Category archive: Social
Seeing friends and family become so indignant about ads on Facebook has always confused me. How can someone get so upset when the service they are using is so valuable, yet doesn’t cost them a cent? It’s about perspective and an understanding of the nature of the relationship. Today I happened to be re-reading my favorite book, Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely and contemplating Facebook Home when it finally became clear.
Ariely talks about the two kinds of factors at play on the consumer – social and market. For example, if I bring a bottle of wine to a dinner party, it’s seen as a polite gesture of gratitude. If instead I give the host $25 as payment for my meal, it is seen as rude or cheap, even though it represents the same dollar value. Once a relationship moves from a social one to a market (paid) relationship, expectations change. Think about it this way; when we pay for something, we tend to expect to get value for money. It’s also very hard to move from a market relationship back to a social relationship. If you find this at all interesting, I suggest reading the book, I can’t really give this concept justice here.
Being ‘in the industry’ I have always understood that if you’re not paying for a service, you are not the customer. Facebook itself has never been a social transaction in that sense, but the average user doesn’t realize this and becomes offended every time Facebook increases the aggressiveness of its advertising platform. This not only explains the motivations of the angry Facebook user, but also predicts a bleak outcome for the newly released Facebook Home product.
Norms have already been established for apps – if it’s free, ads are okay, if I pay I expect it to be ad-free. Facebook Home isn’t an app, it’s a layer on the home screen, and this changes the game completely.
Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed that Facebook Home will start ad free, but eventually begin to show ads at some point, a classic bait and switch. Users will see this new tool as a well-designed ‘gift’ from Facebook. Advertisers will also see this as well designed gift from Facebook, one that will serve their ads without a user even opening the Facebook app. Suddenly your entire mobile OS has become an ad platform and the social/market norms have been flipped. Users will ask if they’re getting a fair trade off in this deal, and it’s a reasonable question, being that they have had their entire mobile experience montized by Facebook.Details
Last year after SXSW 2012, I spoke on behalf of my agency about emerging trends in digital. At that time, I mentioned an experience of my own where the Highlight app had been less than impressive. It was obvious to me then that my Facebook likes did not represent who I was, and Highlight had not cracked the big issue of context. I’m at SXSW, tell me about other strategists nearby (LinkedIn info), don’t tell me someone else liked The Dark Knight and kittens.
A year later, I had totally forgotten about Highlight or how strange my cumulative likes must be, until Facebook announced Graph Search. The problem is rearing its head again, and I’m not the only one to notice. According to The Verge, data sets are extremely dirty, and I couldn’t agree more. Remember when people were liking anything? I specifically recall liking ‘Air’. The move from interest pages to brand pages seemed to remedy this, but it added a new set of challenges, mostly that they’re annoying.
If a brand annoys me, I unfollow them – simple. This would effectively erase that data; I no longer like that thing, it has been stripped from my profile as if it had never existed. This is how most people work, sometimes we stop liking things. Normally, this would re-balance the equation for users, forcing brands to not be annoying. As it turns out, brands can’t really help being annoying, so in comes the newsfeed algorithm to filter out crap content and keep your data sets intact (oh and force brands to pay to make their content seen).
Can Graph Search really be put on top of this mess and be expected to work?
Facebook has done a lot of work to keep those who pay the bills happy (media agencies etc.,) by improving interest-based ad targeting, and show the new stockholders that some money can be squeezed from the platform, but nothing to improve the relevance of the data set itself. The data has been useless for years, all this did was expose that Facebook have sacrificed the usability and relevance for the interests of brands.
Maybe as Nick Salter tries to convince me every day, “There will come a time, soon, where Facebook brand pages won’t exist.” Maybe he’s right, it’s possible we would have been better if they never had.Details
Sometimes when stumbling around the internet, you find something that’s so funny you have to share it with everyone. To be honest, I don’t even remember how I found Weber Cooks, maybe it found me, but once we found each other it was like love at first sight.
This video has it all – disgusting food, poor production value, deadpan acting. Love at first sight. You could imagine my horror when the video was deleted later that day. The world needed to see this clip!
With a little tricky cache work, I managed to recover the clip (don’t ask me how, I just did). I had two options: keep this for myself, or re-upload for everyone else to enjoy. It was actually a hard decision; I wasn’t sure the story behind the video and why it was taken down. Could Steven be suffering from the sudden internet fame? In the end, I decided I would put it back up so I could share with a small group of friends. Almost half a million friends, and counting.
As it turns out, Weber cooks was approaching meme status when the original clip was deleted. When I uploaded the video, mine was the first to go back up, making it the ‘go to’ Weber cooks clip on YouTube.
I now have some very interesting analytics sitting in my YouTube account. Once again, I could just enjoy the data myself, or I could share it with everyone.
As expected, views surge and drop-off dramatically as the popularity of the video declines.
0.00018 subscribers per view, with no subscribe calls to action. This should be a pretty good base line number for similar clips.
As you might assume, this kind of clip appeals more to males than females, (80% male viewers). This trend holds true across all markets.
Facebook makes up 85% of all video shares, but keep in mind that this only includes shares from the video itself, and not from sharing the link through cut and paste.
The numbers appear to support what is normally seen with YouTube videos, only on a larger scale, and with a slightly longer view drop off (about a month). Obviously this is only one example, every situation is different, but it’s interesting to see the analytics behind a video with almost 500,000 views. That doesn’t mean there isn’t an insight here, though.
