Facebook is testing new sidebar modules to prompt users to share the movies they have seen.
With the latest Timeline redesign Facebook has given users an About page with sections for movies, music, books and more. Instead of only displaying the items people “like,” these sections will show what users have “read,” “listened to,” “watched” or “want to watch.” The social network has been trying a number of ways to get users familiar with these new sections and encourage them to fill them in. Most recently, users have begun to see movie suggestions in the right hand column of Facebook.com.
Reader Matteo Gamba shared the following screenshot with us. It asks users whether they have seen a particular movie and gives them “yes” or “no” options. The header “add to movies,” implies that answering “yes” will add the film to the user’s movies section, but some users might not fully understand this and later be surprised to learn that the movie appears on their Timeline and in friends’ News Feeds.
Another option we’ve seen is a list of films with a plus sign and the word “watched.” This version of the module also includes the movie’s People Talking About This count.
As we’ve covered previously, other ways users can add movies to their sections include directly from News Feed stories or friends’ Timelines. There are also ways to do this from mobile.
By getting user to connect with more things they care about or have experienced, Facebook can improve ad targeting, News Feed relevancy, Graph Search and recommendations.
As Facebook continues to encourage users to rate the places they’ve been, the social network is testing different language for its five-star rating scale.
After a user has checked into a place or been tagged in a post with location, they may see a “Rate These Places” module in the right hand side of Facebook.com. When users hover over the stars, they can see what each rating means.
Some users are seeing stars one through five defined as: ”would never recommend to a friend,” “probably wouldn’t recommend to a friend,” “might recommend to a friend,” “would recommend to a friend” and “would definitely recommend to a friend.”
Others see “really don’t like it,” “don’t like it,” “like some things about it,” “really like it” and “love it.”
We’ve also seen the scale as “hate it,” “don’t like it,” “like it,” “really like it” and “love it.” Others could be in rotation as well.
These different definitions could lead some users to be more or less likely to add their rating to a place, and they could influence the rating a user ultimately gives. For instance, a user might not want to give a place a three-star rating if three stars means “like it,” but they might if three stars means “like some things about it” or “might recommend to a friend.”
As the new Timeline and News Feed rolls out to more users, Facebook is providing more ways for users to share stories about the books, movies, TV shows and music in their lives. This week we found ways for users to add movies to their “watched” or “want to watch” lists directly from News Feed. Users can also do the same for other content they find on friends’ profiles.
For example, when users see stories in News Feed about items friends have added to their Timeline, they can click a plus button in the corner of the item and select a list to add it to and who to share it with. This became available for music stories last week, and this week we saw it become part of movie-related stories, such as the one below.
These features encourage users to connect with more pages, which ultimately improves the social network’s ad targeting, search results, News Feed relevance and recommendations.
Facebook is adding a new section to users’ About pages on their Timeline that showcases the social games they play.
The games section is similar to the movies, books, TV and music sections launched with the latest profile redesign earlier this month. It displays the games users have recently played and all those that they’ve Liked. Users can customize the order of their About page to feature games more prominently near the top or hide it completely.
However, unlike those other sections for entertainment, the games section does not include a list of games users “want to play.”
Facebook began testing two new ways to encourage users to Like more pages via desktop and mobile in the past few weeks. One appears after users Like a page and another after users share a link.
When users Like a page from mobile, they are now prompted with suggestions of similar pages and a link to the mobile pages browser where they can see more pages they might be interested in. We found a similar experience on desktop in January, but hadn’t seen it on mobile until recently. These features help users discover more pages in a similar category as one they just Liked and give them the option to see more personalized recommendations by clicking “See All.” Users can also access the pages browser by clicking or tapping “Like Pages” from the apps menu in the bookmarks bar on desktop or mobile.
Facebook is testing new headlines for its latest games discovery module in News Feed to drive more users to canvas apps.
Some users are seeing versions of the module, which includes three suggested games, with the headline “Personalized games suggestions for you.” Other users have seen this module called “Games that are growing rapidly.” The original headline, “Games your friends are playing,” which was used when the module debuted in late January, is still in rotation for some users.
At least two of the three “games that are growing rapidly” as seen in the graphic below have been regularly appearing on sister site Inside Social Games‘ weekly list of fastest-growing Facebook games by monthly and daily active users.
Facebook is trying a new design for ads in the desktop News Feed, grouping ads for three different pages into one horizontal “Pages You Might Like” unit.
The new format, which began rolling out over the weekend, helps Facebook fit more ads in the feed without taking up much space. The three-in-one unit is similar to what Facebook has been doing in the mobile feed since August 2012. Now the ads in the mobile module will appear on desktop simultaneously. The ads here are mostly Sponsored Stories, which mean a user has a friend connected to the page, but non-social ads seem to occasionally appear in the unit as well.
To increase revenue, Facebook needs to move more of its ad inventory from the desktop sidebar to the feed. Feed-based ads have higher clickthroughs and generate more revenue per impression. The social network can put a lot more ads in the sidebar, but these are not as effective for advertisers and they don’t translate to mobile. However, ads in the feed can be more interruptive for users, and the balance for Facebook is a delicate one. Creating ad types that are useful and even enjoyable is going to be necessary as more paid content is being slipped between the posts from people and pages that users want to see.
Facebook also began testing a “Games your friends are playing” module in the desktop feed this weekend. The design is similar to “Pages You Might Like” but the example we saw did not include any paid suggestions. We have not heard back from Facebook whether this module will include ads. [Update 1/28/13 11 a.m. - Facebook tells us this unit is not currently eligible for advertising. Apps that are included in App Center and have App Center screenshots can appear in this module organically.]
Facebook is trying a new module that immediately recommends additional pages to Like after a user clicks the Like button on a page’s Timeline.
When users click Like on some pages, a box of “More Pages You May Like” appears beneath the page’s cover photo. Facebook will show pages from a similar category, whether it’s local pages, entertainment or others, however this does not seem to be appearing on all pages. It should also be noted that these are not paid placements. Facebook makes these recommendations organically based on location, category and other pages that fans of one page also Like.
Some Facebook advertisers are seeing a “Your Ads” module on their homepage in the sidebar above birthdays and other reminders. The module lets advertisers see their active campaigns at a glance.
The feature was first written about by social media consultant Jon Loomer. He explained that users can see the number of ads, campaigns and Page Likes generated today or over the past month. Clicking on the links for ads, campaigns or Likes will take users to the ads manager for more detailed reporting. Advertisers can also hover over their name to switch to view another ads account in this space. Loomer says the module only appears on News Feed, not other pages.
Posts from music-related pages and new modules that recommend albums and concerts based on what users have listened to now appear in Facebook’s Music Feed.
The social networked launched a music dashboard at f8 last year. This section of the site offers users a feed of their friends’ listening activity, along with songs and albums that are trending among friends. Sometime this month Facebook started showing page posts and other modules in the feed. For example, if a user Likes an artist or a music venue, posts from those pages may be included among stories about what friends have listened to. Users may also see stories about the music pages their friends Like.