Facebook Offers New Messaging Tool (via NYT)

PALO ALTO, Calif. — For more than two decades, e-mail has been the killer application of the Internet. But Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, believes that e-mail is antiquated.

On Monday, Mr. Zuckerberg unveiled a new unified messaging system on Facebook that allows people to communicate with each other regardless of whether they are using e-mail, text messages or online chat services.

“We don’t think a modern messaging system is going to be e-mail,” Mr. Zuckerberg said. He said that e-mail is too formal, too slow and too cumbersome, especially for young people who have grown up communicating using online chat and text messaging systems. The new Facebook service, which will allow users to have @facebook.com e-mail addresses, intends to integrate the three forms of communication into one inbox that is accessible from PCs or mobile phones.

Mr. Zuckerberg played down any suggestion that the new service would revolutionize communications overnight.

“This is not an e-mail-killer,” Mr. Zuckerberg said. “We don’t expect anyone to wake up tomorrow and say they are going to shut down” their current e-mail accounts.

Still, analysts said that over time the service could gradually become a replacement

“All of the e-mail vendors should be worried – Google, Yahoo, MSN,” said Jeremiah Owyang, an analyst with the Altimeter Group, in an interview Friday, before the Facebook service was unveiled. “All of those platforms have been trying to add social networking features to their services.”

The new system will also include social features that allow users to filter their in-box in a way that prioritizes messages from friends and close associates over others. And it offers a way to quickly access all the conversations they’ve had with a particular user.

The system will be rolled out gradually over the next few months, Mr. Zuckerberg said.

“It sounds great.,” said Danny Sullivan, editor of SearchEngineLand.com, an industry blog. “I want to see how it works in practice.”

Some Important Things You Can Learn From Your Facebook Insights (via inklingmedia.net)

We hear a lot about ROI, analytics, and the like, but unless you know what you’re measuring or looking for, all the numbers in the world won’t help you.

And even if you aren’t the best numbers person, there are a few key things you learn by looking at your Facebook insights. Note: This is not a comprehensive tutorial on how to use and analyze your insights. This is merely a quick look at how some of these metrics might be able to help you as you move forward.

First, to get to your insights, go to your Facebook business page, and over in the left hand column and in the “insights” section click on “see all”.

This will take you to the main insights area which includes two sections: “Users” and “Interactions.” Both of these area have multiple metrics that you can view. There is also a link near the top that says “view old page insights.” Even though these are the “old” insights, there are some different metrics there that are useful.

Here are a few things you can look for

1. Demographics – This area gives you the basic gender and age breakdown of your fans. As you can see in this case, the audience is predominantly female, and heavy in the 25-44 age range. Note: Facebook tends to skew towards women a bit, and women also tend to be more active users, so take this into consideration as you analyze your demographics.

Facebook Insights Demographics

Look at the breakdown and determine two things: a) who are your fans, and b) do they match who you THINK your ideal customers should be? If you’re target market is teens and you’re heavy on an older audience, you’ll need to figure out a few things.

Also, you’ll note the locations of your users. This is something to look at, but you’ll need to understand that there are some imperfections in the system. This particular business is based in Lancaster, PA and most of the fans are in Lancaster, even though it shows up as Harrisburg. Sometime last year Facebook tweaked something and many Lancaster users were listed as being from Philadelphia. Early this year, another tweak sent them all to Harrisburg. The point is, especially for local businesses, don’t read TOO much into this particular area.

2. Daily Story Feedback – This is where you start to see some of the engagement that takes place on your page. When you post an update or upload some media, this is where you see how people are interacting with you.

Facebook Daily FeedbackWhat you’re particularly interested in here are the peaks and valleys. On which days did you see more engagement, i.e. “likes” or comments? The reason you want to know this is so that you can determine which activities get the most engagement from fans. Do certain types of posts do better than others? Perhaps asking a question does the trick. But you need to keep up and find out which things get people motivated, and which just sit there and die. By analyzing this, you’ll have an idea of what works and what doesn’t as you move forward.

Note: the purple line is for “unsubscribes”. These aren’t people who “unlike” your page, but instead they decide they want to “hide” your updates from their news feed. So while they are still fans, they no longer see your updates. Keep an eye on this as well and look for major peaks.

3. Media – This is important, especially when taken in tandem with the daily story feedback insights above. As you look at this chart, you’ll notice that some of the peaks, especially on the right side, somewhat mirror the peaks on those same dates in the previous chart.

Facebook Media Consumption StatsIn this particular case, adding photos is what drove a lot of the daily interaction. When thinking of posting things to your business page, don’t just think in terms of status updates. People love photos and video. Any time you add some sort of media, you’ll generally see an increase in engagement. This is particularly true if you “tag” people in the photos. Photos and videos can be a great draw, as can be seen in the above graph, with more than 750 photo views on October 7th alone.

4. Likes and unlikes – The best place to find this info is to go to the old page insights section. The idea is to see how your page is growing, and if there are any areas for concern.

