Archive for the 'Facebook' Category

What social analytics isn’t telling you this holiday season

Wednesday 24 December 2014 @ 2:00 pm

With the holiday season in full swing, many retailers have started to predict what gifts will be a hit or miss. Some have done so with the help of social media analytics, as recently reported. According to social media analytics, when it comes to kids, toys that imitate gadgets used by adults will be hotter than ever.

This includes gadgets like the Vtech Kidizoom Smart Watch, My Friend Cayla, and the Skylander Trap Team Starter Pack. Social media trends also point to creativity-enhancing products like action figures and fashion toys. Unfortunately, there’s a huge problem with these predictions — there’s a large chance that the information is highly inaccurate.

Here at Vision Critical, we teamed up with three global brands to release a report on what social media analytics can’t tell companies about their customers, which I co-authored with our VP of Social Media Alexandra Samuel. A major motion picture studio, a renowned broadcasting company, and a cross-category apparel brand compared what thousands of people shared on social media with what those same customers said on their customer intelligence platforms. We classified users into three different groups (lurkers: those posting 1x/week; dabblers: those posting 2-4x/week; and enthusiasts: those posting 5x week or more) and identified five significant blind spots in social media analytics.

There’s quite a bit that social media analytics can’t tell companies. Those solely relying on social to help predict trends and product wins need to rethink their approach. Based on our findings, here are five things social media analytics can’t tell companies:

Who their customers are

Data shows that almost 90 percent of posts on sites like Facebook and Twitter come from enthusiasts who represent only 30 percent of the social audience. The majority of social media users are lurkers (52 percent), but they’re hardly sharing (5 percent). This means that companies looking at social media data to help learn about their customers and guide their decision-making are missing the mark. Not only are they not hearing their entire social media audience, but they’re missing folks not on social media altogether.

This is further backed up by data from a recent report on social media complainers from VB Insight, which showed how various groups of consumers prefer to continue the conversation away from social channels, moving to telephone, email, and web-based support services. Social media is not the be-all and end-all of customer profiling.

How to serve customers

Big differences exist in how enthusiasts and lurkers shop. Enthusiasts are two times as likely to shop for apparel in big box stores. They’re also frequently looking for the next great buy, and they’re more likely to comparison-shop via mobile while in store. If retailers know this about their social media enthusiasts, they’ll know how to serve them during their shopping experience.

How to market and sell to customers

Regarding media and entertainment, lurkers and enthusiasts have different viewing preferences. Lurkers watch more of nearly every type of TV show, but the difference disappears when it comes to DIY or fashion programs that appeal to engaged, socially oriented enthusiasts. Additionally, enthusiasts follow a wider range of topics on Facebook, but lurkers are just as likely to engage in online gaming as enthusiasts. When companies know how their customers interact with media and what they like, they’ll know how to market and sell better.


How to engage with customers

Enthusiasts are twice as likely to consult their family and friends when making purchasing decisions on clothing. They’re also much more likely to post movie-related content as a way of influencing and informing their friends. On the other hand, lurkers don’t care to influence friends and are less dependent on input from others. This information is valuable for a business looking for influencers and interested in improving customer engagement.

How to become a customer-centric company

As more and more companies look to be customer-centric, including Amazon, Cisco, and many others, understanding customer wants and needs is key for brands in making sure their customers are happy. How people behave on social media is a misrepresentation of the entire social media audience and the overall customer base. Brands need to make sure they’re tuning into more than social media, including transactional data and customer intelligence, in order to predict trends and identify behaviors this holiday season.

In conclusion, if you use social media data alone to determine how to market, sell, and support your customers this holiday season, or at any other time of year, you’re missing a huge piece of the targeting pie.

A case in point: the gadgets-as-toys that are trending on social media. It’s just the kind of trend that gets exaggerated by social media analytics. That’s because enthusiasts are disproportionately likely to be gadget freaks themselves — mobile devices are a bigger part of their shopping experience — and they’re more likely to follow tech news on Facebook. Tune into social media analytics, and the people you are hearing from are the people who are most likely to be excited about tech-oriented toys and gifts.

Will those tech-themed gifts actually appear under the Christmas tree? Santa knows. Social media analytics don’t.

andrew-reidAndrew Reid is president and founder of Vision Critical.

