Facebook partners with mobile carriers to offer free data for Facebook messaging

messengerFacebook today announced partnerships with mobile operators around the world to provide free or discounted data access when subscribers use Facebook messaging.

The social network has arrangements with 18 mobile operators in 14 countries to provide special pricing for usage of Messenger for Android, Messenger for iOS and Facebook for Every Phone. Facebook recently updated its feature phone application to be optimized for chat and added a number of new features to Messenger, including voice messaging and the ability to create a Messenger account without a Facebook profile.

The social network is making a big global push for its messaging service this year. As the company seeks its next billion users, messaging is going to be a key feature that draws people in. With so many alternatives — from SMS and email to apps like WhatsApp or WeChat — Facebook has a lot to compete against. Now, it’s hoping that subsidizing usage by partnering with mobile providers will give it an edge in emerging markets.
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‘Facebook for Every Phone’ page hits 200M Likes, more than double No. 2 page on site

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Facebook for Every Phone,” the official page for Facebook’s feature phone application has become the first page on the social network to surpass 200 million Likes, according to our PageData tracking service.

The page was created in August 2011, and back in June 2012 it was the first page to surpass the 100 million Likes mark. It’s still the only page to have done so. By comparison, the No. 2 page on the social network is its official community page, “Facebook,” with 87 million likes. YouTube holds the No. 3 spot with 70 million Likes.

Facebook for Every Phone is a native mobile app compatible with more than 3,600 different Java-enabled feature phones. The growth of the app’s fan page is an indication of how many of the social network’s mobile users are on feature phones. Facebook for Every Phone users are given the option to Like the page when they first log in to the app, a company spokesperson told us in April last year.
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Facebook roundup: Developers Live, Promoted Posts, Nasdaq and more

fb icon Facebook turns 9Monday marked nine years since Mark Zuckerberg launched thefacebook.com as a social network for Harvard students. The company did not seem to mark the occasion with any public fanfare, though it is having an employee celebration it its headquarters today. Perhaps Facebook will make more of a PR push for its 10th birthday on Feb. 4, 2014. For example, on the fifth anniversary of the site’s debut, Zuckerberg wrote a blog post about the event, the company shared a retrospective of the Facebook profile over the years and allowed users to send their friends a free virtual thank-you gift.

developers-liveDevelopers Live debuts – Facebook this week launched Developers Live, a resource for developers to find news, tutorials, speaking sessions and other videos about building apps on the platform. Developers Live is an app on the Facebook Developers page that will include live, recorded and interactive broadcasts. The first live-streamed event will address the top 3 things every mobile developer needs to know in 2013, and will be hosted by Facebook Director of Product Doug Purdy.

promoted-post-budgetFacebook pages display remaining Promoted Post budget – Facebook is testing a way to show page owners their remaining budget for a Promoted Post at a glance. After promoting one of their page posts, somw admins will see how much money they have left on the promotion. Since Promoted Posts run until the budget runs out or they’re no longer eligible to be shown in News Feed, it isn’t possible to change the dates or times for the campaign. Showing the remaining budget could help page owners get a sense of how much longer their Promoted Post will run. Thanks to Kristina Allen for the tip and screenshot.

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Percent of monthly active Facebook users who return daily increases

hiresThe percentage of Facebook’s monthly active users who use the service daily increased across all regions in Q4 2012, according to an analysis of data the company released last week.

Overall more than 58 percent of Facebook’s 1.056 billion monthly users are also daily active users.

DAU as a percentage of MAU is an important metric to judge engagement and “stickiness.” If the social network were gaining millions of new users but not maintaining a steady DAU over MAU, it would suggest those users were not finding reasons to return as frequently or that existing users were tiring of Facebook. For the most part that hasn’t been happening.

About 69.95 percent of monthly active users in the U.S. and Canada were also daily active users in Q4, which is up slightly from 69.84 percent in Q3, though that’s still a bit below the peak of 70.49 percent in Q1 2012. All other regions surpassed their previous highs in this most recent complete quarter. Europe has a 64.75 DAU over MAU percentage. Asia is at 51.35 percent, and the rest of the world is at 52.96 percent. CFO David Ebersman said on the company’s earnings call last week that mobile usage is a key factor driving the increase in daily engagement. In fact, mobile DAUs surpassed desktop DAUs for the first time in Q4 2012.

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Playstation, Burger King, Swatch and Clarins begin using global pages

Playstation, Swatch and Clarins have unified their numerous region-specific Facebook pages into the new global page format this week, based on information from our PageData tracking service. We’ve also noticed Kit-Kat seems to have added more regions to its global page and Burger King grouped some of its pages into a Burger King Americas page, while leaving other regions as standalone pages.

Global pages have a unified Like and People Talking About This count, but the language, profile image, cover photo, posts and tabs can differ by region. As such, these brands have seen substantial increases in PTAT this week. Users who visit a global page are automatically directed to the version specific to their region, but they can access any regional or global page through a drop-down menu.

Region-specific pages often make similar page posts in their respective languages, but can still have different content strategies. To create global pages, brands have to work directly with a Facebook rep.

