Deal United’s Facebook “Credits Rewards” Lets Clients Incentivize Signups and Purchases With Virtual Currency

German offer provider Deal United today announced it is entering the virtual currency incentives industry with the launch of “Credits Rewards”. The new service allows brands to reward to users with Facebook Credits when they make purchases, registrations, signup for newsletters, enter contests, fill out surveys and more. Because virtual currency is so cheap to distribute and Facebook users may value Credits higher than their actual cost in dollars, they can be a cost effective way for businesses to reward users for following their call actions.

Deal United will be competing with industry pioneer ifeelgoods, a Credits microincentive startup that launched a year ago. The space has plenty of runway, though. As users gain the ability to pay Credits for digital media and content as well as virtual goods, demand for Facebook’s virtual currency will rise and Deal United incentives will become more appealing to users and businesses.

Founded in 2007, Deal United aggregates offers directly from advertisers to provide game developers the ability to let their users pay for virtual goods by shopping. In June 2011, Facebook chose Deal United as one of two European partners that can contribute offers to its official offer walls that are run by TrialPay. The reduced margin associated with having to deliver offers through an intermediary may have pushed Deal United to branch out into virtual currency incentives.

With Credits Rewards, businesses can create a value exchange where they previously had to nag users to follow their calls to action. They can set their own reward value, for example providing two Credits for signing up for their email list, five for following them on Twitter, 10 for filling out a survey, or 50 for making a purchase. These actions don’t cost a user anything, so it’s easy to justify taking a few seconds or receiving some marketing messages in exchange for Credits that help them play their favorite social game, rent a movie, or gain access to a pay-per-view experience.

If the current trend continues, Facebook Credits will be accepted as payment by more and more online companies, and one day they might let users buy physical goods. Social gaming is a booming industry in Germany, with companies like Wooga processing huge volumes Facebook Credits payments. The Munich-based Deal United will be well positioned to attract European brands looking to capitalize on the demand for Credits.

By becoming one of the three companies licensed to dispense Facebook Credits, Deal United has partially tied its fate to the success of Facebook’s virtual currency. If demand continues to rise, and especially if Credits for Websites and HTML5 mobile apps take off, Deal United’s Credit Rewards could become a crucial customer acquisition method.

How to Use Facebook Open Graph Apps for Marketing Through the Ticker and Timeline

Facebook Marketing Bible

At f8 in September 2011, Facebook introduced three major changes to the site: Open Graph applications, the home page Ticker, and the profile Timeline. These changes significantly impact marketers because they create new opportunities for gaining brand exposure and driving traffic to Facebook Pages, applications, and websites.

Here we’ll examine how Open Graph apps, the Ticker, and Timeline function and explain how marketers need to alter their strategies to take advantage of these apps and distribution channels.

The following is an excerpt of an entry in our Facebook Marketing Bible. The full version contains more complete explanations of how Open Graph apps, the Ticker, and the Timeline work. It also contains more strategies and examples for how to gain traffic and users by integrating the Open Graph into Page tab apps, canvas apps, and websites. 

Overview of Ticker, Timeline, and Open Graph Apps

Facebook has created two new viral channels to the site to which special kinds of Facebook applications and Facebook-integrated websites can publish content — the home page Ticker and the profile Timeline. A new priority for you as a marketer will be getting your brand’s content into these channels. We’ll now summarize the functionality of the Ticker, Timeline, and Open Graph apps but outlining strategies for using them to aid your business.

Open Graph Apps

Facebook allows developers to create “Open Graph applications” — Facebook.com apps and Facebook-integrated websites that can ask users for permission to publish activity to Facebook whenever they take an in-app action without having to prompt the user to share each time.

Once users grant and app or website persistent publishing permission, their activity is published to the Tickers of friends and their own Timeline. Developers choose a verb and a noun which are used in the published activity stories.

