, a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer, announced today announced that it processed over 800 million logins via its Registration-as-a-Service and Social Login products across Gigya client websites and applications – a 72 percent increase over 2012.
Patrick Salyer, CEO of Gigya, announced the news in a press release:
Gigya had an amazing year in 2013. We added customers and offices around the globe and use of our technology exploded. We already have some exciting developments in store for 2014 and we have the team, products and momentum to own the consumer identity management market this year.
In 2013, Gigya’s product team developed the recently released Consumer Insights dashboard, a tool that provides marketers with a view into consumer identities by aggregating first-party social and behavioral data captured by Gigya products like Social Login, Sharing and Gamification, and visually displaying insights via an actionable dashboard.
Gigya also saw massive client growth in 2013, and now works with customers in 46 countries around the world. The company added major brands in 2013 including AARP, World Wrestling Entertainment, Art.com, Japan Airlines and Tommy Hilfiger. Gigya also expanded its relationships with hundreds of existing customers that chose to implement additional products from Gigya’s platform.
Facebook’s — already pretty impressive — have just gotten deeper. that soon improved Core Audiences targeting options will start rolling out, allowing marketers to target Facebook users based on location, demographic, interest and off-site behavior.
Additionally, Facebook is adding to the Ads Create Tool for U.S. users, allowing everyone from brands to small businesses to use this targeting capability.
Through deeper location targeting, retailers can target people who live near chain stores or multiple locations. They can also exclude certain areas, such as certain zip codes within a state or city. With the Core Audiences demographic capabilities, marketers can aim Facebook ads at those who have recently changed their relationship status or other key markers, such as workplace and job title.
Looking to target people who like certain things, but not the exact page (think topics like flowers or baseball). Facebook has simplified interest-based targeting so segments have just one simple meaning. Instead of broad categories and keywords, marketers can simply choose one segment (such as baseball), and reach Facebook users who have liked or expressed interest in baseball topics on Facebook.
The Facebook for Business blog explained how marketers can target users based on their behavior off of the social network:
We’re including in Core Audiences a new targeting option, behaviors, which includes Partner Categories. This gives marketers the ability to target campaigns to people based on things they purchase and what devices they use. For instance, if you want to reach people interested in music that use iPhones, you’ll use behaviors as part of creating your target audience.
Readers: What do you think of these new capabilities?
Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.
As Facebook looks to expand its reach internationally with the , a new study by Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer Marin Software shows that 52 percent of ad spend still takes place in North America. Conversely, 28 percent of Facebook users are located in the Asia/Pacific regions, yet only 0.71 percent of the overall Facebook ad spend is dedicated there.
Matt Ackley, Marin Software’s Chief Marketing Officer, discussed the findings in a press release:
The increasing competition to reach Facebook’s North American users has driven CPMs for these ads dramatically higher – yet the cost of ads targeting the ‘other 85%’ of Facebook users remains quite low. Now is a golden opportunity for brands to launch impactful, cost-effective campaigns internationally – before competition and CPMs rise.
The report illustrates how regions such as Asia Pacific are expected to grow quickly. Its Facebook userbase share is currently at 28 percent, and that’s expected to grow to 32 percent.
The white paper explains how Asia-Pacific should be a big market for advertisers:
Based on its high user volume and low advertising competition levels, APAC appears to be the most promising region for Facebook advertisers in 2014. Yet according to eMarketer, social advertising spend – of which Facebook comprises the vast majority – in APAC is expected to grow by the lowest percentage relative to the other regions studied. This growth estimate suggests that companies doing business in APAC have yet to realize the full potential of Facebook as an acquisition channel. It is likely that, as additional user growth data becomes available, more Facebook advertisers will look to the region as a source of opportunity in 2014.
Marin also found that Latin America leads all international markets on Facebook in terms of ad engagement. The area has the world’s highest percentage of Facebook penetration (at 66 percent of Internet users) and also generates the highest Facebook ad clickthrough rates (CTR). The CTR for Latin America is 33 percent higher than North America and 54 percent higher than Western European markets.
Readers: How are you breaking up your Facebook ad spend internationally?
WhatsApp may not be well known to U.S. users, but make no mistake: of the messaging app is a huge deal. WhatsApp is largely popular internationally, and as Mark Zuckerberg said in a conference call Wednesday afternoon, has the chance to grow past 1 billion users.
WhatsApp has more than 450 million monthly active users — 70 percent of whom are active on a given day. WhatsApp users, some of whom pay a nominal fee to use the app on a subscription model, are growing by 1 million users per day. They send more than 19 billion messages per day and receive more than 34 billion per day. 600 million photos, 200 million voice messages and 100 million video messages are sent through WhatsApp every day.
