals for potential new spaces for Facebook were due January 13; possibilities include the former Bank of Ireland headquarters building and two office blocks in south docklands located near the social network’s current facility.
Facebook’s European headquarters in Dublin handle all of the social network’s users outside of the United States and Canada.
Applications asking users to share smiles or friendship with their friends, an Amazon sweepstakes, videos, photos, Netflix, Myspace, dating, Identified and more made our list of emerging apps by monthly active users this week. The apps grew from between 130,000 and 360,000 MAU, based on AppData, our data tracking service covering traffic growth for apps on Facebook. We define emerging applications as those that ended with between 100,000 and 1 million MAU in the past week.
Top Gainers This WeekName MAU Gain Gain,% 1. *Smiles 890,000 +360,000 + 68% 2. Geburtstagskalender 620,000 +350,000 + 130% 3. Scramble with Friends 490,000 +330,000 + 206% 4. Candy Dash 530,000 +310,000 + 141% 5. RISK: Factions 310,000 +290,000 + 1,450% 6. Amazon Sweepstakes 630,000 +270,000 + 75% 7. Shufflr 290,000 +210,000 + 263% 8. shopkick 250,000 +200,000 + 400% 9. Netflix 700,000 +170,000 + 32% 10. World Mysteries 540,000 +170,000 + 59% 11. Portal Skol 290,000 +160,000 + 123% 12. Twoo 750,000 +160,000 + 27% 13. Myspace 1,000,000 +150,000 + 18% 14. NS_EN Play Now Tab 520,000 +150,000 + 41% 15. Photo Roll 1,000,000 +150,000 + 18% 16. Identified 540,000 +140,000 + 35% 17. BandPlayer by Noomiz 450,000 +130,000 + 41% 18. Besten Freunde 300,000 +130,000 + 76% 19. Koramgame Login! 390,000 +130,000 + 50% 20. Meilleurs Amis 300,000 +130,000 + 100%
A sweepstakes app, Amazon Sweepstakes, grew by 270,000 MAU. Through the app, users can enter to win Amazon prizes and invite their friends.
A group of web integrations, Shopkick, Netflix and Myspace were top gainers this week. Portal Skol is another website on the list and the only other marketing campaign besides Amazon’s contest to make the list. Skol is a popular beer in Brazil.
Shufflr, which grew by 210,000 MAU, delivers daily videos to a users’ Wall.
Dating apps Twoo and Identified made the list, growing by 160,000 MAU and 140,000 MAU, respectively. BandPlayer by Noomiz, which allows musicians to customize Pages so users can interact with music via contests, campaigns and more, gained 130,000 MAU.
All data in this post comes from our traffic tracking service, AppData. Stay tuned next week for our look at the top weekly gainers by monthly active users on Monday, the top weekly gainers by daily active users on Wednesday, and the top emerging apps on Friday.
Newt Gingrich kicked off CNN’s Southern Republican with a tirade against the media, and the passion didn’t let up on stage or on Facebook, with posts going up at a rate of one every 10 seconds during the debate’s peak.
It’s the last time the candidates would be together before Saturday’s key primary. Highlights follow below.Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich railed against CNN moderator at the top of the in response to a question about his ex-wife’s interview with ABC News. That outburst not only resulted in a standing ovation from the audience, but also had Facebook users sharing the video clip of the attack in their posts, at a rate of one post every minute.Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney’s comments about living in the real streets of America and his answer about the timing of his tax return release — which resulted in boos from the crowd — were echoed on Facebook. One Facebook read,
Hey Mitt, would one of those streets happen to be Wall Street and Easy Street?Rick Santorum
Rick Santorum knocked Newt Gingrich for having “grandiose” ideas when he was Speaker. The former senator had a solid debate performance, standing strong on his pro-life stance and defending SOPA and internet regulation. One post summed up his performance this way:
Rick Santorum 2012! Let’s hire the government as our babysitter, right? Because apparently we’re all fucking 3 years old and cannot make our own decisions, so we need people like Rick Santorum to make sure we don’t do anything he doesn’t like in bed or on the internet.Ron Paul
Although Ron Paul was largely silent in this debate, he did have a few moments that his large fan base on Facebook didn’t overlook. Following an exchange with Rick Santorum over abortion, the clip was shared over and over again on the social network with the headline, “Paul Schools Santorum During GOP Debate.”
