Facebook monetizes users logging out with premium ad placement on logout page

Facebook announced today that premium ads will be displayed on a new “logout experience” page, immediately after Facebook users log out of Facebook using their desktop web browser. This is part of a significant overhaul of its premium advertising options available to advertisers working directly with the company.

Previously, when users logged out of Facebook, they were redirected to the logged-out home page that prompts users to either login or register a new account. Now the page can feature a very large and prominent ad, which logically replaces the signup portion of the page that is not relevant to users who already have Facebook accounts. Below is a sample photo, provided by Facebook, of the logout experience page:

Though many Facebook users stay logged in for long periods, this potentially represents monetization of hundreds of millions of monthly pageviews that previously display advertising. The addition of premium ads to the logout page will help Facebook generate enough impressions to reach the 75 percent of fans that it guarantees through its Reach Generator solution for Premium advertisers, also announced today.

Any premium page post ad is eligible to be shown on the logout screen. This includes videos, photos, offers, events and questions. A user does not have to be connected to a page in order to see this type of ad.

Stay tuned for more coverage of today’s fMC event, and see our liveblog of the keynote presentation.

Facebook launches mobile ads: Sponsored Stories and Premium page post ads within News Feed

At today’s fMC event in New York City, Facebook announced that Sponsored Stories and Premium ads will begin to appear in News Feed on m.facebook.com and native iOS and Android apps. This marks the first time the company has brought ads into its mobile products and is part of a significant update to its marketing and advertising products, centered around the introduction of Timeline for businesses.

Sponsored Stories in the mobile News Feed will appear similar to Sponsored Stories on the desktop News Feed, which were introduced in January. Premium ads are only available to advertisers working directly with Facebook representatives, not from the self-serve or Ads API tools.

While the introduction of Sponsored Stories to the mobile News Feed was expected, the appearance of Premium Ads in both the desktop and mobile News Feed (as opposed to their previous position on the right side of the desktop homepage) is very new. This allows premium advertisers to reach fans connected to their Page from within News Feed, even if there is no friend activity that could generate a Sponsored Story. While Premium ads in the News Feed are still relevant to the user, as they are only displayed to users who have already liked a given page, they are arguably less organic than Facebook’s past offering of Sponsored Stories in the News Feed, as they are focused on promoting content at scale, rather than friend activity on a Page.

Users who do not want to see promoted page posts in News Feed can unlike those pages. However, if a friend interacts with a page and the page is paying for Sponsored Stories, those items can show on desktop and  mobile.

Stay tuned for more coverage of today’s fMC event, and see our liveblog of the keynote presentation here.

Facebook introduces Reach Generator packaged advertising solution to boost page posts

At today’s fMC event in New York City, Facebook announced Reach Generator, a new premium advertising solution for large clients seeking to reach a higher percentage of fans via sponsored activity.

Reach Generator allows advertisers to pay Facebook on an ongoing basis, as opposed to a CPC or CPM basis, to sponsor one page post every day, and guarantee a 75 percent reach of the page’s fanbase over a month-long period. The company said that test partners, including Ben & Jerry’s, were able to reach 98 percent of their page’s fans using Reach Generator, a massive increase over the 16 percent of fans that Pages, on average, reach without ads or Sponsored Stories.

Reach Generator was outlined briefly on Facebook’s mobile site for the event, and then hidden from view. Below is the text from Facebook’s description of Reach Generator:

Make sure your fans see your stories

This “always on” packaged solution makes it easy for you to regularly reach and engage 75% of your fans with meaningful content from your Page. You focus on creating engaging content on your newly designed Page, while we ensure that your fans see the stories you are telling.

  • Reach Generator is easy and simple to use.
  • You post great, relevant content on your Page, and Facebook will automatically distribute it to your fans.
  • We guarantee you will reach a majority of your fans and see great results.

Blogging the Facebook Marketing Conference: Keynote

We’re at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City covering the Facebook Marketing Conference. The social network launched Timeline for pages this morning. Now Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, VP of Product Chris Cox, Director of Global Business Marketing Mike Hoefflinger and VP of Business & Marketing Partnerships David Fischer will lead a keynote for about 1,500 marketers.

Tune in to the livestream of the event here, and watch this space for updates.

10:10 a.m. Sheryl Sandberg takes the stage and begins to share emotional stories about how Facebook has enabled individuals connect and help each other. These stories “reflect a really fundamental change in society,” she says. “Technology is empowering us.”

10:15 a.m. Sandberg talks about real identity and the power of personalization and connection through Facebook. “Everyone can have a voice.” She notes, “The power of individual voice is not new,” but “the difference now is that so many people can have voice at scale.”

