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.
Global Life Events
Added a relationship, got engaged or got married
Ended a relationship
First met a friend
Added a family member, expecting a baby or had a baby
Got a pet
Lost a loved one
Got a piercing
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.
Tour de France
“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:
Topics Shared – Australia:
Top Check-Ins Around The World
Explore the places around the world with the most check-ins (excluding transportation hubs).
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.
The existing News Feed displays a mash-up of posts from friends alongside Facebook pages you’ve liked . Those posts include check-ins, photos, videos, and status updates in some arcane order determined by an algorithm. The updated News Feed, by contrast, separates types of content, and lets users choose to view only photos, or only music, or only updates from businesses like yours—in other words, the pages they’ve liked.
One of the biggest changes to the design is the way it handles music. There’s a new feed to deal only with music-related stuff. You just choose the feed from a feeds drop-down list at the top right of the page.
The Spotify music your friends are listening to is now featured in the music feed. Facebook has moved your friends’ song listens out of the old ticker at the right hand side of the screen, and into the music feed.
And Facebook is doing a lot more with those Spotify listens. It looks for artists and songs that multiple friends are listening to and groups them together in an article in the news feed. The article contains a large picture of the artist, and at the left you can see all your friends who’ve listened to the artist lately. Mouse over any of the pictures and you can see what those people said about the artist.
The Following feed
Some of these themes are continued in other feeds. In the Following feed, Facebook now builds media rich articles using content from the pages of publications or public figures you like. For instance, if you follow the Onion’s page, you might see an article in your feed with the three most recent articles from the publication. Each article has its own image, and a 20-word summary. You might also find in-page videos of public figures you follow.
The Photos feed
The Photos feed simply displays all the posts that include photographs. The photos appear larger in the feed, as well as the text around them. Even the text in the comments boxes below the photos appears to be a little bit bigger than before. At the top of the Photos feed page, you’ll find a small header image that incorporates one of the images from your feed. (Actually, all the new feeds pages have these header images.)
2. Larger Pictures for More Visual Impact
Images are to be given much more priority in the new-look News Feed, for which we can probably thank Pinterest and Instagram (and the fact that, as revealed by Mark Zuckerberg, 50 percent of the content in the Facebook News Feed already comprises photos and videos). Little wonder, then, that the News Feed is being given a visual makeover.
Here’s what you’ll see if you look at a typical Facebook News Feed now:
And how it will look once the revamp rolls out:
3. Facebook Albums Look Better Too
4. New Look For Shared Stories
Perhaps the most dramatic change is to the way that links are shared on Facebook. You’ll be familar with the current appearance:
The new Sharing layout resembles (and was probably inspired by) the table of contents of a magazine. The new look includes:
A much larger image
A more prominent title
And a longer summary that tells you what this article is about
Facebook is also starting to add the logos of the publishers in the corner, its own effort to add authority and credibility to the shared content.
5. Desktop Mobilised
This visual makeover will see Facebook adopt similar layouts across both desktop and mobile, taking advantage of recent mobile styling.
What About The Marketers?
Collectively, the changes add up to a bold new look to the Facebook News Feed, at least for consumers. But where are marketers in all this?
AdWeekreported on the reaction from the marketing industry:
Many marketers gleefully anticipated that the content-specific feeds that Facebook was reportedly prepping would improve their ability to target ads. But when Facebook announced the new feeds on Thursday, advertisers were all but shut out—many of them feeling none too happy about it. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company has yet to determine how it wants to handle ads in the four new feeds.
The ability to target, say, image-rich ads to the Photos feed, or promote a brand-related jingle to the Music Feed ads would be “definitely a great opportunity for advertisers. I don’t know why they’re not making that available right now,” said Performics global CEO Daina Middleton.
Facebook isn’t leaving Madison Avenue completely in the dark. After the announcement, the company emailed marketers with a follow-up overview of the new feeds and design “and said right now ad units aren’t going to change,” said iCrossing’s head of social media Amanda Peters, who received such an email.
Despite that outreach, “I was surprised that there wasn’t any mention of ad units [during Thursday’s announcement],” Peters said. “I think [the new feeds] do present an opportunity for new units and potentially more dynamic units, more targeted units for specific feeds. My guess is that would come very soon.”
But maybe marketers shouldn’t be surprised about a lack of initial ad talk, given past Facebook announcements regarding product changes, said MEC managing partner and social practice lead Kristine Segrist.
“I feel like historically whether it was Timeline or other big platform changes, they roll out the user experience first, get some learnings, test it in the wild, then roll out the accompanying ad products,” she said. However “the scary story for marketers is whether users have newfound controls and can choose to spend time where brands or businesses can’t be part of the conversation.”
“There will be a section of the new News Feed dedicated to pages that users have liked”, saysTony Bradley. However:
Borrowing the personalized newspaper analogy, that section will be the equivalent of the classifieds section.
It’s fair to assume that the users who have liked your Facebook page are at least peripherally interested in your products and services. However, people spend time on the social network to be, well, social.
Their first thought won’t be, “Hey, I wonder if that company I liked has anything new to say.” It probably won’t be their second or third thought, either.
Don’t wait for users to find you in the equivalent of the classifieds. To stay in the game and engage with your community, take your business to them. How do you do that? Use lots of photos and videos to help you business show up in the sections of the new Facebook News Feed, such as Photos, that will have the most traffic.
In other words, even in the new-look Facebook News Feeds, old-fashioned Engagement is as essential as ever.
