Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg shared today on the company’s first quarter earnings call that its acquisition of Atlas from Microsoft closed last week and that she welcomed the team to Facebook today.
Atlas Advertiser Suite is a platform that advertisers and agencies use to plan, manage, track and optimize their digital marketing. Facebook agreed to buy the platform and Seattle-based team from Microsoft at the end of February.
Sandberg said Atlas is important for its measurement capabilities, not its potential to power an ad network, which many have speculated about. She said Facebook has “no plans” to create an ad network to serve Facebook ads on third-party sites. Atlas will continue to be a tool for advertisers to measure the effect of their online ads on Facebook and other platforms.
Facebook plans to eliminate the “friends of fans” metric from its page insights product, first reported by Wisemetrics and confirmed to us by Facebook.
The metric shows page owners their estimated total potential audience when counting the friends of users who Like their page, however, it is not very useful. Pages would only be able to reach these people if all of their current fans saw and interacted with a post and then all of the person’s friends saw that story in their feed. With the way Facebook’s News Feed algorithm works, this is just about impossible.
Removing the metric could help page owners focus on the stats that do matter to their Facebook marketing performance.
Facebook said in a statement:
“In an effort to make our Insights products more simple and more actionable, Facebook plans to deprecate the “Friends of Fans” metric in Page Insights, which is listed on the Overview tab of Page Insights. Page admins will still be able to see this number by using the Friends of Fans targeting option in the ad create tool and in the Ads API.”
“Friends of fans” was added to Insights in 2011, the same time as People Talking About This and Reach. Shortly after, Facebook launched the page post ad format. The company was seemingly trying to convey the value of sharing engaging stories, which could be amplified by fans and reach friends of fans. By highlighting this new metric, Facebook could give businesses the impression that their content was reaching more people, or that they could reach this many people if they paid to promote it.
Ultimately, it wasn’t a valuable stat. Page owners and businesses would benefit from a further rethinking of Facebook’s page analytics offering to better address certain components and give more actionable insights.
As of July 10, “friends of fans” will no longer be reported through the Insights dashboard or via the Insights API.
Brand Networks today announced that it has been awarded the Insights badge as part of the Facebook Preferred Marketing Developers program. The announcement coincides with the company’s debut of bn.insights, a dashboard for marketers to monitor and understand their page, apps and ad analytics.
Brand Networks is one of only two companies accredited in all four PMD badges: Ads, Apps, Insights and Pages. Adobe was previously the only company with this status, gaining badges through its acquisition of ads provider Efficient Frontier last year, not long after Efficient Frontier had bought the page management platform Context Optional.
Facebook is testing an update to the page admin panel, which gives more prominence to reach metrics for recent posts and encourages page owners to promote those posts to increase their audience.
Some users are seeing a “Posts” section at the top of pages they have admin rights to, replacing the “Notifications” section, which included recent comments, wall posts and other fan activity. The new section shows the organic and paid reach of each recent post, along with an option to promote the post. Notifications are available from the top menu.
Facebook today revealed that bugs in its page insights product led reach and impressions to be misreported for months. Fixes are being rolled out today and over the weekend, the company says.
Facebook says the bugs only affected reporting, not delivery, so page reach wasn’t actually reduced, it may have just appeared that way from insights data. This was limited to page insights and did not have an impact on ad insights.
The social network says pages will be affected differently depending on their fan based and when and how frequently they post, but overall it expects most pages to see an increase in reach or no change. Pages that ran News Feed ads are likely to see an increase in paid reach. It’s possible some pages could see an increase or decrease in organic reach.
Facebook is now offering developers information on how often users find their app through the search bar on Facebook.com, according to a post on the company’s developer blog.
Canvas developers will find a Search Results tab in their app insights under “Other Features.” This will track both organic and paid clicks. For now, this only includes clicks from the search bar typeahead, not clicks from the search results page or clicks from mobile. However, clicks will be counted from users whether or not they have Graph Search.
This change will help canvas developers understand how often users are coming to their app via search, which could give them a better idea whether or not running Sponsored Results ads would be valuable.
