Digital Marketing Blog
April 3, 2014
Many have the critics of Facebooks latest changes in post visibility for brands been. But equally many have the defenders turned out to be. The one side says “boohoo, no more free space for advertising”, whilst the other side says “Facebook is not an advertising platform, you will have to do better“. Both sides are missing the point. Most people do not agree with either side.
It is not true that most people want to engage with your brand. It is really not. Most people want to be entertained by a brand. From the 1-9-90 model onwards, all empirical studies have shown that all people have their favorite activity to do in the digital space, and they like to engage with that. This means that a lot of people are engaged – SOMEWHERE – in the digital space. However, this still usually means that they are not engaged in you.
The difference between wanting to be engaged, and liking what you do, are two extremely separate issues. And this is where I am starting to get fed up with the pro-facebook-changes hardliners. Misinterpret me correctly, I LOVE FACEBOOK. It is just that I think they are doing a poor job hiring business developers able to put the money where the company values are.
Cause, why should Facebook be the only one allowed to be lazy?
If they argue that advertising and one way communication is wrong. That content needs to be truly engaging and genuine.. yada yada… then why the heck do they, themselves work on a business model that solely rely on the bullshit they say they are so opposed to? I do not get it. See, this is how it works, Facebookers, and you should know this – If you say something that smells like rotten fish in the connected world, someone will pick up on the scent and stick it too you.
At least advertisers openly admit that they are trying to “build demand” for services they are working for. At least they try to be creative and game the system. But in the case of Facebooks creativity… “let’s expand the ads areas on the right hand side of the feed”… I mean COME OOOON!!!
You have the largest network of connected people in the world, and that’s what comes out of your biz-dev meetings? Or is there a grumpy developer somewhere who is not willing to build what you ask of him or her?
- Collective payments – simplifying group purchases so that the super users of the
- Pay for privacy – the ability to use your platform without you being able to sell data to third parties
- Game spaces – where you use the micro payment structure of gaming to earn money
- Simple workflow/onboarding – for brands to use on their landing pages – the “premium” version of Facebook connect
Those were fore revenue driving ideas that came out of my mind in four and a half minutes. And there are a lot of brighter people than me around.
I have met Facebook representatives in many countries. Most of them have no idea on how to use the platform to build truly engaging content. They know ads formats. “Engagement ads”… I mean… come ON… with all the jibberish about genuinity… what kind of name is that for a banner?? Rarely have I met a representative that understands the meaning of how to use your ads formats in combination with other online products in order to create true value to a company.
And here is where I usually bump into problems with the “Brand-hating-squad”. But I believe their view on the world is way too simplistic and not in tune with the complicated lives most of us live. Most people have real problems and are not concerned whether or not a post in a feed is from a friend or a brand. They solely care if it delights them or not. If it touch their space of emotion that generate a feeling in the gut.
With that said. Most advertisers don’t know how to do this. They remain in the “big idea world”, and try to apply it to the fragmented space of the digital context. Which doesn’t work. There is no longer such a thing as 360. 360 takes a message and brings it too a user. The digital and connected space of “always-on”, requires you to meet every online user individually, and there is simply no way to do that with big-idea-communication.
Instead, you need a platform consisting of persistent values and exchangeable tools through which you can creatively respond to, interact with and build upon the requests from the people you meet online.
Yes, you still need your marketing department. But, you actually need to do work, and not hand it off to agencies. Yes, you should still post information on where to buy the product you are trying to sell, and you are highly recommended to do fun and creative shit. However, you also need to understand the user journeys occasionally touching the outer layer of your brand presence and allow those users in.
Facebook used to support this kind of arena. Increasingly so, they are not anymore.
And of course I am a hypocrite!! I sell services that help companies do this. However, I know that side of my business is out the door soon, and I fight to get companies onboard for the next few years (that are actually right now), but it is tough when too many companies, consultants and advertising professionals talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.
Such as Facebook.
So. Mr. Mark. If you truly believe in what you say. Then why not help change the people trying to make this happen? Why should you be the only one allowed to remain lazy when everyone else needs to change?
November 26, 2012
So. I read this blog post. It made me remember what I sometimes forget. People are idiots. Or moreover, some people are idiots. This guy, or girl, seems to have lost what that is the reasonable digital equivalent of Newtons second principle – namely relevance. Relevance is the air that we all breath, the blood that makes our limbs warm up and the reason people pay us to do our job.
Oh… did I mention what I do for a living… I am a digital dude! The rest of this blog post is directed to the author of the post I read today. My take on what he says. I hope my disbelief in his words, not only shine through or can be read between the line, but is so evident, that it leaves no one confused on where I stand.
