The New New Facebook Profile

Here we go again… Facebook has changed the profile page again and decided to roll it out on 60 minutes tonight.  The profile will be rolled out slowly to users but you can get it immediately by going here.

The changes are mostly minor with Facbeook but the most note-able visual change being the replacement of Facebook Tabs with a small menu on the Left Nav.  The menu includes all the pre-defined Facebook components including Wall, Info, Photos, Notes and Posts.  There is no option to add other menu items or areas.

A “jumble” of personal information is now included at the top of the below the user name, its not overly well formatted and the order seems to be clear.   The jumble seems to default to current job & employer, most recent education, current location, relationship status and partner,  home down, birthday.  I’ve also seen the Jumble show language(s) spoken so it might be related to the most recent changes to your profile.

New Facebook Promotion Rules

Promotions on Facebook have been a little controversial over the past few years with Facebook requesting a minimum ad buy to approve the promotion and imposing  restrictive rules.   In many cases this has just served to encourage promotions without Facebook approval but always with the risk of removal or early termination.  Facebook has changed all this week with new Facebook Promotion guidelines that remove the minimum ad buy and define clear rules for all promotions.

The main focus of the guideline seems to be around focusing promotional activities on Facebook Applications and not core Facebook functionality.   In order to enter or qualify for a Facebook Promotion an application should be used either on the Canvas Page or a Facebook Page tab.   It’s prohibited for Facebook Promotions to use status updates, commenting on a wall or photo uploads as a method for entering the promotion.  This is very similar to the Facebook Policy against incentivized action for Facebook Applications.  The goal of both theses policies is to prevent companies from encouraging users to spam their friends.

Campaigning with Social Media

I’ve been watching the Mayoral campaign in Toronto with a lot interest this year, mainly because I wanted to see how the candidates used Social Media. In the Obama campaign in 2008 Social Media is often credited with having a great impact.  With my own limited involvement watching the campaign from Canada I was impressed with how much the campaign engaged everyone.  I registered for the Obama campaign, it recognized I was Canadian and asked me if I could contact American’s that I knew that were on the fence.  Brillant…

Now in Toronto I really haven’t seen anything that engaging.  I’m not going to try to compare campaign platforms or policies, I haven’t decided who I’m going vote for myself.  All of the candidates have the Social Media basics, they all have Websites, E-Mail lists, Twitter and Facebook accounts.  These alone are not that value, its really the content of these campaigns and I think right now the best messaging seems to be coming from Rob Ford campaign.  In my opinion he’s doing the best job of engaging citizens, mainly because he’s not marketing to them. He’s just talking to

The Problem with Facebook Groups…

Yesterday Facebook launched an upgrade to the Facebook Group functionality, the details of the new features are available here.   I think the more interesting thing is what is missing, the mainly one being the ability for groups to choose their own relationship and communication style.  There is still no good way to maintain a group communication system that scales.

Facebook Groups continue to degrade as users join them and the group owners essentially loose the ability to communicate with the group.  This is an excellent idea to control Facebook Group spam but it doesn’t allow users to engagement in popular groups and ideas that will quickly grow beyond the Facebook Group limits.  In way Facebook Groups should be renamed Small Facebook Groups because the functionality really favours smaller groups.  The Facebook Chat is great feature to chat with a small group but doesn’t scale well to larger groups.

In the end I think most groups are probably better served by something like Google Groups which allows a common mail listing and some basic HTML pages.

Four Square and being Social Mobile…

I was reading Sebastien Provencher’s guest post this morning on the LeWeb’s blog about foursquare and comparing it to Twitter.  I agree with Seb that fourSquare is not the next Twitter but I do think its a bit of a game changer in what its doing with in Social Mobile space.

foursquare gives users incentives to ‘check-in’ to different locations on their mobile phone.  It uses the phone’s GPS location to provide a list of local and popular locations for the user to check-in or the user can quickly create a new location profile.   The user can earn badges for each location they visit and it becomes a bit of a game to earn new badges and compare you points with your friends.  The user who visits an individual location the most earns a ‘mayor’ badge for that location.