In the finest “keep them guessing” tradition of the late Steve Jobs, Facebook had the tech journalist community buzzing over a mystery press conference scheduled for Wednesday morning. Speculation was rife: would the social giant launch a new mobile phone, perhaps, or had it acquired another key player in its ongoing battle for digital supremacy?
Now the wondering is over: Facebook’s big announcement is Graph Search, a Social Search Engine.
Finally! Facebook’s existing search engine is, frankly, not up to the rigours of searching through the trillions of entries of a billion members.
So what do we know about Graph Search so far, what makes it different to Google and what are the implications for marketers?
The first and most important point is that this is not web search, it’s social search. It’s designed to help Facebook members meaningfully sort through content that has been shared with them.
The second key point is that Graph Search is still in Beta release – Facebook is inviting users to sign up for early trials, but it’s only rolling out to a small number (in the hundreds or thousands) at first.
And the third key point is that Graph Search is the method by which Facebook intends to harness the social potential of its members’ accumulated postings (which has BIG implications for marketers).
Powered by Social Proof
For example: you want to go out for dinner tonight. What was the name of that Mexican restaurant your friend Janice loved? Now, instead of scrolling through screeds of Facebook posts — or giving up and phoning/texting Janice — you can use Graph Search to find Mexican restaurants in Wellington. Your results will include listings of restaurants that your friends who have checked in to or Liked.
You can quickly see the implications for marketers. Social Proof suddenly becomes not merely optional but essential — if your restaurant isn’t on Facebook, it won’t be caught in the Graph Search results so won’t even be part of the choice set.
The launch focused on four use cases for Graph Search: people, photos, places and interests.
Forbes, amongst many others, live-blogged these examples as they were announced by Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook team:
Searching people: By typing in “friends of friends who are single men in San Francisco and who are from India” in the search box, the search engine highlights those search terms and brings up a list of eligible bachelors for matchmaking purposes.
Searching photos: You can type “photos of my friends taken in Paris” or “photos of my friends taken in national parks.” The searches bring up big tiled photos of the photos in that category. Or you can just search for “photos I like.” This brings in social gestures such as the “Like” that Facebook already has that tag photos and other objects. This is also data that Facebook has that competitors don’t. You can only see the photos that people have shared with you.
Searching interests: You can type in “Movies my friends like” or “TV shows my friends like.” Clearly this section of search has revenue potential. You can also search for “Videos by TV shows liked by my friends” this will bring up just the videos that TV shows have posted. “TV shows liked by doctors” shows that doctors like to watch Grey’s Anatomy. You can also search and see what kind of music people who like Mitt Romney or Barack Obama like.
Searching places: When traveling you can search for “barsin Dublin liked by people who live in Dublin” to get local insider information. Or search for people who have been to Ireland.
On privacy: Facebook has privacy shortcuts in a button on the upper right hand corner. Click on “Who can see my stuff” then photos to see the photos I have uploaded or that are tagged of me. Or you can see just the photos I’ve hidden from your Timeline. You can also send a message to the person who uploaded the photo asking them to take the photos down. For those inappropriate photos.
There’s also a partnership with Microsoft’s Bing search engine included for information that can’t be found in Facebook’s Graph Search.
We’ll be covering Graph Search and all its marketing implications in our new Advanced Social Media Marketing course (details here).
Stephen Terrell expected a group of happy users when he updated his company’s Facebook profile page to the new Timeline format, allowing his mostly senior-citizen customers to register for a contest to win a trip to Hollywood to meet nonagenarian actor Betty White.
Instead, there was an explosion of anger and confusion. When the Lifeline Program, the Atlanta company for which Terrell is senior vice-president of branding, revamped its Facebook page last week, some elderly users trying to register for the contest were so angry and vocal that Terrell had to ban them.
“It is really creating a communication problem between us and our client base,” Terrell said.
“I think there is some pain that is going to happen, but you have to look at it from the overall perspective. I think it is a positive for most companies,” said Michael Fauscette, an analyst with the research group IDC who follows social networks. “It gives them a greater capability to promote their brand, and to really brand their pages and make them stand out.”
Facebook’s requirement that all business profile pages convert to the Timeline format by the end of this month means that companies, nonprofit groups and other organizations that use Facebook pages must explain those changes to their customers, and in some cases may face the brunt of user anger about them.
Like it or hate it, the Facebook Timeline conversion is happening anyway. So what can you do?
1. Social brands don’t just send messages, they create value for people and communities.
2 Social brands are happy to exchange rigid control of their brand for greater involvement with people.
3 Social brands manage their brands in a more human context. It is less about the word of the brand guidelines and more about the spirit of the brand, often replacing formality around tone of voice in favour of expressing brand character, values, purpose and cause.
4. The types of content that social brands can create categorised as providing information, utility, entertainment, reward, incentive or something that reflects a person’s character and what they value. Brands are still totems to what we believe, reflecting our personality.
5. Timeliness of response is a critical indicator of social enablement. Social brands are agile and responsive to the needs of people, relishing opportunities as they arise.
6. Being appropriate in social doesn’t mean using a lot of brand outposts. The use of brand outposts is driven by what is most relevant for the community.
7. Negative and positive sentiment is acknowledged and accepted by social brands
8. Social brands create, develop and encourage behaviors that mirror community or individual behaviors. They meet and exceed expectations, often delighting people in doing so.
9. Social brands are true, compelling, authentic and transparent.
10. Social brands simplify their intent and continually act to achieve it. They have established what they want to achieve and ensure everything builds towards this commitment. To be a social brand you have to be a good brand, a good employer, make good products, provide good customer service and have a moral centre to your purpose by those that represent you.