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Facebook Challenges YouTube Channels With New Features For Pages

Wednesday 24 December 2014 @ 8:22 am
FaceTube Twitter’s not the only one Facebook is battling for control of news and content distribution. With Pages getting quieted down in the feed, Facebook wants to make its home for businesses less like a newspaper that come to you and more like TV channels you turn on. That’s why it’s YouTube that’s getting flattered by the social network with a new design for the Video… Read More

Happy holidays! Facebook packages up highlights of your year in pictures

Saturday 20 December 2014 @ 12:30 pm
Screen shot

Facebook is giving a gift back to its users — a review of important pictures they posted this year.

Instead of weaving together a video of pictures users put up on Facebook the way the social networking company did last year, for this holiday season, Facebook is automatically assembling a presentation of images and text that you can scroll through at your own pace.

Some users have already begun posting their year-end highlight posts. If you scroll to the bottom, as I did on the highlight post on a friend’s Facebook page, you’ll see a “View Now” button to take you to your own highlight post.

Or you can just go to this dedicated URL to find your highlight post.

On iOS, the post is customizable, as The Next Web points out today.


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Facebook announces March 25-26 dates for its F8 developer conference

Friday 19 December 2014 @ 12:23 pm

Facebook said today that its developer event, F8, will be held March 25 and 26 in San Francisco, the first time the gathering will last two days.

In a Save the Date note sent out today, Facebook said the event will be longer because the “developer community is bigger today than it ever has been,” the company said in the note. “The scope of the company’s products has broadened, and there’s more content to share than can fit into a single day. The additional day means double the number of technical sessions, product demos, and onsite experiences for Facebook’s growing developer community.”

Registration for the event will open up in early 2015.

F8 has been a rich source of news about Facebook’s efforts in the past. At the 2014 edition, for example, the company announced that Facebook logins were going anonymous; that its Parse mobile app development tool would work offline; and unveiled AppLinks, which lets multiple developers of mobile apps link their projects together.

At last year’s event, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg also said that the social media giant was “all-in” on mobile.

Zuckerberg said at the time that F8 would become an annual event going forward, like Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference and Google’s I/O, rather than taking place intermittently.

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Jeb Bush has a Facebook problem (in 2 graphs and a screenshot)

Tuesday 16 December 2014 @ 2:14 pm
Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 1.14.36 PM

Jeb Bush is looking to bring his family a hat trick. Today, the former Florida Governor announced on Facebook that he was “exploring” a run for the presidency in 2016. A bid for the most powerful office in the world is a delicate game, so starting it off on Facebook was a curious choice.

The Facebook community was none too thrilled with Bush’s announcement. And by that I mean they hurled the worst invective one can imagine on an Internet comment board. One comment was just a series of expletives. Another told him to “piss off.” All told, in the visible sample of comments I counted, six times more people opposed his run than supported it.

Six times more Facebook comments opposed a Jeb Bush presidential run than supported it.

Now his page is completely trashed. Would-be supporters can’t even look at Bush’s page without being inundated with a deluge of ruthless comments.

Comments took a decidedly libertarian tone, condemning Jeb Bush for his support of the Common Core educational standards.

As expected, the comments took a decidedly libertarian tone, condemning Bush for his support of the Common Core, a national initiative to bring universal standards to public schools. Small government conservatives have waged an aggressive battle against the national Common Core program.

Social media and the tech industry generally favor small government conservatives. Indeed, Senator Rand Paul, an avid libertarian and probable contender for the Republican ticket, has 10 times more fans on Facebook than Bush does.

Libertarian Rand Paul has ten times the Facebook fans as Jeb Bush does.

This isn’t to say Bush can’t win his party’s nomination. But announcing on Facebook was a very interesting choice, especially since he won’t have the email addresses of those who support his message and therefore cannot compile an important list of potential volunteers and donations.

But maybe I’m missing something, and an angry mob blinds us to some unknown Facebook magic. We will see soon enough.

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Facebook engineering VP Cory Ondrejka departs after overseeing Oculus acquisition

Tuesday 16 December 2014 @ 1:54 pm
facebook dive into mobile

Facebook vice president of mobile engineering Cory Ondrejka, who has been overseeing the company’s acquisition of Oculus Rift and its integration, announced today he is leaving the company.

