Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

First Target, now Facebook … “Sweet, you’re having a baby!”

September 24, 2012

Punch line: Consumers and companies are confused as to how Facebook is using personal information to target individuals and their needs and preferences.  Facebook admits the company’s ability to pin point consumer interests based on online interests, but maintains that status updates are never used to target consumers.  Despite many users sharing everything on social networks, consumers are still fighting for privacy.

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Excerpted from adage.com’s, “Does Facebook Know You’re Pregnant?  What It Knows Depends on Whom You Ask: Social Network Says One Thing, Its Advertisers Another.”

The pregnancy of 30-year-old Sally was announced to the world through her husband’s Facebook page, after he tagged her in a photograph showing a positive home pregnancy test.

Two months later, while Sally was browsing Facebook, she noticed a Huggies ad.  Sally had never “liked” Huggies or any baby-related posts or pages. Nor had she posted about her pregnancy, so she figured Facebook had connected the dots between her husband’s status update and his relationship with her.

Did Facebook and its client, Huggies, know she was pregnant?

According to Facebook and Huggies parent, Kimberly-Clark, Sally’s browsing experience resulted from blind luck.

The ad was the subject of a two-week test targeting parents of young children, Huggies fans and their friends — as well as a three-day subtest of women ages 18 to 34. 

Facebook, for its part, said it rarely uses the content of status updates as a signal for ad targeting.

But plenty of marketers that target pregnant women believe they’re identifying them, at least in part, by their status updates.

Some marketers say they have been told so by Facebook.

The confusion over what exactly Facebook is doing is indicative not only of the opacity of the social network’s ad-targeting algorithms but also the privacy tightrope it walks, offering marketers the precision they crave while assuaging users that their every utterance isn’t being mined for ad targeting.

Here’s what we know … Marketers can reach pregnant women on Facebook with near-surgical precision, mixing and matching a variety of targets, such as those interested in baby products and people who like children’s music, which taken together produce a high likelihood of hitting the mark. 

But Facebook is careful to note that it doesn’t use the content of status updates to target pregnant women.

Tech-savvy consumers may already assume that their status updates are a key part of the targeting recipe since Facebook’s own “data use policy” states that “key words from your stories” are used to deliver ads. But according to Facebook key words in status updates are used only rarely for real-time targeting. (A hypothetical example is a user who has posted “I could go for some pizza tonight” being served an ad with a coupon from Domino’s Pizza.)

Certainly there’s a gap between what marketers say they are being told and Facebook tells a journalist on the record.

Edit by BJP

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How much time do people spend on Facebook? … and other interesting stats.

June 14, 2012

These days, it’s popular to pile on Facebook because of its noteworthy IPO.

Amazing the number of people who knew that FB was overvalued.

Yeah, right.

An article last week in the WSJ harped that the  Days of Wild User Growth Appear Over at Facebook … that Facebook’s user growth rate in the U.S. is slowing sharply.

May be true … but, it’s also true that “Facebook is already a dominant Web platform and they’ve got significant Internet penetration today. ”

Consider:

  • Approximately 56% of Facebook’s 2011 ad revenue of $3.1 billion came from the U.S. … that’s about half of Facebook’s revenue.
  • Facebook has already has 71% of all 221 million U.S. Internet users,
  • In April, U.S. unique visitors to the Facebook website increased to 158 million, up 5% from a year earlier.
  • Facebook users spend more than six hours a month on the site …. Google users spend about 4 hours per month on Google-related sites including YouTube.
  • not all activity on Facebook takes place directly on Facebook.com … there are other websites and apps linked to FB accounts.
  • Facebook  is experiencing substantial growth in countries such as India and Brazil

I’m not a big Facebook fan, but you gotta be impressed by the numbers that they’ve put on the board.

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What do GM and Facebook have in common?

June 13, 2012

Easy question, right?

Two high profile IPOs that have lost about of their value since their IPOs.

C’est la vie …

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GM

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Facebook
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Remember the last big IPO? … You know, the one before Facebook

May 21, 2012

Well, Facebook went out at $38 and closed at $38.

The pundits are whining that the IPO was a failure because there wasn’t a big first day pop.

My take: one of the rare times that the IB’s priced a deal at fair market value.

Oh my, “flippers” didn’t get a chance to earn millions by just showing up for work.

Sounds ok to me.

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What I didn’t like about the Facebook IPO is that it got most analysts talking about the Government Motors IPO.

Given the chatter, I got curious and checked out the stock price

Oops, down almost 40% from the IPO price …. during a period when the overall market was up over 10%.

