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Cashing in on the Social Graph
Understanding how to make money and use the new social Revolution called Facebook.com
Table Of Contents I. The History of Facebook
II. Internet Marketing Tools (The Free Stuff)
Mini Feed and News Feed Profile Page Pages Events Groups Notes and Photos Messages Marketplace Share / Posted Items Networks Share / Posted Items
III. So You Wanna Advertise Polls Social Ads
Beacon Application Sponsorships Sponsored Facebook Groups 3rd Party Ad Networks
IV. Application Development News Feed Mini Feed Facebook Notifications Profile Box Invitations Email Notifications What Makes A Good Application Application Directory Application Marketplace Revenue Models
INTRODUCTION Diehard Facebook buffs like to say that Facebook is a social operating system and if we look back over tech history we can see that Microsoft revolutionized the personal computer by making it easier for the average Joe to use this complex data computing machine on a daily basis through an easy to use graphical interface. Google was no different in the regards of they came and organized the enormous amounts of data on the Internet into a searchable, indexable archive often removing the chaff that was of no relevance and suggesting information more pertinent to our information queries. Now here comes Facebook, and there coming to clean up our new mess with social networking like the hackers, penis pills, and ringtone offers no one wants to be bombarded with and Facebook has taken notice. But as they continue to push the innovation envelope they decided to open up their architecture which in the social networking environment has been a big no-no. Facebook enabled the independent software developer and
entrepreneur to capitalize on this massive wave of users Facebook has garnered. Facebook offers many ways for you to reach out to your friends, a rising percentage of the most valuable demographic in America (18 - 34 years old) are spending alot more of their time on Facebook and much less of it on traditional media (i.e. t.v, newspapers, even magazine subscriptions are seeing a significant decline.) Not all Facebook users are US college students and teenagers who are totally obsessed with Facebook, but grownups, business professionals, and others from around the world now make up a significant portion of the Facebook user base as well. Even so, quite a few online marketers don't have a complete understanding of the immense range of socially direct and indirect viral marketing channels Facebook has to offer. My agenda here is to offer an introduction and tips to what’s possible on Facebook. And with that I introduce to you Facebook Revealed. Enjoy the Read!
I. The History Of Facebook
Every social networking website has a history behind it and Facebook is no exception to that rule. It has grown from relative obscurity to its current position as the second largest social networking website on the internet in terms of traffic (with MySpace being the first place social
networking website). Facebook at first was called thefacebook and was started as a hobby website at Harvard University by Mark Zuckerberg. As the website itself became well received and people started to tell their friends about it, thefacebook spread to other University campuses across the country and then eventually spread internationally. When the website became so popular, the name was changed to Facebook and the domain name of facebook.com was purchased for upwards of $200,000 Dollars. The Founder A man by the name of Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook and ran it for a very long time as a hobby project during his time at Harvard University. It is reasonably safe to assume that Mr. Zuckerberg had no idea just how popular his idea would become but after Mark had started the website and promoted it around the dorm rooms at Harvard, the popularity of Facebook quite literally took off. Two of his fellow Harvard classmates, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes, started helping him take care of the website and under the guidance of the three of them it expanded outward from the Harvard campus. Now that facebook has become so popular, two of the three initial creators have dropped out of school and dedicated themselves to improving and maintaining Facebook and all of its operations on a full time basis.
The Difference Zuckerberg understood when he was designing the website that it was not going to be easy to make it initially popular, with the existence of other well established social networking websites making things difficult for him. In order to make up for this, Facebook was initially set up so that only certain kinds of people could join. Initially it was just restricted to the people of Harvard University and then it expanded to the Stanford campus. As the popularity of the website itself began to grow more Universities were included until it came to the point where most of the campuses in the United States were supported. The restriction has resulted in Facebook having a lower than average number of users registered but at the same time has made it appealing to a wide audience. Historically, an e-mail address of a supported school or company was required but as time has gone on, those restrictions have become less and less important in the grand scheme of things. Facebook is now widely available and many people are able to enjoy it day after day.¹ II. Internet Marketing Tools (The Free Stuff) For the serious internet marketer, Facebook offers an array of viral marketing channels to get messages out to your friends and socially reach your target audience. The best part about these integrated tactics is they cost nothing, everyone on Facebook can use these building blocks to recruit and build a mighty strong viral marketing campaign that once you set lose will spread like wildfire.