Another Facebook user said:
Santorum hurry up and drop out. You are a moron and attacking Ron Paul won’t help you.
Some polls show Gingrich either leading in the Palmetto state, or closing the gap before Saturday’s primary.
Readers, who do you think will win the Republican nomination for president?
The seemingly never-ending conflict between and its Mideast neighbors has spread to Facebook, as an Israeli hacker who goes by the name of Hannibal posted the email addresses and passwords of 85,000 users of the social network from Saudi Arabia and Iran.
ZDNet’s Friending Facebook blog reported that Hannibal posted 20,000 logins Sunday, 30,000 Monday, 10,000 Tuesday, and 25,000 Wednesday, all to Pastebin, a site that allows users to upload text.
Facebook has reacted to the breach, and some users have already changed their passwords, while the social network is prompting those who haven’t to do so, and other accounts have been locked down.
Hannibal also taunted government officials and threatened to reveal information on the bank accounts of “helpless Arabs” in the headers of his posts to Pastebin.
Highlights follow, unedited, via Friending Facebook:
In addition, I have 10 million bank accounts of the countries of Iran and Saudi Arab. If Iran continues to threaten Israel and already this week I will publish the private bank accounts and thus make them billions of dollars in damages estimated
State of Israel, not to worry, you’re in the hands of the world’s best hacker that I am. I will continue to support the government of Israel will continue to attack the Arab countries In addition, I received thousands of emails helpless Arabs, who are begging me to stop publishing the Facebook accounts because it violates their browsing experience.
Also, I received hundreds of emails of senior politicians from France and other countries, who asked me not to publish the list of the 10 million my bank accounts. So guys, if the state’s chief Benny Gantz, or Prime Minister Netanyahu declare cyber war, I will have to publish the list of 10 million bank accounts. In addition I also have about 4 million credit cards. Just give a command and i will do it !!
Unfortunately today I received an email from Mohammad Reza Rahimi who threatens that would raise most of his men to find me and kill me I assure you Mr. Fool, you can keep looking as you want, you will not find me even if you have a staff of 1,000 people who search for and carry out search for information about me.
I now publish the letter he sent me deputy prime minister of Iran Funny to me that he had time to go into a mailbox and curse and threaten me .. Mr. Muhammad, you do not scare anyone! You never find me !!!!!
Readers, do you know anyone whose Facebook account was compromised?
Today’s involves a series of web addresses based on “timelinemoviemaker.”
We’ve yet to learn whether the registering party was a movie service for Facebook’s timeline; a new effort by the social network’s legal adversary, Timelines.com; or some other possibility.
Fusible reported that the following domains were registered via brand protection company MarkMonitor:
Facebook is a MarkMonitor client, Fusible pointed out, but so are dozens of other deep-pocketed companies.
As for the theory, the digital scrapbooking company and the social network are at odds over the former’s claim that it owns the trademark to the word “timeline,” so if these URLs are not the doing of either company, could more legal action be on the horizon?
Readers do you have any theories about who registered these domains?