“What it means to be social is if you want to talk to me, you have to listen to me as well.”

10:18 a.m. “People think technology brings us apart. We think it brings people together.”

10:19 a.m. Sandberg shares stories about NATO and “Imagine if politicians all over the world used Facebook to be that transparent.”

10:20 a.m. Sandberg tells how Victor Cruz shared Spotify playlist before Super Bowl.

10:21 a.m. Sandberg says much of what’s happening on the web is taking things from offline and putting them online. TV commercials become online videos. Billboards become Facebook posts. We believe that will no longer work. People want to be a full part of the conversation. This is a really pivotal time for all of us. We’re going to find our voice, learn how to use it, listen and adapt. This is going to happen in small and powerful ways everyday.

10:22 a.m. “Your customers are listening, so engage them.” We want to make the entire world more open and connected. We know that if we want to take everything and make it social, we can’t do it alone. We are a partnership company. As our business grows, others will too. We provide technology that enables others.

“If we’re going to make marketing truly social, it won’t be us. It will be you. It will be the people in this room today.”

10:25 a.m. “We’re at the very beginning of what’s possible, if we put people at the center of everything we do.”

10:27 a.m. Chris Cox takes the stage and tells his story about interviewing at Facebook years ago. Co-founder Dustin Moskowitz told Cox not to think about Facebook as just a site for profiles. He told him to think about “The Graph.” The connections between people.

First Facebook profile was designed to be a directory for people around you. It was designed to be the first five minutes of a conversation.

10:29 a.m. Timeline for profiles is meant to be the next several minutes or hours of a conversation.

10:30 a.m. Cox talks more about what Moscowitz told him the future of Facebook would be. He talked about News Feed becoming personalized newspapers for people.

10:33 a.m. News Feed has moved beyond college gossip to include more links, photos and other stories.

10:34 a.m. Now we’re starting to see brands and artists sharing interactive, rich content.

10:35 a.m. Facebook is meant to be a social platform with tools that can be applied to any device. The current model for most software is that people are anonymous interacting with a interface. Cox talks about people’s relationship with television. He suggests a future of turning on a TV and seeing what friends have watched, clips that people are talking about, shows like others you like.

1:37 a.m. Director of Global Business Marketing Mike Hoefflinger takes the stage. He starts talking about razors. He says decades ago, people bought products based on relationships with the people who made them. Then when companies had to operate at scale, they had to rely on advertising. Now with Facebook, relationships are back. He says stories are replacing ads. ”Ads are good. Stories are better.”

1:41 a.m. “Pages are mission control for your business, your stories.”

1:56 a.m. “Pages will be mission control for premium on Facebook. It’s time to introduce something a little more. As a part of Premium on Facebook we say those stories are eligible for News Feed, me mean desktop and mobile.”

Introduced Reach Generator, a new way to scale distribution, engagement and results. 

Premium on Facebook is the most impactful way to distribute your content. Over the last few years we’ve tested the efficacy of premium ads. We can achieve 3x return on investment and sometimes more.

Starting today when you are telling stories, when you are communicating with people you are connected to and running premium ads, your stories are eligible to show in News Feed. Beta tests showed 5-10x CTR over the rest of Facebook.

“When we say stories are eligible for News Feed, we mean desktop and we mean mobile starting today.”

1:58 p.m. We’re introducing a fourth optional placement to show ads during the logout experience coming in April. Shows content to users when they log out of Facebook.

“One story — we take care of distribution to other areas.”

“Premium on Facebook is the best way to get your stories in front of an audience.”

2:03 p.m. VP of Business & Marketing Partnerships David Fischer takes the stage to lead a panel with Walmart EVP and CMO Stephen Quinn, CEO of Aegis Media North America Nigel Morris, and President of 1-800-Flowers.com Chris McCann. They talked about how the industry has changed in recent years and how social media is affecting their businesses.

Facebook Studio gives awards to Amex, Wrigley, Nike, others for social campaigns

American Express took top honors in the Facebook Studio Awards for its Small Business Saturday promotion on the social network. A jury of marketing executives selected 10 more winning campaigns that used the Facebook platform to promote social interactions and sharing.

Digitas and CP&B helped American Express create Small Business Saturday as a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday after Thanksgiving. The credit card company gave cardholders $25 credits when they shopped in independent stores on Nov. 26. Amex also provided small businesses with in-store signage, social media advice, email support and $100 advertising credits on Facebook and LinkedIn. An estimated 103 million people participated in the second annual event, and sales recorded on American Express cards on Nov. 26, 2011, were up 23 percent from the same Saturday in 2010.