For example:

  • Spotify publishes whenever a user listens to a song, “Josh listened to [song] on Spotify”.
  • Dojo, a personal goal tracking website, publishes whenever a user visits the site and checks off that they’ve completed part of a goal such as doing 50 pushups or cleaning their kitchen, “Josh practiced [goal] with Dojo”.
  • A hypothetical branded photo contest app could publish when users submit a photo to a competition “Josh submitted a photo with Brand X’s Contest App”.

Along with publishing individual activity stories, Open Graph apps can publish “Reports” or summaries of a user’s activity. Developers can choose between different Report layouts and define what activity will be aggregated and how it will be sorted. Marketers can use Open Graph apps to gain more users for their apps by publishing user activity stories and compelling Reports that the friends of their users will want to click through.

Ticker

Ticker is a secondary news feed shown in the Facebook home page’s right sidebar that displays to users short, simple text activity stories about the people they’re friends with and the Pages they Like.

The Ticker’s main impact on marketers is that by creating applications with Open Graph functionality and getting users to interact with them, they gain exposure in the Ticker for activity stories that contain links to their applications. This helps their applications gain more users.

Timeline

Facebook has redesigned the profile into what it calls Timeline. Timeline lets users “feature” specific activity stories, expanding them to appear larger on their profile. Timeline also automatically displays “Recent Activity” sections for music apps, news reader apps, and video apps, as well as a general section of activity in other apps. By getting users to use your apps, you can gain viral exposure in these sections.

Getting your app into a user’s Timeline Views, Recent Activity, and Reports can give your application exposure that will help it gain new users.

Strategies for Marketing Through Open Graph Apps

The key to marketing through Open Graph Apps is getting users to complete actions you can publish to the Ticker and Timeline, rather than explicitly completing a Share dialog. People visiting your Facebook Page or website are probably already taking actions that you could publish. Your goal now should be to figure out what these actions are and build Open Graphs that let structure them into activity stories.

Turn Wall Posts into Activity Stories

What do people do when they visit your Facebook Page? A popular action is to write on your wall with messages of thanks, questions about your product, or customer service inquiries. You can turn these actions into activity stories by creating Page tab applications with Open Graph functionality.

Your app could provide different entry fields for the different common types of wall posts, and ask users for permission to publish an activity story whenever they enter text in one of these fields. For example, if a user entered “How much does your product cost?” you could publish an activity story that says “Josh asked a question with Brand X’s Feedback App”. ‘Asked’ is your verb and ‘a question’ is your noun.

Fundamentally, the introduction of Open Graph apps mean marketers need to get their users to give them persistent publishing permission and complete actions that can be automatically shared, rather than explicitly asking them to share individual actions.

By following these strategies for integrating Open Graph functionality into your Facebook Page tab apps, Facebook.com apps, and Facebook-integrated websites, you can turn user actions into activity stories that drive traffic to you Page, app, or site. Experiment to see what actions produce the most interesting activity stories and Reports, and redesign your apps and sites to encourage these types of actions.

Access the rest of our strategies and examples for integrating the Open Graph into Facebook Pages, apps, and websites in the full version of this article available in the Facebook Marketing Bible, Inside Network’s comprehensive guide to how all of Facebook’s features can be employed for marketing.

Multi-Channel Ad Marketplace AdKnowledge Acquires Bootstrapped Facebook Ads API Vendor AdParlor

AdKnowledge, a marketplace that connects advertisers with inventory in the display, casual games, mobile, email and affiliate channels has acquired Facebook Ads API tool and managed spend service provider AdParlor. The acquisition will see AdParlor’s entire 20-person team, managed spend service, and licensable tool integrated into AdKnowledge, which will now be able to offer placement in the Facebook ads sidebar to its clients.

AdParlor had grown to become possibly the largest Ads API vendor, handling 1 billion impressions a day despite being completely bootstrapped. Though the acquisition price is not being disclosed, AdParlor’s founders and early employees have likely received a massive payday. AdKnowledge’s move continues the trend of consolidation in the Facebook Ads API space as Page management companies and pre-social ad platforms position themselves to absorb the increasing ad spend on Facebook.