First up is your... Mini Feed and News Feed While all of the features that Facebook employs are great organic marketing tools Facebook’s News Feed is where you really want to be. The News Feed has revolutionized the way information is shared between friends on Facebook and this can mean great things for your affiliate, brand or product campaign. While you’re not able to publish directly to either of these feeds you can appear there if your willing to build an application or, cough up the bucks for Social Ads. Facebook’s Mini Feed and News Feed chronicle your friend's interaction with applications and syndicate it to friends and their networks therefore multiplying the reach of your campaign by the power of ten. When users either share your photos, become fans of your page, join your group, or further interact with your brand in one of the many Facebook and third party application avenues. Facebook automatically adds a feed item to that users Mini Feed. That feed item exists for all to see, and is often in a distinct location on a user's profile page. Facebook’s News Feed, which is the first page you see after logging in, combines each user’s friends’ Mini Feeds into one unified stream of “recent news”. It could also happen that one Mini Feed item generated by a user could be seen in hundreds of their friends’ News Feed. Profile Page
Your profile contains all the information about you that your friends and people in your networks can see. The first place that you will want to start after logging in to Facebook is your profile page. Your profile page is nothing more than a customized landing page that you design and configure in order to invite your friends to interact with you on Facebook. Not only is your profile the page that you have the most control over, it’s the place where you can most express your passion for the product, company, or brand you want to promote. Now your profile page gives you the opportunity to tell and share a real-world story telling the reasons your services or products are so valuable to the user. It's best to take full advantage of... Applications - More than 12k applications that allow you to interact with your friends and networks in a myriad of ways. Examples of applications that Facebook has built are Photos, Notes, and Groups. Some 3rd party apps that are hot are SuperPoke, iLike, X Me, SuperWall and many others. Personal Info - includes your Contact Info, Activities, Favorite Music, Books, Quotes, etc. Photos - yea well pretty self explanatory, but don't forget to "tag" them which we'll get into later on. Work Info - your employer, position, city and town, so you
can find co-workers on Facebook. The Wall - I recommend getting the Super Wall by Rockyou to write messages, post photos, and post videos telling small pieces of your story as it relates to the brand your promoting. Lastly, alot of people don’t realize how many unique visits profile pages can generate. One of the most common surfing habits of Facebook users is to browse the profiles of friends and "stalking" the profile pages of others they want to learn more about. By connecting your profile to hundreds of friends, customers, partners, and associates on Facebook, you’ll drive a tidal wave of traffic to your profile page. Please take advantage of this enormous opportunity.
