App Links update: 3B+ unique URLs since April, launch of analytics and blog

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Facebook’s App Links product — aimed at helping people go straight from a News Feed post or ad into an app — has been fairly popular so far. The company announced Thursday an analytics suite, better support for Windows Phone and a blog for news about the technology.

So far, hundreds of apps such as Spotify, Hulu and Airbnb have used App Links to create more than 3 billion unique URLs.

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Instagram debuts advertising, marketing tools

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Instagram’s clout as a marketing channel just got a little bigger. Instagram announced recently that there will be a trio of tools for advertisers and marketers: account insights, ad insights and ad staging.

Instagram announced these new tools on its blog:

The new tools will help brands monitor their posts and campaigns by providing information on reach, impressions, and engagement. For example, an advertiser will now have access to a real-time campaign summary and data showing how their target audience is responding to each of their sponsored photos. Also, brand marketers will be able to better understand the best time of day to post a photo or video.

We’ve worked closely with several of our advertising partners to make sure these tools meet their needs. We’re now making them available to all Instagram advertisers, whose feedback will help us improve the product before releasing it to additional brands later this year.

So what can these features do?

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Facebook announces Internet Defense Prize

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Facebook is working to make the Internet a more secure place. The company announced Thursday at the USENIX Security Symposium in San Diego the creation of the Internet Defense Prize — an award recognizing superior quality research that combines a working prototype with great contributions to securing the Internet.

Facebook and USENIX crowned the first winners today. Johannes Dahse and Thorsten Holz, two researchers from Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany, were awarded $50,000 for their paper, “Static Detection of Second-Order Vulnerabilities in Web Applications.”

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Should Facebook pages still pay to acquire new fans?

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A common refrain among small business marketers goes something like this: “We’ve paid to acquire new fans, and now we have to pay again to reach them?”

There’s been a shift recently in Facebook ad and marketing circles, prompting page admins and brands to put more investment in engagement. But has the “like” been rendered useless? According to Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer SocialCode, definitely not.

A new report by SocialCode shows that pages should keep doing campaigns to acquire new fans on Facebook, as they tend to convert more often than non-fans. Instead of just acquiring fans and hoping for profit, SocialCode Chief Innovation Officer Addie Conner told Inside Facebook that fan acquisition campaigns should be coupled with retargeting so these new fans don’t just disappear:

We were looking for new ways to scale on (direct response). Facebook started allowing new ways of retargeting against email lists through Custom Audiences. Immediately, we saw that if they use an email list on Facebook and were retargeting against those users, that works really well. We were able to get really efficient CPAs on that. If you think about fans, it’s just like another email list. You’re getting a group of users who are opting in to see your content going forward and you have an audience that is retargetable over time. If you measure the marginal benefit and it’s coming in, these people are saving you more money than they cost downstream.

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Top 4 tips for creating a successful targeted Facebook ad campaign

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It’s no secret that Facebook’s organic reach for pages has plummeted over the last year — or that the free ride is essentially over — but forking over a little cash for ads could do some good. The most efficient way to do this? Through creating a targeted campaign.

Social ads are a great way for businesses to foster consumer engagement and expand their reach, according to Phil Penton, president of Social Integration.

U.S. companies spent a combined $5.1 billion on social media advertising last year, and that number is expected to increase to $15 billion by the end of 2018, according to BIA/Kelsey.

Penton told Inside Facebook:

This is the hottest topic out there. Everyone was out there growing their fans [on Facebook], and spent a lot of time growing their Likes with the thought that they were going to be able to post content for free and their fans would be able to see it. The reality is that if you had 100,000 Likes on your Page, only 10 percent were seeing your posts anyway, which isn’t great to begin with.

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Facebook issues guide for retail advertising

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Want to get more in-store traffic? Facebook feels that its advertising is just the solution. Facebook this week published a guide for its Preferred Marketing Developers looking to foster more prosperous relationships with retail clients.

The guide includes some interesting tidbits about advertising and News Feed:

  • People check News Feed 14 times per day.
  • 45 percent of people who were reached via ads were reached exclusively through Facebook.
  • Facebook is more than twice as accurate as other ad networks.
  • Facebook delivers an offline conversion lift of 8x return on ad spend.

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Facebook: 95 percent of notification emails are strictly secured

Whenever you get a notification email from Facebook, such as for a tagged photo, those emails can be encrypted with plain text communication protocol STARTTLS, creating a more secure connection.

In May, Facebook said that just 28.6 percent of such emails sent out were protected with STARTTLS, but now that number is up to 95 percent.

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SPMD SHIFT adds Andrea Wolinetz as VP of Agency Partnerships

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SHIFT, a Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer, announced Tuesday that the company has hired Andrea Wolinetz as Vice President of Agency Partnerships.

Wolinetz, who has nearly a decade of digital marketing experience, will grow SHIFT’s senior-level partnerships with agencies and promote adoption of the SHIFT Open Marketing Cloud. She will be based in SHIFT’s New York office. Most recently, Wolinetz was the Managing Director of Connected Platforms at PHD, where she oversaw the growth and expertise of the company’s offerings in social media, search, mobile and gaming. Some of her clients included Carnival Cruise Lines, HBO and GlaxoSmithKline.

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Facebook’s Buy button and the future of global commerce

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While Facebook’s Buy button might be “The Next Big Thing,” it doesn’t necessarily cater to the company’s global user base. At least not right now.

While the Buy button is still in testing by a small number of companies, it’s current format doesn’t sit well with the global community. One company says this is because the Buy button is very American. What does that mean?

Ralph Dangelmaier, CEO of BlueSnap, explained to Inside Facebook that payment systems vary greatly by country. Options like Paypal, Visa, and American Express aren’t payment options the world over, so having a Buy button that requires a credit card at checkout is a major turnoff for someone, say, in Germany.

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Facebook testing ‘Satire’ tag

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You might have at least one Facebook friend who thinks that Morgan Freeman is really dead, or some satirical Onion headline is the truth. Facebook wants to stop the sharing of satire as fact, as the site is testing a Satire tag on posts from The Onion and other similar sites, according to Ars Technica and sister site AllFacebook.

The tag only appears on the Related Articles module that appears after a user clicks on a link within News Feed.

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