Ondrejka, who was a cofounder and CTO of Linden Lab, which built the virtual world Second Life, joined Facebook in 2010 as director of engineering. Prior to his Oculus responsibilities, he ran Facebook’s entire mobile app transition for two years, he told VentureBeat.

Facebook VP of engineering Cory Ondrejka.

Above: Facebook VP of engineering Cory Ondrejka.

Image Credit: Facebook

In his announcement, Ondrejka wrote, “From high-performance javascript through mobile to virtual reality, I could never have predicted a journey quite like this one. I will miss working with everyone, but I am excited about building my next company from scratch.”

He said his last day at Facebook is Dec. 22.

Prior to Facebook, Ondrejka was cofounder of Walletin, which the social media giant acquired in 2010. The company did “cool stuff with javascript and node.js,” according to Ondrejka’s LinkedIn profile. He is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and, prior to his life in the technology industry, was a Navy officer with experience at the NSA and a top-secret security clearance.

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Why Facebook’s new enterprise play is a bad idea

Monday 15 December 2014 @ 6:00 pm

History is rife with examples of companies wandering away from their core expertise and bungling things terribly. Colgate once offered kitchen entrees, Coors decided to sell bottled water alongside its beer, and ESPN tried to sell a mobile phone.

It’s easy to shake our heads at these mistakes. But if the dangers are so obvious, why is diversification so rampant among tech companies? Amazon, Google, and Microsoft often attempt feats outside their core expertise. Now we should add to that list Facebook, which recently announced it would launch Facebook at Work.

Tech companies are no different from other companies, and have seen mixed results when moving away from their expertise. Amazon is well known for its “insatiable diversification push,” and that may be haunting it now; Mashable and others have already connected Amazon’s diversification with the company’s recent stock price drop. In contrast, Apple has mostly stuck to doing a few things very well. Considering Apple’s astronomic stock prices, you’d think other tech companies would be taking note.

Not Facebook. Facebook at Work promises a radical departure for the company. While battling LinkedIn to become the main work-focused social network would make sense for Facebook, that’s not what Facebook is planning. It wants to offer an enterprise collaboration solution.

Facebook at Work would look like a personal Facebook page but be completely separate, for security reasons. It would offer a way for coworkers to get together virtually, discuss projects, and potentially share documents. What could go wrong?

We can see exactly what by looking at Cosmopolitan yogurt. In 1999, the successful women’s magazine brand decided to sell yogurt. For Cosmo, the new market was crowded, as it will be for Facebook. Just as grocery stores have no shortage of yogurt brands or varieties for sale, in the enterprise market chief information officers can choose from collaboration solutions from a host of vendors, in both on-premises and software-as-a-service varieties. Cosmopolitan knew that readers of its magazine enjoyed and purchased a lot of yogurt. Facebook knows that its users are both familiar with and like using the Facebook interface. The next step seems obvious, right?

But Cosmopolitan yogurt was a failure, and had vanished from shelves within 18 months. That’s because a customer’s loyalty to a brand is based on that brand’s expertise. To readers of Cosmo, there’s no better place to get makeup tips or diet advice, but readers knew that had nothing to do with food manufacturing. People are sophisticated enough to know that expertise in one area doesn’t mean expertise in another.

At first glance, you might think that Facebook won’t have this problem. It’s still making software, after all. But just because Facebook can make a platform that lets users share everything doesn’t mean it can make a platform that supports workplace collaboration. In fact, to CIOs and other IT officials, that very share-everything history makes Facebook unsuited for the corporate world.

A strong brand seems to make a company believe it can do anything. But as the history of failed product launches and dim-witted diversification attests, brands aren’t all-powerful symbols. We don’t know what the future will bring for Facebook at Work, but we do know that when companies venture away from their expertise, the market often ends up laughing.

Tom Bice is vice president of product marketing and sales enablement at Attachmate and Novell.