A word on relevance and targeting
You seem to oppose targeting. Relevance is targeting. And although I understand, that you do not get how targeting, can equal relevance, it does. You most likely base your targeting assumptions on demographics, rather than behavior. You oppose targeting, because you say it limits reach. I never look for reach. I look for buyers. I look for buying patterns and behaviors and market, through targeted ads, towards those who display this behavior.
You write: “Marketers always overestimate the attraction of new things and underestimate the power of traditional consumer behavior.” But, however, it strikes me after reading a few more of your posts, that you lack the understanding of how to analyze behavior in a digital setting. it is evident that you are an old school advertiser, blinded by your belief in universal creativity solutions. Scared by change, and diminishing client lists, you attempt to talk the talk, but do not know what the words coming out of your mouth means in practice. You yell “strategy”, whilst all that is proven to work, can be tied to tactics. It doesn’t matter how many times you fonies tell me that ideas are valuable. If you don’t know how to execute them, you should shut up about how to best perform them.
Admit it. You have never run an advertising campaign on Facebook ever in your life. You have never administered a Facebook page, nor have you created a viral campaign that is shared amongst thousands of visitors. You haven’t experienced the wonders of social. In fact, you have never even tried. Yet, you are determined that they do not work.
And if. But only if. You had successfully targeted an ad-campaign on Facebook. You would know that your targeting can induce real relevance by using a persons network in order to tie a story to a social capital – such as a friendship. “Person x likes y, thus you like it too.”. Considering 92% of all online consumers trust this type of advertising, I guess you neither have a belief in research. Actually, you say you don’t when you say that: “Brand studies last for months, cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and generally have less impact on business than cleaning the drapes“.
So. You evidently haven’t tried to run a campaign on Facebook, and you do not trust market insights about it. Perhaps someone should try to create a catchy one liner and you’ll be able to catch on, what so many have already learned.
If you deliver an irrelevant ad, people will hate you for it. They will use their chance of interactivity, to distance themselves from you. This is the case with traditional advertising. You simply lack the relevance needed to make use of targeting. People are not the same, just cause they share a demographic. Their behavior and how they are connected to one another, however, does.
A word on facts and value
Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps you aren’t an old school advertiser, considering the lack of efficiency in online advertising. Perhaps you are an SEO, scared of understanding the process of a pre purchase click chain. Not willing to see the importance of social media in the mix of a final purchase. Perhaps you are simply ignorant. Cause at the same time as you are writing “In fact, online advertising’s record of motivating consumers is alarmingly terrible. With all their clouds full of data, Facebook ads attract 5 clicks for every 10,000 views. This is mindblowingly ineffective.” You are providing your own visitors with neat little clickable ads to the right. I don’t know. Perhaps thinking they alone will sell your books. Or perhaps your lack of otherwise “valuable”, epic content motivates your placement of these ads in the same place as Facebook puts theirs. Yet. I don’t know. Just speculating.
Regardless, your numbers are wrong. Never had a CTR from Facebook lower than 1%. Never seen one under 0.25%. More importantly you seem, in line with my very limited knowledge of business, to display a stunning misconception of what value is, and perhaps less importantly, how to generate it online. In terms of direct value, a metric measuring success should never be a click, but a purchase. It should be money. It should be conversion to some pre determined goal. Not visitors. Not impressions. Not reach, nor impact. But sales.
For online sales, the traceability is simple as you can follow a person, using cookies, from first click to last click in a purchase funnel. For offline purchases, you need to tie this into something, I like to call redemption. Redemption is closely related to interactivity, something I will debug below, as you seem to believe that interactivity is bad. Either way, you need to understand that any analysis of consumer behavior online, and offline, includes a portion of research. Customers do research, before they buy.
Display probably isn’t the sole solution for driving brand awareness. However, it is a great and profitable way for driving sales. And if you agree with your own statement that “We don’t get them to try our product by convincing them to love our brand. We get them to love our brand by convincing them to try our product“, then sales are needed in order to build a strong brand. But if you believe that CTR equal sales, then you are off by a mile and a half… perhaps two… at least. And if you believe that you can generate sales without interactivity, then … well…
A few notations on Interactivity as a friend
Let’s take it one step at a time. You write about your two principles for online advertising.
1. “The first is that interactivity is the enemy of advertising. Whether the interactivity takes the form of clicking a tv remote, pushing a radio push-button, clicking a mouse or swiping a page, we believe that people are far more likely to interact with a medium to avoid advertising than toengage with it.”
2. “Second, we believe that online advertising has turned out to be far better at fulfilling demand than at creating demand. This accounts for the success of advertising on sites like Google and Craig’s List, where people are searching for something. It also accounts for the failure of most display advertising.”
So, what is wrong with this?