I think the game changing aspect of foursquare is what its changing for user behaviour.   As users check into new locations they can instantly see other popular locations that are near them.    Right now that list is free from advertising and just based on the location and popularity of the locations.  Kinda like search engines were in 2000, where there

Marketing with Facebook Search

For most marketing search engine marketing is a common marketing technique and entire business united have been established to focus on search.   The most popular tool being Google and in a distant second the Microsoft Bing/live tools.   Facebook search on the other hand is a much different beast and much more difficult to market against.   In order to optimize we need to understand the Facebook Search function.

The key component to understand with Facebook search is the interaction relationship.  This means that content that the user has interacted with in the past will appear first and may appear in the auto-complete if they have Fan, Joined or Bookmarked the content.

Facebook search then will  display search results based on your friends involvement with content.  This means that individuals, groups, pages, or applications which your friends have interacted with appear at the top.  The next considertation is your network(s) and content types with more people from your network will be assigned priority.  Facebook has indicated they will removing networks but this logic is likely to be replace with geographic filters.

The next concept to understand is that Facebook assigns a priorty to different content types, assuming you have equal friend interactions or no friend

Facebook Page Performance Metrics

Facebook Page Performance Stats

Since Facebook launched Facebook Pages in 2007 alot clients have asked how their page is
performing.

Sysomos provides tools for measuring and comparing brand performance among across social media and yesterday released a report on Facebook Pages here:

http://www.sysomos.com/insidefacebook/

The report includes the Top 5 pages in each of the Facebook Page categories and includes a comparison between the different categories in terms of overall number of Facebook Fans.  The main advantage that a Facebook offers is the ability to communicate with your “Fan” based using the Facebook Page wall and update channel.   Facebook Pages can also be used with Facebook Applications to provide additional functionality and the basis for more interactive campaigns.

One of the more interesting aspects of the report is the owner generated content and fan generated content.   I believe the ratio between these is a great indicator of the level of interaction your achieving with your Fan base.  It also shows the impact of mass in social media with larger pages ( over 1 Million Fans ) having a much greater Owner to Fan content ratio.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-11-08

  • hmmm, considering Movember… Its a great cause but I don’t think I could deal with Stache… #
  • Do kids not smash pumpkins anymore? I haven’t seen a single smashed pumpkin all day… Just saying, wasn’t tempted to smash any myself… #
  • At the Toronto Innovation Showcase in City Hall Council Chambers, its the calm before the storm… #opendatato #
  • I don’t know the future of government but I’m not convinced that its happening right now in council chambers #

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-11-01

  • Great time at Facebook Garage Montreal tonight, thanks again to all the organizers and speakers! #
  • Just saw the best Mimi-Mouse costume… #
  • Really impressed with Twitter Lists, very simple and smart implementation… #
  • If there were points for bad uniforms the Habs would already be losing… Go Leafs! #
  • #trick or #treat #
  • Even Don Cherry’s suit looks better than the Hab uniforms… #

Facebook Roadmap

Facebook revealed their roadmap yesterday and it includes a number of changes for developers.  Inside Facebook has a create summer here.

I think the biggest change is the consolidation of communications into the Facebook inbox.  Facebook Invites and Notifications are going away and communication will be divided into Inbox communication and Email.  It looks like both channels will feature an opt-in requirement, making app to user communications very challenging in the future.

I think the consolidation of communication is probably a good thing.  Everytime I see a screenshot of someone’s Homepage I always see hundreds of ignored invites and notifications.  I don’t know that the new system will fix that but it should allow users to find these types of communications centrally.

The other change is around the placement of Bookmarked Applications.  It looks like these will be moving from the task bar to right side bar where the feed filters are located now.  Its not clear where the feed filters will be going or how often they are used ( I suspect they are not being used effectively ).

