Complete walkthrough of Facebook’s mobile Pages Manager app

Facebook recently released a standalone page management app for iOS devices which gives page owners better moderation tools and alerts about fan activity.

Pages Manager has a similar format to Facebook’s existing iOS app, but it adds notifications and insights, as well as eliminates any features that are not related to pages. Here we’ll walk through the available features and address the areas where the app would benefit from additional functionality.

Viewing pages

After users download and connect the app with their Facebook account, Pages Manager will allow users to visit and take action on any page they have admin privileges for. Users can switch between pages from the menu that appears after tapping the button in the top left of the app. Also from that menu, users can access their page’s insights, admins, the help center and log out.

When visiting a page from Pages Manager, users can filter between all posts, page posts only or hidden posts. Hidden posts are something that are not available from the main Facebook app, however we’d like to also see an “only others” view to more quickly browse posts from fans and people besides the page.

Insights

Page owners can see how many fans have been reached and how many people are talking about a given post. Tapping on this area will bring up additional post metrics, including organic vs. paid vs. viral reach, the number of clicks on a post and the number of shares. Unlike on the desktop version of Facebook, users will not be able to see the number of shares directly from the post itself. There is also no way to view who shared a post or what they said about it from the mobile app. Still, Pages Manager is an improvement over the main Facebook app, which does not include information about shares or any other insights besides Likes and comments. We’d like to see Facebook add “negative feedback” metrics to the mobile app — as well as make it more prominent on the desktop site — to let page owners know when their posts are being hidden or marked as spam.

Page owners can get a snapshot of their overall page metrics by tapping the gray bar at the top of their page or by visiting “Insights” from the main menu. This is useful for being able to refer to in a meeting, for instance, but actual analysis will need to be done from the desktop site. In future versions of the app, it might be useful to provide basic demographic data or a list of the most engaging posts in the past month.

Moderation

Admins can use Pages Manager to moderate comments and posts more easily than they can with the main Facebook app. First, users will receive push notifications about recent activity. Page owners who see a lot of hourly activity might want to turn off push notifications for those pages. Unfortunately, this is not possible from the mobile app and has to be done from the “edit page” dashboard on the desktop site. Facebook’s Help Center suggests this feature will come to a future version of Pages Manager. Interestingly, Facebook seems to automatically turn off push notifications for pages over a certain size, but leave the default on for smaller pages.

Even without push notifications enabled, users can access notifications from the top of the app, just as they can for their personal accounts in the main app. Page owners can see Likes, comments and Wall posts here.

Admins can read and respond to comments on behalf of the page, just as they would on the main app. However, Pages Manager offers additional options to hide posts and ban users, whereas the main app only allows admins to delete posts. Users can take one of these actions by swiping across a post or comment, either to the left or right. The app will offer a “confirm delete” dialog to prevent accidents.

Creating posts

Page owners can create posts from the new app. Similar to the main app, they can make text posts, link posts and photo posts. There is not a way to create events, customize how links appear, or upload multiple photos at a time. There is also no option to schedule posts or post to past points on a page’s Timeline, as is available on desktop. Of these features, being able to upload multiple photos in a single post is likely to be the most useful for page owners on their mobile phones. The other actions are fine to be reserved for desktop.

Admins

The mobile app allows page owners to see all the admins of their pages, but they cannot take any action here to add or remove admins. There’s also no indication here what level of admin access a user has, but since Facebook added that feature to the desktop site this week, we could see it in a future version of the mobile app. Currently, the main Facebook mobile app does not include any way to view page admins.

What’s missing

One important feature that has been left out of Pages Manager is messages. On the desktop site, pages have the option of accepting private messages from users and being able to respond as the page. Facebook says this will be available in future version of the app.

There is also no way to view or edit a page’s “info” section from Pages Manager, though this isn’t particularly necessary to have on a mobile device. If admins want to see what their info tab says, they can view it from the main Facebook app or mobile site.

There’s also no way to “use Facebook as a page” in the same way that is available on desktop. This feature lets admins take actions — Liking and commenting on other page’s posts or writing on another page’s Timeline — on behalf of their page rather than their personal accounts. It also allows page owners to see a feed of recent stories from other pages that they’ve Liked as their page. These features make it similar to using a company Twitter account rather than a personal one. It’s unknown what percentage of page owners use Facebook in this way, but this could be useful for the standalone pages app to include one day.

Download Pages Manager from the App Store here or directly on your iOS device. Facebook has not indicated when the app would be available for Android.

Top 25 Facebook games of June 2012

May proved a slow month for the social game industry, based on our lists for the Top 25 games of June 2012. Both lists saw notable traffic declines, few gains and no new game debuts.

