Category Archives: Facebook

Were Your Posts Just Banned By Facebook?

banned-by-facebook

Late last week, Facebook gave businesses the bad news:

Overtly promotional posts will no longer be shown to page followers, beginning in January 2015.

Exactly what types of posts are banned? Here’s what Facebook specified:

  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

Facebook gave some hypothetical examples of undesirable posts, but here are just a few of the millions of real Facebook page posts that would seem to fall foul of Facebook’s new rules.

Posts that only talk about products you should buy:

banned-post-1

Or contests you can enter:

contents

 

And even big brands have Facebook page posts unlikely to survive the January 2015 promotional massacre:

uniqlo

Those 762 people who like the above post? They’re going to be out of luck, when January rolls around. They won’t see the Uniqlo promotional posts in their newsfeeds, so they won’t know about the deals.

The Continuing Push Towards Zero Facebook Engagement

This move by Facebook is just the latest step in the social network’s efforts to:

  • reduce unwanted clutter on users’ Facebook newsfeeds
  • drive down the reach of brands’ Facebook page posts (towards zero)

From a user-centric point of view, Facebook’s motives are not merely practical but praise-worthy. As Facebook notes, “our goal with News Feed has always been to show people the things they want to see. When people see content that’s relevant to them, they’re more likely to be engaged with News Feed”.

From the point of view of businesses, however, Facebook’s moves are typically not viewed in such a benign fashion.

As re/code notes, it’s “likely going to anger brands in the process, many of whom spent years building up a following for this very purpose. Why would Coca-Cola pay Facebook to promote one of its posts when it already has 90 million users following its updates?”

Facebook’s own guidelines for business pages spell out the social giant’s thinking:

Publicize exclusive discounts and promotions with ads
If you’re looking to inspire more purchases from your posts, create Facebook Ads with special discounts or promotions.

  • Use link ads to drive people to your site, and include special codes they can use at checkout
  • Drive urgency with a time prompt like “free shipping, this weekend only” or “12 hour flash sale”
  • Promote only products or services you think your audience is most interested in
  • Advertise end-of-year contests and giveaways to drive customer loyalty and sales

In other words, if you want to use Facebook to actually sell stuff, you can now expect to have to PAY.

Overcoming Facebook Frustration & Reaching Your Followers

So what should you do? Simply abandon your carefully-constructed Facebook presence? Or pay every time to reach your followers?

In our Facebook online training courses (Facebook Accelerator and the Complete Facebook Marketing course), we tackle the issue head-on, and recommend that you:

  • use Graph Search to learn more about your followers and the sort of content that will interest them
  • identify the types of posts that your followers are most likely to share
  • create more of those types of posts
  • create posts in styles and formats that encourage more engagement
  • identify when your followers are most likely to be active on Facebook
  • publish your posts at those times
  • post more frequently than in the past
  • pay to promote the best of your posts to your followers
  • bump evergreen popular content
  • aim to drive Last Actor engagement as much as possible
  • crunch your numbers regularly to see exactly how well you’re doing (and whether or not you’re fulfilling your potential)
  • use Facebook advertising to drive Facebook users to your website

 

Free Report on Facebook Advertising

If you want to sell anything through Facebook, it’s time to face the grim reality:

you’re simply going to have to pay to promote your products, through Facebook Advertising.

A word of warning, however: if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s easy to burn through a lot of money fast, with minimal results.

To help, we’ve put together a special FREE report on getting started with Facebook Advertising.

 

GSWFB-cover-cropped-3D

This free report will tell you the 5 essential tips you simply MUST KNOW before you start advertising on Facebook.

So go ahead — grab your FREE copy right now!

Just click here for your free report.