Facebook Pages Facebook Pages were created as a way for different types of businesses to easily create a presence in Facebook. Pages are like groups, but with some important differences: * There is no limit to the number of fans that can be in your Facebook Pages group that you can message. * Facebook Pages get more “Billboard” real estate than groups on the profile pages of your fans. * Facebook Pages are more customizable than groups. You can add Flash, HTML, or even Facebook applications
to your pages to extend their functionality and the degree of experience users can have with your product, company, or brand. * “Fans” who join your Facebook Pages group are NOT able to invite their friends to be fans of your Page. Fans must either “Share” your page with their friends, or their friends must observe that they “are a fan” of your Page either via their profile page or News Feed. Facebook Pages may be the very best way to try some CPA, CPM, or CPC offers, you can use the Social Ads to promote your Facebook page which is better than using a domain name and then redirecting to a affiliate offer. Because Facebook checks the domain name and whats on the page, if the content on the page does not match the ad then your ad will get rejected. Just like groups, they’re the best way to freely and easily engage in viral marketing on Facebook. Facebook Events The Facebook Events feature makes it easy to get the word out to hundreds even thousands of people, to build community, and manage your guest list around your upcoming event. Facebook Events is another free application that is developed by Facebook that anyone can use to promote any sort of sponsored parties, marketing events, company milestones, or even product launches. When you create an event, it gets a fully-featured page,
much like a group, that includes a wall, discussion board, photos, videos, and links. You can invite all of your friends to the event, and friends you invite will receive a special notification requesting their RSVP. You can also add administrators to the event as well, who can also invite all of their friends. Facebook Groups Groups are one of, if not the easiset and oldest ways to build a community for your brand or company. By establishing a Facebook group, you have a centralized location for your friends, partners, and customers to engage in social chat around your product or company. Groups in Facebook come with discussion boards for posting videos, topics, links, comments, and photos that other members can comment on. You can also send news and updates to your group members as often as you like and the messages will show up in their inbox. And you can create as many groups as you like all for free. Once members have joined your group, they can then easily invite friends to join via a built-in invite feature. If members get excited about the group, it can grow very quickly. Also, your group name which can not be changed once chosen, will usually appear on your members’ personal profile page until they leave the group. Because profile pages get high amounts of traffic, these group links can drive a lot of views to your group page.
Groups are actually a great way to have content and like minded users concentrated into nice vertical silos. Groups have several levels of controls associated with them. Groups can be public, private or invite only. Groups can also be hidden from the group directory. Group owners/ admins have the ability to change the group controls as they see fit. Group owners can also email all group members, which is really important for notifications and communicating to the entire group en mass. It is important to note that when you join or leave a group it will show up in your Mini-Feed and sometimes the News-Feed. You can also display a list of what groups you belong to on your profile page. Groups are more of the traditional limited way of creating a mini community within Facebook to promote affiliate offers to. Now don't forget, like everything groups do have their weaknesses. First off, Facebook removes the ability to send messages to your group once it reaches a certain size. They are working on removing this limit, but group owners are still experiencing this unfortunate restriction at 1000-1500 members. Second, if your group becomes popular, it can become a target for spammers. If you want to keep your group clean, be prepared to spend alot of time reporting users and deleting spam comments on your wall and then reporting those that spam your group to Facebook.
Finally, while Groups do offer a reasonably robust set of tools with no setup, you’re not able to extend their capabilties with Facebook applications. Facebook Notes and Photos Photos and Notes are two Facebook developed applications that allow you to share blog posts and your pictures with friends. You can use these features to post content about your brand, but be careful to always do it with some form of sincerity - don’t be spammy. One feature that most overlook with Photos and Notes is the use of “tags”. When you publish a note or post a photo to your profile, Facebook gives you the ability to “tag” your note or photo with the names of your friends who are “included” in it. When you use “tags” to identify friends in your photo or note, that friend gets a special notification. You can also use "tagging" to choose certain people whose attention you want to get to the content you’ve published. When others see your note or photo, they’ll see anyone else that you have tagged. Facebook Messages The rise of Facebook Messages as a popular option to e-mail has baffled a lot of the “older” generation. Notwithstanding, Messages could present a potent vehicle for targeted selling with Facebook. Messages are equivalent to email, without many of the features that email offers. Messages