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Geez, since Bin Laden is dead and GM is alive, why the stock dip?

The company claimed record profits of $7.6 billion in 2011, the “highest profits in the 100 year history of that company” according to President Obama.

And, the company paid no Federal income taxes on taxes those record earnings.

Why?

Because New GM came out of bankruptcy “owning” all of the tax loss carry forwards from old GM.

That’s not supposed to be allowed when a company goes through bankruptcy — a deterrent to companies trying to simply buy losses to offset some of their taxable earnings.

How did it happen?

According to several sources:

The Obama administration quietly snuck in a special tax break for GM, which allows the company to write off approximately $45 billion in post-bankruptcy losses against post-bankruptcy profits.

It’s good for twenty years.

The $45 million tax write-off is in addition to the more than $50 billion given to General Motors in the bailout,

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GM unfriends Facebook … ouch.

May 16, 2012

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According to the WSJ … GM is going to stop advertising on Facebook

General Motors plans to stop advertising on Facebook after the company’s marketing executives determined their paid ads had little impact on consumers’ car purchases.

GM will continue to expand its use of marketing through Facebook’s pages, in which marketers can display content at no cost

The news comes at a bad time for Facebook  which is expected to hold a historic initial public offering on Friday. Facebook executives have spent the last two weeks trying to convince investors that its advertising business makes it worthy of a $105 billion valuation.

GM, started to re-evaluate its Facebook strategy earlier this year after its marketing team began to question the effectiveness of the ads.

GM marketing executives met with Facebook managers to address concerns about the site’s effectiveness and left unconvinced advertising on the website made sense,.

GM spends about $40 million on its Facebook presence. About $10 million of that is paid to Facebook for advertising, the rest covers content created for the site,

Companies in industries from consumer electronics to financial services tell us they’re no longer sure Facebook is the best place to dedicate their social marketing budget — a shocking fact given the site’s dominance among users.”

Although GM’s $10 million worth of ad spend on Facebook won’t impact its $3.7 billion in revenue, the move is a disappointing development for the social network and could hurt if more big advertisers choose to follow suit.

“Disappointing and could hurt” … you think ?

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Once mighty AOL now selling off its patents … ouch!

March 26, 2012

Punch line: AOL has hired Evercore Partners to help it shop around its patent portfolio in hopes of offsetting lost dial-up business and  “accelerating shareholder value creation.”

Meanwhile, Facebook has acquired around 750 patents from IBM in order to “bolster the social network’s defenses against litigious rivals”.

Excerpted from: CNET: AOL, lacking better options, hires firm to sell its patents

Citing three people with knowledge of the hire, Bloomberg says AOL tapped Evercore to find a buyer for more than 800 patents and to “explore other strategic options” — code for a possible sale or private buyout of the entire company.

Last December, AOL announced plans to reorganize the company, combining its declining dial-up Internet service business and its Web services arm, the latter of which was recently scaled back with layoffs in the Instant Messenger group.

AOL has previously said it’s looking for ways to raise cash from its patent portfolio and is making efforts to “accelerate shareholder value creation.”

AOL’s move follows Facebook’s acquisition of some 750 patents from IBM, a deal made to bolster the social network’s defenses against litigious rivals.  Facebook has been targeted by Yahoo for allegedly infringing on a number of its patents that cover customization and advertising.

Easy to pile on AOL for its strategic mis-steps over the years (e.g. hanging with the “walled garden” too long, failing to find a way to migrate to high-speed internet service), but gotta give the company credit for its role in the Internet explosion.

And, in a timely fashion, the original owners dumped the bag on Time-Warner … walking away with a fortune …

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There will only be one Lady Gaga … on Facebook, that is.

February 29, 2012

Punch line: Tighter controls. More credibility? Facebook will now verify celebrity stage or pen names to create accounts for the likes of Lady Gaga.

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Excerpted from CNET.com “Facebook to launch verified accounts with pseudonyms

… In an effort to root out impostors, Facebook will reportedly soon allow celebrities and other public figures to verify their accounts in much the same way that Twitter does.

The social network will begin notifying public figures with many subscribers tomorrow that they can verify their accounts by submitting an image of a government-issued ID, allowing them to display a preferred pseudonym instead of their birth name, according to a TechCrunch report. Facebook will then manually approve the “alternative names” to confirm they are the real stage names or pen names.

Facebook users must be chosen to participate in the program; there is no way to volunteer for verification. However, unlike Twitter, verified accounts will not receive a special badge indicating verified status.

Verification will allow celebrities such as Stefani Germanotta to be more readily accessible to fans when her name is officially listed as Lady Gaga instead of what’s on a birth certificate.

