Facebook Timeline for Business Pages, Behavior Engineering and Online Privacy Debates

Quite a few Tech stories worth tracking this week in Tech.

Online Privacy, Ads and Tracking Debates

Google Cookie MonsterDebates around online privacy standards are in full force. Google is in hot water of late for merging the privacy policies of it’s various entities to use as one collective system. Some cry that this seems nefarious while others suggest it might just be of convenience.

The truth is, Google, Facebook and others use your user and profile data already to advertise to you. John Battelle offers an insightful and reasoned perspective on the subject in his recent post A Funny Thing Happened As I Was Tracked.

Essentially, Mr. Battelle uses an online search experience to document and showcase exactly what happens as ‘cookie’ advertising does it’s thing. The conclusion is that sites and blogs (this one included) have ads already; they may as well be relevant to the onlooker. A sentiment of which, I tend to agree.

More on this:

Forbes: Google, Obama and the Online User Manifesto

Federated Media: Bevy of Privacy Links

Facebook Timeline for Business Pages

I’ve mentioned the Facebook Marketing Conference scheduled for this Wednesday before. It may well be a date for announcing progress in opening a social apps platform or extending the social graph, and/or an opportunity to unveil the Timeline design for business pages.

Photo Credit: Time's Techland

First, the social graph will continue to gather and spread user information as apps from various non-Facebook developers will collect ‘activity’ data around what users are doing. Be it cooking, reading, walking or jogging, the new social apps will collect more user data allowing advertisers more opportunity to reach potential customers at the point of interest.

Introducing the Timeline design for business pages is something Ad Age suggested Facebook would likely do at this week’s invitation-only marketing conference. Others have written about the probability of Timeline for business pages, along with ways brands can be pro-actively organizing for the likely innovation. The conference will be livecasted and can be seen on Facebook.

More on this:

All Facebook: Facebook May Release New Premium Ad Product Feb 29th

WIRED: Facebook’s New Initiative Promises to Make Cross-Platform Payments Possible

Inkling Media: 9 Ways to Prepare for Facebook’s Timeline for Business Pages

From Tracking User Actions to Constructing Consumer Habits – It’s all Good

Lastly, I thought it could be fun to talk a bit about the ‘trigger’ that could be built into a Facebook users’ experience as the social graph continues to open and – more importantly – as the action buttons surface. Twice today I came across stories touting the advantages of orchestrating user/ consumer habits.

First, a news story on the book, The Power of Habit, highlights the work that advertisers did in inspiring the habit of daily brushing teeth in order to sell more toothpaste. It’s good story and it sounds like an interesting book. Listen or read How You Can Harness the Power of Habit.

Second, Nir Eyal shares a post on the potential money-making power of creating consumer habits. Nir writes about behavior engineering and has contributed to Tech Crunch and Forbes on the subject. Nir shares some thoughtful advice in promoting reasons and means for engineering behavior… (Read more at Nir and Far: Habits are the New Viral: Why Startups Must Be Behavior Experts)…

“Early online media enterprises like AOL and Yahoo! sold their users’ attention to advertisers in the form of ad impressions. However, Web 1.0 companies measured themselves on pages viewed and CPM rates, rather than the strength of their user habits. As millions of dial-up customers came online for the first time, these companies were lulled into complacency as their user numbers grew.

Such self-assurance left them vulnerable to attack from social media companies, which plundered their user base as the web evolved. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, armed with an arsenal of behavioral engineering weaponry including hot triggersvariable rewards, and social proof eventually dominated the Social Web.”

 AND, eventually… 

“Increasingly, companies will become experts at designing user habits.”

What’s your take? Are there bones you have to pick with the privacy changes at Google? Elsewhere or in general? How about Facebook business pages, psyched or ‘oh jeez’ about that?  … Thanks for reading. Take care.

News of the Week, spotlight on Google and LinkedIn

Lot’s of news this week from LinkedIn, and Google.

First up, Google

ComScore released US Search Engine Rankings this week revealing that Google has actually gained .5% market share (more than any other engine listed). Additionally, Greg Sterling, writing for Search Engine Land, points out Google (is) Still #1 Traffic Source for Most Top 30 Websites.

In Google+ news, The Next Web highlights Complete’s recent report that shows Google+ yielded impressive growth toward the end of 2011.

These points come on the heals of announcements around an updated Google Nav Bar, and the introduction of Chrome Mobile Browser. Google is doing well. The search giant is also rolling out a new TEDx-styled brain trust initiative called  Solve for X.

The tagline on the site suggests it is…

“A forum to encourage and amplify technology-based moonshot thinking and teamwork.”

Next up, LinkedIn

Professional social networking site LinkedIn seems to have a lot to celebrate of late. They had a 20 million member increase during November of 2011. Their end of year revenue hopped 115% in 2011 over 2010 numbers. The network looks to further monetize it’s offering by introducing ads to their mobile app sometime in 2012.