But AppData’s revenue estimates show just why Facebook acquired WhatsApp. According to AppData’s revenue estimates for the Android app, just 8.2 percent of WhatsApp’s global revenue so far this year has come from the U.S., compared to 73.3 percent in Germany and 18.5 percent in the U.K.
When Zuckerberg discussed WhatsApp in Wednesday’s conference call, he said that the company fits perfectly with Facebook’s overarching goal of connecting the world. Combined with , Zuckerberg says that he sees WhatsApp as a way for Facebook to tap into growing international markets. While Zuckerberg and WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum declined to break down country stats in the conference call, it’s evident that WhatsApp is growingly used as an SMS substitute in areas Facebook would love to grow.
While both Zuckerberg and Koum stressed in the conference call that they are not focused on monetizing WhatsApp immediately (focusing on growing the app first, similar to Instagram), the acquisition is important for marketers to keep track of. They agreed that advertising isn’t the best fit for WhatsApp, but there would come a point, likely after the magical 1 billion-user mark, that Facebook would start to explore monetization techniques.
Keith Trivitt, Director of Corporate Communications, Matomy Media Group, commented on the acquisition to Inside Facebook:
Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp sends a clear message of where Mark Zuckerberg views the company’s path to sustained success: mobile, mobile and mobile. The fact that WhatsApp is a mobile-only service, and that 70% of its users are active on the service daily, aligns well with Facebook’s mobile push, which requires a highly engaged, active user base accessing the social network across multiple devices all day long. From that perspective paying $16 billion for a single app makes sense given that WhatsApp has an incredibly engaged user base that is growing rapidly at more than a million new users per day. Facebook needs that type of engaged user in order to sustain its own growth and to keep new social networks and apps, like WhatsApp, from eroding the time users spend on Facebook each day.
For advertisers and marketers, the WhatsApp acquisition makes a lot of sense. Facebook has been steadily introducing innovative ad-targeting solutions that have turned the social network into a hybrid engagement plus direct-response ad platform. With its acquisition of WhatsApp, Facebook should be able to provide advertisers with even more targeted and real-time mobile-only ad solutions.
As countries in developing markets start to connect online through their mobile feature phones, they’ll prefer a lightweight app such as WhatsApp instead of a more data-hungry platform such as Facebook. WhatsApp will still operate as its own app, similar to how operates with Facebook. The two companies will share technology, data and employees to benefit each other.
Readers: Do you think this was a good purchase for Facebook?
Image courtesy of .
Facebook may have failed in its bid to acquire popular , but the social network announced Wednesday to buy WhatsApp for roughly $16 billion.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, how WhatsApp will work with Facebook:
WhatsApp will continue to operate independently within Facebook. The product roadmap will remain unchanged and the team is going to stay in Mountain View. Over the next few years, we’re going to work hard to help WhatsApp grow and connect the whole world. We also expect that WhatsApp will add to our efforts forInternet.org, our partnership to make basic internet services affordable for everyone.
WhatsApp will complement our existing chat and messaging services to provide new tools for our community. Facebook Messenger is widely used for chatting with your Facebook friends, and WhatsApp for communicating with all of your contacts and small groups of people. Since WhatsApp and Messenger serve such different and important uses, we will continue investing in both and making them each great products for everyone.
WhatsApp had every option in the world, so I’m thrilled that they chose to work with us. I’m looking forward to what Facebook and WhatsApp can do together, and to developing great new mobile services that give people even more options for connecting.
WhatsApp’s brand will be maintained (and ad free, according to the company) and CEO Jan Koum will join Facebook’s board of directors.
The deal is for roughly $4 billion in cash and $12 billion in Facebook stock.
Koum commented on the acquisition:
WhatsApp’s extremely high user engagement and rapid growth are driven by the simple, powerful and instantaneous messaging capabilities we provide. We’re excited and honored to partner with Mark and Facebook as we continue to bring our product to more people around the world.
This is a very powerful way for Facebook to connect with users from all over the world. As Facebook points out, WhatsApp has roughly 450 million monthly active users (MAU) all over the world — 70 percent of whom are active on a given day. Roughly 1 million new users are added each day.
The WhatsApp blog confirms that nothing :
Today we are announcing a partnership with Facebook that will allow us to continue on that simple mission. Doing this will give WhatsApp the flexibility to grow and expand, while giving me, Brian, and the rest of our team more time to focus on building a communications service that’s as fast, affordable and personal as possible.