Facebook posted several engineering and data center positions this week on its Page and feed. The company also posted a several positions for different departments and revamped its Careers interface. Each category now lists the number of available positions, such as 25, and a few of the categories changed names. HR & Recruiting is now People & Recruiting. Growth & Analytics is now Data & Analytics. Technical Operations was renamed Infrastructure & Platform. Product Marketing is now just plain Marketing.Posts added this week on Facebook’s Careers :
- Application Engineer
- Application Engineer, Infrastructure (Menlo Park)
- Application Engineer, Infrastructure (New York)
- Software Engineer, Compiler & Virtual Machine (Menlo Park)
- Data Warehouse Engineer (Dublin)
- Sourcing Manager, Data Center Cabling, Infrastructure and Services
- University Business Intern: Account Management (New York)
- Manager, Site Reliability Operations (Menlo Park)
- Quantitative Market Researcher (Menlo Park)
- Technical Program Coordinator, Intern
- University Business Intern: EMEA Platform (Dublin)
- University Business Intern: Platform Partnerships (Paris)
- University Business Intern: Global Business Marketing (Menlo Park)(New York)
- University Business Intern: EMEA Sales and Business Development (London)
- University Business Intern: Sales (Hamburg)
- University Business Intern: EMEA User Operations (Dublin)
- Training Manager (New York)
- Non Tech Recruiter (Menlo Park)
- Sourcing Lead – Seattle, WA
- Technical Sourcer (Menlo Park)
- Growth Manager 120101 (Menlo Park)
- Events Technical Coordinator (Menlo Park)
- IT Security Engineer (Menlo Park)
- Custom Market Insights Lead (London)
- Lead, Custom Market Insights (New York)
- Marketing Mix Science Specialist (Menlo Park)
- Measurement Partnership Lead (Menlo Park)
- Senior Analyst ,Custom Market Insights, Nordics (Stockholm)
- Senior Analyst, Custom Market Insights (New York)
- Senior Analyst,Custom Market Insights (London)
- Senior Analyst,Custom Market Insights(Paris)
- Analyst, Monetization – Mid Market (Menlo Park)
- Analyst, Pricing and Yield (New York)
- UEX Reseacher (Contractor)
- International Fixed Assets General Ledger Accountant, EMEA (Dublin)
- Account Manager (London)
- Custom Market Insights Lead (London)
- Senior Analyst ,Custom Market Insights, Nordics (Stockholm)
- Client Partner – Italian (Dublin)
- Account Manager – German (Dublin)
- Account Manager – Italian (Dublin)
- Client Partner (Amsterdam or Brussels)
- Client Partner (Madrid)
- Client Partner (Sydney)
- Client Partner, Finland (Stockholm)
- Partner Manager, API (London)
- Platform Operations – Contract (Menlo Park)
- Creative Strategist (London)
- Creative Strategist, Global Customer Marketing (Sydney)
- SMB Marketing Manager – DACH (Dublin)
- Strategist, Market Solutions, Auto (Los Angeles)
- Partner Development Manager -Southern Europe (Europe)
- Partner Development Manager, Northern Europe (Stockholm or Hamburg)
Who else is hiring? The Inside Network Job Board presents a survey of current openings at leading companies in the industry.
Positions for engineering, business operations, policy and communications went missing from Facebook’s Page this week, hinting that these positions have been filled. The company also hired a designer, according to its feed.New hires per :
- Zach Miller, Designer – formerly a Designer at Exclamation Labs.
- Software Engineer, Developer Tools
- Head of Business Operations for Online Operations
- Head of Policy (Germany)
- Managing Editor, Global Corporate Communications
- Software Engineer, Data Center Infrastructure Management
- Partner Engineer – Marketing Solutions (Chicago)
- Partner Engineer – Mobile
- Partner Engineer – Mobile, HTML5
- Partner Engineer – Mobile, Native Applications
- Analyst, Pricing & Yield
- Account Specialist – Dublin
- Manager, Italian or Spanish Online Sales Operations (Dublin)
- Client Partner Spain
- Client Partner (Argentina)
- Client Partner (Finnish)
- Account Manager UK
- Account Manager – Italian (Dublin)
- University Business Intern: Legal
- University, Risk Operations Analyst, Online Operations (Austin)
- Global Leader People Business Partner
- HR Co-ordinator PSO (Contract)
- Physical Security Operations Center Manager
- Physical Security Manager -LATAM (Sao Paulo)
- Custom Market Insights Lead : France and Southern Europe
- Custom Market Insights Lead : Nordics
- Custom Market Insights Lead : UK
- Strategic Sourcing Manager
- Quantitative Data Analyst – Business Operations (Austin, TX)
- Client Partner (Belgium)
Who else is hiring? The Inside Network Job Board presents a survey of current openings at leading companies in the industry.
Music video site has one year left on its agreement with YouTube, but that reportedly hasn’t stopped Facebook from sniffing around.
CNET said that the social network has held talks with Vevo at least twice, in the hopes of reaching a deal similar to the one it currently has with YouTube, in which Vevo videos would stream via Facebook, and the two companies would sell ads and share profits.
Should Facebook and Vevo reach an agreement, adding music videos from Vevo to — Spotify, Rdio, Earbits, MOG, and Slacker — would make the social network a stronger player in the music sector.
Vevo offers music videos from three of the top four record companies: Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and EMI Music. Warner Music Group remains a holdout.
