Instagram announces 300M active users, verification badges for celebs

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Instagram announced Wednesday morning that there are now more than 300 million people using the Facebook-owned photo sharing app. The app will also include — similar to Facebook — verified badges for celebrities. Instagram has been working to make the experience better for those 300 million users, deactivating several spammy accounts.

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom announced the milestone in a blog post:

We’re proud to announce that there are now more than 300 million Instagrammers. Over the past four years, what began as two friends with a dream has grown into a global community that shares more than 70 million photos and videos each day. Instagram is home to creativity in all of its forms, a place where you can find everything from images of the Nile River to the newest look from Herschel Supply or a peek inside the mind of Taylor Swift.

We’re thrilled to watch this community thrive and witness the amazing connections people make over shared passions and journeys.

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Glassdoor: Facebook falls from No. 5 to No. 13 on best places to work list

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One of Facebook’s mottos is to move fast and break things, but is the company growing too fast? Glassdoor recently released its 2015 50 Best Places to Work list, and Facebook has fallen from No. 5 to No. 13 overall. Once No. 2 behind Google in the tech category, Facebook is now No. 3, with F5 Networks taking the silver medal.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that Facebook has become a worse place to work, as Scott Dobroski, Glassdoor career trends analyst, explained to Inside Facebook:

First, it’s important to remember that Facebook is a great place to work and well above the average company rating on Glassdoor. However, when you dig into the reviews, you notice some themes emerging within the employee commentary shared over the past year. At Facebook, employees reported increased challenges with work-life balance, growing pains as the company hires more employees and pressure to constantly perform and move fast.

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Slideshow: Facebook’s top games of 2014 — Cookie Jam, Kim Kardashian and more

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Facebook on Tuesday announced the games of the year, with SGN’s Cookie Jam taking the top honor. Kim Kardashian’s game, as well as titles featuring Family Guy and Star Wars were also on the list. King, maker of Candy Crush Saga, had several games honored by Facebook.

The company is also making it easier for players to find popular games, and game genres will be more evident.

Facebook’s Daniel Morris discussed the top games in a blog post:

It’s that time of year where we highlight the games on Facebook that define our platform and captivate our players. 2014 saw a revival of the classic match-3 puzzle genre and the continued health of the social casino category. New game launches from Asia and Europe continue to grow, bringing both new ideas and cherished, recognizable brands to the Facebook platform.

The games on these lists were selected based on player ratings, strength of Facebook implementation, growth, and overall quality.

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3Q Digital: Holiday Facebook ads can win with clear CTAs, Website Custom Audience targeting

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the largest annual sales events. Digital marketing agency 3Q Digital analyzed the performances of Facebook advertising campaigns for two of their clients during this period — a leading children’s educational toy subscription service and a leading online jewelry supplier. For one client, Black Friday ads produced a 326 percent higher clickthrough rate and 60 percent lower cost per click than their normal evergreen ads.

3Q Digital Senior Director of Social Dayna Moon blogged about the results:

Desktop News Feed ads proved costlier with increased competition, even as mobile accounted for the majority of traffic. Tailored and holiday focused ads with a clear call to action, combined with Website Custom Audience targeting, produced tremendous performance for the jewelry supplier’s “burst”-style sale. And campaigns for both clients showed the challenge of scaling performance across audience segmentations of different sizes.

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Facebook platform news: Socialbakers launches new website, SHIFT platform integrates Simply Measured

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Facebook Marketing Partner Socialbakers launched recently their new identity and a clean new website. Additionally, Facebook Marketing Partner SHIFT announced that their platform has integrated technology from Simply Measured.

Socialbakers CEO Jan Rezab talked about the redesign of his company’s website and what it means going forward:

Today is a big day for Socialbakers, our team and clients from all over the world. For more than five years, we’ve tried to be a step ahead of the the social insights game. We count half of the global Fortune 500 as clients, provide a best-in-class social marketing suite, and let more people see more social data for free than any other source.

What we’ve done is more than just a redesign – we have re-thought our whole approach to what our website can and should be for our audience. That starts with our most popular offerings – free stats on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Google+. We track more social profiles than anyone else, and turn that data into insights that marketers and researchers can use for any number of things.

SHIFT has also made news recently, as the company is integrating Simply Measured technology into its platform.

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Next Q&A with Mark Zuckerberg: Dec. 11

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants to answer your questions about Messenger, News Feed, organic reach, videos and whatever else is on your mind. Zuck will hold court again on Thursday in the second Q&A with Mark event.

These events are a town hall, where Facebook commenters (as well as people who go to the event at Facebook HQ in Menlo Park), can ask Zuckerberg whatever they want.

Facebook discussed the event in a post:

Do you have a question for Mark? Mark will be answering your questions at our second community Q&A live from Menlo Park, California on Thursday, December 11 at 2 PM PT.

Ask your question below in the comments or vote on a question already asked by liking it. If you’d like, you can also send us a short video of you asking your question to qawithmark@fb.com.

You can watch the livestream here on Thursday, and we’ll post the video afterwards.

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Facebook improves search feature

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Facebook recently announced updates that makes search more intuitive.

The company has been working on ways for users to search for individual posts or topics, and now this is easier to do on mobile (at least on iPhone for now) and desktop. For instance, if you wanted to find posts or photos from a friend’s wedding, you can type in the friend’s name and wedding, and it will return results most relevant.

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Infographic: How to stay safe on Facebook

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According to NeoMam Studios, only 37 percent of Facebook users surveyed said they’ve changed their privacy settings — something Facebook recommends checking often.

NeoMam Studios, along with WhoIsHostingThis, compiled an interesting infographic showing all kinds of tips (you can’t do this with a status update!) and stats about securing your Facebook profile.

Check out the infographic below and learn how to become a privacy master.

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Study: Facebook ad conversions spiked weekend before Black Friday

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Many Facebook advertisers started sequencing their content well before Black Friday or Cyber Monday, and it appears to have paid off. Facebook Marketing Partner Marin Software noticed that there was a curious spike in conversions from Facebook ads (as well as cost per click) around Nov. 21.

Oddly enough, the clickthrough rate of Marin’s clients’ ads dove around that time, before continuing its ascent on Thanksgiving.

Marin Software Senior Manager of Global Communications Greg Kunkel talked with Inside Facebook about this odd spike. He said that last year, Marin Software noticed an uptick in key performance indicators two weeks or so before Thanksgiving. They wanted to see if this year held a similar trend.

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Infographic: How should you target your Facebook ads?

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Facebook increasingly has new ways to target potential customers and current fans through advertising, but what is the best way to use this technology?

Marcus Ho, Director of Social Media for Social Metric, explains how smart, targeted Facebook ads can be the key to finding the right customers:

Facebook can act as a powerful tool that helps companies establish their brand identities, education people about products and services, increase sales and leads, and raise brand awareness.

Unfortunately, few companies know how to use Facebook effectively to meet those goals. That’s not particularly surprising since Facebook doesn’t offer companies much assistance. Instead, you’re left on your own trying to figure out how you can possibly use the platform to your advantage.

Despite what a lot of social media gurus say, you can’t rely on Facebook to do the work for you. More often than not, you have to analyze your needs and craft a strategy that targets those needs. In many cases, you’ll find that you get the best results by doing the opposite of what Facebook wants you to do.

Ho also shared an infographic from Social Metric (below), breaking down the most effective ways to target people on Facebook.

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