 

 

qvVSPUQn4v8

Atlas by Facebook

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Facebook is relaunching its Atlas advertising programme, enabling marketers to tap into its treasure trove of consumer data. Re/Code explains:

  • Facebook is reintroducing Atlas, the underused platform it bought from Microsoft last year.
  • Facebook says Atlas can help marketers track the effectiveness of their ads around the Web; it also says it will allow them to buy ads on non-Facebook websites and apps, using Facebook targeting data.
  • Facebook makes a point of saying these ads aren’t “Facebook ads.” But it is also playing up the notion that the ads marketers buy via Atlas will be more effective than other big ad platforms, because they use Facebook’s data.
  • Facebook says it is working with lots of partners, but so far has named only two. Ad holding giant Omnicom, which already has deals with Facebook, Google, Twitter and most other big digital players, says it will buy ads with Atlas. Facebook’s Instagram will also work with the platform. The most tantalizing notion I’ve heard this week is that Facebook has talked to Twitter about joining up, and that the idea remains a possibility.
  • What’s that? You’re worried about people using your Facebook data to serve you ads? Facebook says you shouldn’t worry, because your identity will remain anonymous to advertisers and publishers — they’ll just know some basic facts about you. But really, if you’re worried about this kind of thing you shouldn’t be on Facebook. Actually, the whole Web is probably a no-go zone for you. Sorry.

From a marketer’s perspective, the Atlas initiative is an inevitable development, as Facebook attempts to out-monetise Google.

As Pando notes, there’s another important side-effect to the Atlas initiative, as the world goes mobile:

Atlas solves a technical problem that has frustrated advertisers since consumers flocked to mobile devices: the inability to see how ads viewed on one device influence purchases made on other devices because digital “cookies,” the Web’s little stalkers, can’t track smartphone activity.

Check out the video, and check out Atlas, coming soon to a marketer near you.

Facebook Cover Images: Dimensions July 2014

Have you taken a look at your Facebook business page lately – not just on your desktop computer or tablet but also via your smartphone?

Facebook now (Q1 2014) has more than a billion monthly active users who visit the site via mobile device, representing 79% of total Facebook active users, so if your Facebook page doesn’t look as smart as it should on mobile, you just could be discouraging three-quarters of your prospective customers/followers.

Facebook Cover Image Dimensions Have Changed

The most important visual element of your Facebook page is your Cover Image, which sits at the top of the page welcoming visitors. Below, you’ll see the real estate you have to play with (we’ve borrowed a template from these fine folks and added a few extra bits and pieces of our own).

Facebook-cover-image-July-2014

Looks complicated doesn’t it? The key point that you need to note is that the true active area that you have to play with (the area that should be safe on both mobile and desktop) is just 563 pixels wide by 175 pixels deep.

True Active Area Facebook Cover image

Yes, it’s a relatively small proportion of that seemingly glorious cover space, 851 pixels by 315 pixels, but the rest of your image is at risk of being covered by your profile photo, the title or category of your page or the like, follow and message boxes (except of course for the left and right-hand sides of the image, which simply won’t be displayed on mobile).

You still need to surround that active area with other imagery that reflects your brand values – but understand that most of that real estate is likely to vanish. A mobile visitor will never see it, while a desktop traveller may see only some.

Facebook Cover Images: Before And After

Here (gulp!) is what our Netmarketing Courses Facebook page, optimised for Facebook’s 2013 design, looked like under these new design parameters. Note that our subtitle “online training courses for businesses” was partly obscured by the profile picture.

desktop view 2013 Facebook cover image

The mobile view was far worse:

mobile view Facebook page 2013 version

So we gave our cover image an extreme makeover, shedding many of the design elements in favour of a centred logo, with the result below. It won’t win any awards but at least it communicates what we do (and we’re no longer losing any of the information featured in the image).

desktop view 2014 Facebook cover image

 

A quick look at the page on mobile shows that we’ve achieved our branding goals there as well.

mobile view 2014 Facebook cover image

It’s time for you to take another look at your Facebook page (start with your mobile device, ideally through the dedicated Facebook app) and see if you still scrub up as well as you should.

Facebook’s Hottest Topics of 2013

It’s that time of year when the Internet giants crunch their Big Data and report on “the most _____________ of the year”.

Here’s Facebook’s contribution to the mix:

Conversations happening all over Facebook offer a unique snapshot of the world, and this year was no different. Every day, people post about the topics and milestones that are important to them – everything from announcing an engagement, to discussing breaking news, or even celebrating a favorite athlete or sports team.