AdKnowledge addresses advertising needs outside of search and the 500 biggest websites. It makes it easy for clients to bid on inventory aggregated from across the longtail of internet properties that would be inefficient to forge deals with individually. However, until now, Facebook’s ads sidebar was a major missing component of its offering to advertisers, considering that the social network is projected to take in $3 to $4 billion in ad revenue this year.

Back in 2008, AdParlor formed as a Facebook game banner and offer wall network. In March 2010 it gained access to the Ads API and refocused on providing a managed spend cost per acquisition Facebook sidebar advertising solution.

Facebook game developers set a CPA price and AdParlor seeks to earn a margin by attaining an acquisition at a lower cost per click or cost per one thousand impressions. When I profiled its service in November 2010, I was impressed with the sophistication of its dynamic bid optimization system. It lets developers install tracking pixels in their games and leave it up to AdParlor to analyze downstream conversion of ad clickers, design creative, and exploit low CPC and CPM pockets to deliver a high return on investment.

AdParlor has since expanded its business. It became Groupon’s exclusive Facebook advertising solution for its tens of millions of dollars in spend in March 2011, and released a licensable tool for agencies called Pulse in May. Brands running cost per fan campaigns for their Facebook Pages have grown to make up roughly 10% to 20% of its sales.

AdParlor’s team will remain in Toronto, but will get the benefit of AdKnowledge’s global sales offices. Soon, AdKnowledge plans to integrated AdParlor’s Pulse into its own self-service Bid System tool. AdKnowledge will also now be able to help its massively multiplayer online role play game clients monetize by drawing in new gamers through Facebook ads.

Buy Rather Than Build

Hussein Fazal, co-founder and CEO of AdParlor believes that the acquisition is a wise move for AdKnowledge and that consolidation in the industry will continue as older ad platforms move into social, “Facebook is going to be more and more relevant – a lot of these guys are going to want it in their portfolio. We’re even going to see the large agencies pick up Ads API companies to have that expertise in house.”

AdKnowledge CEO Scott Lynn tells me his company started looking for potential Ads API acquisition targets a few months ago and found that “AdParlor is the leader in the space.” It could have taken AdKnowledge many months or more to build technology inferior to AdParlor’s. By acquiring the Ads API vendor instead, it can immediately begin earning CPA margins on Facebook ad revenue that is projected to grow to $22 billion by 2016 according to Evercore Partners projections listed in the acquisition’s press release. Marketing services giant Experian made a similar decision, acquiring Ads API tool developer Techlightenment rather than building a tool internally.

Facebook has been pushing its marketing products in a social direction, offering Sponsored Stories ad unites that turn user interactions with Pages from news feed stories into highly effective ads. This has created synergies between the Facebook brand publishing and Ads API industries that has led to partnerships and acquisitions such as ad platform Efficient Frontier buying Page management company Context Optional.

Lynn tells me publishing is “Clearly an interesting space for us, though I’m not sure we would acquire a Page management company.” This suggests AdKnowledge may build a basic tool for synchronizing ads and Page posts to take advantage of Sponsored Stories, but Lynn says “we don’t have plans at present to do that.” With a powerful, proven Ads API tool and service now in its possession, AdKnowledge can tie its business to the growth of Facebook and the increasing importance of social context to drawing ad clicks.

Facebook Discontinues Official Mp3 Music Player, Pushes Users to Streaming Partners

Facebook has begun alerting Page admins that the official Music Player app it developed years ago will no longer be available after today. The app allowed Page admins to upload an MP3 and add track information, and the song would then be shared to the news feed where it could be streamed in-line. The same app seems to power the ability for users to post songs to the news feed by adding the URLs of MP3s to the publisher.

Facebook says “The Facebook Music Player app is being replaced with better ways to incorporate music on your Page”, and a Help Center entry then encourages users and admins to post music videos instead of songs and use third-party apps. Facebook could be developing its own basic Page tab application to allow musicians to share music. Alternatively, it may be trying to avoid copyright issues and clear the way for third-party music sharing apps including Spotify and RootMusic’s BandPage.