Well. First off. I don’t think any DR marketeer would ever agree with you that interactivity is any kind of advertising enemy. Rather. Interactivity is, and must be, advertisings best friend. That is why we watch the super bowl commercials (by the way, Coke and Doritos have ads running on my FB right now..) willingly on YouTube as well as willingly hit the like button on brands we tend to associate with. That is why we redeem the coupon we get to our cellphone and that is why we purchase the deal being offered in the banner ad. I for god sakes make money – and loads of it – running a website completely filled up with deals and coupons. Demand fulfilling you might say…
That would be true, if I didn’t make some of the money from the website, but most of my money I from the e-mails I send and the posts I share on Facebook. JESUS!! I must be doing something odd, or marketing towards some really special group, cause these purpose driven people MUST be there waiting for me to fullfil them with my feed stories and e-mails. No. I build demand. Using digital channels. Leading to direct conversion. Using the one skill you cannot live without, or earn without in the digital space – namely the skill of writing selling and compelling copy.
You might still be living in the world of eyeballs. Where demand is created by repetition. But in the world of 2012, we need to create advertising that sells. Not tomorrow but today. We need to give our consumers an offer they cannot refuse to try out. We then need to give them reason to tell the story about what they experienced – through our product. We need to create traceable campaigns which you can visualize the results from, using Excel. ROI. This word you TV-praising advertisers hate. How can you prove ROI on a TV ad. Estimate it, yes. But prove it. No. Darn. Damn it. Bullocks. However I can. But I need interaction in order to be able to calculate it.
Interactions are our friends. Not our enemies. They guide us when we do something right and they help us improve what we do. But I guess you are too damn good to learn from the data. You’d rather create a TV-ad and hope and pray that it sits with your “audience”. Cause you are not able to change your stuff until it works. Something which is a privilege for those of us working with digital media. Online. But I suppose you have never heard of iterative marketing campaigns nor have you paid any notice to optimization and don’t give a damn about growth over time. You merely find it interesting to look at estimates of “impact” that you see as a result of your offline campaigns. Hmm… aren’t those estimates based on interview studies by the way… rather than behavioral studies… nrrr mind.
With all of that said. Your kind will diminish, my kind will prevail. Regardless of how good your kind is at telling a story, the story you sell will remain a lie as long as it cannot be backed by facts. Sadly, facts are nothing you will ever understand.
April 7, 2012
If you are going to add a Facebook Like button to your WordPress blog, or any other site for that sake, the method is pretty darn simple. I would recommend you follow the following few steps.
1. Get the Facebook Like button code
The site you should visit to get the Like button on your website is the Facebooks center for Developers. There are three different types of boxes to choose between. Click around and you will get it soon enough.
2. Adding the code to your website
I suggest you select the HTML5 verified code. It might look a bit more scary than the iFrame option which is available, but it performs much better if you ask me.
Simply copy the first part of the code that looks like this:
Then copy that into your HTML-page where your <body> tag is. The body tag might be stuck between a lot of other code, so you do best in searching for it by using + F on a Mac or Ctrl + F on a PC. Once you have found your body-tag, simply paste the code above beneath it so it looks something like this:
Secondly you add the second snippet of code where you want the button on your page. I have chosen to place it just underneath the title and date of my blog post.
3. Add the OG meta to your blog
In order for you to be able to control what is shared to Facebook, and possibly also get some more of that EdgeRank visibility juiced out of your links, you should add OpenGraph protocol to each of your pages.
OpenGraph protocol is something you should have on all of your pages really. The code looks something like this, and should be placed somewhere between the <head> and the </head> tags of your code.
<meta property="og:title" content="The title of your page" />
<meta property="og:type" content="website" />
<meta property="og:url" content="http://www.thelinktoyourpage.com" />
<meta property="og:image" content="http://theimagelinkyouwanttoshare.com/images/image.jpg" />
Regardless of whether or not you are using the Facebook Like button or not. If someone shares your link to Facebook, the OG controls what is being shared to the platform. Sharing my blogs about me page to Facebook, with OG, looks like this:
All OpenGraph standards can be found at the OpenGraph Protocol website. There are many more things you can control such as descriptive texts, playable formats etc. I suggest you play around and test it. A great place to test if you have implemented it correctly or not is if you go to Facebooks own debugger.
4. Changing the language of the Like Text and Customization
Now you might not want the Like text to say Like, but something in a specific language. I found a post from another dude or dudette that was awesome on the topic. You can find that one here: How to Add Facebook Like Button & Like Box for Different Languages
If you want to make it even a bit more advanced you should have a look at this post: How To Add a Custom Facebook Like Box to Your Site
March 22, 2012
It seems as though the more popular you get, the harder you have to work. Facebook has recently made some change to its edge rank making it difficult to grow as fast as before. I am still unsure what this update is about, but it most definitively have to do with change in frequency. Ie. if you post a similar number of posts at about the same time every day, you should have no problems with this – what it seems to be – new filter.