All of these represent another UI change for users though and Facebook has indicated they want to roll-out the changes by the

Facebook Changes with LiveFeed Addition

Facebook released some interface changes last night.  They appear to be:

  • New Group Page design with Tab Interface and strong wall presence.  This makes groups now very similar to Facebook Pages.
  • Addition of a LiveFeed option to the Homepage.   This works similar to the Newsfeed but doesn’t allow the same type of content filtering and the Newsfeed doesn’t seem to update as often.
  • Remove Feature Items, the featured items from the right hand side have been removed.  These were kind of random in any case.
  • Friend Suggest now suggests contacting friends with incomplete or low-Facebook profile usage

The changes are all relatively small but the most significant is probably the LiveFeed addition and it seems users will be defaulting to this in most cases.

The Power of Real-Time Search

For years now Google has dominated the search marketing field.  Its Pagerank algorithm attempts to find content that is the most relevant to the keywords being search.  In most cases this means placing a greater emphasis on older more established content and ignoring the newer content.  This has worked well for most content types except for breaking news and trending items.  When Michael Jackson died a search for “Michael Jackson” was more likely to bring up fan pages than articles around his death.

Enter Twitter and Facebook, for trending topics the social networks have an advantage in that they can see trending topics developing in real-time.  And yesterday they announced a partnership with Bing to power its real-time search component.  This should provide Bing with an advantage in the real-time search market.  Its not clear how big the real-time market is as compared to the more traditional search market that Google dominates.

Its will be interesting to see if Marketers start to place a greated emphasis on purchasing keywords based on real-time trends that be associated with their brands.  The search engines are already well equipped with bid based pricing models to handle real-time price fluctuations in keywords.

Facebook Garage Montreal – Oct 26, 2009

The agenda for Facebook Garage Montreal has been posted and I’ve been accepted present on ‘Public Involve with Social Media’.  I will be great to talk about my work with Ascentum over the last few months.  The preliminary agenda is:

  • 5pm to 6:30pm: buffet, socializing
  • 6:30pm to 6:45pm: opening remarks – Louise Clements, Head of Sales, Facebook Canada
  • 6:45pm to 7:15pm: first keynote – Hell’s Kitchen: Facebook comme plateforme de jeux vidéos, Emmanuel Delmoly, co-founder Social2U
  • 7:15pm to 7:45pm: Facebook Advertising 101 – speaker to be confirmed
  • 7:45pm to 8:15pm: break
  • 8:15pm to 9:15pm Social Marketing / Facebook Connect
  • 9:15pm to 10:00pm: second keynote – Matt Wyndowe, Facebook (Palo Alto, CA) – Topic to be confirmed

Should be an exciting evening. The event is free and you can register here.

Facebook tries again with the Application List

New Facebook Application List

New Facebook Application List

Facebook has changed the Application List again.  Instead of having the Applications list accessible in the header they have moved access to the chat bar.  The presentation looks alot like the Microsoft Start bar but I’m not really sure its an improvement.  I think alot of people pretty much ignore the chat bar ( I haven’t been on FB chat in months ) so its not an ideal location.

There seems to be a common trend with the Facebook re-design to combine items of low value ( ie Chat ) with items of high value ( ie Application navigation ).  We saw the same thing with the new wall where mini-feed items ( low value ) were combined with wall items ( high value ).   I’m not a huge fan of this paradigm and at minimum I think it creates confusion for users.  Areas where they could previously ignore are now much more relevent.

The other big concern I have with this design is the size and the location of the bookmark option.  Instead of being in the top ( where booking

Facebook breaks Application list, again…

It looks like Facebook is reacting to user feedback about how hard it is to find and navigate applications in the new profile design.  In response last week they changed the application list so that the “browse all applications” actually connected you to all your applications.  This week they’ve changed the application drop-down so that it displays a shortened application list.  Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a way to configure which applications are displayed or easily get to any of your installed applications.

The other point of confusion with this design is the Facebook term change from “installed” application to “bookmarked” application.  I don’t think they’ve done a job of explaining to users how these terms are essentially the same but “bookmarked” applications don’t automatically install a profile box.  I’m  hoping Facebook introduces a better definition.

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