Facebook analyzed the past year’s worth of these posts to reveal the top global trends of 2013:

Top Life Events
Check out the life events people added to their Timeline most frequently in 2013.

Most shared life events on Facebook 2013

Global Life Events

  1. Added a relationship, got engaged or got married
  2. Traveled
  3. Moved
  4. Ended a relationship
  5. First met a friend
  6. Added a family member, expecting a baby or had a baby
  7. Got a pet
  8. Lost a loved one
  9. Got a piercing
  10. Quit a habit

Most Talked About Topics
Take a look at the most mentioned people and events of 2013, which point to some of the most popular topics around the world.

Facebook's most talked-about topics

Global Topics

  1. Pope Francis
  2. Election
  3. Royal Baby
  4. Typhoon
  5. Margaret Thatcher
  6. Harlem Shake
  7. Miley Cyrus
  8. Boston Marathon
  9. Tour de France
  10. Nelson Mandela

“Election” appeared in many languages, and was the second most mentioned term on Facebook worldwide in 2013. With high-profile national elections in countries like India, Kenya, Iran and Italy year, it’s not a surprise to see it near the top of the list.

Facebook also took the pulse of regional conversations in 16 different countries (alas, not including New Zealand). Here’s what our neighbours across the ditch were sharing:

australia

Topics Shared – Australia:

  • Vote
  • Princess Kate
  • Cricket
  • Kevin Rudd
  • Grand Final
  • Election
  • GST
  • Lions
  • Tony Abbott
  • Big Brother

Top Check-Ins Around The World
Explore the places around the world with the most check-ins (excluding transportation hubs).

Most popular Facebook check-ins of 2013

  • Argentina: Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires
  • Australia: Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), East Melbourne, Victoria
  • Brazil: Parque Ibirapuera, São Paulo
  • Canada: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Egypt: Sharm el-Sheikh, South Sinai Governorate, Egypt
  • France: Disneyland Paris, Marne La Vallée
  • Germany: Reeperbahn, Hamburg
  • Hong Kong: 香港迪士尼樂園 | Hong Kong Disneyland
  • Iceland: Blue Lagoon, Reykjavík, Iceland
  • India: Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple)
  • Italy: Piazza San Marco, Venice
  • Japan: 東京ディズニーランド (Tokyo Disneyland), Tokyo
  • Mexico: Auditorio Nacional, Mexico City
  • Nigeria: Ikeja City Mall, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
  • Poland: Temat Rzeka, Warsaw
  • Russia: Центральный парк культуры и отдыха им. Горького | Gorky Park of Culture and Leisure
  • Singapore: Marina Bay Sands
  • South Africa: Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
  • South Korea: Myungdong Street, Seoul
  • Spain: Las Ramblas, Barcelona, Catalonia
  • Sweden: Friends Arena, Solna
  • Taiwan: 花園夜市Tainan Flower Night Market, Tainan City
  • Turkey: Taksim Square, Istanbul
  • United Kingdom: The 02, London
  • United States: Disneyland, Anaheim, California

We’re still waiting on Google to publish its most popular searches of 2013, but here’s Bing’s list.

 

 

Is OTT Messaging The New Social?

We’ve all become increasingly familiar with the tragic tales of people going for a job, standing for a public position or simply claiming to be off sick, only to be outed by their Facebook posts which reveal their failings, sins and indiscretions to the world.

We live in increasingly glass houses, where our lives are (in the finest tradition of The Truman Show) broadcast live to the world. Even if we avoid posting selfies in flagrante delicto, we can still end up tagged in photos that unflatter us. In the process of sharing stuff with our friends, we’re more and more likely to end up sharing with Google and its few billion acquaintances as well.

We’ve tended to view this is as an inevitable social transition, as the archaic notion of privacy is abandoned in favour of an always-connected “what happens in Vegas … now stays online forever” transparency paradigm. Yes, today’s employers may tut-tut and refuse to hire those whose indiscretions are blatantly displayed online; but tomorrow’s employers, their own failings similarly emblazoned across social networks, are likely to be more tolerant (or so we hope).