Currently, pages receive data about how many new Likes they got from the search results page, but they can’t see how many times people visited their page after searching for it. If Facebook wants more pages to run Sponsored Results, it will have to offer data that shows how important that channel is for discovery.
Search results data for apps will go back to Jan. 21, 2013.
As Facebook puts more emphasis on monetization and more advertisers are spending on its platform, measurement is increasingly important.
The social network is still so new and comes with unique ad types and its own vocabulary, so many advertisers still aren’t sure how it fits in with the rest of their marketing efforts. The Facebook measurement team is working to put its ads in a more familiar context for advertisers and apply its research findings to offer better ad types and systems.
We spoke to Head of Measurement Research Development and Partnerships Sean Bruich about the questions Facebook is trying to answer, the value of a Like, how Facebook ads compare to more traditional channels and what needs to happen as marketers begin thinking cross-platform instead of in silos.
The following is an edited transcript from that interview.
Tell me more about your role and what your team does.
My team is the research development team, we also work on partnerships with third-party research companies like Nielsen and Datalogix. Our goal is twofold: to help build the right tools to help advertisers buy media to capture the value they’re trying to get, and the second piece to build out the measurement systems that help quantify that value and optimize campaigns, not just for e-commerce transactions, but a broader set of marketing outcomes like offline sales. It’s pretty simple, we’re trying to solve how you value an ad campaign online if one of your objectives is offline sales impact or one your objectives is staying top of mind. And the second piece is how do you translate all of those things that you know about other forms of marketing and understand whether online is accomplishing those same goals and how you would execute against those goals online.
As Facebook looks to prove its value to advertisers, it has focused on conducting research that demonstrates whether online advertising impacts offline sales and that uses large data sets to gain insight into how to make campaigns more effective.
Facebook’s Head of Measurement Research Development and Partnerships Sean Bruich today spoke at the Webtrends Engage conference about some of the results of that research. Understanding these conclusions could help advertisers with their own campaigns and give people a better idea of how Facebook approaches its ad products.
Impressions create value
Findings from Nielsen, comScore and Facebook’s partnership with Datalogix indicate that ad clicks don’t necessarily lead to sales or ROI. Impressions, however, can be powerful. Facebook found that 99 percent of offline sales came from people who viewed ads on Facebook but didn’t click them. Neilsen’s research found no correlation between clickthrough rate and ROI. Bruich didn’t get into details about comScore’s study, but it similarly found that clicks didn’t correlate with conversions as much as other factors did.
Facebook’s new Graph Search tool gives users who allow followers — formerly called subscribers — a way to learn about their audience.
Facebook launched asymmetrical following in September 2011. Users can allow followers to see their public updates in News Feed, similar to Twitter. The feature is commonly used by public figures and people who use Facebook to connect with people in their industry or who share similar interests. However, unlike with Facebook pages, users do not get any analytics about the audience that follows them.
Now with Graph Search, users can uncover some information about these followers. For instance, someone might want to know the countries or cities where their followers live. The most popular pages, movies, music and other interests of their followers might be relevant. Users might want know where their followers work or what schools they went to. They also might want to get an idea of the age, gender or education level of their followers. All of these insights are now accessible using Graph Search.
Users can look for overlap in people who follow them who also follow another user, or people who follow them who are interested in a topic. Of if a user wants to host a meet-up, they can search for followers who live nearby or in a particular city.
See also: How marketers can use Facebook’s Graph Search to understand consumers and Graph Search: a recommendation engine only Facebook could power
Facebook today announced changes to its mobile app install ad unit, including a way for iOS 6 users to download apps without leaving the social network. Developers also gained new tools for customizing their ad creative and seeing the results of their campaign.
Mobile app install ads, launched in October after beginning in beta in August, are feed-based ads to drive downloads of third-party iOS and Android applications. Developers can use the same demographic and interest-based targeting options as they can for other ads on the Facebook platform, including being able to target users who have not already connected with an app.
Typically these ads lead to the Apple App Store or Google Play, but now Facebook has created a way for iOS 6 users to see an App Store overlay within the Facebook app. These users can download a developer’s app without losing their place in News Feed. For now, Android users will still be taken out of the app and into Google Play.