However, if you change it around, post at diferent hours of the day, or change the number of posts you are posting. More or less. You will end up with considerably less visibility. Perhaps this is all about my own paranoia, but if you have your own examples, please share in a blog post explaining them.
Example 1 happened on the 15th of March
The first example actually happened just a few days ago. I had a break in posting to one of the pages I administer for one day. The next day, when I posted to the wall, the number of likes, shares and comments were CONSIDERABLY lower. I waited a few days to have the insights update and noticed that the metric for “People talking about this” had been completely depleted that day.
Now, I am aware that it has to do with my posting creativity as well. However, this kind of radical change usually only has something to do with a change in some technical change. I mean… people were still talking about us, so, it wasn’t zero. However, it was considerably less.
In the above graph it is the second tip I am talking about. The first dip is explained by a stop in advertising and a start of organic page building tactics. (Yes. the look of the second part of the graph is what organic fan building should look like.) It is the second dip that is interesting in this case. You can first see that the member generation – “New likes” – curve is slowing down, then the “People talking about this” curve takes a sharp dive only to even out.
Remember – the Like-curve doesn’t show aggregates but the increase. Thus, if we would have a week where we would loose fans, the curve would be below the line. The “People talking about this” curve however is an aggregate. I cannot get anything out of it more than the rate of change in fan aggregation somehow effects your total visibility and that Facebook enacts some kind of filter when this change occurs. I will keep you posted once I get more data.
Example 2 happened on the 11th of March
The second example is more evident. As you can see below this page has a completely different story too it. I was slowly generating fans to the page by constant updates. Then I managed to get one of the posts extremely viral. Considering it is a very niche page, the fan/like count doesn’t increase relative to the viral expansion of the talk about the page. Ie. people might be talking about an image I posted, but they aren’t necessarily interested in becoming a constant follower of the page as what they liked only was relevant in a specific context.
What is interesting here is the sharp dive in the “People talking about this” curve. It was only one post hitting it big and it is as though Facebook just decided to filter it after about one week. This was on the 15th of March that the stats all of a sudden dropped.
Two days later, my steady influx of new likes decreased from approximately 100 per day to almost zero. I am scratching my head as to why. You can see I have managed to get the talk going again, but the number of likes tend to stay the same.
Conspiracy – not likely – but anyhow, here it goes
The conspiracy side of me wants to take this personally as this coincides with the behavior of a very negative post about Facebook I wrote on the 8th of March. I know it probably has nothing to do with it, but considering all of the pages I manage started showing wicked results – including my personal profile – after I posted that story to my own profile, I can but wonder.
For example – and still just saying, not accusing – the day after I posted the negative link to the FB-platform, some of my profile updates were filtered out by Facebook. This was on the 9th of March. Ie. I posted stuff to my own timeline that my colleagues couldn’t see when they visited my timeline. I know I am spammy at times, but Facebook please, before you enacted that filter, I had fun on Facebook getting some interaction going… and isn’t that the whole idea of it? If I post a lot and get a lot of interaction going… then why filter my posts? I don’t get it.
I don’t believe it is connected to what is happening on the pages right now. But what is evident is that Facebook is messing around with their Edge Rank or filters in one way or the other. As I said above, please share your examples!
March 8, 2012
When Facebook made the Timeline available for brands earlier last week, my head went into YEY-mode. Finally we could utilize graphics to drive engagement and not only words. The timeline made available a workflow, rather than just posting. As a marketeer you could build engaging campaigns where the user got several chances to opt-in.
Cover Photo restrictions on Facebook
However, as with most things Facebook, things weren’t what they seemed to be at first. The new Page guidelines for Facebook is a joke. Why would I, honestly, want to convert my page into Timeline if I am not allowed to use the benefits of the timeline? Here is what I mean:
“Covers may not include:
Wtf… Why would I want to move my Like button from above the fold to below the fold with a cover photo, if I am not allowed to direct the attention of the user to the new position of the “Like” button? I wanted to utilize the newly added space to drive engagement. By doing this they severely cripple my options in doing that. Not only because they have limited what I can write in my cover, but also because this limits my users usability of the page. If they click an ad or a story from my page, then they most likely want to either read more or Like the page. If I am not allowed to direct them towards completing this goal, then the page becomes worse than it originally should have been.