CNET speculated that Facebook’s motivation may lie in boosting the amount of time users of the social network spend on the site; allowing free viewing of music videos, as YouTube currently does, would help to accomplish that goal.
Readers: Would the addition of Vevo music videos to Facebook prompt you to spend more time on the social network?
We asked Christian Taylor, chief executive officer of Payvment, about his company’s new open graph actions: want and own.How many sellers have implemented the technology and how many buyers have transacted in it since Payvment implemented new open graph actions?
We have had these features in beta since mid-November, and they are now turned on to all of our 100,000-plus sellers and over 1.1 million shoppers who visit Payvment stores and the shopping mall.
Every product in every store can be wanted, owned, or both. If you click on want or own on a few products in the shopping mall it will show in your ticker and timeline.What options do you offer for people to limit whether and to what extent Payvment activity goes out to news feeds?
Unlike several of the frictionless sharing implementations (like listening to music or reading articles), our activity post requires an affirmative click by the user — on the want or own buttons — so we do not offer additional options. If the shopper doesn’t want to share, they don’t have to click.
Also, any activity published is governed by the user’s Facebook privacy settings, which we respect — so if the person is sharing only with family, that’s who will see our actions too.How do Payvment’s new actions compare with the features and functionality found on top ecommerce websites like Amazon.com?
These actions don’t exist on Amazon.com or other large eCommerce sites — they were built in the pre-social era and are focused on search-based product discovery — or navigating a product tree.
The new Payvment actions are meant to increase and enhance social discovery, which is at the core of the Payvment experience — how to find great new products and gifts for and through my friends and also people with shared passions and interests.
And these actions flow into the Facebook Timeline and Ticker for discovery of Payvment by each shopper’s friends. We believe this is more powerful for many types of shopping and is core to our user experience. This type of navigation and discovery just isn’t possible on Amazon.com.How does Payvment polling compare to Facebook’s native questions and polls applications? Why use a separate application?
Payvment Polls are similar to Facebook questions, but go beyond to enable products (with their images) to be choices instead of just text questions — and we make it really easy to do this. This is key for sellers who are aiming to create conversations around their products. We also include the ability to share the poll off Facebook via Twitter and Google Plus to reach a broader audience.
We use a separate application so that we can enable products to be featured and enable the sharing features (and there’s currently no available API for Facebook questions for us to use).What else do you want to tell AllFacebook readers about the new Payvment actions?
These more focused actions will encourage many more shoppers to engage with products, build wish lists, and vote in polls – and allow you to get your friends what they really want for their next birthday!
Here are some facts that might surprise you:
- Most fans never return to a page after they like it.
- Most posts by pages are seen by less than 10 percent of their fans.
- Many fans will never see your welcome tab.
- When fans create new posts on your Facebook page, other fans don’t see them.
Those facts run counter to most people’s assumptions. They go to their fan page a lot, so they think their fans do, too.
They assume that all their fans are seeing all their posts, which we’ve already discussed. They also assume their fans are seeing posts made by other fans to the page’s Wall.Your Fans See the People and Pages They Interact With
In fact, fans experience Facebook through their news feeds. The news feed is set by default to top posts, which means Facebook uses its EdgeRank and GraphRank algorithms to show people the stories it thinks they’ll be interested in.
How does it guess what you’ll be interested in seeing? By keeping track of what posts you like and comment on. People see posts from pages and friends they’ve liked and comment on before.
When fans no longer see your posts, it’s much harder to get them back. It’s best to start engaging your fans while you’re growing their numbers and never stop engaging them.The Average Page’s Posts Are Seen by Less Than 10 Percent of Its Fans
I was fortunate to get into a beta test program with the Facebook page analytics service PageLever and speak to founder Jeff Widman. One of the most fundamental and important revelations is that pages don’t reach many of their fans:
- Posts from pages with 10,000 fans reach 30 percent to 40 percent of their fans.
- Posts from pages with 100,000 fans reach 20 percent to 30 percent of their fans.
- Posts from pages with 1,000,000 or more fans reach 10 percent of their fans.
Think about what this means: at those levels, pages are reaching:
- 3,000 fans
- 25,000 fans
- 100,000 fans
There’s a diminishing return on getting a large quantity of fans. There are a number of reasons for this diminishing visibility, some of which you can control:
- Many of the biggest pages have fans that are several years old.