What we’re now seeing, however, is a move away from open social networks to the closed user spaces of OTT* messaging applications, especially amongst teens and young adults who are tired of leaving a digital trail which can be seen by parents and employers and by which they can be judged.

* These messaging applications are called OTT (Over The Top), to indicate that they sit on top of the mobile infrastructure, using internet data connectivity rather than the cellular messaging facility, usually at a much lower pricepoint

The move to OTT messaging is problematic for marketers, however, for several reasons:

1. No Clear Leaders

As ReadWrite notes:

“The messaging landscape is fragmented. Teenagers are ditching social media to chat on services like WhatsApp, Snapchat, WeChat and KakaoTalk. Apps like Kik, Line and Tango are other popular SMS replacements, [along with] Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, GroupMe and Skype.”

2. Advertising May Not Be Welcome

It doesn’t help that service providers such as WhatsApp are saying they don’t want to include advertising:

The people at WhatsApp say explicitly that they “are not fans of advertising.” Because of this, “WhatsApp is currently ad-free and we hope to keep it that way forever.” Are you listening, every other company? Because this is what users want.

Mainstream OTT messaging providers such as Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts will be more sympathetic to marketers’ needs — but first they need to capture a significant market share.

3. Messaging Platforms Are Aiming To Keep Those Eyeballs Engaged

As always in the mobile space, the Asian markets demonstrate the future of OTT messaging platforms. According to BGR:

Mobile apps linked to messaging services are taking over the two most important Asian app markets, Japan and Korea. Today, nine out of the ten biggest revenue generators on South Korea’s Google Play app chart are Kakao apps. It is effectively becoming impossible to launch a major hit in the Korean app market unless you use Kakao’s messaging app as your platform. This in turn means that everyone interested in mobile apps is using Kakao. The messaging app has turned into the dominant platform for game distribution. LINE’s role in Japan is not quite as strong, but games for this messaging app regularly hold about half of the positions in Japan’s top-10 iPhone and Android app revenue charts.

… Time spent on messaging apps is exploding even in markets where games linked to these platforms have not yet taken off. According to The Hindu, people in India now spend 27 minutes per day on chat apps, up from 7 minutes just two years earlier. Many of the most populous countries in the world — China, India, Japan, Korea — have now fallen in thrall of the messaging apps. Their share of the daily leisure time of consumers is rapidly expanding. This will inevitably give messaging app vendors a golden chance to turn into content delivery companies. And to stage a serious offensive against Facebook, Twitter and Google.

Second, revenue growth generated by games linked to messaging apps is unearthly. LINE is now generating 67% revenue growth — between quarters, not annually. China’s WeChat is already on a big, global marketing binge, which has helped it boost its presence dramatically from Italy to Nigeria over the past summer.

Finally, one of the hottest app industry topics in Tokyo [at the Japan Game Show in September 2013] was the expansion of content services that we are about to witness. Over the next year, a rapidly expanding selection of comics, videos and music will start flowing to users of WeChat, LINE and Kakao.

4. OTT Messaging Is Taking Over from SMS

OTT Messaging isn’t only competing with Social Media, of course — it’s also taking on good old SMS text messaging, and (according to an April 2013 study by Informa) it’s already won. Business Insider reports that 41 billion OTT messages are now exchanged every day, compared with 19.5 billion SMS messages.

A late-2012 white paper by McKinsey highlights the key drivers of OTT adoption:

  • Technology Readiness, in the form of 3G or 4G networks; and penetration of smartphones
  • Cost Incentives, with SMS too expensive relative to data charges
  • Social Propensity, particularly driven by smartphone adoption amongst teens and young adults
  • Market share of specific OTT messaging applications

Here’s how those triggers drove adoption in South Korea and the Netherlands, according to McKinsey :

ott-triggers

Do most of these triggers apply in New Zealand? Indeed they do.

5. Blink And You’ll Miss It

As if the proliferation of messaging platforms was not enough to worry about in itself, we’re now seeing the development of content that, like SnapChat, self-destructs. Forbes reports:

[Ephemeral apps, such as, in this example, Frankly, work like this:] send a message, and your recipient will initially see a box of blurred text. Once they tap it, a set timer counts down the seconds till the message has been deleted; sent to the digital afterlife. Chat windows, for the most part, thus stand empty at all times. Each time someone sends a text, they can also tap a black “x” afterwards to take it back, in case they change their mind. The idea is that the sender is always in control.