offer no way to sort, search, filter, categorize, or have messages starred. While Facebook’s default privacy settings prevent you from seeing the full profile page of most Facebook users, Facebook allows you to send messages to users you have no connection with. Nonetheless, Facebook has invested hefty sums of cash in the prevention of message spam. If you use your account to message people you don't know in high volumes there are several things that will happen. 1. Most people on Facebook will use mutual friends to decide if they will grant friendship to someone they do not know, so if you don't have any mutual friends in common with the person your contacting, if the request is not sincere then it may be rejected. 2. Sending too many friend requests in a certain period of time will get you a warning that will read " Slow down your adding too many friends if you don't slow down you'll hit a block" not verbatim I might add but to that effect. 3. If you ignore the warning you'll be blocked from sending friends request from a few hours to a few days so tread lightly when adding friends. While Messages do offer a opportunity to give you high conversion rates on links that are embedded in these messages, it is not smart to try to spam people using them. Facebook Marketplace Marketplace is Facebook’s classified ad offering. You can post an item for-sale ad or a item wanted ad in any one of your networks
for free. But, if you want your ad in multiple networks, you'll have to pay a $1 fee per network per listing. Like with Messages, trying to spam the Marketplace will quickly get your account deleted and your ads removed. It’s really not worth the time to try and game the Facebook system. Because as I mentioned before they have spent considerable amounts of cash to keep this sort of thing from happening. Unlike Craigslist and Kijiji, which are completely anonymous, all Marketplace responses are tied to real Facebook accounts. When you get a prospective buyer to your listing, you can see the person's profile page even if they are not your friend. However, I recently got what I believe to be a scam letter from someone on Facebook which was odd, because they have invested so much into protecting applications that are more heavily used, there are some vulnerablities in lesser used apps. (wink wink :o)
Facebook Share & Posted Items Facebook Share is a Facebook application that lets you announce any link, application, photo, group, or event you come across by either sending it directly to your friends’ Inbox, or allowing it some "real estate" in your Posted Items list on your profile page.
By posting it on your profile page, you can direct some clicks to the shared item. However, while this is an effective promotional tactic, it’s not as targeted as sending it directly to friends’ by use of Messages. Facebook Networks Facebook Networks are equivalent to group pages for everyone who is a member of an Work, Educational, or Geographical network. Although no Facebook members actually “own ” any parts of network pages, network pages offer another way for users to discover events, posted items, marketplace listings, and discussion forums and walls which any members could post to. Network pages are likely the most generally accepted places to spam in Facebook. While your intentions to post good material are there, keep in mind that your subject matter may be looked at as spammy even if it is factual and relevant information.
II. So You Wanna Advertise ? Now depending on your budget, you can get started advertising on Facebook with as little as a few dollars to run a Social Ad or as much as six figures for a “sponsored group” campaign inside Facebook. Facebook Polls
Polls offer an easy way for marketers to quickly get answers to questions from their target audience. Polls let you ask detailed questions taerget them to a certain user group and recieve real time results, streamed to a dashboard that allows marketers to break down results by gender and age. Based on your targeting preferences, you can get hundreds of responses within a very short period of time. Social Ads With Social Ads, Facebook offers marketers the ability to pay on a CPM or CPC basis. Social Ads offers very powerful targeting capabilities: before you create your ad, you are given the ability to limit who sees your ad by sex, age, location, workplaces, education level, keywords, political views, and relationship status. Social Ads is a completely self-serve solution and provides real time feedback on the size of your target audience and the suggested bid range to achieve impressions. Social Ads also offers placements in the News Feed which you have to check once setting up the ad. I recommend integrating the News Feed option into your Social ad because they blend in so well it actually looks like it came from a friend and they get much better click through rates. You can also target Social Ads to friends of users who have recently engaged with your brand or product through your Facebook Page or Facebook Beacon. Facebook has given you more available data to precisely target your ads so
much more so than Adwords. Facebook Beacon Beacon is Facebook’s newest program and was launched with lots of controversy behind the issue of privacy. Beacon allows businesses to send information back to Facebook about the activities Facebook users take on the websites, and broadcast to users friends via the Mini and News Feed. Say for example, Ebay might use Facebook Beacon to send a News Feed item to Facebook about a auction you just won. At first, Facebook Beacon was introduced as an opt-out program that made users explicitly prevent their Beacon feed items from being distributed to their friends on Facebook. However, after complaints by privacy communities, Facebook modified Beacon to become an opt-in program. While the potential is there for Beacon to increase the flow of valuable information to marketers within Facebook is tremendous, it basically remains unchartered waters. Application Sponsorships Advertisers looking for more integrated opportunities inside Facebook applications can consider approaching application developers and negotiating a sponsorship directly. For example, beverage companies have sponsored “drink-sharing” applications, while contact lens companies have sponsored “winking” applications.