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However, as on Twitter, the influx of impostors has become an inconvenience for both Facebook and fans alike.

Edit by KJM

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Facebook’s 99 percent … they don’t interact.

February 7, 2012

Punch line: Ehrenberg-Bass Institute reports that only 1% of a brand’s Facebook fans actually engage with it – including likes, posts, comments, tags, and shares.

Is the FB effect over-rated or do consumers simply need more time to change their behavior?

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Excerpted from businessinsider.com, “Only 1% Of A Brand’s Facebook Fans Actually Engage With It Online

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… If 1 percent engagement sounds way too small to make Facebook brand pages worthwhile, Karen Nelson-Feld, a senior research associate for Ehrenberg-Bass, reminds us that brand pages are still relatively young.

“People need to understand what it can do for a brand and what it can’t do,” she said. “Facebook doesn’t really differ from mass media. It’s great to get decent reach, but to change the way people interact with a brand overnight is just unrealistic.”

Edit by KJM

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Virtual pin boarding woos the ladies and attracts big brands

February 3, 2012

Punch line: With 4.5 million users – mostly under 45, socially and digitally savvy females – Pinterest is a unique virtual pin board for sharing and promoting consumer brands.

Even big brands are catching on and seeking to get on this website.

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Excerpted from brandchannel.com “#Pinning: Brands Get Pinteractive and Engaging on Pinterest

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Pinterest, the virtual pin board at the crossroads of social and style, has burgeoned into a marketplace for consumer brands, offering a visual and demonstrable platform for engagement.

From small brands to other big brands, including Martha Stewart, Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple, Bergdorf Goodman, Chobani and NBC’s The Today Show are also active on the site,

Pinterest is attracting brand marketers to allocate part of their interactive bandwidth to its 4.5 million users — primarily female, under the age of 45 and socially-, digitally-savvy.

Mashable breaks down the stats: “70% of pinners are female. Pinterest has a highly engaged audience — a reported 3.3 million users logging more than 421 million pageviews — so there’s plenty of opportunity for brands to flesh out pinboards and catch pinners’ eyes.”

Hitwise parsed the site’s popularity in a blog post that noted: “Pinterest content has something for everyone, but the site is dominated by images featuring home décor, crafts, fashion, and food…

‘Pin Etiquette’ is the term for the site’s golden rule: Pinterest is not a playground for self-promotion, challenging marketers to come up with content that engages, not just promotes (think “Pin unto others…”) It’s no surprise that one of Facebook’s new bevy of 60 Timeline-integrated apps is a Pinterest app.

Some pinned-and-true ways for brands to engage with users include:

  • Hold a Contest
  • Conduct Market Research
  • Feature Customers
  • Put a Face to Your Brand
  • Sell More Products
  • Present Concepts in a New Way
  • Promote Your Image Content

Edit by KJM

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KJM editorial comment: my best friend sent me this link – and I was immediately hooked! Forget Facebook, this is my new method of procrastination and idle entertainment)

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The bald, and the beautiful? Barbie could get a buzz cut …

January 30, 2012

Punch line: This is a classic story of the intersection of consumer driven insights, a strong cause, and the power of social media. 

Two mothers, whose daughters lost their hair due to cancer treatment, contacted Mattel to create a bald Barbie to serve as a role model for young children. 

After this initial request failed to gain traction with Mattel,  these mothers used the ultimate weapon – the F-bomb.  Facebook.  They created a fan page called ‘Beautiful and Bald Barbie’ and generated over 137,000 ‘likes.’ 

Now, Mattel is more actively addressing this idea.

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Excerpted from brandchannel.com “Mattel Doesn’t Say No to Bald Barbie

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Back in December, two moms whose daughters had lost their hair due to cancer treatment contacted Mattel, the makers of Barbie, to see if the company would be interested in producing a bald Barbie as a role model to their own and other young girls.

Mattel sent Jane Bingham and Beckie Sypin a stock letter saying that it “does not take unsolicited ideas from outside sources.”

Undeterred, the women put up a Facebook fan page entitled “Beautiful and Bald Barbie! Let’s see if we can get it made,” and it duly received more than 137,000 “likes.” As a result, Brand Republic reports that Mattel is now addressing the issue more directly.

“We are honored that Jane Bingham and Beckie Sypin believe that Barbie could be the face of such an important cause,” a spokesperson said, according to the site. “Mattel appreciates and respects the passion that has been built up for the request for a bald Barbie doll.”

Mattel isn’t committing to get a hairless Barbie onto production lines….