Playstation received more than 2.1 million engagements across its Facebook pages, making it a top PTAT gainer for the week. Much of this engagement has taken place on the brand’s non-English pages. Interestingly, the company has kept a separate page for Canada, which is not accessible from the global page. This may just be temporary.


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Facebook Global Pages for Brands: To Use or Not To Use?

This is a guest post by Peter Heffring, president and CEO of social software company Expion.

The recent announcement of Global Pages for Facebook is a significant development for brands: Facebook has finally recognized the need to offer a global-local solution. Currently, brands often have to mix global and local content strategies on a single page, which causes local markets to consume content in mixed languages, view products and services that may not be available in their market, and communicate with peers that may not speak their language or understand their culture. Global Pages will allow greater control and governance, greater customization at a country level, and deeper insights.

Marketing at a local level on Facebook has proven to be an extremely successful endeavor. Through analyzing hundreds of brands and thousands of pages, Expion has seen engagement that is 100 and 700 percent higher when pages are locally focused at a store location level. We also expect country pages to experience significant increases in engagement over a geo-targeted approach from a global page.

But who will Global Pages benefit, and is it for all brands?

When to Stay Away

Obviously businesses without a global footprint will not need this feature, but in addition to that, brands of all sizes that don’t already have a sufficient global presence on Facebook shouldn’t hop on the Global Pages bandwagon. The new offering is complicated, so brands that are still trying to build a global presence or understand how to effectively use Facebook should learn the basics first.

Companies like Texas Roadhouse, Home Depot, Honey Baked Ham and HR Block, all which have a strong U.S. presence but limited international reach, would not benefit from this approach.

A Quick Checklist: When to Migrate to Global Pages

Global Pages offers management and insight advantages, but it will also significantly increase a brand’s Facebook marketing costs. This solution is most suited to brands that have existing Facebook community management in place for many local markets and want more localization. To consider migrating to Global Pages, a brand needs to be sure that it’s in the position to take full advantage of the new features available.

A brand should make sure that it currently has all of the following practices and policies in place before making the jump to Global Pages:

  1. Geo-targeting: Localization is already in place on Facebook, but the brand has a greater need to customize local pages on a deep level. Increased localization with Global Pages includes News Feed, Timeline, cover photos, photo albums, apps and about info.
  2. Community Management Team: The brand should already have established country-level community management and culture to share best practices. A company will need a content approval processes, as well a appropriate governance and controls that can be set by country based on the social maturity of local teams.
  3. Moderation: Multi-lingual, multi-country community moderation services should be place to communicate most effectively with fans in a way that matches the conversation style and social etiquette unique to each country.
  4. Analytics Services: The amount of insights and data that will be available is going to increase tremendously, and brands will want to take advantage of the insights provided on a country-by-country basis. There are now opportunities for benchmarking countries against each other, mining for the best content, and sharing this content with all countries in their native tongue to optimize overall global engagement.

Any global brand with different product offerings, significant sales in certain countries, and established country community managers would be a good candidate to consider this. One of the unique features of this offering is that it does not have to be “all or none.” A brand can optimize with a mix of some country pages where it has significant presence and sales, and maintain its current geo-targeting model for other countries.

So is the introduction of Global Pages a good thing? Absolutely, for companies that meet the above criteria. Facebook has delivered a solution that meets how many large global brands localize all of the marketing to maximize sales in specific countries.

Peter Heffring is president and CEO of Expion, a social software company that empowers retailers, brands and agencies to localize and manage their social marketing efforts. Founded in 2009, the company is privately held and headquartered in Raleigh, N.C.

Facebook’s global growth in Q3: 1.01B MAU, 604M people connect through mobile

Facebook today shared new stats on its user growth across the globe, including that it reached 1.01 billion monthly active users on Sept. 14. This is a 26 percent increase year-over-year. The social network also reports that 604 million people now access Facebook through mobile devices monthly.

The graph below shows how Facebook has grown across different geographies since its last earnings call in July. The social network has grown steadily across the board, even showing a 22 million user increase in Asia, especially as it continues to gain traction in Japan. For Japan, this is a reported 216 percent increase in the last year.

For daily active users, Facebook has grown steadily as well, going up 32 million users worldwide since the last earnings call. This is a 28 percent increase year-over-year. DAU increase has been driven by the increase in mobile users. In fact, personal computer usage has only grown modestly quarter-over-quarter.

The most impressive numbers come from Facebook’s mobile efforts as monthly active users on mobile has grown to 604 million, an increase of 61 percent year-over-year. In response to questions about the potential for Facebook’s mobile properties to be a strong source of revenue, the company shared that 14 percent of its ad revenue was generated from mobile.

In a press release, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “I’m also really happy that over 600 million people now share and connect on Facebook every month using mobile devices. People who use our mobile products are more engaged, and we believe we can increase engagement even further as we continue to introduce new products and improve our platform. At the same time, we are deeply integrating monetization into our product teams in order to build a stronger, more valuable company.”