- Fans who don’t respond to posts for many months or even a couple years probably haven’t seen posts from that page for a long time.
- Most pages don’t use the interaction-stimulating tactics in this chapter because these best practices were created in late 2010 and most Facebook page managers haven’t had any formal training in Facebook marketing.
If you don’t get your fans to like and comment on your posts, they’ll stop seeing them. Imagine you spend months and hundreds or thousands of dollars getting 10,000 quality fans but in the end only 2,000 of them see your posts.
Disappointing? Definitely. But you can get much better results from the best practices outlined here. But first, let’s go into more depth about how Facebook places posts in people’s news feeds.
Facebook shows you posts from friends and pages whose posts you have liked or commented on in the recent past. New friends and newly liked pages are shown to you for a while, but if you don’t interact with them, you will stop seeing posts from them.
The algorithm for showing you posts in your news feed also takes into account whether you interact more or less with photos, status updates, and videos.
And now Facebook has added a friends and family lists consideration. Your types of friends and your family may not see the same posts.Post Metrics and Benchmarks
Anyone can see how many likes and comments each of your Facebook page’s posts have received. If you’re an administrator of a Facebook page, you’ll see extra data about each post that your fans won’t.Impressions
This is how many times the post was shown. This isn’t a count of unique people because some people might have reloaded their page or scrolled down to see older posts and been shown your post more than once.Feedback Rate
This is a calculation that shows how engaging your post was. Facebook adds up the number of likes and comments and divides them by the impressions count. This isn’t affected by how many of your fans you reach; it’s always relative to the audience that saw the post.
Sometimes a post will only go out to a very small audience but have a dramatically higher feedback rate. Don’t fret. Feedback rate is important but can be skewed higher when you don’t reach that many people.
Generally speaking, you want to try to get a one percent or higher feedback rate. I’ve seen others advocate a lower goal, but all the students and businesses who’ve learned the methods in this chapter have been able to achieve a one percet feedback rate.Impressions And Fan Count
This number isn’t shown, but it’s easy to calculate. Look at your last five to ten posts, find the average number of impressions you’re getting, and then divide that by your total number of fans.
[Average (impressions / post)] / Fan count = percent of fan seeing posts
This gives you a rough idea of how many of your fans are seeing your posts. I’ve seen this be over 100 percent for some posts. I’ve seen pages struggle to get their average above 40 percent, but I’ve also seen a bunch of businesses using the techniques outlined here get 70 percent to 100 percent.
Very new posts won’t show impressions or feedback rate right away. I’ve seen it delayed by as much as a day or two.Feedback Rate’s Effect on Impressions
Here’s the important insight: I’ve found by analyzing the data for hundreds of posts across dozens of pages that the higher your feedback rate is, the more of your fans you reach.
The pages that struggle to get more than 30 percent of their fans to see their posts also have low feedback rates and probably aren’t using the interaction tactics I discuss in this chapter.Are Some of Your Fans Unreachable Forever?
If you haven’t stimulated your fans to interact with you for months and months, it can be very hard or even impossible to ever get your messages in front of them again. At this point, you need to use advertising tactics to get them back. There are a couple ways to use ads to reanimate these “dead” fans.Leading the Community You Create
Facebook empowers you to gather a community of potential buyers and then lead the conversation. This is better than Twitter, where conversation is too fragmented and hard to follow.
You also can use Facebook’s multimedia nature to post images and videos for discussion. It’s possible that the people you serve have never had a community in which to share their passions.
Less connected people like that give you high click-through rates and low-cost clicks, they don’t cost a lot to acquire, and they talk like crazy. Put them in a Facebook group and you have a perpetual motion machine.
You can ask also questions and use polls to gather more information about them. I’ve seen businesses who were having trouble make strong sales through Facebook simply by asking and acting on the insights gained.Formulas for Posts
There are two or three main goals for each post, and if you want, you can try all three at once!
- To get likes, say “Click like if…” and keep the second part simple.
- To get comments, ask a question or say, “Tell me in the comments below…” followed by whatever you want to know.
- To get clicks to your website or blog post, put the URL in the update and say, “Click this link…” and tell them why.