Here’s what will change for you, our users: nothing.
WhatsApp will remain autonomous and operate independently. You can continue to enjoy the service for a nominal fee. You can continue to use WhatsApp no matter where in the world you are, or what smartphone you’re using. And you can still count on absolutely no ads interrupting your communication. There would have been no partnership between our two companies if we had to compromise on the core principles that will always define our company, our vision and our product.
Readers: What do you think of the acquisition?
Facebook has made some changes to , streamlining the interface and adding real-time data for marketers. In its latest update, can now see campaign data in real-time without downloading account information.
Previously, this real-time data was only available time it was downloaded. Additionally, users are starting to be able to choose different time periods to download account history. In addition to the default “all time,” now there’s the past 1 month, 3 months, 6 months or 13 months. This capability will be rolled our gradually throughout the month.
Facebook also addressed other improvements in the February update:
Page post location targeting will be added back to Power Editor for published posts. This setting should only be used for targeting posts that you want to appear on your Page. If you would like this post to appear on your Page and run as an ad, then your targeting choices here and in the Audience section of Power Editor must match. Your ad will not run if the targeting choices are different.
Top image courtesy of Andrea Warner of Marketer’s Braintrust.
In order to get your Facebook page noticed, you might have to use some ninja techniques.
Though you won’t need to dress in all black or acquire throwing stars, taking on the mind of a ninja can help with Facebook page management, according to a new infographic by social marketing firm ShortStack.
Click below to learn more.
Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Though Facebook’s ad revenue continues to grow, a recent development could make the social network’s ad model even more enticing to retailers. Last month, Facebook added some , allowing marketers to target users who had taken certain actions on their website, such as adding an item to a their cart, but not converting.
Among beta testers of this technology, JackThreads saw an 8x return on ad spend. Custom Audiences has another major fan in Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer Marin Software. The company recently published a white paper, explaining how Custom Audiences can help businesses convert customers via smart Facebook advertising. Marin Software Senior Marketing Manager Dan Morris talked with Inside Facebook about how this can change the game for advertisers.
One of the best ways that a business can create ads that actually lead to sales on their website is through retargeting. With programs such as Facebook Exchange, a company can push Facebook ads based on a user’s browsing history away from the social network. To see this in action, go to a travel site such as Hotels.com and look at a few hotel rooms. Soon, you should start seeing ads asking you to come back and convert on that certain hotel room, or to check out other hotels in that city.
Now, Custom Audiences can take the retargeting one step deeper. Say a user made a $50 purchase, or bought a certain type of product. Now, Facebook advertisers can see this and match up the purchaser with their Facebook ID. Then, the company can target ads for products they’ve purchased in the past or for products within a certain price point. Brands can now targets ads for users who have recently purchased, or for those who haven’t made a purchase in a while.
While Facebook Exchange (FBX) hasn’t taken off quite yet, that this could give a huge boost to Custom Audiences, through the use of cross-device retargeting:
One of the most exciting things from our perspective, is the idea of cross-device retargeting. I think that’s one of the most fascinating things that Facebook has with this product launch. The concept of being able to target me, Dan Morris, coming to your website on desktop, going all the way to the checkout stage, not converting, then being able to target me, the exact same person, with a very targeted message on my mobile device, that’s kind of been a dream in the digital marketing world.
Morris sees this technology really being effective with the ability to retarget users based on location. For instance, if you’ve liked Macy’s or recently made a purchase on Macy’s website, and you happen to be close to a Macy’s brick-and-mortar store, marketers can push a specific ad to your mobile device, enticing you to claim it at the store.
He feels that Custom Audiences from Your Website can be a very nice complement to FBX, the social network’s previous retargeting platform:
FBX certainly has its advantages and disadvantages relative to this. The way I see it is it won’t necessarily detract from FBX, but what it will do is help support the notion that Facebook retargeting is effective. FBX isn’t going to be a fit for everyone, but what this will do, is I think this will be a very nice complement to FBX. It will only help expand retargeting in general for Facebook.
Marin’s white paper does offer a bit of a caveat for marketers using Custom Audiences from Your Website, though:
However, despite the clear benefits Custom Audiences from Your Website presents to digital marketers keep in mind that Facebook’s new remarketing solution may indirectly lead to added management complexities in the future. Ironically, the simplification of retargeting will create opportunities for increased targeting sophistication, which will likely introduce audience management complexities and could create issues with scale. To fully take advantage of the long list of retargeting use cases, Facebook advertisers will need to create new campaigns for each Custom Audience target. And for Facebook advertisers who believe in micro-segmenting their audiences into specific clusters, the volume of campaigns could quickly expand as they continue to see ROI.