We start with the list of top 25 games by daily active users, which is the best way to evaluate a title’s core audience. Only four games showed gains over last month, the largest belonging to recently-launched Zynga Bingo with 1.8 million DAU. King.com’s Candy Crush Saga continued to climb the charts, gaining 1.4 million DAU (100,000 more than it gained last month). Disney Playdom’s Marvel: Avengers Alliance shows also strong traffic a month after The Avengers hit theaters, gaining 920,000 DAU. Nordeus’s Top Eleven – Be a Football Manager is still making gradual gains, up by 100,000 DAU.

As was the case last month, the two biggest losses belong to Zynga’s CityVille and Hidden Chronicles. CityVille dropped by another 1.4 million DAU, while Hidden Chronicles lost 1.1 million DAU.

Now it’s time to look at monthly active users, which measures a title’s overall reach on Facebook. Zynga’s CityVille lost 6.2 million MAU and its declining traffic caused it to drop to the No. 2 spot on the list. The top spot is now held by Texas HoldEm Poker, which lost 1.7 million MAU. After CityVille, the largest loss belonged to Hidden Chronicles, which dropped 4.3 million MAU.

Only three games on this list saw gains over the past month. The largest increase was with King.com’s Candy Crush Saga, up by 5.2 million MAU. Disney Playdom’s Marvel: Avengers Alliance grew by 3.5 million MAU. Finally, Geewa’s Pool Live Tour was up by 600,000 MAU.

All data in this post comes from our traffic tracking service, AppDataStay tuned next week for the beginning of June’s  Top 25 gainers and losers, when we look at the continued performance of games that appeared on the top 25 DAU list.

This article was originally posted on our sister site, Inside Social Games.

Facebook puts proposed policy changes up to a vote following activist campaign

Facebook has made proposed revisions to its Data Use Policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities open to a user vote between now and June 8.

The vote is the second of its kind since Facebook decided in 2009 to give users the option to review proposed policy changes and then offer a vote if more than 7,000 users comment on those changes. User Max Schrems, who leads the activist group Europe Vs. Facebook, encouraged users to comment “I oppose the changes and want a vote about the demands on www.our-policy.org.” More than 10,000 users did so on the English-language version, and there are thousands more on other pages.

Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer for Policy Erin Egan told TechCrunch that the company will consider changing its voting threshold to promote quality over quantity, and prevent spam-like comments from triggering votes in the future.

“[Schrems] is interested in us changing our product, but these revisions are about our policy. We can’t please everyone,” Egan told TechCrunch.

The proposed revisions do not include any major changes to how the social network collects or uses user data. The changes are mostly updated wording — for example, using “Timeline” instead of “profile” — and added clarification about existing policy. Clearer examples and user tips have been added to the Data Use Policy per recommendations from the Irish Data Protection Commissioner’s Office, which audited the social network’s data collection practices last year.

Users can visit the Facebook Site Governance page to review all changes, compare these with the existing policies and read Facebook’s explanation of the changes. Through an application, users can vote for either the new policies or the previous policies. To the dismay of Schrems and Europe Vs. Facebook, there is no option to vote for an alternative policy. His group, for example, calls for all Facebook features to be opt-in rather than opt-out and for Facebook to provide users with full access to all personal data in raw format within 40 days upon request.

Voting will end June 8 at 9 a.m. If 30 percent of active users vote, the results will be considered “binding.” That means if fewer than 270 million of Facebook’s 901 million monthly active users vote, the results will be considered “advisory” but non-binding.

Facebook allows post scheduling directly from pages without third-party tools

Facebook page owners can now create posts and schedule them to appear a specific times by using a new feature in the page’s publisher.

Previously, page owners had to use third-party tools like those from HootSuite or Buddy Media to schedule posts for future points in time. Now, users can click the clock icon in the bottom left corner of the publisher and select a date up to six months in advance. While this additional functionality could help page owners not already using third-party tools, social media platform companies should not feel too threatened by the feature. Most platforms offer a unified dashboard for Facebook, Twitter and other networks, so that user can create a post from one location and then schedule it to appear in several channels. This is something Facebook is not likely to replicate.

The social network’s new feature requires that posts be scheduled at least 10 minutes from when they are created. The publisher also offers times in 10-minute increments so it seems posts cannot be scheduled for 12:15, for example. However, Facebook’s Help Center says posts can be scheduled in 15-minute intervals. We have asked the company for clarification.

After scheduling a post, page owners will see a confirmation that will let them know that they can view, reschedule or cancel their post from the page’s activity log.

Earlier today, Facebook released different levels of admin access for page owners. These features are likely to most help individuals and small- to medium-sized businesses that don’t have a budget for third-party platforms. Most larger companies have additional needs that won’t be met using Facebook’s native tools. As we’ve seen in the past when the social network improves its page moderation features, third-party platforms are able to incorporate the features into their own tools using Facebook’s APIs.