Here are some more details on each.“Click Like If…”
This is a really simple formula. It’s all about whether people agree with you. Choose something that you’re pretty sure 60 percent to 100 percent of your fans like. If you got a lot of fans from targeting a particular interest, you can be pretty sure they’ll respond positively to that. Tell them to click like if they like that thing. No brainer, right?
After you have the thing you want to show them or mention to them, combine it with the following variations of the formula:
- Post a photo or video related to the dream or benefits you’re selling, and make it something like “Click like if you’d love (to have this benefit)” or “Click like if you’d love to see yourself (living such and such dream).”
- “Click like if you love…” (ponies, bacon, or whatever applies to your niche).
- “Click like if you think….”
- “Click like if you’d love to have….”
- “Click like if you believe that….”
- “Click like if you want….”
The best questions are open-ended, which means they get fill-in-the-blank, not yes-or-no, answers. Imagine you’re on a first date and the goal is to get the other person talking. The more you listen, the more likely you are to get what you want. The more you talk, the more the other person turns off and you don’t get what you want.
Here are some ways to ask questions:
- “What do you think about…?” (For example, you could ask about some recent good news in the niche you’re operating in. Try to avoid asking about bad news unless you’re asking for people’s ideas for solving problems.)
- “How do you feel about…?”
- You can actually tell people to fill in the blank if you want. For example: “My ideal work day includes ______________. Fill in the blank and tell us!”
- “What happens when you…?”
- “What are your goals related to…?”
- “If you could change one thing about…, what would it be?”
- “What’s your favorite thing about…?”
- “When do you feel most…?”
- “Why do you…?”
- “What’s your favorite way to…?”
- “When you were younger…
If you put a web address into a post, Facebook automatically pulls in the photo, page title, and description. Most people assume the page title and description are written in stone, but you can actually change them. Click on the title and rewrite it, and click on the description and rewrite that.
That’s a lifesaver if, for some reason, it’s pulling in weird HTML formatting. And make sure you choose the thumbnail that looks more interesting or fits best with what you’re sending them to. If none of the images fit, select “no thumbnail.”
Don’t assume that the information Facebook grabs with your URL is stimulating enough by itself. Add calls to action like these:
- “Check out this blog post because…”; then tell them what the benefits of reading it are.
- “Click here to get this discount now before it goes away!”
- “Check out our latest press release”; then make sure they know why they should care. Press releases are often “me me me” selfish information about the company that no customer cares about.
If your blog post already has a catchy, stimulating title, you might not need to get too creative with the text you add in the Facebook page post. But make sure you add a reason to click and/or a question for commenting. If you don’t, that’s a missed opportunity. Remember, although you want people to click to the website, you still need the Facebook post to be visible to as many fans as possible. EdgeRank might count clicks to other websites, but we don’t know that for sure.Good Versus Bad Posts
The following are qualities of successful posts:
- Has one percent feedback rate or more;
- Has 50 percent or more impressions compared to fans;
- Is attention-grabbing;
- Is something 95 percent of the audience cares about;
- Asks for a like or asks a question;
- Fits the demographics and geographic location of your fan base;
- Contains no-brainer text;
- Sells the dream;
- Is based on what you learned from ad testing.
Bad posts have these qualities:
- Feedback that’s below .5 percent;
- Impressions that are less than 30 percent of fan base;
- Not understanding audience;
- Posts that 95 percent of the audience doesn’t care about;
- Promotes things that very few people will care about;
- Photos without captions or calls to action.
Administrators of pages can view some pretty cool insights, and one of them lists your last 10 posts, how many impressions it got, and the feedback rate you got from them. You can use this (and of course you can also scroll through your page’s wall and look at more of these) to look for patterns in which posts got better feedback rates and why. Pick out a few of the ones with the highest and a few with the lowest feedback rates, and see if you can tell what you did right or wrong. After you develop a theory about which posts are best for your audience, test it by trying another post along those lines to see whether you get similar results.Engagement Milestones
Here are three milestones that will tell you you’re making great progress with getting your audience to interact with you:
- Getting one percent feedback regularly—If you’re using the formulas from this chapter, this is easy to achieve.
- People posting spontaneously on your page—When people are really excited about your brand or page, they’ll go back to the actual fan page and post there.