Sponsored Facebook Groups Sponsored Groups are Facebook Groups with the ability to customize the HTML of certain regions on the page. Before Facebook Pages was launched, the only option available to businesses wanting to establish a certified presence on Facebook was through the Sponsored Group program. Surprisingly, the cost to rent a Sponsored Group on Facebook starts at US $100,000 a month. Not surprisingly, because of the cost and the low ROI the number of Sponsored Groups over the years has remained rather small. I think Sponsored Groups will eventually fade away as Facebook seeks to promote more heavily Social Ads and Facebook Pages. 3rd Party Ad Networks Back in May of 2007, when Facebook decided to launch the Facebook Platform it also allowed application developers to monetize their applications however they wanted and they got to keep 100% of the revenue, which at the time was a big move by Facebook enabling struggling apps the oppurtunity to become full blown businesses. This new market oppurtunity led to the birth of a new ad network dedicated solely to serving Facebook Platform Developers. Inventory is sold on a CPM, CPC, CPA, and CPI basis. Leading firms include RockYou, Lookery, and SocialMedia are among the most used networks. While the quality of these new networks can be inconsistent,
collectively they offer an viable marketing approach to reach the Facebook audience engaged in a particular vertical niche.
Lookery provides demographic marketing services in and around social networks. Lookery is working to fix the basic economic problem that social networks face: great user profiling but unpredictable ad inventory. They make it safe and easy for social networks to distribute their data as targeting information outside their web sites, in order to make money in partnership with web sites that have great inventory but little or no user targeting information.
Founded in 2006, RockYou has over 35 million users, serving over 180 million widget views per day in more than 200 countries. RockYou applications are customized for easy integration across all social networks including Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Friendster, Tagged and hi5. RockYou s cost-effective, results-focused advertising platform is the largest Ad Network on Facebook and the most dynamic method for rapidly acquiring Facebook application users. New applications can reach over 100k users in 24 hours, spanning a suite of applications across multiple publishing partners.
Social Media fuses together three core features marketing, monetization, and management – into a comprehensive package that advertisers and developers can use to grow awareness, and grow their applications on social platforms. SocialMedia was one of the first developers on the facebook platform, launching Food Fight and Happy Hour shortly after f8. To date, more than 10 million users have installed one of these applications. These 3 networks have some of the most popular apps on their network and can translate into alot of impressions for a CPM affiliate offer. III. If Your Looking To Develop A Application For internet marketers who can harness the technical skillset required, the Facebook Platform offers without a doubt the most powerful option to create engaging experiences with your target audience on Facebook. There are plenty of third-party applications that have already been built on the Platform APIs–many of which have allowed for new forms of brand and product interaction, and many of which turned out to be nothing more than lame ad delivery vehicles that failed to take the user's experience into account. While I'm not able to tell you how to come up with the next "SuperWall" , I can explain the neccessary avenues that your
application must take in order to achieve maximum success in the world of Facebook applications. News Feed Facebook News Feed is a constantly updating list of news stories about your friends' activities on Facebook, and is the main section of your Home page. Basically, News Feed is based on the actions your friends take on the site, the privacy settings of everyone involved, your interactions with your friends and your news feed preferences. The Facebook algorithm then puts all these things together to give you the stories Facebook thinks you'll find most interesting and relevant. As I mentioned earlier, the Facebook News Feed offers immense value by syndicating your feed items to thousands of users’ home pages within Facebook. Recently, Facebook offered a new way of increasing the selection frequency and distribution of feed items called Feed Templates. When enabling feed templates in your Developer Settings, your feed items can now be shown to friends of your app’s users who don’t have the app installed (previously, only friends who had the app could see your app’s feed items in their News Feeds), or lumped together and shown more often. Tracking, testing and optimizing is the way to go to get a better user experience and higher CTR for you as a marketer as well. Mini Feed
Mini-Feed allows you to quickly and easily see what the people you care about have been up to. When looking at a profile, Mini-Feed will show you the most recent Facebook actions by that user. The stories that are listed are all actions that you would have been able to see by clicking around the site. The Mini Feed is also a powerful component of the Facebook API that enables developers to publish news about the actions a user takes with their applications. Just like the profile box, your feed items must be intriguing to the profile owner while not being spammy, and persuade your user’s friends to click on the feed item and explore the application in further detail. If you mess up in either way, users will hide your profile box, feed item, or uninstall it altogether. Facebook Notifications Notifications get less notarity than feed items and invites because they’re not as efficent at spreading your app virally. For some reason Facebook assigns your apps a spam rating based on the number of notifications that your apps send out, many developers opt to use notifications sparingly to prevent having their notification channelclosed down by Facebook. But, notifications have been proven to be an effective tool for retaining existing users of your application. So keep it light on the notifications so as not to get your app notification channel penalized or banned.