This first graph shows your total growth over time:

Total Fans

The blue line indicates the number of “likes” or fans you have, while the orange line shows how many people have “unsubscribed” or hidden your updates from their news feed. This graph is somewhat typical in that you see steep grown in the beginning, which is natural as you are going from zero to some number rather quickly when you first publish the page. After that, the growth is usually rather slow and steady. Look for peaks and valleys in the blue line. A valley is a net loss of fans, while a sudden increase means that something has happened to cause a large group to join at a particular time.  In this case you’ll notice a large spike sometime in March or April of 2010. When you see that, find out why! In this case, it was the result of just ONE of this pages fans spreading the word. This one fan used the “suggest to friends” function, and many of those friends checked out the page and “liked” it. This should give you a hint as to the power of word-of-mouth, and your job is to engage your customers in ways to get them to spread the word.

If we dig deeper, you can isolate more of this info on a more regular daily basis with the “new/removed” fans graph:

New and Removed fans

On this chart, the blue graph represents how many new “likes” or fans you got each day, while the orange graph represents those who “unlike” your business page and leave. A few things to note here:

  • On the whole, as long as your blue peaks are consistently higher than the orange peaks, you’re in good shape. This means you are seeing a net growth, rather than loss. If you’re not seeing this, you need to reevaluate what you are doing on your page.
  • I tend not to worry too much about a few people leaving or “unliking” a page from time to time. My thoughts are that if someone leaves, they probably didn’t have too much invested in your page or business in the first place. While numbers are important, what is more important than having a lot of fans is having engaged, loyal fans.

If you then click off the “new likes” button you can isolate the “unlikes” and see some trends. In this particular case there are no major spikes, but a few smaller spikes where the page lost 4 or 5 fans on a given day. You’ll have to match this up with your total fan base to see if this is cause for alarm.

Facebook Unlikes

When you see a spike like this, or larger, go back to that day and figure out what you did to cause those people to leave. In some cases, it might just be that you posted TOO many updates. Or perhaps you said something to alienate people. Either way, figure out what causes people to leave and determine whether it needs to be fixed or not. Some attrition over time is natural.

There are a lot of other insights available to you on Facebook, so play around. See what they offer and see what kinds of lessons you can learn from them. The goal is to use them to isolate the good and the bad, and learn from both of them.

App Lets Brands Add Groupon-Like Deals to Facebook Pages (via mashable)

Wildfire, makers of promotional tools for brands on Facebook, is releasing a new application that lets marketers and brands turn their Facebook Page or website in to a deal hub.

The new application is called Group Deals, and it is designed to be like a do-it-yourself Groupon add-on to Facebook Pages and company websites via Facebook Connect. Wildfire users can create and define their own deal-a-day style promotions, which will allow interested brand fans to purchase the deals via their PayPal accounts.

During the setup process, application users can set the value of the deal, define the threshold needed to activate it and link it to their e-commerce system through their own pre-defined discount codes. Brands can also set deal terms and conditions and customize the appearance of the check-out page, as well as use their own images to tweak the application’s appearance. The final step is to the publish the deal to a Facebook Page or a company website.

Given that Group Deals are heavily tied to the Facebook (Facebook) platform, users who sign up for deals can publish the activity to their newsfeed or invite their Facebook friends to join them to unlock the promotion in the question.

Wildfire is using the PayPal API, which means PayPal will help them to track and manage the entire deal buying process, and automatically notify buyers if and when the deal is activated.

As the group buying trend continues to grow, brands and marketers are sure to be curious about how they can apply the deeply discounted deal model to their own products and services. Wildfire’s Group Deals option lets them do just that within Facebook’s network of nearly 500 million members and on their own sites.

Obviously, there’s huge potential here. We expect creative brand campaigns tied to group discounts, and even think there’s enough here to help brands use social media to significantly impact sales.

Facebook Appears To Back Down On Landing Tab Limitations

-Landing Tab Money Icon-Less than 24 hours after we first covered Facebook’s decision to limit landing tabs within Facebook Pages to “authenticated” admins, the company has appeared to revert back to the original permissions, making landing tabs available for anybody. The change was rapidly criticized by more Page administrators who use landing tabs as an easy way to convert new visitors into fans.

While we’ve reached out to the company for clarification about whether or not this change back to the original settings is permanent, we still haven’t heard back from the company regarding their policy on the new “authenticated Pages”. We’ll be sure to update if we hear more from Facebook, however there’s no doubt that many Page administrators will be grateful that Facebook has stepped back from what would otherwise be a permanently damaging change.

Facebook’s motivation behind the change wasn’t exactly clear, however we speculated that it was to reduce spam and potentially increase revenue. For Facebook to make such a significant change without any formal notice, aside from an update to the developer forum, is pretty significant. At this point Facebook appears to have gone back to the original settings, enabling anybody to set a custom tab as the landing tab, however we’ll have to wait to hear back from Facebook to confirm that this change is permanent.