- Fans seeing and posting on fan page posts—If you have a lot of fans going back to your fan page and it’s set by default to show fan posts, too, then some of them might comment on each others’ posts. This is one way to know you’ve really got your fans stirred up. When they have that much enthusiasm, they’ll tolerate more sales messages.
Because you administer the page or group, you have ultimate control. You can subtly guide the conversation with your posts and comments.
It’s a good idea to step back and let conversations take their course. On blog posts and Facebook I’ve noticed that when the administrator is too involved, discussions don’t evolve. Don’t think you need to respond to every post. I’ve also noticed that if you post something, get one comment, and then comment on that first comment, you are less likely to get more comments. Let five to ten people comment before you comment. If you can, don’t comment at all and see how many you get.
The point is that you create a space for discussion and then leave room. Imagine you’re sitting in a circle with 10 people and bring up a topic. Would the people in the group want you commenting after each person? Or would they prefer to have a normal conversation? Let something evolve out of the fans themselves, and see where it goes.Dealing with Difficult Fans
You can remove or block troublesome people (but let’s hope it’s because they’re actually weirdos and you’re not just blocking all the people who are bringing to light real problems with your business).
And by the way, if you do have issues with your business that customers complain about regularly, fix them! If you make a small mistake in social media, apologize! I’ve seen businesses take other approaches, and they don’t work. One decided to delete a customer concern rather than address it—this converted an irritated customer into an angry one who pledged to post everyday and everywhere her displeasure with the company. Nestle got in trouble back in 2010 for responding snarkily to customer comments, and a number of brands have had this problem. The way to deal with these situations effectively is to listen, acknowledge the feedback, validate and thank the customer, and then fix the problem.
Because your customer service is public in social media, dealing with problems well or badly is amplified. If it happens in the comments of one of your posts, people are witnessing it. If you do a great job hearing and satisfying an irritated customer, other customers will trust you more.How to Avoid Publicity Nightmares
Most people have learned not to write an email reply while angry. It’s even easier and quicker to shoot off a negative Facebook comment. When you read something distressing, step away from the computer, take a breath, and do something else for a while. Remember, if they posted it on your Facebook page’s Wall, it does not go out to all your fans. Only the few that come back to the page will see it. It is not an emergency. If you feel defensive, worried, or upset, absolutely forbid yourself from posting a response without getting someone else’s opinion, taking time to relax, and even having someone else edit your response.
Also, if we’re talking about comments that fans see, one of your most loyal fans might respond with a more fair view. It’s much more powerful and believable when a customer comes to your aid. It can be worth the anxiety to wait 30 to 60 minutes for one of them to chime in.
Just as people try not to email when angry or drinking, it’s best not to do social media when drinking. This is up to the individual—if you’re a rock star or comedian maybe you should post while drunk—but just keep in mind that what seems like a great idea right now might not later.Balancing Engagement and Selling Types of Posts
Some readers of this book might only care about creating interaction and remaining visible to fans, but others want a direct profit from their Facebook efforts. So, how do you combine conversation with sales? Do they fit together? Yes, a number of companies have found that they can alternate interaction-oriented Facebook posts with more direct offers, discounts, and other types of sales-oriented posts. You can see examples of these two types of posts in Table 11.2.Engagement Versus Sales Post Formulas Engagement Formulas Sales Formulas Click like if… When are you going to…? Ask a question Are you ready to…? Share this Check out our… Photo post Discount Guess what/where this is Contest
So how do you meld together these two Facebook posting approaches?Ratio and Frequency
There’s no hard-and-fast rule for how many of your posts should engage or sell the dream versus how many should actually sell your products or services. Some go with this rule of thumb: four engagement posts and then one sales post. Your audience might be okay with more sales posts than that, or they might want less. One business I’ve previously mentioned does four engagement and one sales post per day. Another business sells one homeware per day, and almost all its posts are sales-oriented and no one has a problem with it.
But if you’re not sure, start with one post per day, mostly engagement oriented, and do one or two sales posts per week. You can look at your sales records to see which days of the week you sell best on, and do the sales posts that day or the day before.
I think you’re missing an opportunity if you don’t post every day, but there are exceptions. If you really run out of post ideas, it might be better to wait a day or two than post something inane. On certain holidays, almost nobody is online, so it might not be worth it to post then either.
