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Facebook Rolls Out Ad Conversion Measurement Globally So That Marketers Know When One Of Their Ads Did The Trick
  • According to TechCrunch, Facebook took one more step in making its advertising more accountable for media buyers: it has now rolledout a conversion measurement system across its global footprint. Aimed at direct marketers, the optimization and conversion toll was first announced back in November; now it’s available globally, and can be used on all Facebook ads and sponsored stories, the company says, as well as in combination with any other targeting services
  • What the tool does is it allows advertisers to put some code on their sites to track when actions like checkouts/payments or registrations have been driven by an advert seen on Facebook. This then feeds back into how marketers run their campaigns on optimized CPMs for more effective responses. That is a win-win for Facebook: if it can show that marketers can save money by using these tools as part of their campaigns, it will also mean that they will ultimately spend more money and effort advertising on the social network. It’s also one more sign of how Facebook is continuing to extend its influence outside of its own platform and walled garden — although it’s still stopping short of advertising on third-party sites.
  • In a sign of increasing cross-platform marketing, Facebook says that its conversion measurement tool can report when a user views an ad on one platform, like mobile, but then converts on another, like a PC. It’s the only tool so far that can do this — but as Facebook continues to expand its advertising business, it’s not likely to be the last.
Facebook Announces Its Third Pillar “Graph Search” That Gives You Answers, Not Links Like Google
  • Tuesday at Facebook’s press event, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, announced its latest product, called Graph Search. Zuckerberg made it very clear that this is not web search, but completely different.
  • Zuckerberg explained the difference between web search and Graph Search. “Web search is designed to take any open-ended query and give you links that might have answers.” Linking things together based on things that you’re interested in is a “very hard technical problem,” according to Zuckerberg. Graph Search is designed to take a precise query and give you an answer, rather than links that might provide the answer.” For example, you could ask Graph Search “Who are my friends that live in San Francisco?”
  • Zuckerberg says that Graph Search is in “very early beta.” People, photos, places and interests are the focus for the first iteration of the product. He then announced a partnership with Microsoft’s Bing, so Facebook, in a way, is a true Google competitor. This is a huge lift for Microsoft. Graph Search won’t just change the way we use Facebook. It could also pull users away from other services like Yelp and Foursquare, and create huge advertising opportunities for Facebook.
Facebook-skins-post20% of Facebook’s Ad Spend Goes to Mobile Ads
  • Techcrunch reports that Facebook is making quick progress in growing its mobile advertising business, a platform in which investors were initially hesitant to put their money nto. Based on data from major ad platform Kenshoo, 20% of all Facebook ad spending goes to mobile – and with good reason, because studies are beginning to show that Facebook mobile ads work and could keep the company successful.
  • Kenshoo’s data shows that Facebook mobile ads are currently priced at a 70% premium over desktop ads, which makes sense because a single mobile ad is more likely to make an impression on users. And with 71% of Facebook’s smartphone ad spend going to Android, Google’s operating system may become a leading portal to the social network.
  • “As advertisers warm up to the mobile medium, Facebook needs to turn its attention to user reactions,” writes Techcrunch’s Josh Constine. “The feed is starting to get a bit more cluttered with ads than a few months ago.” While mobile should definitely be a top priority for Facebook, balancing user experience with the amount of ads on a single screen should also be addressed – a fact that may inspire yet another profile redesign or algorithm update in the coming months.
google_plus_logoWhether you like it or not, Google+ is happening. It's a requirement if you use any of Google's services. The controversial tactic is part of a larger plan from Google CEO Larry Page to get people to use Google+ by setting up people who create an account to use Gmail, YouTube and other Google services with a public Google+ page that can be viewed by anyone online. Facebook and Google make most of their revenue from selling ads, but Facebook has the advantage of being able to tie people's online activities to their real names - and it knows who those people's friends are. According to The Wall Street Journal's Amir Efrati, "Marketers say Google has told them that closer integration of Google+ across its many properties will allow Google to obtain this kind of information and target people with more relevant (and therefore, more profitable) ads."
plus-badgeGoogle+ Has 105 Million Unique Monthly Visitors
  • According to data from comScore, Google+ can now join the ranks of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn with its 100 million unique visitors per month. But are those visitors truly unique?
  • The data states that the network attracted 105 million monthly users in October 2012 compared to 65.3 million in October 2011, a 60.9% increase, writes Mashable’s Todd Wasserman. Mobile is lagging; Google had 7 million mobile users, which is chump change compared to Facebook’s 91.3 million. ComScore did not measure time spent on Google+, but last June, Google claimed that users spent an average of 12 minutes a month on the network.
  • The unique monthly visitor account may be inflated due to Google’s decision to force its users to create Google+ accounts. When a user wants to create an account to use Gmail, YouTube, and other Google services – including Zagat for restaurant reviews – they are also set up with a public Google+ profile page. This is part of CEO Larry Page’s plans to get people to use the network, and it appears to be working.
Twitter Is Already Winning The Social TV War, But It Will Soon Do More
  • According to TechCrunch, Twitter is reaching out to TV producers and showrunners to find out ways that it can further integrate with the TV experience. That could mean Twitter-based voting, in the case of some competitive reality shows. It could also mean introducing interactive elements in scripted shows that viewers could use to unlock new content or web experiences.