Readers: Have you started utilizing Custom Audiences from Your Website? What has been your experience?
Kenshoo, a Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer, recently announced that they’ve hired Tiffany Miller as Kenshoo Local’s Director of Business Development. Miller will be responsible for creating and managing global relationships with partner organizations for small business channel growth. Miller, formerly with GoDaddy.com, will work from Kenshoo’s U.S. headquarters in San Francisco.
Miller has more than 12 years of experience in the tech industry, most recently with GoDaddy.com. She also managed the company’s strategic relationship with Google. Miller served in the U.S. Army Reserves and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of San Diego, as well as an MBA/MSIM from Arizona State University.
Facebook put significant work into , and now it’s doing the same for billing. that it is making a couple changes in the way it bills advertisers to make it easier to understand.
Advertisers will now be billed when they hit a certain billing threshold and/or at the end of the month, instead of on a daily basis.
Billing thresholds are set based on how much you’ve paid in the past. For example, if you are a first-time advertiser on Facebook, you will be billed once you reach $25 or if you reach the end of the month. After that first payment, you’ll be billed in $25 increments or when you reach the end of the month.
As you spend more, your billing threshold will continue to increase up to $2,500 as you make successful payments.
This will roll out gradually among advertisers who utilize U.S. dollars, and then to other currencies.
Readers: Do you like this change?
It looks like the rumor of Klout’s sale (and its recent makeover) hasn’t helped the online influencer this week. AppData reported its Facebook monthly active users dropped nearly 50 percent in the last week, with daily active users down more than 60 percent.
Is Klout’s fate sealed or do you think it will make a comeback with a new image?
For more information, visit AppData or call us at
One of the most impressive facets of Facebook’s development as a company has been its international growth. In Q4 2012, Facebook’s ad revenue from Asia was $168 million. That has nearly doubled, to $318 million in Q4 2013. In countries outside of the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia, ad revenue grew from $156 million in Q4 2012 to $300 million .
The major factor, notes Upstream Head of Engagement Management Markellos Diorinos, has been Facebook’s ability to make the site viable and valuable on mobile phones all over the world. As becomes more popular by the day, and Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of connecting the world through Internet.org starts to take hold, Facebook becomes a more serious player in emerging markets. In Upstream’s findings, while mobile may garner fewer impressions, the value-per-impression is 92 percent higher than desktop.
What’s next for Facebook? Diorinos sees great untapped potential in Africa.
Diorinos talked with Inside Facebook about the international mobile market, where many people have feature phones instead of Androids or iPhones. Facebook has strengthened its ad targeting so advertisers can reach those who don’t visit the site with a smartphone, allowing marketers to reach demographics that were impossible years ago.
Diorinos talked about how more people in emerging markets are accessing the internet through their phone, noting that many times the Facebook Messenger app can be more popular than Facebook’s native app, as people use the phone to connect with others:
The penetration of internet is nowhere near as high as in the Western world, much less the U.S. and so on. As a result, for many of the past years, Facebook was very cumbersome for people to access or they couldn’t access it. When Facebook came out with their first mobile apps, it was very slow and it was more frustrating than enjoyable. For example, Nigeria, in a survey we ran last year, for 66 percent of the people, the main way they access the internet is their phone. So now these people have a connection through their phone and they have access and they’re now starting to join Facebook.
The connection of people in emerging markets is the main goal of Internet.org. By improving internet access to millions of people around the world, those people can then join and use Facebook.
The next area to experience a Facebook boom could be Africa, Diorinos said:
In my opinion, where I expect to see a lot of huge uptake is in the places where they have the lowest penetration so far, and that would be Africa, which is a huge market, and it’s grossly underserved. Connectivity is there. This is the place where Internet.org is going to make the most difference.
Kevin McGinnis runs online marketing for TigerTail, a manufacturer of ATV equipment in Minneapolis, MN.
Like most small businesses, he has a website, shopping cart, email list, . These different systems don’t talk to one another.
He knows that when he sends email, it drives sales. But it’s not exactly clear how all his marketing efforts come together.
So this is what he did to kick his marketing into high gear on Facebook.
He uploaded his email list to Facebook, getting 500 users to match.
You can do this with whatever email system you use — MailChimp, ConstantContact, Infusionsoft, aweber, or whatever. And it’s free.