“It is the type of work that would not have been possible without Facebook,” Facebook Director of Global Creative Solutions Mark D’Arcy says in a Q&A on the Facebook Studio site. “With Small Business Saturday, multiple agencies and the client worked together to create a platform that has been transformational for Amex’s business and has lived far beyond a typical campaign. The work also genuinely made the world better.”

Other winners were:

  • Flair’s “Fashion Tag” by Duval Guillaume (Gold)
  • KIASMA Museum of Contemporary Art’s “Make a Better One Yourself” by Hasan & Partners (Gold)
  • Wrigley’s “Serenading Unicorn 2011” by Evolution Bureau (Gold)
  • Social Democratic Party of Switzerland’s “What Zurich Needs” by Walker Werbeagentur (Gold)
  • Health insurance company Dovera’s “My Blood Group” by Zaraguza DIGITAL (Silver)
  • Intel’s “Progress Thru Processors” by Noise (Silver)
  • Commonwealth Bank’s “Community Seeds” by Imagination (Bronze)
  • Nike’s “Corrida Sp-Rio 2011” by LiveAD (Bronze)
  • Wrigley’s “Mob the Rainbow” by Evolution Bureau (Bronze)
  • Nike’s “Nike+ GPS App” by R/GA (Bronze)

“One of the things we really valued was when the passion and energy from a campaign manifested itself in real-world activation,” D’Arcy says.

Of course, the winners were operating on a scale that most businesses cannot replicate, but that was part of the judging criteria. The effort had to be part of a larger multimedia campaign. We’d like to see Facebook develop a way to acknowledge smaller campaigns and companies that exemplify social thinking year-round. Right now it does not use its own Marketing Solutions page to great effect. Spotlighting pages, apps and campaigns would be more useful for the hundreds of thousands of people following this page.

More details and links to the winners’ work are available here.

Facebook likely paying carriers big cuts for mobile web payments system

Now that Facebook finally unveiled carrier-powered payments for the mobile web yesterday, it’s time to look at what the potential costs might be. Last month, U.K.-based mobile billing and analytics provider Bango announced to shareholders that it had a new partnership with Facebook, but that it couldn’t disclose the terms. Bango powers billing for app stores and also has a deal with Amazon.

Here are Bango’s standard payout rates for the carrier partners Facebook mentioned yesterday. (Important note: These are not Facebook’s actual rates. These are Bango’s standard rates. It is possible that because of the social network’s clout and scale, the company might have been able to wrest slightly more favorable terms. But this should give you an idea of how expensive the carrier’s cut is for Facebook.)

Bango’s standard carrier payout rates:

AT&T – 60%
Deutsche Telekom – Unknown, because Deutsche is not a Bango partner.
Orange – 83%
Telefónica – 55%
T-Mobile USA – 57.5%
Verizon – Unknown, because Verizon is not a Bango partner.
Vodafone – 79.2%
KDDI – Unknown, because KDDI is not a Bango partner.
SOFTBANK MOBILE Corp. – Unknown, because Softbank is not a Bango partner.

Since Facebook pays out a 70 percent revenue share to developers, any time a carrier remits less than 70 percent, Facebook is taking a loss on facilitating these transactions. When you factor in the research and development costs of building the mobile platform, it’s almost certain the company will be losing money on this area of the platform for some time.

Now to anyone in the mobile industry, this really shouldn’t be a surprise. Terms for carrier billing have always been onerous. Facebook has dealt with this in the past as it’s been possible to pay through carriers for Credits on canvas games through the Zong partnership. Google is also in a similar position when it comes to in-app payments on Android via carrier billing.

Continue reading on our sister site, Inside Mobile Apps.

Yahoo goes after Facebook with patent claims

Yahoo claims Facebook is infringing on 10 to 20 of its patents and threatens a lawsuit against the social network if it doesn’t agree to pay licensing fees, according to the New York Times.

The timing of the claim is reminiscent of when Yahoo took similar action against Google just before the search company’s initial public offering. This led Google to settle and award Yahoo with several million shares of pre-IPO stock. Facebook could be put in the same sort of bind.

The news comes across as oddly malicious of Yahoo, which seems to be benefiting from Facebook login and Open Graph integration. Yahoo is consistently one of the top ranking apps in our AppData tracking service, and Facebook has been pointing to Yahoo as an example of how other media companies can drive traffic and boost engagement by integrating its platform.

But with Facebook eating away at Yahoo’s display advertising revenues and contributing to the demise of the company’s other services like photo sharing, messenger and email, the web portal decided to be more aggressive in its attack. Yahoo apparently broke the news to the New York Times at the same time it informed Facebook. A spokesperson from Facebook said Monday night that the company had not fully evaluated Yahoo’s claims.