  • For what it’s worth, Twitter is hiring for a role just like this: One of the positions listed on its jobs site is a “Manager of TV Relationships” position based in Los Angeles. The purpose of the job is to act as a “Twitter ambassador/evangelist to TV celebrities,” getting them to tweet more during their own shows and just in general. But the goal also to work with high-profile showrunners and producers to find ways to integrate Twitter into their programming.
  • For those keeping track, that seems like an obvious move for the company, as it tries to take advantage of user activity that has already emerged without too much prompting. Given the tens of billions of dollars spent on TV advertising every year, finding a way to entice advertisers to create integrated or even complementary ad buys around its social network is a huge win for Twitter. And it will become even more obvious as time goes on just how important TV will be to Twitter’s continued growth.
Instagram on iPhone Gets a Fresh Filter, Facebook Login, Apology
  • According to Mashable, fresh from nixing his revamped terms of service that caused such a stir on Tuesday -- and doing a 180-degree turn on those terms of service Thursday -- Instagram co-founder, Kevin Systrom, has launched a significant update to his iPhone app. The update adds a brand-new photo filter, "Mayfair", which brings the app's total number of filters up to 20.
  • Also in this update comes the ability to log in to Instagram via Facebook for the first time, without having to connect the two services in your settings. Given that Facebook's purchase of Instagram was wrapped up back at the end of August, this widely expected move is not before time.
  • Open up your news tab in the app, and you'll see Instagram is touting Systrom's apology from late Thursday. In contrast to his first attempt to walk back the updated terms of service, which came across as a little condescending, it offers a clear and distinct "sorry." Reads the apology: “Earlier this week, we introduced a set of updates to our privacy policy and terms of service to help our users better understand our service. In the days since, it became clear that we failed to fulfill what I consider one of our most important responsibilities – to communicate our intentions clearly. I am sorry for that, and I am focused on making it right.”
imagesInstagram has had an interesting 48 hours. The photo sharing app’s policy changes sparked a huge amount of controversy yesterday when news hit that Instagram claimed the right to sell its users’ photos at will. CNET reports that the company’s vaguely written policy change granted Instagram “the perpetual right to license users’ photos to companies or any other organization, including for advertising purposes, which would effectively transform the Web site into the world’s largest stock photo agency.” According to reports, this means that third party companies could have written a check to license Instagram photos, thrown them into some brochures, and distributed them without informing or reimbursing the user. Understandably, users were upset, and the news spread faster than a hipster on a fixed-gear bike.
Google Maps Puts Apple Maps to Shame
  • According to Mashable, when the Google Maps app for the iPhone was finally released late Wednesday night, there was a collective rejoicing from Apple fans worldwide. Not at all surprisingly, the app quickly soared to the top of the free apps list in the Apple App Store.
  • Google Maps has years of experience perfecting data accuracy and the latest app shows it. The interface is sleek and more organized than ever before. Apple Maps, however, was slammed for accuracy issues right out of the gate in September. Additionally, as a bonus for developers -- and app users alike -- Google announced Google Maps SDK for iOS, which gives app developers the opportunity to use maps within apps for the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad. This will help users easily search and get the directions they want while using other apps and ultimately strengthen Google's maps reach.
  • While Apple Maps excels in some ways (3D rendering in particular) there are just too many arrows in Google Maps' quiver -- especially now that it's brought turn-by-turn navigation to its iOS app. Public transit, Street View and easy searching propel Google to a clear victory -- for now.
Facebook Users Have 7 Days Starting Now To Vote on Clarified Policy Changes and if They Keep Voting
  • According to TechCrunch, Facebook has integrated feedback from regulators and users into a clarified set of site governance and privacy policy changes, and users will have seven days to vote for or against them.
  • All users will soon receive an email alerting them to the vote on several important changes to Facebook’s Statement Of Rights And Responsibilities and its Data Use Policy. They’ll lose the ability to vote on future changes unless 30 percent of all users vote and the majority reject the proposal. Such a high turnout is unlikely, so this will likely be the last governance vote.
  • Users will vote on whether: Facebook will eliminate voting on site governance changes in favor of taking high-quality feedback from users through a question-submission system and webcasts; Facebook can share data to and from its affiliates, including Instagram; Facebook may change who can contact you via Messages; Facebook may clarify who can view your content after you hide it from your Timeline. Facebook is not removing existing privacy controls, altering terms regarding who owns content posted to the site, or changing how advertising works.

Billionaire philanthropist Mark Cuban is upset with Facebook. The owner of the Dallas Mavericks recently posted on his blog:

I am recommending that we de-emphasize pushing consumers or partners to like us on FB and focus on building up our followings across all existing social media platforms and to evaluate those that we feel can grow a material following. In the past we put FB first, twitter second. FB has been moved to the bottom of a longer list.
Why? According to Cuban, “Defining engagement by clicks, likes, shares, unlikes and reporting works for Google’s search engine, I don’t believe it works for a social network.” Cuban’s comments touch upon a deeper controversy brewing among businesses on Facebook. The social network uses an algorithm to control which posts show up in the newsfeed of a brand’s Facebook friends and fans. But Facebook also allows brands to override the newsfeed algorithm to give updates more prominence - for a pretty penny, of course.