I am 100% sure this retarded kind of behavior from Facebooks side will hurt their business in the long run. I am also fully aware that it has everything to do with the fact that they are based in the US and that their sales organization mostly consist of people from old display ads sales forces. They do not know how to sell creative campaigns and products and thus Facebook limit creative marketeers to utilize their own creativity in creating campaigns. “Buy ads or get booted” is the clear message from Facebook. The old “build user value and win” does not hold anymore.
However, since the effect of even buying ads will decrease as a result of these changes, I really wonder how they have thought here. Perhaps it is legal getting the upper hand of the internal fights?
All the rules governing you when creating your campaigns
Last but not least, they have changed texts in all of these guidelines and I recommend you to read all of them carefully. Facebook, could you please at least
- Advertising guidelines
- Promotions guidelines
- Page guidelines
- Facebook Brand permissions
- Platform policies
February 29, 2012
Facebook Timeline for pages is more than just a simple redesign. It is a new way of communicating on Facebook. Thus I find it important to write a few words on what you need to think about when planning what to put on your page. This blog post will cover the main design elements as well as some of the tactics changes you need to understand before publishing your page.
Facebook Timeline for pages – contents of this blog post:
- The new design of Facebook Timeline for Pages
- A new Admin Panel
- How to deal with applications on pages
- How to launch and re-launch campaigns through the Facebook Timeline
1. The new design of Facebook Timeline for pages
a. The cover image
The most obvious design change is that you can now post a cover image. Fair enough. You click the link telling you to Add a Cover on the right hand side of the page and then choose to either select one of your posted images or upload a new image. I am 100% sure you will make this happen in a much better manner than I will as I am no designer.
b. The boxes
Your boxes displaying your applications, number of fans etc are all there for a reason. You can decide to change either one of them except for the photos one. You can select what image to display as the photos cover image from the photos view.
How to change the order of the images:
Expand the boxes by clicking the little arrow with the number to the far right. On the first image in this post it says 19 next to that arrow. The boxes should fall out looking sort of like this:
Hover one of the boxes and click the little marker that appears. A drop down will come out. If you decide to click any of the options in the drop down the box you have selected will switch places with it.
I have now clicked the little marker that appears when I hovered my UN staging app above. If you now click “Shop Now” or “Gary V example”, then my UN staging app will switch places with that app. Thus you can decide what applications are visible for your first time users.
I suggest you use the cover photo, the photo album cover as well as the application images in order to direct attention towards like buttons and different such places in order to make your first time visitors convert the way you want them to. I will display further design suggestions later.
What we do know right now however is that the before so irrelevant larger application image, now becomes extremely important as it is what will or wont draw attention to your application.
2. A new Admin panel
What makes me extremely happy is that the admin panel has become more communicative. In the top right corner of your screen, when looking at your page, you will see a link leading to your admin panel.
If you click this link a new admin window will appear which will give you the possibility to follow what happens on your page more clearly. Previously you have not been notified properly when a comment has been made on your page. (Except if you are logged in as the page, which no one is) And so it becomes a lot more trivial to work with the Facebook page interface. Notifications and messages also take a more apparent place in the new admin panel view.
In the top of your Admin panel view you will be able to find the old “Edit Page” options as well as the Promote your page options. This is a much better way of displaying these options to the user if you ask me.
3. How to deal with applications on pages
The previous design layout for applications only allowed you to use part of the page width to display your applications. The new canvas page allows you to use applications in a wider space. The top navigational options more easily also allows your users to navigate back to the timeline. I like.
The widened space as well as the more cleaner look will allow you to use both top and side navigational elements to your applications making the user interaction a lot easier as you do not have to make your users navigate through the page but you can use the standard top left navigational structure.
I hope this will increase flows as well as conversion rates in campaigns.
It also allows you to integrate parts of your webshop more easily into your facebook page. My suggestion is that you use one of the top boxes for campaigns and one for communication of page benefits and other such things that you want to communicate on a more regular basis. Or, if you run a online shop, integrate your shop onto your page. It will either way look really sweet as Facebook has removed most of its design elements from this view, which wasn’t the case before.
Secondly, you can create timeline boxes for your applications if this makes any sense. These application boxes will become available both on your own timeline as well as on the users timelines. Remember to use this feature wisely as it will otherwise clutter the timeline of the user and make him or her pissed off. I believe you should consider using it if the visitor should report regular activity to their friends through their wall box. Ie. if you are an online retailer you can display items that the person has purchased in this type of box, if you are a game provider you can display achievements in the box etc. etc.
4. How to launch and re-launch campaigns through the Facebook Timeline
Here comes the real mastery of the new timeline. There are so many more reasons to push links to your page in every single update. Ie. if you publish a standard question you should use a link back to your Facebook page as the ending of all of them. The reason is apparent – you are now able to utilize a lot more design features on your Timeline page the users, if prompted correctly will be able to explore it as a standard landing page.
