Parse, which Facebook acquired in April to boost its mobile development, announced a major milestone Thursday: 100,000 apps built on the platform. Parse CEO Ilya Sukhar announced this on the company blog:
We’re really proud to announce today that we’ve had over 100,000 apps built on the Parse platform, up from 80,000 apps at the end of April. We grew more in the last month than we did in our entire first year of existence!
It’s never been a more exciting time to work on Parse. We recently joined forces with Facebook and have accelerated on all fronts.
Parse has integrated with Facebook but still works independently. It is a cloud-based platform that provides tools for mobile app developers. Facebook purchased the company outright in April, in order to strengthen its mobile side. Parse offers backend services, data storage, social integration tools and other services so developers can build mobile apps on different platforms. Facebook’s mobile aim, after all, is to create the best experience, regardless of what kind of phone is in hand.
Facebook users have made it clear that they want more control over their privacy. The company’s investors said that repeatedly during Facebook’s first shareholders meeting, and the latest Android mobile app update shows that the site is working on more ways to get privacy controls in the users’ hands.
From the Android app, Facebook users can now change the privacy settings on any of their prior posts.
Previously, users could only control who sees posts they’re about to make from their Android app, but now people can go back to any post they’ve made and tweak the privacy settings.
As more Facebook users check their News Feed from their phone, the mobile app install advertisement is becoming the hottest trend for developers. But it takes more than just a screenshot of the app to get a user to download it.
Leah Na’aman, the marketing manager for SocialClicks, talked at the Inside Social Apps conference recently in San Francisco to share some best practices for really reaching customers and potential app users through the News Feed.
The one fail-proof tip? Blue hair.
Facebook began testing new designs for its mobile app install ads and page post ads in its iOS app this weekend.
Following an update for Facebook for iOS, some users began to notice that the ads got a bit of a refresh. Page post ads have a new Like button in the corner, potentially making them more effective for fan generation, not just engagement and content marketing. Late last year Facebook changed the way page post ads appear to non-fans so that instead of a call to action to Like the page, the ads promoted interaction on the post itself. Now, these ads do both.
“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.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made it clear to investors on Wednesday that 2013 will be a year of growth and innovation, but perhaps not the kind that will help the company’s bottom line in the near future.
“We aren’t operating to maximize our profits this year,” Zuckerberg said on Facebook’s fourth quarter earnings call this week. “We’re doing what we think will build the best service and business over the long term.”
That includes a lot of hiring, especially in the area of product development. Facebook picked up 1,419 additional employees last year, and we’ve heard it plans to hire more than a thousand more this year. Zuckerberg says this is likely to lead the company’s expenses to grow at a faster rate than revenue will.
Facebook today shared new stats on user growth for Q4 in its earnings call earlier today. The social network reported that it has reached 1.056 billion users during the fourth quarter of 2012. It also reported that its mobile DAUs have exceeded web DAUs for the first time.
The graph below shows Facebook’s growth in monthly active users across the globe since its last earnings call in October of last year. The 1.056 billion users amounted to a 24.97 percent increase from Q4 in 2011. The social network continues to see its largest increase in Asia as it gains traction in Japan and other countries.
Page Post Ads in the Facebook News Feed generate 14 percent higher return on investment for companies in the retail sector compared to Marketplace ads in the sidebar, a study from Nanigans has found.
Several other studies have shown the strength of News Feed ads over those in the sidebar, but those studies have often compared Sponsored Stories, which are ads that can only be shown to the friends of users who have connected with the advertiser and they must lead to a destination within Facebook. With its latest study, Nanigans looked at ads leading off-site in formats that could be targeted to any user, regardless of social connections.
Page Post Ads are ads that began as posts on a company’s Facebook page. In this case, the posts were photos that included a link to the retailer’s site in the caption. These can appear within the feed on desktop and mobile. Marketplace ads are the traditional ads in the desktop sidebar, which include a headline, body copy and small image. Note that the examples below are not necessarily Nanigans clients, they’re just used to illustrate the different ad types.
Facebook began rolling out its “Promote Page” option in mid-December, and now details of how it works have emerged. When page owners use the Promote Page button, they’ll be able to create three different types of Facebook ads – including mobile ads — without having to use the more complicated ad dashboard.
Social media consultant Jon Loomer tested this option recently and shared information about the experience. He found that page owners can click Promote Page from the top of the page’s admin panel. There are options to set a daily budget and adjust the audience, as well as edit the payment method, but page owners could get started with a campaign in as few as two clicks if they already have a credit card on file.
Facebook advertising company Nanigans ran a Facebook mobile campaign for an e-commerce app developer during the holidays, moving the app’s rank in the Apple Store from the mid-200s to the top 10 in its category, with the use of Facebook’s mobile app install ads.
Within a 10-day campaign period leading up to the holidays, the app moved more than 200 spots from No. 253 spot before the campaign to the No. 5 spot. Nanigans found an average clickthrough rate of 0.74 percent, reaching as high as 1.5 percent in core segments. The ad delivered more than 32.5 million impressions, with more than 8.5 million in one day. In total, the campaign cost $325,000, with daily spend surpassing $90,000 on multiple days.
Facebook first announced its mobile app install ads coming out of beta in October 2012 for iOS and Android developers that have integrated Facebook into their apps. The ads allow developers to promote their native mobile apps through Facebook’s mobile News Feed, featuring an ad design with a “Install Now” call to action that brings the user to an app’s landing page in the Apple App Store or Google Play.