The notice of the removal of the Music Player app starting October 31 is appearing at the top of Pages to their admins. It follows similar alerts about Facebook discontinuing the Discussions and Reviews Page tab apps. In those cases it also said new tools are coming but that for now Pages should use their wall as a forum and host for reviews.

Promoting Third-Party Music Page Tab Apps

Facebook does not currently offer its own Page tab app for permanently hosting streaming music, and rather allows third-party developers such as RootMusic, ReverbNation, and Bandcamp to provide musician profile apps. These apps have grown popular as bands flee the deteriorating Myspace Music for Facebook.

While these services let artists share their songs for in-line news feed streaming, they are more complex and take more time to set up than Music Player. Facebook could introduce a lightweight tab app replacement for Music Player’s 5,000 monthly active users, or simply leave that problem for third-parties to solve.

If Facebook does prevent MP3 files from being shared and played through the news feed, users could comply with Facebook’s request to share videos instead, which don’t have the same copyright issues as they’re generally hosted on services such as YouTube that scan for unlicensed usage of songs. Still, it could disrupt behavior of independent musicians who hosted MP3s themselves and wanted to share them with their Facebook friends without setting up a Page or video service account.

Favoring Streaming Music Partners Over MP3s

At f8, Facebook announced partnerships with music services Spotify, Rdio, and more to allow listening activity of Facebook users to be published to their profiles and the news feeds of their friends. When users click links in these stories, the corresponding music app launches to play a song.

As part of these partnerships, Facebook may be trying to move users away from MP3 files that are commonly used to illegally share music. It could be seen as violating copyright by by hosting MP3 files uploaded to Music Player.

By discontinuing Music Player, Facebook can push to find the song they wanted to share on Spotify or another service and share it that way. This could please partners, but also aid Facebook if it ever starts allowing users to buy subscriptions to paid streaming services with Facebook Credits from which it takes a 30% tax.

In the end, Facebook may have seen little need to continue supporting the Music Player app. There are better Page tab apps available from third-parties, it competed with Facebook’s music partners, and it presented copyright infringement risks.

We’re awaiting a response from Facebook regarding whether  it is developing its own music Page tab app and whether MP3 URLs will still be allowed to be shared to the news feed and streamed in-line. We’ll update this article with the company’s response.

[Image Credit: Chris J Politzki]

Facebook’s Hybrid News Feed May Be Helping Big Brands, Hurting Local Businesses

Initial analysis of the Facebook’s move from a two-tab news feed to a single hybrid news feed showed Page posts receiving fewer impressions but more Likes and comments — overall a positive change. However, new stats from Page analytics vendor EdgeRank Checker a month after the changes show that while popular Pages with over 100,000 fans may be receiving 27.8% more engagement, small Pages with less than 5,000 fans may receiving equal Likes and comments than before, and those with under 1,000 fans have seen engagement drop 11.6%.

Facebook’s news feed visibility algorithm may be rewarding Pages with high fan counts — including those of big brands. This is because these Pages have essentially been endorsed by hundreds of thousands of users and have more to lose, and therefore may be more likely to publish high quality content. However, the hybrid news feed may make it difficult for newer Pages and those of local businesses to grow organically, increasing their need for paid Facebook ads.

EdgeRank Checker’s data is based on sample of over 600 Pages that have used its service, not just any random Pages. This means these stats are for Pages that have some serious interest in the performance of their Facebook Page. The data isn’t likely to be distorted by Pages with low fan counts that aren’t really trying to produce good content.

We analyzed an EdgeRank Checker released a study two weeks after the news feed changes that showed that show comments up 21%, Likes up 9%, and impressions down 25% on average for Pages across sizes. Now a month after the changes the trends are similar, with comments up 14%, Likes up 16%, and impression down 22%. However, Pages of different sizes show different trends and outliers can skew these averages.

To show what’s happening to the average Page, EdgeRank Checker looked to see what percentage of all Pages grew or shrunk in each of these stats. It found that most Pages were receiving fewer impressions, but that an equal number of Pages were losing and gain Likes and comments. This meant some Pages that were receiving many more Likes and comments were making the average data look for positive than it really is.