The focus has moved away from the wall being ONE image. You can now work with each element on the timeline and thus market the living shit out of things from your page display.
Considering “Scent” becomes of utmost importance. Ie. that you post something to your Timeline that the visitor will be able to recognize in your cover photo when they arrive at your page. Think about it this way.
- You post an image and some “call to action” text to your Timeline and a Page link.
- The image you post has a graphical element that the user recognizes in the cover photo.
- Use an arrow from the graphical element to direct the attention of the user to one of the application boxes
- Change these throughout the campaign period so that it appeals to more users
5. Other important elements to consider
One of the new features is that the box displaying how many of your current friends are liking a page, has become a lot more apparent. It thus becomes important to run advertising campaigns that target new fans and sets of fans with different messages. “Be the first to like…”, or “Do like your friends and like…” kind of call to actions become a lot more relevant as this feature has become a lot more evident on the page.
Another neat feature is that the pages your page has liked is now more apparent. This will help you direct traffic to such things as product pages and local pages of your brand.
I think that’s how far I want to take it right now. I will continue to update this post as I get more ideas on how to use it in a better way.
September 23, 2011
Facebook Timeline and Open Graph was released on F8 this week. The return of Timeline is a nice and well anticipated one. Back in 2007 there was a similar function to timeline where you could see a persons activity and information placed on a timeline. This was nice as you could show your previous relationships, work places and other such static data in a way that makes sense.
What is added to this new version is the ability to post interactions with others and apps on the timeline. Also, there are many, quite significant user interaction improvements and design features to it. However, the functionality is nothing new.
The new Facebook timeline will probably give Facebook an opportunity to introduce and reintroduce some products in their marketing portfolio.
- Gifts make sense now that we can create birthday celebration boxes into which gifts, happy birthday wishes and other celebration information such as parties (events), images and other such related material can be stored. The new timeline will surely make way for a new “custom gifts” app where I can create objects I can give to my friends on their birthdays. Facebook will surely make business out of this and offer solutions to their business partners. With 800 million users and an average of 2.3 birthdays per day, a 1 dollar gift can make a lot of revenue for Facebook over a year.
- Promoted timeline box will probably also be included in the offering. Brands can easily fill the void where we do not have words to describe who we are in a group of people. Apple says we care about design and being different. Nike communicates that we are sporty. Pepsi communicates that we are rebels. I am sure Facebook will create a format for promoted timeline boxes where we grow our relationships and show loyalty to our favorite brands.
Open Graph – Facebook Verbs
The Open Graph on the other hand is something which has clear implications on how we treat the web. This is probably one of the most important releases Facebook has ever made. Not only because it makes possible for people to actually express what they are doing rather than saying whether or not they like a thing. No, it also improves the web as it standardizes verbs in a format that makes it able for our applications to understand them and thus interrelate them with each other.
When I make a search today I am unable to do a search such as “books that my friends like” or “books that several of my friends have read that I haven’t read”. We rather have to do a search that focuses on the category of the book or perhaps the title. By opening for a more semantically interrelated web, we can move beyond this and create applications that can truly answer questions we ask.
As a business solution, you know I have wanted a way to use Facebook for agent affiliate for a long time. You know. I plan a trip, an agent markets themselves against people who are planning a trip. They give me a dynamic offer that gets cheaper the more friends I get to buy the same deal. Everyone pays for themselves. Perfect. I no longer have to be the one collecting and never being paid the accurate amount as the social group organizer. This would be a great way for Facebook to earn more advertising money, but also earn CPO money such as Deals was intended to. I have elaborated a bit more on this in my post – what should Mark D’Arcy do on his first day at facebook.
August 13, 2011
Traditionally, there has been something magic with a coupon. Just like a wink of an eye, it communicates a two way relationship between buyer and seller that “hell yeah, we’re loyal to each other“. It is in some way romantic exchange between John and prostitute, when the pimp isn’t looking.
“Oh, wait, I have a coupon for that…“, “Oh, do you now…“, “It is just here in my purse, hold on one sec…“, “Gold memeber, I see… welcome back mrs. Andersson…“, some coupons more embarrassing than others. Hotels had a successful rebranding of the coupons, calling them vouchers. Some even put their coupons into cards, calling them reward programs. *sigh*… The evolution of the coupon is as fascinating as it is sentimentally draining. A deal is always a deal and it touches my heart whenever I see a well phrased offer.
Of late, coupons have started to move into the digital space. Well, coupons have been there for a long time, but not the kind of coupons that you bring into an offline store and hand of in an intimate moment with the cashier. No. As the mobile web expands, these new types of digital coupons have started to overwhelm our lives to a greater extent than the ol’paperback.
On the horizon there are about a million competitors trying to battle it out in being the sole distributor of these digital coupons. Although I believe neither of them are employing a long term successful strategy, I still think that they are the two who will give it a run for the money. Naturally I’m talking about Facebook Deals and Groupon.
#1. The setup of a deal
Facebook Deals is still only available in Atlanta, Dallas, Austin, San Diego and San Fransisco which is a great weakness. Neither Groupon or Facebook Deals allows you to post a deal on your own. Groupon wants to review your deal and contact you “shortly” and provides a silly little non-optimized web form for you to fill in your business story in.
Facebook doesn’t let you fill in any form at all. They simply state that they are currently working with “…aDealio, Gilt City, HomeRun, kgb deals, OpenTable, Plum District, PopSugar City, ReachLocal, Tippr, viagogo, and zozi…“.
According to me, these strategies seem extremely costly and I don’t understand why there isn’t a way to just fill in my offer and then let it sliiiiide through the Internets like a hot piece of cheese on a… hmm… you get what I’m getting at.
#2 Deal display
Here is something both have got quite nicely right. Both of them make a big fuzz about the count down, they both clearly show what you save and they both show the price you pay. The only difference in call to action is that Facebook Deals uses “Buy for $XX” meanwhile Groupon simply uses “Buy” plus the prize to the left of the buy button.
Groupon deal display
Facebook Deals deal display
Naturally, Facebook Deals is superior in the ways you can share a deal. The only thing missing is probably to share it in a text to someone’s mobile or to “people nearby”. Ie. if I am using a deal and want to share it with my friends who happen to be in the same mall as me, or have checked-in close buy, then I should be able to send them a push notification through the mobile.
Groupon however has a functionality that I believe Facebook Deals really should focus on getting as well – Buy it for a friend. As I have written previously, Facebook Deals would be a great tool for group purchases. Ie. if a friend has a birthday, my buddies and I should be able to run a pot of money where everyone could give as much or as little as he or she wants to the pool. As the amount of money grows, more deals become available.
I really don’t understand why Facebook has this already. They used to have it in their digital gifts store in the early days. You remember, when you could buy “megaphone time” and “digital badges” to your friends profile pages. Ha ha… I remember my boss invested a shit load of money into enabling a customized gifts store on our page when I worked at a “large fashion company”… Although the guy was one of the most daring digital personalities I have met in the corporate world, and if we would have just had a bit tinier egos, we would have made a perfect team, that decision was ludicrous.
However, back to the comparison. Groupon has got it right. Gifts is big business online, and they are taking full advantage of that.
#3. Buying a deal
I must say that I prefer Facebook Deals two step approach in the jQuery looking pop-in, over Groupon’s one step check-out. I suppose it has to do with preference in some way, however, the golf balls don’t feel as tasty when I can no longer see them which might impose a slight hesitation when I complete my purchase.
One of the rules of improving conversion rate is to maintain scent. Ie. The user seller should confirm that the user is still on the right track on claiming the purchase they first entered to complete. The scent is built through the use of consistent colors, call to action, price levels, discounts, buttons, and images throughout the complete check out process. If they change too much, a user gets confused and might think that the vendor is trying to fool them or that they have ended up in the wrong place and thus do not complete the purchase. One of the greatest lessons in conversion rate optimization I’ve ever learnt is that customers are stupid and they know it. Thus, they expect to do it the wrong way and try to find every excuse to blame stupidity in not completing the purchase. Thus, over confirm their every step along the process. (don’t misinterpret me there please…)
Facebook Deals two step check-out
Why Facebook Deals and Groupon both will fail
The technology of creating a digital coupon is becoming increasingly available at very affordable prices. In fact, it is free to create many digital coupons already. Distributors of QR-codes and other such solutions have made it extremely simple to adopt the new technology and thus the cost is very limited.
Neither Facebook Deals or Groupon takes on a strategy where they become the distributor of existing deals, but they create unique deals on their platform. Although Facebook has noted they are trying to make their deals more social, I suspect they will focus on the sharing of existing deals, rather than the submission of social deals, ie. an offer that I find interesting to my friends, or an existing offer in a store that needs to be digitalized in order to reach its complete audience.
As a customer I want to walk around town and get ALL available deals in one device. I don’t want to flip around between native apps to try and find what might interest me. Here is a great void in the industry, one I think Google will eventually fill with its superior insight in user search preferences and geo location/maps.
Facebook can still steal this void in front of the noses of the others if they make it possible for me to post my best deals onto my wall. Ie. the deals I find are good offers. That way they will create a natural place for deals in the sharing space. Ie. (loads of the ie.s now…) Users are more likely to look at the deals purchased by businesses if it is mixed amongst the deals friends have posted, or if they are in the same format on the wall.
March 31, 2011
Facebook just hired Mark D’Arcy to work on creative advertising solutions for partners. Boy is he needed. This is my open letter to him and what I wish Facebook would do the coming years, starting with today.
I know it might be a lot to ask of a person who has just started at Facebook, but seriously, I think you just hit the jackpot in terms of jobs. I jealous, almost to the point of envious of your situation. I am a soulful dude though and so I really want to be of help, if I can.
There are a lot of things missing with regard to revenue streams on Facebook. This is my take on some of the additions Facebook should look into.
#1. Real social shopping
I have previously written by social shopping and how it could be implemented on Facebook. To that collaborative solution I would like to add a ranking. Some sort of toplist based on likes that would help the users select their products on the basis of other things than price. Those things might be likes, reviews, connections and degrees of separation and time to consumption meaning how long it would take for the product to become available for consumption to the person who wants to purchase it.
Facebook can do this as you own all the data needed to support it. Except for perhaps retail prices. However, the thought of shopping collectively gives a strong enough incentive for business to offer that parameter to the Facebook framework. This would not only increase basket value, but it would also give Facebook a reason to charge based on that value.
Shopping is really all about a co-ordination problem between demand and supply. Facebook has the ability to solve many instances of these co-ordination problems. By making it easier to shop online, more people would do so, and thus it would be more profitable for companies.
Think of it this way. There is always a super-person – a worker – in each group or sub-group. This worker performs tasks for the rest of the group that they later enjoy collectively today. By enabling and making it easier for the worker to actually do their work in the group social structure, you will make them switch technology from phone to let’s say – web. Facebook groups and events show this clearly. You have one person with an idea and the strength to do something about it, they create a movement and their friends come join the party.
In the case of social shopping, think of it as a collaborative effort, much like GroupOn. On Facebook this would work in two directions. First you would create a functionality for the workers where they can create a proposition. This proposition might be “Buy a bike” or more logically for this thought experiment “Buy a trip to Mallorca on the dates 4th to 15th January”. They can then invite all their friends. Different companies can then bit for different levels of engagement. For each user that joins, the price goes down as you solve sales co-ordination costs for the sales agents. At the same time, influential people, or just the worker of a group of 4 families does not have to make the big payment and then ask the rest for the cash which is a common problem in today’s real world of buying trips for groups.
Each and everyone buys in with their own wallet. Even people not going to the location with you can join your group until you reach a marginal revenue of the last bidder that is the lowest they can take for that volume.
For the travel industry, and many other industries, this would be awesome as upsales could be co-ordinated to a group that had already begun socializing. Naturally, the creator of the group would get their trip for free after a certain amount of paying participants.
Inverted, you can do this for birthdays. If a person has a birthday, they can create their Facebook wish list. Companies can list their products under each category or product type in the wish list. Friends can then buy in with a small stake and the person can then see more products become available as the money pile grows.
There are a million applications to this, but that is that for social shopping. Facebook would earn a cut out of every transaction to the system, much like the credit cards deal with their stuff today. In the future Facebook could probably charge for larger agent accounts and pay influential people to attract business through the Facebook platform.
#2. Application Store
Please setup an application store. This will both increase the quality of applications as well as create business for Facebook. It worked for Apple… hehe… You could however do it with an Amazon twist where you show people how many degrees of separation they are from someone using the application, or even how far away they are from the developers. You could include ratings from friends only, or ratings from people with simliar interests as you.
Purchasing applications on Facebook will be a lot more fun than buying apps for the iPhone. It will be a collective effort with easy sharing capabilities. Launch campaigns of new apps can be setup like treasure hunts where people who are first to find and share an app release x amount of Facebook credits. Naturally you can integrate this into the advertising program. Easy product to buy, functional and great product to use. The Facebook way in other words.
#3. Enhanced photo album & public profile
I know you might not want to go here, but there is a big business in giving people cool tools for their portfolio. I wish that we could see this functionality on LinkedIn, but for professionals it would be great to just see it somewhere. CEO’s and important people that are afraid of sharing their stuff should rather than limit access, be given the possibility to pay a micro sum every month in order to be able to pimp their outside look of their profile.
I’m thinking carousel photo albums, nice video displays, easy integration to websites, enhanced resume with logo-injections for companies listed in the company directory of Facebook (yeah.. you should put something on the platform and charge companies to claim their business).
Ie. you should give people the possibility to have a public, professional profile, and one they use when collaborating and chatting with their friends.
All in all
I want to welcome you to Facebook and hope you create great stuff for us concept developers, viral marketers and most importantly users of Facebook.