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Facebook Dumps Bing, Will Introduce Its Own Search Tool

Saturday 13 December 2014 @ 9:55 am
Screenshot 2014-12-13 12.50.55 It seems that Facebook quietly removed Bing as its primary search provider over the weekend, announcing plans to debut its own search tool on Monday, according to Reuters. The report says that Facebook’s new search tool will give users the ability to filter through old comments and other information from friends. Read More

This week on VentureBeat: The Pirate Bay, a ‘Dislike’ button, IPOs, & more

Friday 12 December 2014 @ 5:35 pm
pirate bay

Every week, the news team at VentureBeat brings you a blitz of news day after day, but even for our most dedicated readers it can be a challenge to catch every single story.

So, we’ve decided to pull together a handful of the best stories from VentureBeat this week, just in case you missed them, or want to read them again.

IsoHunt unofficially resurrects The Pirate Bay

Torrent site isoHunt appears to have unofficially resurrected The Pirate Bay at At first glance, The Old Pirate Bay seems to be just a commemorative site for The Pirate Bay, which went down this week after police raided its data center in Sweden. Upon further inspection, however, it turns out the site is serving new content. Various mirror sites of The Pirate Bay have sprung up since the site’s disappearance, but this one is different. Some alternatives simply provide a copy of The Pirate Bay with no new content (many proxy sites have been doing this for years). Others, like, go further and even provide fake content as if it was new and even attempt to charge users. Read more.

Google releases Android Studio 1.0, the first stable version of its IDE

After two years of development, Google today released Android Studio 1.0, the first stable version of its Integrated Development Environment (IDE) aimed at Android developers. You can download it right now for Windows, Mac, and Linux from the Android Developer site. Google first announced Android Studio, built on the popular IntelliJ IDEA Java IDE, at its I/O Developer conference in May 2013. The company’s pitch was very simple: This is the official Android IDE. Read more.

Zuckerberg says Facebook is ‘thinking’ about the demand for a dislike button

Facebook is well aware that its community wants a way to dislike something negative, rather than having to “like” everything. Asked by a U.C. Davis law student during a public Q&A today if Facebook will ever add a dislike button, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the company is “thinking” about it, so that expressing a negative sentiment “ends up being a force for good.” Read more.

This week’s 4 tech IPOs: ‘music to your ears’ or worrisome? Depends who you ask

One would think a whole bunch of technology companies arriving on public markets would be great news for people tracking initial public offerings. They could find themselves with new investing opportunities that bring in consistent returns for their portfolios. But one financial analyst is not so enthusiastic about the initial public offerings (IPOs) for New Relic, Hortonworks Lending Club, and Workiva this Thursday and Friday. “I’m worried,” Kathleen Smith, principal at IPO exchange-traded funds (ETF) manager Renaissance Capital, said in an interview with VentureBeat. Read more.

Phhhoto is a profitable photo app that’s grabbing the attention of pop stars & top tech execs

When it comes to image sharing apps, Instagram reigns supreme for photos, Vine and Instagram lead the pack in short videos, and Twitch is quickly becoming the darling of live streaming video. But thus far, no mobile service has risen to the top for GIFs — those animated, short image files that everyone (save for my boss Dylan Tweney) is in love with. The unfortunately named mobile GIF creation app Phhhoto (not a typo) has a pretty decent shot at leading the pack in this category — having already been proven popular with pop music stars like Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, and Joe Jonas as well as top tech entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg, Kevin Rose, Jack Dorsey, Dave Morin, and Gary Vaynerchuk. But that’s not the only reason Phhhoto is on its way up. Read more.


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Microsoft confirms Facebook stopped using Bing search results

Friday 12 December 2014 @ 4:29 pm

Facebook has dumped search results from Microsoft’s Bing after the social networking giant earlier this week launched its own tool for finding comments and other information

According to Reuters, Facebook confirmed the move Friday.

Search is vital for Facebook’s 1.35 billion users as they attempt to find friends or locate all kinds of other information on the site.

In a statement to VentureBeat, a Facebook spokesperson said, “We’re not currently showing web search results in Facebook Search because we’re focused on helping people find what’s been shared with them on Facebook.” But, “We continue to have a great partnership with Microsoft in lots of different areas.”

A Microsoft spokesperson told VentureBeat that, “Facebook recently changed its search experience to focus on helping people tap into information that’s been shared with them on Facebook versus a broader set of web results. We continue to partner with Facebook in many different areas.”

The Microsoft spokesperson also noted that Facebook’s move happened “a while ago.”

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