As there are many more Pages with low fan counts than those with high fan counts, EdgeRank Checker looked at the median size Page and found some unsettling stats, along with a 24% drop in impressions, Likes were down 15% and comments were down 20%. If the average across all Page sizes was positive but these stats for the median size Page were so negative, fan count must be a contributing variable.

It turns out that the changes have aided popular Pages but hindered unpopular Pages. For Pages of different sizes, here is the average change in the volume of Likes and comments per post:

  • Over 100,000 Fans – Up 27.8%
  • 10,000 – 100,000 Fans – Up 8.76%
  • 5,000 – 10,000 Fans – Up 3.96%
  • 1,000 – 5,000 Fans – Up 1.73%
  • Less than 1,000 Fans – Down 11.64%

Most major brands tend to have at least 10,000 fans, so this may come as good news — they’re receiving a lot more Likes and comments. However, fledgling brands and local businesses than only appeal to a limited audience may find they’re receiving fewer impressions and engagement. This reduces return on their Facebook marketing investment and make their posts less likely to be reshared, a core way of organically growing their fan counts.

In reality, Facebook’s news feed visibility algorithm was likely tweaked to show users higher quality content, and this reduction in engagement is the unfortunate repercussion for some Pages. Facebook probably wasn’t trying to punish smaller businesses and other types of Pages, its just that smaller Pages are less likely to be devoting as many resources to creating and publishing compelling news feed posts.

If Facebook won’t make the posts of smaller brands and local business more visible to their existing fans until the accumulate more fans, these Pages may need to jump-start their Facebook marketing with paid advertising campaigns. In this way, Facebook is rewarding high quality content producers, but also getting smaller businesses hooked on Facebook ads that it can continue to sell to them as they grow.

Facebook Growing Up, Focusing on Infrastructure Efficiency and Security

Facebook is showing new signs of maturity and a willingness to tackle tough, unsexy problems. In the last few days it’s made four announcements around hardware efficiency and cybersecurity: the opening of a self-cooling server farm in the Arctic, the launch of its Open Compute foundation for infrastructure open sourcing, details on its Facebook Immune System for thwarting hackers and spammers, and the release of new login security features for users.

Even though Facebook is a fail fast-style startup run by a young CEO, it’s concentrating on stability. This means reducing both server costs and the vulnerability of the user experience to malicious parties trying to exploit it. As the company heads towards an IPO, these long term efforts could bolster confidence in potential investors.

Facebook stepped up efforts to create cheap, environmentally friendly data centers today with the announcement of plans to build a new server farm in Luleå, Sweden. Just south of the Arctic Circle, the area is cold enough that no air conditioning will be required to cool the 11 football fields-worth of servers, reports The Telegraph. The site was specifically chosen because of its proximity to hydroelectric dams on the Lule River and the prevalence of fibre optic cable in the region

With no cooling costs, low-cost energy to power the servers, and high data transfer speeds means that the Luleå Data Center will be even more efficient than Facebook’s stateside Prineville, OR and Rutherford, NC centers. Facebook’s willingness to scout so far from home for a location shows its global orientation.

Facebook launched the Open Compute Project in April to open source server and data center designs in hopes of improving efficiency for itself and all other data-heavy companies. It could also be designed to reduce the competitive advantage of companies such as Google that don’t reveal their designs. Now Facebook has formed a non-profit foundation to run the project. Partners include Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, Intel, Baidu, and Mozilla.

By spearheading the open source project, Facebook intends to cull innovation from around the world to make sure its hardware is efficient as possible without tackling the research and associated costs all on its own. This will allow it to focus resources elsewhere so it can retain its efficiency and small headcount.

Less than 0.5% of Facebook users experience spam each day in part thanks the the Facebook Immune System. The defense system, run by a 30- person security team, is designed to weed out spam and malicious links. It analyzes up to 650,000 user actions per second and 2 trillion link clicks per day, the company recently revealed to New Scientist. Though it may temporarily annoy users, new stats show that Facebook blocks 220 million malicious actions and 250,000 to 600,000 accounts a day to keep threats from spreading.