Now whenever he posts to Facebook, these email subscribers will also see his messages in their News Feeds.He set up the 3 campaign structure of audience, engagement, and conversion, as described here. TigerTail is able to automatically grow its fan base, increase engagement, and drive sales, since these campaigns are linked together.He’s spending $25 a day.
His top ad drove a 10% CTR and 666 actions for only $29. That’s 5 cents per engagement.
We know that the higher the CTR, the lower the CPC. Facebook rewards you for having highly engaging content targeted at the right audience.
In this case, ATV enthusiasts whose friends are connected to TigerTail. It’s this last filter that makes everything relevant, since it’s leveraging the social connection of what friends like.
This is word of mouth at scale and how social advertising is different than paid search.
But we also want to drive the bottom line — we need sales.
Here is the e-commerce reporting from his Google Analytics.
The conversion campaign is fed from the engagement campaign. So a lot of the Facebook engagement traffic drives more searches in Google, which then gets credit for the eventual sale.
That’s why even though there is more traffic from Facebook, the revenue impact is seen via Google.
Many e-commerce players make this last click attribution mistake, not realizing there is an assist from Facebook that makes email and search more effective. More people are going to search for your name because of your social efforts.
The only real solution here on this tracking issue is to have a tag management system in combination with url tags and conversion tracking pixels.
Even still, Google Analytics hides most of the referral traffic, including the keyword that the user came in on, like this:
As you can see, most of the traffic is hidden under the “not provided”.
Readers, what are you doing about tying your search and social efforts together?
For many couples, Facebook can play a part in . From sharing a funny (or heartfelt photo) to checking out the Facebook page of the restaurant they’ll go to that night, many people utilize the social network somehow.
Stats from the site gets on Feb. 14 — but the novelty of the day wears off as users grow older. Users under 24 were the most talkative demographic with regard to Valentine’s Day last year, with ‘Love,’ ‘Chocolate,’ ‘Life,’ ‘Family,’ and Presents,’ as the most popular words.
In 2013, 1.9 million people changed their relationship status within a week of , and 150,000 changed their status to ‘engaged.’
But what if you’re single? Facebook data showed that single men have good chances in Memphis, while single women have a better ratio in San Francisco.
Facebook also outlined the stop cities for singles, with Detroit and Los Angeles leading the way in terms of single Facebook users of both genders.
The top five cities (among the top 50 population centers) by percentage of single people are:
- Detroit, MI
- Los Angeles, CA
- New York, NY
- Miami, FL
- Memphis, TN
The top five cities in terms of largest probability of relationship formation for a single person:
- Colorado Springs, CO
- El Paso, TX
- Louisville, KY
- Fort Worth, TX
- San Antonio, TX
Most single females per single male:
- Memphis, TN
- Jacksonville, FL
- Fort Worth, TX
- Charlotte, NC
- Richmond, VA
Most single males per single female:
- San Francisco, CA
- San Jose, CA
- Seattle, WA
- Salt Lake City, UT
- San Diego, CA
Facebook gave a look into how the site is , showing that 36 percent of U.S. women on Facebook start planning for Valentine’s Day a week in advance, while 37 percent of U.S. men wait until the last minute.
So where do these couples end up going on ? Facebook gathered the most popular restaurant and bar check-ins from the past four Valentine’s Days in major cities. Restaurants with more than 10 locations were excluded.