Profile Box The most common way that newbies find a new application is through the application profile boxes that they find on their friends’ profile pages. The problem of profile box design is making it crucial for an existing user to keep it on his/her profile therefore resulting in the viral effect that all app developers yearn for, and appealing enough to a new user to click on and install the application. If your application's profile box does not provide the profile page owner enough value to deserve a presence on the user's profile page, your user will hide your profile box, or even worse, uninstall your application altogether. Likewise, if your application's profile box is too spammy, the user will more than likely get rid of the application faster than it took them to install it. Invites In my opinion one of the most viral marketing channels available to Facebook Platform developers are invites. The invitation API allows users of your app to invite up to 20 of their friends per day to install your app. When properly leveraged, invitations can give your app a quick viral growth spurt. But, encouraging users to invite their friends to install your application is not as easy as you may think. The app must be interesting enough for your users to send invitations on your applications behalf, and the invitation as well must be intriguing enough for the recipient to
convert and install the application on their profile page. Email Notifications Email notifications are just like Facebook Notifications, except they are delivered directly to your users’ email address instead of to their Notifications inbox. While originally scheduled to be shelved by Facebook, they recently offered a new API method for email notifications that allows developers to send users up to 5 email notifications per day. What makes a Good Application To begin with your app needs to be simple, make it hard for the user to interact with and the user's going to make it hard on you by uninstalling your application and not recommending it to their friends. So a simple concept with a simple interface will beat out the application with the learning curve. Plan your application around the power of the Facebook social graph which is the most powerful way of advertising known to man and it's called drumroll please: "word of mouth" advertising nothing more powerful than a friend telling you about something cool they just used and that they should try it out too. Incorporate all aspects of Facebook to acquire, engage, and keep users on your app on a daily basis, and lastly make your users essentially volunteer employees to spread your brand and company among the 60+ million users that
login to Facebook on a daily basis. Application Directory It would be hard to find the exact amount, but a surprising number of application installations come directly from the Application Directory. When you submit your application for listing in the directory, be sure to create interesting art and copy for your application listing, as well as your application’s About page. Doing this up front will create a substantial difference in the amount of users that add your application from the directory over the long run! (As of December 5th 2007 Google has began indexing Application pages.) Application Marketplace While still in it's infancy, marketplaces geared towards facebook applications are starting to pop up and cater to those interested in "fix and flip" existing Facebook apps. Much like people are buying and selling websites Facebook apps are far more undervalued at the moment because no one really knows the true value of a facebook user. A site called Adonomics offers analytics for nothing more than Facebook applications, they display valuation, active daily users, total installs among alot of other things. You can also compare up to 3 different apps and chart their growth and stability against each other. This gives you the ability to see what makes a app popular. This site offers a treasure trove of information for any Facebook app investor to use when analyzing applications for sale. But I