“Maybe, just as the rise of big data and government surveillance and privacy concerns and the over-curated self images on Facebook, people are saying, ‘I miss the days when I could have a private conversation,’” says Frankly founder Steve Chung. “‘Maybe I’m not saying anything bad, but you and I sit down in a coffee shop and we remember what we remember. When we leave, we don’t have reams of paper that recorded it all.’”

The question then isn’t if people want their messages deleted — plenty seem perfectly happy to keep reams of recorded texts — but whether they want more control over what is recorded.

Other ephemeral messaging services include such little-known names as Wickr, Blink, Gryphn, Ansa, SecretInk and Tiger Text. They’re fighting for market share in a still-developing arena, responding to consumer demand for a little more privacy.

Your messages probably still aren’t safe from the likes of the GCSB, Julian Assange or Edward Snowdon, but at least your boss shouldn’t be able to read them without your permission.

PS We cover OTT Messaging in detail in our new Mobile Marketing course

Most Talked About NZ Facebook Pages – August 2013

If you’ve taken any of our Social Media courses, you’ll know that we keep harping on about Engagement — creating content that your followers want to talk about and share with their friends.

We thought it was time once again to check out which Kiwi Facebook pages are the most engaging right now, as at 19 August 2o13. We’ve sliced and diced the numbers two ways, firstly measuring Engagement as a percentage of Page Likes and secondly in terms of total volume.

Leading the first list by a country mile: Made4Baby.

made4baby

This Kiwi brand, which provides natural skincare for babies & children, has only 2,457 Likes but was talked about by 14,300 last week, representing 584.2% Engagement — nearly six times as many people talking about the Facebook page as it has followers.

And the most talked-about post? This one, on August 6:

dirtydishes

This image attracted 286 likes and a staggering 7,393 shares — the sentiment too good not to spread. Clearly Made4Baby understands its audience!

What other New Zealand Facebook pages got people talking? Here’s our Top 10 list:

Most Engaged NZ Facebook Pages August 2013
Engagement as a percentage of Page Likes

Page Name Likes Talking Engagement %
1 Made4Baby 2,448 14,300 584.2%
2 Kaukapakapa Veterinary Services. 55 176 320.0%
3 Shed 10 36 68 188.9%
4 TripMe.co.nz 618 1,139 184.3%
5 Deborah Quin 259 403 155.6%
6 The Factory 570 763 133.9%
7 The Natural Parent Magazine 41,718 55,002 131.8%
8 nzblokes.co.nz 38,527 47,232 122.6%
9 O’Neill New Zealand 587 634 108.0%
10 Dairy Womens Network 1,107 1,123 101.4%

On the other hand, if we just look at the total numbers talking about Facebook pages, these are the Top Ten:

Most Engaged NZ Facebook Pages August 2013
Highest Numbers of People Talking About The Page

Page Name Likes Talking About Engagement %
1 All Blacks 2,016,724 101,459 5.0%
2 The Natural Parent Magazine 41,718 55,002 131.8%
3 nzblokes.co.nz 38,527 47,232 122.6%
4 Paw Justice 268,229 28,398 10.6%
5 Flight of the Conchords 1,626,814 24,782 1.5%
6 Made4Baby 2,448 14,300 584.2%
7 Air New Zealand 647,475 13,710 2.1%
8 Tip Top Ice Cream 129,218 13,560 10.5%
9 Vodafone Warriors 107,180 13,416 12.5%
10 Peter Jackson 1,029,657 13,327 1.3%

NB: We’ve discarded a few pages which were Australia/New Zealand pages (eg BlackBerry Australia/New Zealand) or which were parent/child pages (eg Nissan NZ, where reported Likes and Talking About statistics were cumulative totals of all official Nissan pages globally).

Source of this analysis: the 19 August 2013 edition of our own Netmarketing Courses database of more than 31,000 NZ Facebook pages, for which we gather updated data weekly.