- The Varsity
- TWO Urban Licks
- Rays on The River
- The Sun Dial Restaurant, Bar & View
- Gladys Knight & Ron Winans Chicken and Waffles
- Atlanta Fish Market
- Metro Cafe Diner
- Canoe Restaurant
- Chops Lobster Bar
- Kevin Rathbun Steak
- Blue Dragon
- Top of the Hub
- Tokyo Japanese Steak House
- Mare Boston
- Grill 23 & Bar
- da Vinci
- FiRE+iCE Boston
- The Vault
- Mooo Restaurant
- Siena Tavern
- Grand Lux Cafe
- Billy Goat Inns
- Cafe Babareeba
- Weber Grill Restaurant
- Connie’s Pizza
- Ginos East of Chicago
- Las Tablas Restaurant
- El Tiempo Cantina Navigation
- The Hay Merchant
- BB’s Cafe
- Brady’s Landing Restaurant
- Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse
- Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House
- Pappas Bros
- Cavatore Italian Restaurant
- the breakfast klub
- Rio Carnival World Buffet
- Eiffel Tower Restaurant
- Mariscos Las Islitas
- Rhythm Kitchen Seafood & Steaks
- Top of the World
- Mon Ami Gabi – Las Vegas
- Sushi Samba Palazzo Hotel Las Vegas
- The Wicked Spoon
- Serendipity 3
- Diablo’s Cantina
- The Stinking Rose – Beverly Hills
- La Barca Grill & Cantina
- Luminarias Restaurant
- LA Prime
- Il Cielo Restaurant
- Bottega Louie Restaurant and Gourmet Market
- Lawry’s The Prime Rib, Beverly Hills
- The Abbey Food & Bar | West Hollywood
- Rock N Fish LA Live
- Barton G. The Restaurant
- The Rusty Pelican Restaurant in Miami
- Smith & Wollensky
- Joe’s Stone Crab Restaurant
- Panorama Restaurant
- Cobb Cinebistro
- Anacapri On Ponce
- GreenStreet Cafe
- Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill
- Red Fish Grill
New York City
- Ainsworth Park
- Sushi Mikasa
- Dallas BBQ
- Pio Pio Restaurant
- Don Coqui Astoria
- El Rodeo Guzman
- Ben & Jack
- New Corner Restaurant
- Flo Lounge Restaurant
- 54 Below
- Stock in Trade
- Yoshi’s San Francisco
- Thanh Long
- The Stinking Rose
- Espetus Churrascaria
- Rosamunde Sausage Grill
- Franciscan Crab Restaurant
- Sutro’s At The Cliff House
- The Spinnaker
- Clyde’s Restaurant
- Bravo! Bravo!
- Coco Cabana Bar & Grill
- Phillips Flagship
- The Park at Fourteenth
- Mi Rancho Restaurant
- Ben’s Chili Bowl
- Woodmont Grill
- Vinoteca DC
- Ray’s The Steaks
Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.
— which allows users to edit or improve the Entity Graph listings on Facebook — has gone through a bit of a redesign. As first pointed out to Inside Facebook by Matteo Gamba, Places Editor has gotten a little more user-friendly with deeper and more easily-accessed features.
Through Places Editor, users can fix incorrect by affixing the correctly-spelled name, inputting the real address of the place or by fixing any other inaccuracies.
On the top bar, users can see how many people they’ve “helped,” by offering edits that were later accepted by Facebook editors and checked in by people.
Gamba illustrated the features of Places Editor in a screen shot:
Here’s what Places Editor looked like previously:
Readers: How often do you use Places Editor?
Facebook announced Thursday that it will allow its users to on their timeline. Previously, the only options available were female and male, but now there’s a custom option for users to identify as their preferred pronoun.
Currently, this is only available to users who view Facebook in U.S. English, but the site hopes to expand this internationally.
Facebook announced this in a post on the :
When you come to Facebook to connect with the people, causes, and organizations you care about, we want you to feel comfortable being your true, authentic self. An important part of this is the expression of gender, especially when it extends beyond the definitions of just “male” or female.” So today, we’re proud to offer a new custom gender option to help you better express your own identity on Facebook.
We collaborated with our Network of Support, a group of leading LGBT advocacy organizations, to offer an extensive list of gender identities that many people use to describe themselves. Moreover, people who select a custom gender will now have the ability to choose the pronoun they’d like to be referred to publicly — male (he/his), female (she/her) or neutral (they/their).
We also have added the ability for people to control the audience with whom they want to share their custom gender. We recognize that some people face challenges sharing their true gender identity with others, and this setting gives people the ability to express themselves in an authentic way.
To change your gender to a custom option, go to your timeline and edit the basic information on the “about” section. For U.S. English users, there will be an option for custom. For further assistance, .
Top image courtesy of the Facebook Diversity page.
for iPhone and iPod hit the iOS App Store this week and if you haven’t downloaded it, you should. It’s actually pretty great. So much so that it inspired me to pull together ten first impressions of what it means for digital marketers.
1. Facebook is a mobile company.
If there were any remaining questions about Facebook’s mobile chops after the Q4 , then Paper cements Facebook’s status as an elite mobile company. They know their future is mobile and this app shows they’re able to not only create a fun and elegant user experience, but as you’ll see below, illustrates that they can be very forward thinking about how mobile will impact their business going forward.
In juxtaposition to their miserable first mobile attempts, Paper fixes everything. Every detail is considered; world-class professionals have crafted this app.
The “unboxing” experience (if an app can be unboxed) is easy and helpful — no logging-in because iPhone already has my credentials; the intro video is sweet; the gestures are easy to understand and get the hang of; and the app’s personality (she’s sweet) suggests things as she discovers you might need help.