will warn you to be careful as to how you view Adonomics valuation of apps, because they put the value of a facebook user at $300. Which to me is very high considering no one has figured out a solid long term way to monetize all of this data they are recieving as of yet. Revenue Models 1: Sell ads The Play Just about any Facebook app can get into the ad game, but only those with the biggest audiences will earn serious money. Several easy-to-use ad networks are already delivering the ads for a cut of overall sales. The Front-Runners *Graffiti (5.9 million users). This highly viral drawing tool spread quickly because of its simplicity and originality. *iLike (5.4 million users). Users can set up their music and video libraries in mere minutes. (The Simpsons Photos, Quotes, and Trivia - 60,000 users). The Payoff Apps currently generate less than $1 for every 1,000 pageviews. But that amount will likely increase as demographic targeting becomes more refined and the ad models move from simply racking up pageviews to
measuring users' engagement. Tricks of the trade 1. Establish your base. Hold off on serving ads until you have at least 10,000 users. Bombarding users with too much advertising can scare them away and hurt your growth in the long run. 2. Test different ad networks. Putting up ads is a simple cut-and-paste operation, so you can afford to be choosy and pick the network that gives you the best deal. 3. Don't clutter up app pages. "This is definitely a challenge for developers," says Mark Kantor, one of three developers behind Graffiti. "The most important thing is to preserve user experience." 4. Renegotiate as you grow. Demand a bigger cut of the revenue share as your traffic jumps. Says Kantor, "It might be better to go with a small ad network if you think you'll stand out." Tools Dozens of ad networks are cropping up to serve the Facebook developers. Here are a few. 1. Lookery (lookery.com). This new Facebook-specific ad network aims to offer developers demographic profiles of their user bases. More targeted advertising could soon fetch a higher price. 2. Userplane (userplane.com). AOL-owned Userplane pays per minute of exposure rather than just per pageview, so
it's good for applications like games that keep users highly engaged. 3. Google AdSense. Not new, but many developers consider it the best means of supplying relevant ads. 2: Attract sponsors The Play Advertisers are already sponsoring apps. Besides being widely used, your application needs to offer companies a natural way to interact with their customers. The Front-Runners *Likeness (2.9 million users). Offers quizzes that generate top-10 lists - an ideal branding vehicle - and matches them with those of friends with similar preferences. *FoodFight (2 million users). Virtual lunch money buys you food to throw at friends. Next up on its menu: chicken wings from a major food chain. *HotLists (1.6 million users). This app lets users define their personas by posting brands' logos, cleverly dubbed "stylepix," on their profiles. The Payoff Building direct relationships with brands takes more time and effort, but it means higher-quality advertising and more control over how your users interact with it. Expect
to earn multiple-dollar CPMs instead of the pocket change you'd get from the ad networks. Tricks of the trade 1. Don't pitch big brands without big numbers. You'll need a large traffic base - at least a couple million users - before top brands will pay attention. 2. Know who's looking at your pages and why. Analyze your user demographics so you can pitch your audience effectively to sponsors.(See "Tools," below.) 3. Let your users do the work. Incorporate brands that your users identify with, and they'll willingly spread the word. 4. Don't overdo it. Too much brand presence will scare away Facebook's sometimes advertising-averse audience. Tools Where to find help analyzing your traffic and users. 1. Google Analytics. Embedding Analytics into your apps is easy, and it churns out useful stats about where users are coming from. 2. Gigya (gigya.com). This startup tracks metrics like app stickiness and user adoption rates. 3. Appaholic (appaholic.com). This site tracks traffic
growth by the hour, day, or week - critical when launching a new ad campaign. 3: Sell services The Play As apps become more about utility and less about fun, opportunities will arise to sell digital services of lasting value to users. Eventually, they'll make purchases without leaving their profiles. The Front Runners *Files (43,000 users). Offered by Box.net, this online file-storage service turns a Facebook profile into a repository for members' digital media. *Picnik (206,000 users). A Facebook version of *Photoshop.(Hello, Adobe?) Basic tools are free; advanced features are offered for an additional fee. The Payoff If you're selling a real service, then you can have your cake and eat it too- try selling subscriptions and ads to double-dip on your traffic. Tricks of the trade 1. Start with a free version. And make switching to a paid