Facebook introduces 5 tiers of page admin access

Facebook now offers pages fives different levels of page admin privileges so that businesses can assign roles to different people without giving up full control of their pages.

Previously, all admins had equal access to create posts, view insights, manage applications, respond to fans and edit page settings. The new roles are “manager,” “content creator,” “moderator,” “advertiser” and “insights analyst.” Facebook offers the following chart to break down what each type of admin is authorized to do.

Facebook first announced that it would offer five levels of admin access at the Facebook Marketing Conference in February, but at the time it did not explain what the different roles would be. For now, page owners cannot change the privileges associated with the roles above. For example, an advertiser cannot create posts as the page unless they are changed to a content creator — though doing so also gives them the ability to respond to fans through comments or private messages. Still, these roles seem to cover the needs of most pages.

The current default for all admins is manager status. Levels can be changed from the “admin roles” panel within the “edit page” dashboard.

Thanks Blink VP of Media and Planning Eti Suruzon for the tip

Facebook expands mobile Sponsored Stories to include recent post and call to action

Facebook is testing a new “Page Like” Sponsored Story in the mobile News Feed that is more than three times larger than the previous version of the ad.

These units now include a page’s recent post and a clear call to action to Like the page directly from the feed. Previously, mobile “Page Like” stories required users to visit the page before seeing any content or being able to Like the brand. The larger size and prominent call to action could make these ads more effective. However, since the mobile unit includes the advertiser’s logo rather than a friend’s picture, users might be more likely to recognize the story as being an ad or skip past it completely.

This redesign is similar to a new unit Facebook has been testing in the desktop feed recently. The social network continues to experiment with several ad formats to find what works best for advertisers without causing backlash among users. Since launching mobile Sponsored Stories at the end of February, Facebook has been restrained in the number of ads it shows there. We typically see only a few Sponsored Stories in the mobile feed each week. Facebook has also prevented third-party ad providers from selling mobile inventory, despite telling us it would soon make other premium units available through the Ads API.

The company has not made any official announcements about new Sponsored Stories formats for desktop or mobile.

New ‘Page Like’ Sponsored Story

Previous ‘Page Like’ Sponsored Story

Facebook rolls out ‘promote’ button to more U.S. pages, provides details on how it works

Facebook is rolling out its new “promote” button for pages with more than 400 fans in the U.S., according to the Facebook Marketing page.

The social network began testing the feature last month to make it easier for pages to increase the reach of their posts without going through the ad dashboard. Although the promote button simplifies the process, some page owners will resent the idea of having to pay for distribution to fans they’ve already acquired. Facebook seems to be becoming more aggressive about monetizing pages, but the rise of Sponsored Stories and promoted posts also stems from the reality that there is an increasing number of stories competing for placement in News Feed. Pages, like users, are not able to reach all of their followers organically.

For page owners willing to pay to ensure that more fans see their messages, promoted posts have the benefit of displaying in fans’ News Feeds rather than in ad units on the side of the page. Facebook also says friends of the people who interact with promoted posts will be more likely to see the story in their feeds. The cost per reached fan seems to vary by page, but Facebook would not comment on what factors may influence price. The minimum spend appears to be $5, which can reach between 20 and 2,200 fans, based on different screenshots we’ve seen of the feature. This is a lifetime budget, not a daily budget.

Posts can be promoted for up to three days from when the post was first created. Older posts are not eligible for this type of promotion in order to maintain relevance in users’ feeds. Promoted posts, like standard posts, can be targeted by location and language.

User flow for creating a promoted post

After making a post, click the “promote” button. Set a budget.

Clicking “more options” brings up details about the duration of the campaign and how page owners will be billed. There isn’t a way to change the date and time of when promoted posts will run, but page owners can pause and restart the campaign manually. Page owners can change their billing method by clicking the gear icon in the bottom left corner of the dialog.

After clicking “save,” the promoted post will be reviewed by Facebook’s ad team before beginning to get paid distribution. In the meantime, the post will appear in other users’ feeds as it would normally. Once the campaign begins, page owners will see reach details on the bottom of the posts on their Timeline. Hovering over the metrics will provide further detail.

Clicking on the “promoted for $X” button will offer insights on how many Likes, comments, shares or other actions were taken after users saw a promoted post. Page owners will also have the option to stop the promotion from here.

Promoted posts will appear in fans’ News Feeds with the word “sponsored” at the bottom.

Image credit: Facebook Help Center

Facebook tests button within mobile News Feed to drive users to native Instagram app

Facebook is testing a small icon on Instagram photos within the mobile News Feed that takes users out of Facebook and into Instagram, we’ve found.

The new button — seen in the bottom right corner of a post — is not necessarily exclusive to Instagram, though we have not yet seen any other third-party app icons in the mobile feed. Facebook agreed to acquire the mobile photo sharing app in April, but the deal has not been completed. This test is likely part of a larger plan to drive discovery and installs for mobile apps that integrate Open Graph.