In case a user’s account is hacked, Facebook is providing more ways for them to regain access. These include Social Authentication that lets users identify friends in photos to prove they’re an account owner, and the Trusted Friends feature announced this week, that sends an access code to a locked out user’s closest friends who can share it with them so they can login again.

These security features on the front and back end keep users from having the terrible experience of a sustained loss of access to their account that can push them and the friends they complain to away from Facebook. In the future, the combination of security precautions and Facebook’s 300-person security and safety team could help it fend off massive attacks that could disrupt service and shake faith in its reliability as a communication medium.

The past few years have seen Facebook grow its user base to 800 million, producing a network effect that protects it from competitors. It has relentlessly evolved its product, even when users were resistant to change, allowing it to incorporate ideas that could have disrupted it had it remained stagnant. It’s created a lucrative Platform developers want to build on. Finally, its turned its Pages and advertising products into central components of brand and local marketing, giving it the money to fund innovation elsewhere. All the core pieces of its business are in place.

These latest improvements to efficiency and security might not be as flashy as a redesign or product launch, but they strengthen the service in ways it was moving too fast to focus on when it was younger. While only seven years old, Facebook is looking more and more like an established, sophisticated company ready to deliver value for a long time into the future — in time for the initial public offering that it is said to be planning for next year.

[Image credit: Fast Company]

Facebook Adds Subscribe Button to Comments Box Plugin to Increase Civility, Subscribers

Facebook is giving users another way to add Subscribers to their public updates by introducing a Subscribe button beside commenter names in its Comments Box social plugin. The move ties two products that already work separately to promote public discussion, and improves Subscription discovery which is otherwise limited to its personalized People to Subscribe To list and sidebar modules

The Comments Box Subscribe buttons will encourage civil discussion on sites that use the commenting plugin because those who appear intelligent may be able to attract new Subscribers.

Facebook launched the Comments Box plugin for third-party sites in March and by June it was installed on 300,000 sites. It previously added the option for users to “Subscribe” to a specific comment thread, but that feature is now called “Follow Post” and its name has been reassigned to Facebook’s Twitter-like asymmetrical follow feature that was released last month.

As I see it, this new feature helps Facebook meet two existing goals: get more users Subscribing to each other, and make discussion in the Comments Box more civil to get more sites installing it.

Facebook offers a form of Suggested User List, but this is somewhat buried and mainly helps popular public figures grow what may already be a large subscriber base. By giving the average engaged commenter more opportunities to gain Subscribers through the plugin, the asymmetrical follow feature can develop a healthier community and not appear as something reserved for celebrities and journalists.

Comment moderators were temporarily given the ability to “Boost” comments they deemed as high quality to the top of a thread. This let moderators set up discussion role models and reward top commenters, but could also be used to drown out criticism, which may be why Facebook recently removed it. By incentivizing thought leaders to weigh in with the prospect of gaining Subscribers, Facebook can improve discussions without facilitating censorship.

Now, anyone that allows people to Subscribe to them will have a Subscribe button next to their name on their Comments Box comments and replies. In some cases Subscriber count is displayed as well. If the button is clicked, a user Subscribes to that commenter’s public news feed updates, and they can hover to select the volume and types of updates they receive.

Facebook may need to monitor for Subscribe solicitation spam. Some users may only comment to get exposure for their Subscribe button, or interrupt discussions with “SUBSCRIBE TO ME!” requests. If it can filter out or bury these types of comments, it may have found a way improve both Subscribe and Comments Box through cross-pollination.

Facebook Launches Trusted Friends and App Passwords Security Features to Reduce Lock Out

As part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, Facebook has begun the rollout of two new security features to help users regain access to their accounts if they’re locked out and let them access third-party applications safely. Trusted Friends lets locked out users have an access code sent to their close friends. App Passwords lets users bypass the Login Approvals security feature that doesn’t work with some apps by using a unique app-specific password.