offering an easy process. Don't force users to leave Facebook to sign up. 2. Set logical limits. Decide carefully what you'll give for free and what you won't. And even the freebies must be valuable enough for customers to be willing to spend their time. 3. Research your price points. Box.net already had storage plans for businesses and professionals. But when it moved onto Facebook, the company rethought its pricing models and created a $25-per-year plan that's comparable to the cost of an external flash drive - the way most college students store important files. 4. Be tactful and timely. Box.net alerts its users when they're nearing their file or storage size limits, politely reminding them about its for-pay premium service. Tools Where to find a platform to process payments. 1. PayPal. A starter plan will cost you 2.9 percent plus 30 cents per transaction. 2. Google Checkout. The standard processing fee is 2 percent plus 20 cents per transaction. 3. Facebook. The company is rumored to be launching its own payment platform soon. 4: Sell products
The Play As Facebook increasingly becomes the center of people's digital lives, it's also becoming a venue for selling things digital and otherwise - to its fast-growing audience. The Front Runners *Amazing Giftbox (127,000 users). Sends virtual Amazon merchandise. *Band Tracker (29,000 users). Searches upcoming concerts and links to ticket vendors. *Visual CD Rack (20,000 users). Lets users browse and buy music from a virtual CD rack. The Payoff Most developers are going the affiliate route, offering product wish lists and then sending users to sites like Amazon.com or iTunes. Others, however, are directly selling such items as ringtones and T-shirts. Tricks of the trade 1. Be a middleman. iLike makes its music-sampling apps simple and hands off sales to iTunes or Amazon via affiliate partnerships. Those directly selling hard goods need to prepare for the complexity of payment and
delivery. 2. Keep it simple. Facebook has not yet become a place where people are likely to buy, say, a digital camera. But users are starting to purchase items that don't break the bank and extend Facebook's utility. XLR8 Mobile, for instance, is looking to sell ringtones and wallpaper on Facebook via custom storefront widgets. "We don't want to bring people to the store," says XLR8 Mobile CEO Perry Tell. "We prefer to bring the store to the people." 3. Give it away. Going viral is always the goal. One great way to get there is by offering free samples. Whether it's a digital download of a song or the image of an item, give your customers a taste of what they'll get before asking them to commit. 4. Don't rule out the odd. "Sometimes wacky, unusual, off-the-beaten-path stuff sells huge," Tell says. "Everyone is looking for the next Crazy Frog, so you must be willing to try lots of things." Tools 1. Clearspring Technologies. This analytics service tracks exactly who's downloading an app and what they're buying through it. It also suggests when to double down on an item or sales approach that is working or, conversely, kill off those that aren't. 2. Garage Sale. Developers can use this Facebook shopping cart system run by Buy.com, which takes a 5 percent cut of
sales. 3. Facebook Marketplace. The largest classified-ads community on the network, it's a good place to monitor buying trends.² In Conclusion There has never been a social platform which emerged that has the legitimacy of Facebook’s culture with the strength of Facebook’s array of viral options to offer such an outstanding marketing opportunity. While some are skeptical about the potential of social networks becoming viable marketing channels, I think that internet marketers who come up with intelligent and creative strategies for the Facebook environment, will ultimately find success. At the same time, Facebook offers brand name companies entirely new paradigms for designing immersive and persuasive user experiences. We are still in the early innings of the Facebook game, and we have alot left to learn. Only when internet marketers learn how to capture new kinds of value and personal data that is available for the first time ever inside Facebook then will people truly realize just how valuable Facebook really is.
¹Facebook - The Complete Biography ² Facebook Economy
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