Facebook’s mobile platform allows HTML5 and native iOS and Android apps to get distribution through News Feed, bookmarks and requests. These channels sent more than 160 million visitors from Facebook to mobile apps in April. Icons like the one we saw for Instagram could help catch users’ eyes as they scroll through the mobile feed and lead to even more app use.

Tapping the Instagram icon from the iOS Facebook app feed takes users directly to the native Instagram app and loads a user’s photostream. However, tapping the icon from the m.facebook.com feed on an iPhone opens a new browser window that displays the photo on Instagram’s mobile site. The Instagram button does not currently seem to appear in mobile Timeline or the new Facebook Camera feed.

We have not tested the new Instagram icon on Android devices, or on an iPhone that doesn’t already have the Instagram app installed. However, users who have not already downloaded Instagram are likely taken to the service’s App Store listing, as is the case for other mobile app links on the platform.

Note that Facebook’s mobile redesign makes some photo posts too large to be seen entirely without scrolling, so the photo above has been stitched together from two iPhone screenshots.

Before Facebook began testing the new icon, Instagram photos would appear on Facebook with a link to view the photo on Instagram’s website. It seems the link does not appear when the mobile app button is present. However, when viewing the photo outside of News Feed, the link displays again. See right.

While it’s possible the Instagram icon is the first test case for a new discovery stream for third-party apps, the new icon could also end up as a promotional tool for Facebook-owned services like Instagram, Facebook Camera or the recently acquired Karma.

Before the Instagram acquisition, the social network worked with the photo sharing app to test extending app publishing permissions to include the new Open Graph actions publishing. This resulted in a unique roll out of the Instagram Open Graph integration, which did not require users to re-authorize the application.

Facebook shares fall to $28.84 on first day of options trading

Facebook shares fell more than 9 percent today, closing at $28.84 on the first day of options trading, which allows investors to bet on the future of the stock with less money at risk.

Today marks the first time the company’s shares dropped below $30 after its initial public offering earlier this month, which priced shares at $38. Facebook now has a market cap of about $79 billion, down from the $104 billion IPO valuation. The broader market was up today with the Nasdaq, Dow and S&P all gaining over 1 percent.

Facebook’s stock had a low of $28.65 today as the company debuted in the public options market. An option is a contract that gives investors the right to buy or sell shares at a specific price on or before a certain date. It does not give investors any ownership of a company. Options can be used to bet on the direction of a stock’s price through “calls” and “puts.” When investors buy a call option, they can purchase a stock at a set price any time before the option expires. When investors buy a put option, they can sell a stock at the strike price any time before the expiration date.

According to Bloomberg, the volume for puts exceeded calls by 1.2-to-1, indicating that many investors believe Facebook’s share price will continue to decline over the next month. The outlet says June $30 puts were the most common, followed by June $34 calls and June $32 calls.

The Wall Street Journal suggested that options trading contributed to Facebook shares’ overall decline today. Other factors could include the lawsuits and controversy that have resulted from the social network’s IPO, as well as rumors that Facebook could be building a phone or buying a browser.

Facebook introduces ‘trending videos’ module in News Feed, redesigns ‘trending articles’ layout

Facebook has added a “trending videos” feature to highlight social video activity within News Feed, similar to how the social network promotes social reader articles.

Video applications like Socialcam, Viddy and Chill have grown quickly as the result of Open Graph integration, which shares users’ activity to the feed. The trending videos module organizes this activity into a single unit so that video stories do not dominate News Feed. Some social reader apps experienced a decline in monthly active users when Facebook introduced “trending articles” in April. Video apps could see a similar trend, but they may benefit in other ways. For example, users might be less inclined to mark video stories as spam or hide all stories from a particular app now that they are featured in this more structured unit.

Screenshots of the desktop and mobile view come from The Next Web, which first covered the trending video feature.

With the introduction of trending videos, Facebook has also redesigned its trending articles module. The obtrusive gray bar above the stories has been replaced by a more modest header, which includes the social network’s news icon. The thumbnail that accompanies an article has been pushed closer to the center of the feed rather than being flush left, where they seemed to overpower the much smaller user thumbnails that typically take that position. However, this appears to limit the number of characters that are displayed for an article’s headline.

Similar to the mobile version of the unit, the desktop version now shows a small preview of the next article in the series, encouraging users to click to see more. The feature also includes a green icon to indicate that clicking the link will share activity back to a user’s Timeline. The icon will be gray if the user’s privacy settings will keep that activity hidden.

Overall, the feature is a better visual fit than previous iterations. The title of the feature still seems to a misnomer, however, as many of the so-called “trending” articles and videos have only been read or watched by a single friend. Occasionally users will see content that only they have viewed become displayed in their own News Feed as “trending.”

New trending articles design

Previous trending articles design

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