Facebook users can sometimes be locked out of their accounts by Facebook’s automated security systems that occasionally produce false positives, as well as by hackers. Users who know about these new features and take the time to enable them will benefit from a reduced chance of being blocked from their account. This will help Facebook reduce the number of horror stories about users losing access to their account for days or weeks, which can permanently hurt users’ perception of the service and lead people to rail against Facebook to their friends.

Trusted Friends builds on Facebook’s Social Authentication security feature that lets users regain access to their accounts by identifying friends in photos — something very difficult for a hacker to do. Facebook likens Trusted Friends to “giving a house key to your friends when you go on vacation”. If users lose their own key (password) as well access to their email account to which a forgotten or lost password could be sent, a friend can unlock their account for them.

To enable Trusted Friends, users will select three to five of their closest friends who’d be willing to help and wouldn’t abuse the ability to access their account. If a user is then locked out, they can then have an access code sent to these friends, who then share it with them in person, or via an electronic means other than Facebook. The locked out user can submit the code to unlock their account.

In some cases Social Authentication can prove to difficult for users to complete, especially if the photos shown are of a friend when they were younger, or of a weak acquaintance such as someone met through social games. Facebook has improved the feature over time to only ask users to identify photos that clearly display a face of a friend they frequently interact with. Still, false positives have occurred and legitimate account owners have been be denied access. Now if this happens, Facebook can use Trusted Friends, if enabled, to prevent sustained account lockout.

Facebook implemented a security feature earlier this year called Login Approvals that when enabled requires users to enter a security code texted to their phone whenever they login to Facebook or a third-party app. However, some types of apps using atypical interfaces, such as Xbox, Spotify, and Skype don’t properly generate the code entry dialog. This can cause users with Login Approvals enabled to be denied access to these third-party apps.

To solve this problem, Facebook has created App Passwords. Rather than entering their primary Facebook password alongside their email address, they can enter a unique App Password instead to effectively turn off Login Approvals for that app. Users can visit the Account Settings -> Security tab and enter the name of an app generate a unique password for it.

While App Passwords are only necessary for a the small percentage of people who both use Login Approvals and some special apps, Trusted Friends can help all users. Facebook should run an awareness campaign for the feature finishes being rolled out. That way it can continue aggressively protecting the site from hackers but reduce the risk of users enduring the nightmare of being blocked from the social network that’s one of their core communication mediums.

Facebook Expands Marketer Outreach With Official, Free “Facebook Marketing Bootcamp”

Facebook this evening announced that it will hold a free “Facebook Marketing Bootcamp” series of webinars and live question-and-answer session. A tab app on the Facebook Marketing Solutions Page posted “All Marketing Managers are invited to become a Facebook marketing expert in just 3 weeks… learn how to use Facebook’s social technology to grow your business”.

Facebook Marketing Bootcamp is Facebook’s biggest effort to date to educate marketers, entering a space otherwise handled by third-parties including this blog and our Facebook Marketing Bible. Facebook is recognizing that many marketers lack of understanding of the site’s value to business, and are therefore spending less on marketing and advertising than they could be. The program could boost confidence and get more people creating Pages, publishing content, and buying ads.

Marketers can register for Facebook Marketing Bootcamp for free, and the 6 webinars, live Q&A session, and weekly tips will run from November 1st to November 16th. The first 5,000 people to sign up may receive a $125 Facebook ad credit. As the course is held online and not in person, there does not appear to be a cap on how many people can join the sessions.

In June, I analyzed a MerchantCircle report indicating that despite high awareness, only 22% of small businesses use Facebook ads, and of those 35% say they wouldn’t use them again, mainly because of poor performance. This lack of adoption and negative experience is in part due to a lack of knowledge of how to use the ads tool or run effective campaigns that tie in with other Facebook marketing products.

Since then, I’ve been recommending Facebook expand its business education and outreach. Facebook frequently makes changes to its marketing products and creates new opportunities but doesn’t always follow up with instructions for how to best take advantage of them.

For example, it released new ways to target ads by broad category, launched the Recommendations feature for Places, and dispensed free ad credits, but guide marketers how to use them beyond dispensing the occasional .PDF instruction manual. This can lead marketers to have bad or confusing first experiences that makes them less likely to devote resources to Facebook in the future.