In a company issued press release, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner:

“We believe continued focus on our members and technology infrastructure positions us well for accelerated product innovation in 2012.”

Following that line of thought, All Things D reports that LinkedIn is rumored to have purchased Rapportive, an interesting email add-on.

Rapportive, rumored to have been bought by LinkedIn

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Facebook Ads Go Mobile, Get Smarter and More Plentiful

Facebook has been in the news recently over a new mobile ad program rumored to launch in March. The site is said to have over 425 million mobile users, and 845 million monthly active users. For those interested the ads do seem to have some impact and appeal.

Facebook Mobile App Ads Coming
Facebook Mobile App Ads Coming

A Merchant Circle study in December found that 62% of small businesses that have used Facebook Ads would use them again. Oddly though, only 23% of local merchants marketing on Facebook have used ads. Some suggest that businesses have been spoiled by thinking somewhat naively that marketing of Facebook is free.

It has been mentioned that Facebook has been experimenting with ad sizes on it’s web platform. News blog All Facebook suggests that on-site ads may soon become smaller in order to increase the number of ads the site can display to users. David Cohen notes the February 29th Facebook Marketing Conference (will be livestreamed) as a potential roll-out date for new ad designs.
Facebook Merchants Use of Ads
The Financial Times, noting the changes that Timeline will bring, suggests that accuracy among the Facebook ads will continue to evolve especially as ‘action apps’ document more of each users experience. Peter Kafka, writing for All Things D, notes the boost that the recent photo-viewer provides for Facebook ads.

More on Facebook:

  • Pew Research finds that 68% of adults surveyed said social network experiences that made them feel good about themselves. 61% agreed that in visiting social networks they had experiences that made them feel good about themselves.

Super Bowl Ad Winners, Losers, Break-Down and Analysis

Tom Brady
Giants Win Super Bowl 46

Super Bowl XLVI is now in the record books. The Giants had another great outing defeating the veteran Patriots who led deep into the 4th quarter, only to be surpassed in the closing minutes of the match-up.

Many of us enjoyed the game, along with the obligatory commercials, while commenting and interacting with others online. Social TV or updating social media while you watch television continues to provide an enjoyable, and meaningful experience for Internet users. One social network that has really tried to tap into the popularity of this interest is GetGlue. One thing that surprised me is how few of this year’s Super Ads tried to leverage social media.

Oh, the Commercials

It is reported that over 60% of watchers view the Super Bowl primarily for the commercials. This may be of no surprise to you, and it may be no surprise that YouTube was one of many online entities supporting viewers interest in Super Bowl commercials with their own offering.

Ad Blitz 2012 YouTube Channel
Ad Blitz provides viewers with a chance to view and rate all of the commercials from Super Bowl 46

Ad Blitz, a YouTube channel, archived all the commercials from Super Bowl 46. You can watch all of them at At Blitz, and you can even rate them thumbs up or thumbs down.

Was that it? Really?

Sentiment following the Big Game – from my vantage – was rather tepid. Yeah, there were some funny parts, and yeah, there were a few emotional moments, but overall none of the commercials really created a break-away response. And, nothing tied in social media as much as I thought it would.

Julie Lando, Owner and President of Moxie a design and marketing company based in York, Pennsylvania, shared her thoughts on the commercials via twitter:

And she wasn’t alone. Others shared the feeling of disappointment as well.

Ultimately, it appears there were no big winners in the ad department (the game was close too). Aside from the inclusion of a few hashtags, ‘find us on facebook mentions’, and QR Code use, the ads did not connect to the online world in a very noticeable way.

One might have thought that we would have seen an Old Spice type of revival. Perhaps a social media scavenger hunt, where viewers would be encouraged to bop around the Internet in chase of decoder rings, or exclusive offers all the while leaving a trail of ad perfume along the way. But no. There were no major social network tie-ins (among the commercials) to speak of. And that was disappointing.

Super Bowl Ad Winners

That said, there we good commercials.

Chrysler hit a note with an emotional commercial starring actor, Clint Eastwood. Much (much) like the commercial they aired during Super Bowl 45, Chrysler’s ad packed powerful emotion.

Another solid commercial was that created by Philadelphia-based Advertising Agency, Red Tettemer. Their commercial, which was a Century 21 spot, combined strong elements including a believable, and yet magical hero, celebrity, style and a bit of humor. You can view the ad, which featured Donald Trump, here.

Edward Boches is the creator of #brandbowl a sentiment and response meter for Super Bowl Commercials. Brand bowl found Doritos to be the overall winner of the commercial line-up. Their ad combined the heavily relied upon tropes pets and humor.

No doubt, the bowl is about football, but with 60% watching for commercials – commercial culture thrives. Ultimately, as Boches declares in his analysis of the commercial line-up in his latest post:

“…it’s not about using the media, it’s about what you do with it. You still need a creative idea.”

Other Industry Participant Takes on this years disappointment bowl include: