Facebook plans to announce its 2013 first quarter earnings tomorrow after the stock market closes.
Analysts expect earnings of 13 cents per share on revenue of $1.44 billion during the period of Jan. 1 to March 31. In Q4 2012, which included the holiday season, Facebook had earnings of 17 cents per share on revenue of $1.585 billion.
Here we’ll review the changes Facebook made in the first quarter across each of its areas of monetization.
Last year advertising made up 84 percent of Facebook’s overall revenue. In the first quarter of this year, the social network introduced new targeting capabilities and made a number of adjustments to the look and performance of its ads. The company also continued to ramp up the amount of ads in News Feed and on mobile, adding a three-in-one “Pages You May Like” unit and a new type of Page-Like ads to the mobile feed.
Partnerships with data vendors Datalogix, Epsilon, Acxiom and BlueKai opened up the opportunities for advertisers to reach new audiences based on third-party data, such as offline purchase behavior. This feature was in limited beta during Q1, but rolled out more widely as “partner categories” earlier this month.
Lookalike Audiences, which help advertisers target users similar to those in their Custom Audience databases, was another exciting new beta feature for advertisers last quarter. Facebook launched it globally in March.
A tool that was available for most advertisers throughout the quarter was conversion tracking. This allows advertisers to measure and optimize their ads leading off-Facebook. It’s particularly important to direct response advertisers and app developers.
Facebook today announced the global rollout of “Promoted Page Likes,” a feature similar to Promoted Posts but aimed at helping page owners get new fans without having to use the more complicated ad dashboard.
All pages with a location and profile picture will now have the “promote page” option in their admin panel. This was previously in beta for some users in the U.S. From here, Page owners can select a daily budget based on how many people they want to reach. Like Promoted Posts, these ads are bought with a preset price rather than on a cost per click basis. Page owners can narrow down their audience by country, state or city.
This action actually creates three different types of Facebook ads: a standard Marketplace ad that appears in the desktop sidebar, Page Like Sponsored Stories that appear in the desktop and mobile feed, and standard Page Like ads which will appear in the feed on desktop and mobile. These are all meant to drive new Likes of the page so they simply include the page name, photo, description and Like button.
Facebook today announced the winners of its Facebook Studio Awards for creative work done by agencies and brands on Facebook. Oreo won the blue award for its Daily Twist campaign by 360i and Draftfbc.
Other winners included Graubunden Tourism, TNT, Allstate, Nike, AT&T, Ford, Universal Studios, Grey Poupon and more.
Oreo and a number of other brands won for campaigns that focused on using page posts rather than applications. Brands and agencies seem to be recognizing that Facebook users spend their time in the News Feed, not in page tabs, and that consistent, high-quality page posts can be more effective than costly single-use apps. The introduction of Timeline and users’ shift to mobile, where page tab apps don’t work, seems to have pushed companies in this direction.
“Last year, brands tried to push the technical limits of Facebook, and digital platforms overall,” said Mark D’Arcy, Facebook’s Head of Global Creative Solutions, in a blog post. “Now, in just one year’s time, we were pleased with the renewed focus on the craft of great storytelling through publishing.”
Facebook has updated the Power Editor and Ads API to give advertisers a new placement option: “feature phones only.”
Feature phones, like smartphones, have had ads in News Feed for the past year. These include Sponsored Stories, Page Post Ads and the “Pages You May Like” module. All News Feed ad types except mobile app install ads and offers can appear on feature phones. However, it used to be more difficult to create a campaign that only reached feature phone users while they are on their phones.
Now, “feature phones only” is a clear option in the “creative and placements” section of Power Editor, seen below, as well as in the Ads API. Ads that use this targeting will only be delivered to users when they browse News Feed from a feature phone.
Salesforce brands paid media offering as Social.com
Salesforce.com today introduced Social.com, a social advertising application to create and optimize social ad campaigns at scale. Salesforce has Facebook and Twitter Ads API access through its acquisition of Buddy Media, which had previously acquired ad platform Brighter Option. The new Social.com brand is the advertising arm of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, which includes page management and app platform Buddy Media and listening tool Radian6. Salesforce is one of Facebook’s 12 Strategic Preferred Marketing Developers.
Nanigans closes $5.8M Series A.1
Facebook ads company Nanigans this week announced that it has secured $5.8 million in funding from a Series A.1 round led by Avalon Ventures. The company, one of Facebook’s sPMDs, focuses on optimizing campaigns for lifetime value through its Ad Engine product. Its largest clients are in the gaming and e-commerce space, which are also among the highest spending verticals on the social network. Previously, Nanigans raised $3.1 million from Avalon in 2011. The latest funding deal closed last week, but the Boston-based company held off on announcing the news after bombings in the city. Some of Nanigans’ own employees participated in the Boston Marathon, but were not hurt by the attacks.
[Update 4/24/13: We've learned that the addition of "watched" and "want to watch" buttons on Page Like Sponsored Stories, as seen in the image to the right, was a temporary bug and this ad type will not have these buttons going forward. Facebook says advertisers were not charged for these clicks. We've removed parts of this report to reflect our new information.]
With the launch of the new Timeline sections, Facebook users have new options to engage with paid and organic stories about movies, TV shows, books and music in more authentic and structured ways, including being able to indicate that they “want to watch” a film.
However, there are still limits to which actions advertisers can pay to promote and the data they receive about these new engagement types.
Richard Williamson, who was part of the original iPhone team at Apple, has become a director of engineering at Facebook, according to LinkedIn.