2. Facebook is a learning company.
There was no hype, no private invitations or press event, just a blog post and then a few days later a fully-formed app that was available to the masses. This launch approach has been much more cautious than in the past and seems to suggest that a more test and learn approach has settled-in. This isn’t the Lean Start-Up approach of launching an MVP — there’s nothing minimal about Paper.
3. Facebook is a fast-follower (sorta).
For many companies, especially as they go public and get big, their openness to risk and therefore innovation, decreases. While Paper was developed by an internal skunk works team called , it’s clear much of this app was inspired (nice way to put it) by Flipboard. I don’t blame them, Flipboard had a profound effect on me the first time I logged in to Facebook and Twitter as well. The reimagining of Facebook as a newspaper fits quite well, especially as they move away from text updates and toward even more visual posts.
Until now I’ve thought of Twitter as a master fast-follower, now it looks like Facebook may be making progress here too.
4. To be truly useful, I need more control.
The “sections,” another idea plucked from Flipboard, are impressive on day one and I’m fine exploring what they’ve pulled together. But soon I’m going to want to make my own sections, both from websites I find as well as from people I already have connections with. Custom sections can’t come soon enough.
It’s still very much a browsing experience, but maybe that’s OK. When I can create my own sections like I create lists on Twitter, then Paper, and more specifically Facebook, will actually be useful and not just fun.
5. Instagram needs a facelift.
I know Paper is all about news and aggregating popular content from across the social graph, but this experience works because of photography. Paper is primed for better Instagram integration, and makes me realize how badly Instagram needs a makeover. Instagram photos posted to Facebook appear like any other photo, but in Paper they’re coming through more like link posts than the cool tilt to scroll photo posts.
The Instagram app instantly feels ancient, and not in a classics/Egypt/Iliad sort of way. Instagram needs to break out of its low-res, square photo format and give us the immersive mobile photo and video experience we now crave. Pretty please.
6. Facebook is cool (sorta).
With the irrational fear of those cool teenagers (I know some teenagers, they’re not that cool) leaving Facebook for cooler pastures like Snapchat, the navel-gazing pundits were ready to give up on “your mom’s social network”. But hold on peoples, coolness is just an app away. While I don’t think Paper fundamentally changes the way people think about Facebook, it will change the way millions of people experience Facebook and that can only help the brand. If the Creative Lab can strike gold more than once, then I think we’re in for a long fun ride of giant rich tech companies being flexible enough to create cool things.
And people seem to love it so far. Lots of reviews on the app store, overwhelmingly positive, great press… Operation Hearts & Minds is off to good start.
7. When the ads come…
Facebook has shared that Paper will not have ads but they haven’t ruled it out. If Paper becomes the de facto Facebook app on iOS (and eventually Android, Windows Phone, etc.) then the ads will surely follow. My prediction is that ads will begin appearing in the next six months. Here’s why,
Paper blurs the line between friend’s content and other stuff we might like. Within minutes we are expected to explore well beyond our News Feeds. The concept of opting-in to content to fill your news feed is gone. We’re encouraged to explore what’s popular now and what the experts at Facebook have decided to share. This “conditioning” will vastly help Facebook deliver ads without pushback, and if marketers adapt well, with even more effectiveness. The idea of opt-in communications on Facebook is slowly going away for good as organic reach dwindles. A like is merely a signal, no longer a contract and our openness to exploring brand content from a wide variety of places expands. As long as users quickly get beyond the provided sections and are able to curate their own content, then Facebook will go from being fun to actually useful.
8. Facebook advertising just got harder, but don’t worry.
With organic reach going away and even more competition from content in “sections”, marketers that are able to reach key audiences will have to provide more than a photo, quick poll or contest. The post-click experience bar has now been raised. From the social mobile context of Paper, your brand’s post-click landing experience better be great on mobile or the impact to your brand will be staggering. If I go from Paper into a non-social mobile experience, I’m going to get cranky, and with a public comment field at my fingertips, literally, you’re not going to like what I’ll share.
Not to worry: Facebook thought about marketers from the start. The Verge shared that the 40 launch partners seem to have some subtle branding elements on their posts — National Geographic posts have yellow borders and use their fonts – for example. The more posts look branded, the potentially less they look like ads. As with everything social, as long as brands keep pushing value into my feed, I’m more likely to click and as Paper gains momentum and use time grows, we will become more and more open to brand content in our feeds, organic and paid.
Paper will be a treasure trove of new data and connections for Facebook. Expect to see premium (read expensive) ads in top sections, and possibly some pretty interesting content sponsorship opportunities. This will go well beyond trending topics and Facebook will, theoretically, be able to know more about your preferences and — even better for marketers — have more control over what you see and from whom.