Facebook’s Talktime program in India pays new mobile users in calling credit

Facebook has launched a program in India called Talktime, which gives 50 Rupees (almost $1) in calling credits to users who sign up for Facebook on their mobile devices. Users also get an additional 50 Rupees for every user they refer who signs up to Facebook with a mobile device.

An Inside Facebook reader first tipped us to a story about Talktime posted on Machine Happy. A Facebook spokesperson has since confirmed the program to TechCrunch with the following statment:

“We partner with a number of telecoms companies around the world, many of whom offer incentives for their customers to use Facebook, such as zero rating mobile Internet access to the service. This test is another such initiative.”

Facebook’s Talktime initiative in India is in line with the social network’s strategy in territories where most users are likely to access Facebook through their phones. The company says it had 59 million MAU in India in June, an increase of 84 percent compared to the same period in 2011.

Facebook Head of Mobile Partnerships Emily White said in June that 30 percent of users in India are now registering for the site through mobile phones. It’s likely these users are among those who never visit Facebook on desktop. Most are using the Facebook for Every Phone App, a native mobile app compatible with more than 3,600 different Java-enabled feature phones. An analysis using the Facebook ad tool suggests that about 35 percent of India’s active users are feature phone users and about 17 percent are smartphone or tablet users.

The state of Android vs iOS usage among Facebook users

About 20.1 percent of Facebook users connect to the service on an Android device compared to 18.9 percent of users who connect with an iOS device, according to data from Optimal, Inc.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer last week that Facebook had more users on Android than iOS. We asked social media advertising and analytics platform provider Optimal for the details.

Optimal’s data shows about 189.8 million users active on Android devices — accessing Facebook through the native app or the mobile web. About 178.3 million are active on iOS. That’s among 944.2 million monthly active users addressable with the Facebook Ads API, not the full billion announced last week.

Below are the top 20 territories with the highest share of Android usage. The “Index” figure in the chart shows relative prevalence of each OS versus the population, so it compares global Android penetration to Android penetration in that country — and does the same for iOS.

Android has the highest share in South Korea, where it is used by 52.6 percent of the population versus 20.3 percent using iOS. Singapore and Australia have the highest iOS penetration, both with 48.8 percent of the population using Apple’s mobile OS.

The U.S. has the highest collective penetration of Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, with 83.5 percent of the Facebook population using these devices each month. The country is among the 38 percent of territories with more iOS than Android usage. In the U.S., 44.1 percent of users are on iOS versus 39.4 on Android.

The countries with the next largest population of Facebook users, Brazil and India, both use Android more than iOS, but these devices make up a smaller percentage of overall use as feature phones still dominate these markets. In Brazil, for example, Android has 11.8 percent share and iOS has 6.4 percent share.

U.K. Facebook users are split 28.2 percent on iOS and 16.2 percent on Android.

Facebook does not share an exact breakdown of how many users access the social network via native apps compared to the mobile web, but Zuckerberg says overall more people use the mobile web than native iOS and Android apps combined. The company has recently been working to improve its native offerings. The iOS app was updated at the end of August, focusing on speed by replacing some HTML5 with native functionality. Engadget reports today that a new native Facebook for Android app is in the final stages of testing, according to an anonymous source. Zuckerberg previously said that this was in the works, but did not offer a time frame for when it would be available.

Early tests from Optimal and other advertising companies showed that clickthrough and conversion rates were higher on Android than iPhone, though costs per click and per fan were higher. Optimal says Android users took additional actions, such as viewing profile photos, Liking posts and commenting, more often than iPhone users did.

Facebook roundup: large investors sell shares, Gehry to design new building at HQ, agency learning tool launches and more

Facebook co-founder and early investor sell shares – Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and early investor Peter Thiel both sold a portion of their shares since the IPO lockup period ended last week. Thiel, of venture capital firm Founders Fund, sold nearly 20.1 million shares, a majority of his stake. Thiel, who is a Facebook board member, also maintains voting control over the shares owned by Founders Fund. Moskovitz, who helped build the site with Zuckerberg, sold 450,000 shares, leaving him with 7.05 million Class A shares.

Frank Gehry to design building at Facebook HQ – World-renowned architect Frank Gehry has been tapped to design Facebook’s new building at its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Construction for the 420,000-square-foot project will likely begin in spring next year. The campus extension will be a large, one room building that somewhat resembles a warehouse, though it will be surrounded by trees and include a roof-top garden. An underground tunnel will connect the new building to the rest of the campus.

Facebook agency learning tool rolls out – Facebook has begun to offer Facebook Studio Edge, an interactive learning program for agencies. The program, which is still in beta for select agencies, is designed to help agencies stay on top of the latest product updates and best practices for marketing with Facebook. Topics include the latest on Facebook Pages, ads and social technology.

India government calls on Facebook, Google to remove content – Facebook and Google said Tuesday they are working on requests from India to remove “inflammatory and hateful content,” after the government suggested the rumors spreading across the sites were sparking a mass exodus of people from several cities. Facebook, which has about 50 million users in India, told the Wall St. Journal that it had received the requests and said it is working to respond to the concerns. ”Facebook will remove content which breaches our terms,” it said in a statement.

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