Some businesses are seasonal and the customers aren’t buying all year long, so you might not be able to sing the same tune all year. But I would advise against taking weeks or months off posting because of EdgeRank’s time decay factor—otherwise, you might come back to posting and be reaching fewer people. Find things to talk about in the off-season. Even a summer vacation spot can show its fans wintertime photos and possibly get them to visit twice a year instead of once. If you know when people buy, you have a big advantage. For example, I know that most people who go to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, book their vacations in January and February. The resorts there can start selling the beach dream while everyone in the Midwest is stuck in their cubicles and sick of the snow.Ideas for Posting
Some businesses with fans see good sales right away. Others have to work at it, especially those with longer sales cycles.
How often do regular customers buy from you? If they buy every three months, then expect new fans to take three months until they’re ready to buy. Your goal in that three months is to build awareness and a relationship so that, come decision time, that relationship and their knowledge of your offerings will be a strong influence to purchase.
Some of your fans might never have bought what you offer online. So, follow these suggestions:
- Post why it’s good to buy online.
- Post why you’re better than other online stores.
- Find previous customers with positive feedback whom you can quote.
Put a link to your website in more of your posts. If you get more likes and comments, you’ll get more impressions. Let’s say you’re getting 15,000 to 20,000 per post. You should be able to get one to two percent of those to click to the site if there’s a link. That means you could get perhaps 200 site visitors per day and 1,400 per week. So create posts that give a reason for people to like, comment, and click. Here’s an example:
- “Click over and check out this product: [link]. Do you LIKE it? What would you do if you owned it?”
Here are some posts that get people thinking and talking about products:
- “What’s the most important product for…?”
- “What ________ products do you like or dislike?”
- “Do you have trouble finding products for…?”
- “Do you buy _______ online?”
- “Are you ready to…?”
Another clever way to bring business into the picture without being so in-your-face that you turn people off is to talk about what’s going on in your business. Not all companies are willing to be this transparent, but it can be a big advantage.
Here are some examples:
Vacation rental company: “We are almost all booked up for May and June. We’re actually looking into buying a couple of other properties to meet demand. If you haven’t booked yet, you can call us at xxx-xxx-xxxx.” This bragging post creates urgency due to scarcity. If you’ve been watching this company and thinking about booking but haven’t yet, you’ll probably jump on the phone at this point.
Attorney: “Great settlement in one of our cases today. A very happy client!”
Chiropractor: “Trying out our new massage table myself today, and boy is it nice. Next time you come in, you can use it, too!”
Association: “Just over 5,000 people attended our national conference this weekend. Great time! We’re going to be putting on a bunch of local get-togethers over the next few months, too. Click here to check them out: (link)”Feedback Rate and Sales Posts
Anytime you ask people to click on a link in a post, whether you’re sending them to a blog post or to a product on a e-commerce website, your feedback rate will look low. The feedback rate only counts like and comments. Facebook doesn’t say they count clicks on other links you add to posts, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they do, or will in the future. Anyway, don’t freak out that your sales posts have lower feedback rates—that’s normal.
Engagement just asks people to participate around shared interests. Sales formulas try to get people to give up their money. There is definitely a gray area because you can get people to engage around your products and services, and you can send people to innocent-looking informative blog posts that are surrounded by sales messages.
Whenever you’re in doubt, you can ask your fans whether they like some of your approaches better than others. Just take the feedback with a grain of salt, though, because some of your fans might never buy from you. You can phrase it more specifically like this: “If you’ve bought something from us because of our Facebook posts, tell us what you bought and why.” That way, you’ve eliminated the opinions of those who aren’t really your customers.
© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
This week, Funcom Games is hiring a senior Java programmer, a senior GUI/Flash developer and a lead designer of social games. Meanwhile, Lolapps is looking for a UI vector artist and an interaction designer.
Get all the details on these opportunities below, and find additional just-posted gigs on mediabistro.com.
Senior Java Programmer Funcom Games (Montreal, Canada)
Senior GUI/Flash Developer Funcom Games (Montreal, Canada)
Lead Designer, Social Games Funcom Games (Montreal, Canada)
UI Vector Artist Lolapps (San Francisco, CA)
Interaction Designer Lolapps (San Francisco, CA)
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