9. Paper will quickly become the primary Facebook app.
I’ve used it for about 45 minutes today and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the old app. You learn the gestures in minutes; it’s really easy to skim and find and explore; and it is quick and joyful. At this moment, it’s the top featured app on the app store and it has more than 2,500 reviews – and 4.5 out of 5 stars. Let’s see if the enthusiasm wanes over the next weeks and months or if the momentum continues to build. I expect we’ll hear some multi-million numbers in the next few days.
10. What’s next?
If Paper signals a (real) multiple app strategy – and I’m not sure it does, yet – then what else are the Creative Lab folks working on? A shopping app would be obvious, but far more difficult. Hard goods are tangible and come in different sizes and shapes, and there is inventory and checkout and fulfillment to worry about. All solvable challenges, but ecommerce is just a VERY different beast. But I won’t be surprised if Storefront by Facebook (I made that up) isn’t being explored as we speak.
What else do you think could be “Papered” that you would be excited about? Instagram and shopping are easy, what could they do that would really change the game?
Marko Muellner has been a digital marketer for over 18 years, with deep experience in cross-channel, integrated, and multi-touch marketing strategy, creative development, and account management. He has spent his time learning how digital and social media marketing is applied in non-profits, international digital agencies, .com start-ups, global sportswear and beer companies, and at a top-tier web analytics and optimization company. This experience has brought him to the stage as a featured speaker at the Luxury Interactive Conference. His social media and digital marketing expertise have been featured in Luxury Daily, the SmartBlog on Social Media, Mobile Marketer, InsideSocialCommerce, and ClickZ. He can be reached at .
Spredfast, a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer, announced Thursday that the company has opened its first office in the U.K. Spredfast’s initial European office is located in London, where the company can focus on the increasing demand from international brands.
Oana Neumayer, vice president of EMEA, will lead Spredfast in the U.K. Neumayer will be responsible for overall management of Spredfast’s U.K. operations including sales and continued growth of the Spredfast community. She comes to Spredfast from Syncapse, where she was the Managing Director of the company’s expansion efforts in Eurupe, Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific regions.
The European expansion comes on the heels of a record funding round for Spredfast, where the company raised $32.5 million in growth capital.
Rod Favaron, CEO of Spredfast, commented on the expansion and the hire of Neumayer:
Spredfast experienced unprecedented growth in 2013, as did the social media market itself — changing from a mere broadcast medium to one that is much more targeted,. With this in mind, our company is committed to providing every brand, worldwide, with the most robust, social relationship platform on the market so they can reach their customers in a highly targeted, effective way and build lasting relationships. By opening an office in the U.K. and bringing on Oana, we are taking our first step — of many — towards global expansion.
As many page admins and marketers rage against Facebook for perceived and real drops in page post reach, a new study by Neustar shows that Facebook advertising is actually an effective way to achieve reach, compared to other methods such as ad networks, ad exchange platforms and portal websites.
The 2013 Year in Review Global Media Intelligence Report covers approximately 145 billion ad events, 61 billion impressions and 10.5 million conversions over the course of 2013.
The Neustar study shows that Facebook is 197 percent more effective than online portals, which Neustar defines as “a website that brings information together from diverse sources in a uniform way.” In Q4, Facebook (which the study calls social throughout the report) was most effective at generating reach — and by a wide margin.
Among the methods covered in the study, Facebook was also the best at delivering high-quality users via advertising — ranking 52 percent higher than the average.
The study explained how Facebook is able to do this:
The next step beyond reach efficiency is to look at a channel’s ability to deliver high-quality users. Social is the only channel that performed above the indexed average for user quality for all of 2013. In Q4, all channels improved at reaching high-quality users, except exchanges, which may indicate that they are good at retargeting, but drive very little exclusive reach. Social performed 52% better than the indexed average in Q4. This could be due to the type of users found on social. They tend to log in, remain logged-in, visit many pages, and engage on a more regular basis than users seen on other channels.
Facebook ads were effective in Q1 at generating upper-funnel responses, but dropped off shortly after.
Readers: When compared to other advertising methods, does Facebook deliver superior reach for you?
Click here to access the full study.
, Facebook Exchange, retargeting, Power Editor — for the novice or new Facebook page admin, this can all seem a bit overwhelming.
A new infographic by France-based Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer 909c aims to cut through the clutter and give new advertisers a simple explanation of Facebook advertising.
Though Facebook has gone through great lengths to simplify advertising on the site, there are still many who are confused about how to use it efficiently for specific purposes.
Click below to learn more.
Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.