Bloomberg first reported the story this week after hearing the news from unnamed sources. Williamson built software for the original iPhone and then led the company’s efforts on a maps product. He was fired by Apple in November after the maps app was largely considered a failure.
In departures news, Facebook product manager Antonio Garcia-Martinez, who spearheaded the social network’s moves into the retargeting space with the Facebook Exchange, this week had his last day with the company.
Garcia-Martinez came to Facebook in April 2011 after his company AdGrok sold to Twitter. He says FBX was built by a team of three in one month. He did not share his post-Facebook plans except to say, “Probably a few months in either forest, ocean, or desert. And then another ride on that startup roller coaster that got me here in the first place.”
Back on the hiring front, Facebook removed 32 job listings from its careers page this week, likely after filling roles in engineering, recruiting, infrastructure, user operations and other areas.
Prior listings removed from Facebook’s careers page:
- System Engineer, Linux (Menlo Park)
- Software Engineer, Mobile (Malaysia)
- Business Operations Associate – SMB (Menlo Park)
- Financial Planning & Analysis, Lead – Sales (Menlo Park)
- Payroll Specialist (Menlo Park)
- CRM Technology Partner (Menlo Park)
- System Engineer, Linux (Menlo Park)
- Information Operations Engineer, Security (Menlo Park)
- Systems Engineer, Citrix (Menlo Park)
- Global Manager, People Growth (Menlo Park)
- Business Sourcer (Menlo Park)
- Design Recruiter (Menlo Park)
- Executive Technical Sourcer – Contractor (Menlo Park)
- Lead Recruiter (Dublin)
- Recruiter (Contract) (Dublin)
- Recruiting Lead, Infrastructure (Menlo Park)
- Recruiting Program Manager – Mergers and Acquisitions (Menlo Park)
- Sourcing Manager, Cabling Infrastructure (Menlo Park)
- Supply Chain Procurement Coordinator (Menlo Park)
- Content Strategist, Global Vertical Marketing (6 month contract) (Menlo Park)
- Presentation Designer, Business Marketing (Menlo Park)
- Associate, Marketing Designer (Contract) (Singapore)
- Media Solutions, Polish (Dublin)
- Ads Risk Associate (Austin)
- Team Lead, Risk Operations (Hyderabad)
- Analyst, User Operations, French (Dublin)
- Team Lead, User Operations Intellectual Property (Austin)
- Account Manager, South Africa (Dublin)
- Business Account Manager, Global Accounts (London)
- Vertical Client Partner (London)
- Client Partner, CPG (New York)
- Client Partner, Tech/Social Commerce (Seattle – Menlo Park)
Who else is hiring? The Inside Network Job Board presents a survey of current openings at leading companies in the industry.
This is a guest post by Mario Zelaya, Managing Director at Majestic Media, a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer & digital marketing agency, specializing in custom apps and promotions for web and mobile.
Facebook has been vigilant in its effort to improve adverting options on the Facebook Platform. They’ve been very smart and creative about the options now available to marketers. Sadly, few marketers know or see the full power of the features available to them.
Our duty as a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer is to share our knowledge and expertise, namely about one of the most underestimated and powerful marketing tools available on the Facebook Platform: Partner Categories.
Partner Categories builds on top of Custom Audiences, launched back in the fall of 2012. The new product allows advertisers to target their ads to 500 unique segments, provided by Datalogix, Acxiom and Epsilon. Each segment is based on actions these users have taken or are likely to take.
For those who don’t know the back story: Facebook accomplishes this through a partnership that allowed them to match online data with offline actions taken at physical store locations. Partner Categories then collects user data from activity across the web and makes it available to advertisers on Facebook. Advertisers are now able to utilize this information, including user’s location, online purchases, and browsing histories, to better target their advertising.
Facebook has brought its Promoted Posts feature for pages to its mobile apps for iOS and Android, as well as m.facebook.com. At the same time, the company has begun testing different targeting options for page owners using the desktop version, in some ways limiting the control people have over their ads.
Previously, Promoted Posts could be created through the Pages Manager mobile app, but not from the main application or mobile site. Now, however a user accesses their page, they’ll have a way to easily increase the reach of their posts.
On desktop, some page owners are finding that Facebook has changed who they can target Promoted Posts to. Earlier this month some page owners lost the ability to promote their posts only to current fans. The post has to reach both fans and friends of fans. Some page owners might be frustrated by this since they may want to ensure their message is only being seen by the most relevant audience. However, these page owners can still use the main self-serve ads tool to create more targeted ads to fans only if they want.
Facebook is today launching cost-per-action ads for certain actions through the Ads API, a company spokesperson tells us.
This pricing model lets advertisers define the action that is most important to them and set a maximum price they’re willing to spend for each action of that type. For example, instead of paying for every click — whether it came from a user who simply viewed a photo larger, left a comment or visited the advertiser’s fan page instead of actually Liking the page — a company could now say it only wants to pay for page Likes. Any other clicks or engagement won’t take away from the advertisers’s budget.
This option gives advertisers more control over their spends. Previously, a company would have to run ads on a cost-per-click or optimized cost-per-impression basis, and then constantly monitor their ads to understand the actual amount they were spending per action. Because Facebook ads include so many potential actions for users to take — photo views, Timeline visits, page Likes, post Likes, comments, shares, link clicks, etc. — it can be frustrating for advertisers to be paying for clicks that don’t accomplish their primary marketing objective. This is why cost-per-action ads are something many advertisers have asked for from Facebook, and many third-party providers were selling ads this way, even if Facebook’s API didn’t officially support it.