Back to school = back on Facebook?

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As the school year begins, are parents (and students) spending more time on Facebook?

According to Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer Marin Software, around this time of year, clicks on Facebook ads tend to have a huge spike. Looking back at 59 million Facebook ad clicks throughout 2013, the company found that activity takes off as summer gives way to fall. Marin also examined ad clicks for Google and Bing in the same time frame, finding that Facebook really charges ahead around the time of back to school.

In July 2013, Facebook experienced its second lowest volume of ad clicks at a level 25 percent below the baseline (January). But after that, Facebook ads are much more active. From July to August, there’s a 38 percent upswing.

Marin Software feels that this spike is due to parents having more time once their kids are back in school. Additionally, college students could be using the site more around that time too.

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Facebook is sucking out our brains one satire tag at a time

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In the latest sign that the movie “Idiocracy” was a work of prophetic genius, the big-brains behind Facebook are testing out new [Satire] tags, so that unsuspecting ideologues the world over will stop sharing fake news articles as the real thing. Because we’re all too stupid to know the difference and because we obviously care less that Facebook is sucking out our brains.

Currently in a very limited testing stage, the tags appear only in the “Related Articles” section and only after a user has clicked on a satire article. When the user comes back to the page, the tag prefaces the titles of a similar nature. So it’s subtle in a “here’s some hindsight for you, dummy” kind of way.

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Facebook’s newest PMD: AdEspresso

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Big news is brewing at AdEspresso, which was recently named a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer. The San Francisco-based company (also with offices in Milan and the Netherlands) is a SaaS platform for Facebook advertising optimization, aimed at helping small businesses advertise on the social network.

Massimo Chieruzzi, the CEO and Co-Founder of AdEspresso, commented on the designation in a press release:

Facebook Advertising is a huge opportunity for SMB’s around the world and AdEspresso helps them succeed. There’s no need for Excel reports with hundreds of rows and columns of cryptic metrics and numbers. What advertisers want are the few and actionable pieces of information they really need to get real world results from their social advertising dollars. We’re committed to surfacing this information and helping our customers to do well.

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Facebook cracks down on click-baiting, promotes native link format

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Tired of shady techniques used by publishers to get you to click? So is Facebook. The company announced Monday that it is battling this tactic (click-baiting) by punishing pages who use this technique to get traffic to the website.

In a Newsroom blog post, Facebook explained how the site will determine a click-bait headline:

One way is to look at how long people spend reading an article away from Facebook. If people click on an article and spend time reading it, it suggests they clicked through to something valuable. If they click through to a link and then come straight back to Facebook, it suggests that they didn’t find something that they wanted. With this update we will start taking into account whether people tend to spend time away from Facebook after clicking a link, or whether they tend to come straight back to News Feed when we rank stories with links in them.

Facebook cited a survey where 80 percent of participants preferred headlines that helped them decide if they wanted to read the full article before clicking through.

The site also made another change for publishers who rely on links.

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The harmony of search + Facebook: a Q&A with BrightEdge CEO Jim Yu

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It’s becoming more evident that search and social are not exactly separate silos.

As customers use both search and Facebook in their purchasing decisions, it’s important for companies to make sure those presences are optimized. Jim Yu, the CEO of search and social optimization firm BrightEdge, spoke with Inside Facebook at the company’s Share14 conference in San Francisco about the relationship between the two platforms.

Inside Facebook: Can you talk about the way that the relationship between search and Facebook is evolving?

Jim Yu: What we’re starting to see is that you really have to think about the content that you’re creating and then you have to think about the integrated strategies across the different channels. Here’s what’s happening: I’m creating this piece of content. How am I going to drive engagement to this? A big part of it starts with understanding the demand. What do people care about? Once you figure that out, then you can create the content. Then you can drive that into different channels.

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How can B2B companies take advantage of Facebook retargeting?

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Facebook’s retargeting offerings, such as Custom Audiences and mobile app ads, have given a huge boost to the gaming and retail advertising sectors. Through retargeting, game developers have been able to gain installs and re-engage lapsed players, while retailers have been able to target users who stopped somewhere along the conversion funnel.

So what’s the next frontier for this kind of advertising? According to AdRoll, a Facebook Exchange partner, it’s the B2B sector.

AdRoll’s President and CMO, Adam Berke, talked with Inside Facebook about how B2B is the next big vertical for retargeting:

Generally, retargeting is known to be focused around retail, travel and classifieds, but one of our biggest verticals is actually B2B and technology. Those businesses use us because it’s very hard to find B2B decision makers and CIO types and people who are making those types of buying decisions for their companies. Once they find it, that data is really valuable. Once they identify their audience, whether it’s a SAAS product or a free trial or a freemium model, that has been a really big growth area for us. They’re starting to figure out ways to use mobile, also.

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Glassdoor: Facebook rated No. 5 nationally in culture, values

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Facebook has been highly-rated by its employees for culture and values, coming in at No. 5 overall nationally in a new Glassdoor report.

Twitter, with an average rating of 4.5, actually took the top spot. Facebook employees rated the company an average of 4.3 (out of 5), in terms of the culture and values of the company.

Glassdoor community expert Scott Dobroski discussed with Inside Facebook what makes Facebook so special:

As number five on Glassdoor’s inaugural list of the Top 25 Companies for Culture & Values, Facebook employees report high satisfaction with many aspects of its culture. Tech companies are known for their laid-back, hacker cultures and Facebook is no different with its ‘move fast and break things’ mantra. Facebook employees report satisfaction with the open and transparent environment and enjoy the team-oriented atmosphere.

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Facebook relaxes News Feed ad frequency limits

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Facebook is constantly trying to balance user experience with marketing potential in its News Feed. Upcoming changes to the News Feed will alter the frequency with which users see a certain ad.

As first reported by Digiday, Facebook is loosening restrictions on ad frequency within its marquee product. An email sent from Facebook to advertising agencies illustrates three key changes:

  • A single ad can be inserted in News Feed up to twice per day (up from one).
  • Ads from a page that a person is not connected to can be inserted into News Feed up to twice per day (previously only one per page, per day).
  • Ads from a page that a person is connected to can be inserted into News Feed up to four times per day (remains consistent from before).

A Facebook spokesperson told Inside Facebook that this will not mean that users see more ads in News Feed:

This does not change ad load. We will not show more ads; rather, we are updating the spacing between ads, and relaxing some of the parameters around insertions of ads from the same advertiser.

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

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

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

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Facebook announces Internet Defense Prize

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

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

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