Facebook owns dozens of patents, including some it strategically acquired from Friendster in 2010. So far the social network has used these patents as protection, not to go on the offense as Yahoo has done.

Facebook did not respond to additional requests for comment today.

Real-time insights coming to pages, sources say

Facebook is looking to bring more real-time insights to pages soon, Techcrunch reports.

As we suggested last week, recent bugs in the Insights API could be an indication the social network is updating the product. Representatives from Facebook tell us they have nothing yet to announce, but it’s possible the company will make note of the change at its marketing conference Wednesday.

Metrics like reach, virality and People Talking About This are currently released 48 hours after a post is made. This is sufficient for most page owners, but if the social network could reliably share all analytics in real-time, pages could better track performance of their posts and understand when is best to share content.

In January 2011, Facebook tried to show insights in real time underneath each page post. Many page owners found the data inconsistent with actual performance. Jeff Widman, co-founder of Facebook analytics provider PageLever, says eventually the social network stopped updating per-post impressions and feedback data every hour. Widman believes Facebook couldn’t keep up as the number of pages grew, so now those insights update every two days instead.

Widman says getting hourly per-post impressions, now called “reach” on Facebook, allows page owners to calculate the lifetime of individual posts and understand when they can put up another without cannibalizing the first. Likes and comments, which are updated in real time, can be used for the same effect among some pages, but smaller pages don’t necessarily get enough feedback to be as useful as impressions, Widman says.

Still, for most page owners, getting additional statistics in real time isn’t going to have much of an effect on how they manage their presence on Facebook. Key metrics, such as Likes, comments and shares already display instantaneously. We would, however, like to see the public Talking About This number coincide with total Likes. Having one count be live and the other be two days behind is confusing, especially since many people look at the ratio of the numbers to measure engagement.

Facebook Questions appear in mobile News Feed

Facebook now displays Questions activity in the mobile News Feed nearly a year after the product launched on the desktop version of the site.

Mobile users can finally see and answer Facebook Questions from their friends and pages. This could increase engagement for pages who use the feature to poll their fan base and could boost viral reach. However, users still cannot ask Questions from native apps or m.facebook.com.

When the product launched in March 2011, many pages found success getting more fans to respond to structured Questions than posts that posed questions in plain text. In recent months, fewer pages seem to be using the feature. This reporter’s own experience is that impressions and responses for Facebook Questions dropped significantly in the last half of 2011, underperforming compared to photo and link posts. It is unclear whether this was the result of fan apathy, Facebook no longer favoring Question posts in News Feed, more users checking the site via mobile where Questions weren’t visible or some other factor.

Allowing Questions to be viewed and answered from mobile News Feed could improve the performance of this type of post. It is also likely part of Facebook’s plan to bring ads to mobile. Companies can pay to promote page posts including Questions as ad units on the web. We imagine Facebook’s mobile ads will be in-stream versions of Sponsored Stories, not a separate offering, so the social network has to make Questions available on all devices in order to not divide its ad product.

Questions has been a somewhat neglected feature, lacking a mobile component and open API until recently. We think Questions has a future as a plugin for blogs and news sites to get feedback and engagement from readers, but the company has yet to offer this option.

Facebook partners with carriers to bolster mobile web-based payments

Facebook partnered with some of the world’s largest carriers to make the experience of paying with Credits more seamless on the mobile web, the company announced today.

The company has done a deal with AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica, T-Mobile USA, Verizon, Vodafone, KDDI and Japan’s Softbank Mobile Corp to let Facebook users pay more seamlessly with Credits through carrier billing. The deal comes at a critical time for Facebook as Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms threaten to cut the social network out of influencing and earning revenue from the mobile app ecosystem.

Facebook’s chief technology officer Bret Taylor said that the current system for making web-based payments has too many friction points to make it useful to consumers or developers.

“Right now, the payments experience on the web is just broken for end users,” he said in a keynote at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. “Even with operator billing support, most require a step called SMS device verification. That means if I’m in the middle of the game and I want to pay 99 cents, I have to wait for an SMS to arrive.”

After that, the user has to verify that the device is connected to their Facebook account.

“Then I have to awkwardly memorize the code and resubmit the transactions,” he said. “If I manage to make it this far, then I can finally go back to playing the game.”

With the new solution, third-party developers will be able to integrate a single SDK that lets their players charge their monthly phone bills in a single step through Facebook.

Continue reading on our sister site, Inside Mobile Apps. Lead Writer Kim-Mai Cutler is live at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona where Facebook made the announcement.

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