No matter how popular the clip, it takes more than uploading content and hoping for the best. Eventually, people will stop caring, and in the end you have half a million views and less than 100 new subscribers. You’re only as good as your last piece of content.
On that positive note, I’m out. I hope you enjoyed Steven’s chilli and cheese nacho dip – keep it real, Wildcats.Details
EVERYONE FREAK OUT! Facebook is changing. Prepare for the mass exodus to Myspa… um… well, okay we’ll stay.
But seriously, Facebook Graph Search is coming, and it’s going to finally address the issues with Facebook search. Since joining Facebook many years ago, I had always assumed that semantic search within Facebook would be coming soon, but years on and we’re still struggling to find brand pages and people I know exist.
I’m not going to re-hash what Graph Search is, you can see a montage about it here. If you want to see what’s awesome about it, let Facebook tell you here. I’m going to talk about some key short-comings instead, because that’s that kind of guy I am.
It’s very beta
This isn’t for advertisers yet. Zuck said he wanted to get the UX right first, but that sponsored ads would work great at some point.
It’s not mobile
This is one of the biggest shames, I think. When do you need the kind of information that Graph Search could provide most? When you’re out looking for things to do/see/buy. This also happens to be a good entry point for mobile commerce, which will hopefully give this area more attention.
No planned changes in targeting parameters for advertisers
Graph search will be really powerful, and could FINALLY allow for some targeting of Facebook ads that isn’t as annoying, but there doesn’t seem to be any plans for it, and it doesn’t look like anyone even asked about it at the launch event. This is one of my big annoyances with Facebook – they couldn’t know more about people if they tried, but ads are targeted by very generic sets of information.
Bottom line – a needed update to search, natural language was a great choice. The product will be in beta for a while, and advertisers won’t notice a change.
Photo credit: TheVerge.comDetails
I remember a time, probably when I was about 12 or 13, when understanding how the internet worked made you some kind of geek. The average person that even bothered with the internet stuck to ICQ, email or MSN Messenger, and that was about it. Now it’s common for the average user to have a profile on a social network, do their banking, and purchase products online. It seems like the general public are becoming quite savvy with the way online services work, but possibly not the legal aspects at work in the background.
Waking up this morning and seeing my news feed taken over by people losing their minds over a policy change in Instagram’s terms of service was a very confusing experience. As a long-time user of free services, it has always been obvious to me that if you are using something without paying, you are the product. As Nilay Patal from The Verge thoroughly explained, people were jumping the gun on the Instagram issue – NO they are not going to sell your pictures to whoever wants to buy them. The new terms and conditions are actually less ambiguous than they used to be, giving more information to users about how their pictures will be used.
So what can Instagram do? Well, an advertiser can pay Instagram to display your photos in a way that doesn’t create anything new — so Budweiser can put up a box in the timeline that says “our favorite Instagram photos of this bar!” and put user photos in there, but it can’t take those photos and modify them, or combine them with other content to create a new thing. Putting a logo on your photo would definitely break the rules. But putting a logo somewhere near your photos? That would probably be okay.
When you think about it, it’s hard to blame the average user for getting upset. The way the issue was spun by the media, it sounded like your semi-private moments were going to be auctioned off to the highest bidder, but the real problem is how we market terms and conditions.
It’s not something most people think they would need to put any kind of marketing spin on, but legalese and ambiguity clearly leads to misunderstandings and panic once it hits social channels. It’s obvious we can no longer put out 60 page T’s and C’s documents and expect users to blindly click accept.
Although still quite in-depth, Tumblr add user-friendly captions to sections of their terms and conditions:
The bottom line – everything a brand puts out to the public needs to be in line with the overall brand strategy. Just because something is a legal document doesn’t mean it can be left to the lawyers. Brand it up!Details
What’s going on here? Why would Facebook, with their 700 million strong user base need to buy up a mobile photo app with 30 million users?
If you’re late to the retro-filtered Instagram party and wondering what all the fuss is about, the Instagram app allows users to take very (below) average pictures on their mobile phone and turn them into vintage ‘art’. Kind of.
Read full post on The White Agency blogDetails
Online communities are a powerful resource for brands of all industries, but none more so than gaming. Titles can gain huge followings, complete with user generated content and insane brand advocates. But what happens when the community is not brand controlled? And what happens when this community turns against you? Just ask EA Games.
When EA rebranded their online store to “Origin” the concept seemed sound. The idea was to take on entrenched competitor Steam for control of the online game store market. Their launch day blog post talked about a unified gaming experience,
With Origin you will get access to the best content EA has to offer, across multiple platforms, anytime you want. - EA blog, The Beat
Great in theory, but the platform had bugs, most of which were exposed when mega-title Battlefield 3 launched.
Not only was there bugs with the final platform deployment, but when users turned to the online support, they found it almost useless.
In the past, this might have been the end of the story. Sales might have dipped slightly due to word of mouth reviews or possibly a negative article in a niche gaming magazine, but this was before the rise of the online community Reddit.
Horror stories emerged about web chats being cut-off mid session when things got too tough for the Origin representatives. The games section (subreddit) of Reddit has taken over with posts containing screenshots of the terrible customer support.
So what’s the moral of this little story? Online communities can turn an average product into a superstar, but they can also turn something full of potential into a PR nightmare. Oh, and don’t piss off Reddit.Details