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.

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