“The obvious thing to do would be to release a limited edition bald Barbie with a percentage of the proceeds going to charity,” said Robin Grant, managing director at the social-media agency We are Social. “Some companies have a fear of being seen to bow to consumer pressure – but corporate marketing teams must guard against being unchanging and monolithic.”

Edit by KJM

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Gen Y says: No Facebook? Then, stuff this job!

January 4, 2012

According to Time mag …

Gen Y workers won’t accept jobs where they can’t access Facebook.

Gen Y-ers want to be connected to their friends and families, not just their co-workers, throughout the day.

Although some companies ban social media at work, other companies have embraced it as long as employees use it professionally.

Use it “professionally”?

Say, what?

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Gen Y workers will doom the traditional 9 to 5 workday.

Gen Y-ers value workplace flexibility over more money.

More than one-third (37%) of Gen Y workers would take a pay cut if it meant more flexibility on the job.

Flexibility motivates these workers to be more productive and loyal to their companies because they feel like they are respected.

Maybe more loyal – recognizing a good gig when they see it … but, “more productive”?

C’mon man.

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Gen Y workers are always connected to jobs through technology.

Technology has made the traditional 9-to-5 model blurry — for all workers, of all generations.

No one is ever out of touch or off the clock.

When workers go home, they’re still working because who they are personally and professionally have become one and the same. 

It seems, work e-mail doesn’t stop for anything or anyone.

No argument on this one …

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Stores are yesterday … get your ketchup online.

November 8, 2011

TakeAway: Heinz is launching its new premium ketchup with limited distribution through Facebook … and higher prices that includes shipping.

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Excerpt from NY Times: “Ketchup Moves Upmarket, With a Balsamic Tinge”

In the era of squeeze bottles, patience is no longer required, but to create anticipatory buzz for a new ketchup variety, Heinz initially will limit its availability.

Heinz Tomato Ketchup Blended with Balsamic Vinegar, which substitutes balsamic for the traditional white vinegar, won’t initially be available  in stores.

Rather, consumers will be able to buy the ketchup only through the brand’s Facebook page until the product begins to appear in supermarkets later this year.

The balsamic ketchup will only be sold in 14-ounce glass (non-squeezable) bottles. The ketchup will carry a suggested retail price of $2.49 (plus a $2 shipping charge on Facebook), compared with $1.89 for the original in a plastic bottle of the same size at your local grocer.

Edit by ARK

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Taking a pulse … How’s your “Facebook health”?

October 27, 2011

Punch line: While there is no magic way to gain strong consumer engagement on Facebook, a Covario study highlights the “Facebook health” of 100 leading advertisers across industry verticals. This study reveals less is more and quality counts …

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Excerpted from mediapost.com, “Facebook Fans Say ‘Coke Is It’

Coca-Cola ranks as the world’s No. 1 brand in a Covario study focusing on the Facebook health of 100 leading advertisers.

Hyundai, MTV, Disney and Bayer round out the top most liked and Wal-Mart rates best for engagement.

With the number of global Facebook users exceeding 750 million, its importance as an advertising medium is undeniable and growing fast … Coke has more than 34 million fans on Facebook, which is growing at a monthly rate of nearly 3%. The brand has strong fan engagement, typically posting seven items a month on its page with each garnering more than 235 comments and nearly 1,750 “likes.”

… “Several advertisers — Bayer and SC Johnson — have built followers, but their engagement statistics are relatively low … This is a huge branding opportunity for the firms.” AT&T, Wal-Mart, Dr. Pepper and Fox have excellent engagement, but lower than expected “reach” statistics …

Wal-Mart ranks on top for overall engagement, receiving an average of 7,390 comments and 726 “likes” on every post, which far exceeds all of the other advertisers in the study.

Apple is the only company among the nation’s top 100 advertisers that does not have an official Facebook page. The top Apple listing is a user page with 188,000 followers.

The study broke out Facebook leaders by vertical industry segments, including automotive, consumer packaged goods — sundries (Johnson & Johnson), consumer packaged goods — food and beverage (Coca-Cola), entertainment and media (MTV/Viacom), financial services/insurance (American Express), pharmaceuticals (Bayer), restaurants (Wendy’s), retailers (Victoria’s Secret), technology (Hewlett Packard) and telecommunications (DirecTV) …

Having many outbound posts is not an optimization factor … less is more with Facebook and quality is what counts … The best brands at engagement obtain upwards of 750 comments and 1,500 “likes” per post.

There is no magic to the type of posts being run by successful brand advertisers. While promotions are rampant in advertiser posts, often posting generalized questions is more successful than hard promotions …

Edit by KJM

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