In the last month, though, Facebook has stepped its educational efforts, announcing partnerships with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Federation of Independent Business where it would send representatives to advise members on Facebook marketing. The company has also been running more one-off marketing education sessions on its streaming channel Facebook Live. At the same time it’s stepped up outreach to developers, holding mini-f8 Open Technology Days in four US cities as well as abroad and planning a Mobile Hack day at its headquarters this week.

Through the Facebook Marketing Bootcamp, educational resources will be formatted into a coherent curriculum and offered free to anyone interested. Rather than allowing unofficial outlets to be the only source of this intensive training, Facebook will be able to promote responsible marketing strategies that don’t endanger the experience of users with spam or overly aggressive tactics.

Facebook should continue to explore different mediums for distributing marketing education. With a combination of white papers, live conferences, and webinars Facebook can push towards its goal of getting all businesses, even less savvy late adopters, using Facebook marketing.

The Best and Worst Facebook Page Campaign Strategies for Politicians

Facebook Marketing Bible

The following is an excerpt of an entry in our Facebook Marketing Bible. The full version contains additional analysis on the sign up, user generated content, video, and landing tab apps of Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and Herman Cain, as well as suggestions for how they could improve their campaigns.

Politicians are gearing up for the 2012 elections and we’ve been tracking their campaign efforts on Facebook through the 2012 Inside Facebook Election Tracker. The web app charts the Like counts and compares candidates in the presidential primaries as well as the House, Senate, and Governor races.

Many candidates are using custom Facebook Page tab applications to drive awareness, gain fans, solicit donations, and spread their message. Here we’ll look at some of the best strategies and worst mistakes in how Page tab apps are being employed by four of the presidential primary candidates — Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Herman Cain. Our analysis can help political candidates, as well as any brand learn how to promote themselves through Facebook Pages.

Barack Obama’s “Are You In?” Invite App

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is using a Page tab app called “Are You In?” to get users to invite their friends to support his campaign. The app is installed on Obama’s main Page that has 23.7 million fans, as well as swing-state campaign Pages including Obama for America — Colorado, Ohio, and Iowa.

When users first visit the app and click the “I’m In” button, they’re given a chance to authorize the app. It then prompts them to publish a news feed story about supporting Obama that states “[User name} is in. Join the campaign”. Users are wall post entry fields for the profiles of several friends which they can use to tell them they’re “in” and invite them to the app. Users can also view all of their friends that are already “in” and a count of how many were inspired to join by their wall posts.

The campaign app is simple to use, employs both news feed and wall posts for virality, and uses a leaderboard-style gamification mechanic to encourage users to spread the word. Rather than cluttering the app and shared stories with specifics about policy or how to participate, its lightweight, concise approach makes it appealing to the widest possible audience — perfect for raising awareness of the campaign.

Obama also features a Donate tab to take in campaign contributions for his main Page. To keep his 23 million fans engaged, he frequently publishes links to campaign news, inspirational quotes, and descriptions of campaign merchandise available in his store.

Ron Paul’s Confusing Landing Tab

Republican presidential primary candidate Ron Paul has made a few mistakes with his Facebook Page that currently has 563,000 Likes. His Page features a “Support Ron Paul” landing tab app, though its not actually set as the Page’s default landing tab. It displays a fake Like button image in a banner next to the real Like button on his Page that could confuse potential supporters that click it and see nothing happen.

The Support Ron Paul tab is actually a Like-gated app that changes from the banner to showing links to donate or volunteer, but this is not clearly indicated to users. The app needs to explain that users gain access to special links or content in exchange for their Like, otherwise they might think they’re just looking at a static image.

The Ron Paul Facebook Promoter tab app hosted on the candidates Page has potential but is also confusing…

Access Facebook political campaign analysis and strategies, including reviews of more Page apps from Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Herman Cain in the Facebook Marketing Bible, Inside Network’s comprehensive guide to marketing, promotion, and advertising on Facebook.

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