Category Archives: emerging media

12 Important Changes Coming with Facebook Timeline for Pages

Yesterday Facebook announced the next installment of its Timeline layout, Timeline for Pages. We anticipated that this change was coming to brand Pages and assumed some of the changes, but yesterday we learned exactly how Facebook Pages will change on March 30, 2012, when Timeline for Pages is rolled out to all Pages. So, what’s changing?

1.        “The Wall” is now “The Timeline”


If you’re not familiar with the Timeline layout, it encourages beautiful graphics and media-rich posts. A lot of real estate is now given to brands to be able to have an attention-grabbing cover photo that spans the top of the page and larger post sizes that can display photos and videos without feeling crowded. Note that Facebook has also released a  specific policy about what can be included in the cover photo creative. The cover photo may not contain any of the following:

  • Price or purchase information, such as “40 percent off” or “Download it at our website.”
  • Contact information, such as Web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section.
  • References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features.
  • Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”

 

2.        Landing Pages Disappear

Instead of directing new visitors to a beautifully designed custom landing page, visitors will be sent to the Timeline. If you want visitors to land on a particular tab within Facebook, you can link there through a Facebook ad or a post on your Page’s Timeline.

3.        Add Company Milestones

Do you have a legacy brand that has a rich history? If so, you can now add events to your Page’s Timeline to help create a visual history of the company. When did your first store open? When did you launch your first product? When did you move to a bigger office? These are just some of the milestones that you can now add to your Page’s Timeline. Try adding nostalgic photos to help increase the emotional connection with fans.

4.        Pinning Posts to the Top

Important or popular posts can be pinned to the top of the Timeline so that more recent content doesn’t bury important content. When you pin a post, it will stay pinned for one week before losing the top placement. If you are promoting a contest or want to drive traffic to a specific application or tab, this may be the best way to make sure that your content is seen.

5.        Tabs Are Less Visible

Tabs and custom applications that live on those tabs are now moved to the top of the Page rather than the left column. With the new layout, tabs are allowed a larger thumbnail, but because the thumbnails take up more space, only two custom tabs can be shown “above the fold.” In order to view the rest of the tabs, a user must click on a dropdown button. This extra step may become familiar in time, but it will always be important to make sure that you feature the two most important tabs “above the fold.”

 6.        Existing Tabs and Applications Will Immediate Require Attention

Even though tabs will lose some visibility, it will still be important to still have tabs on your Page. When Timeline for Pages goes live, tab visitors will see a larger tab page with more pixels available for the tab creative. This is great news because there will be more creative real estate, but unless brands take action now and revise existing tab creative, the tab creative will be auto-adjusted in the new layout. Facebook will automatically center the creative, leaving a noticeable amount of white space surrounding the tab’s content.

7.        Send Private Messages to Fans


For brands that use Facebook as a customer service tool, this development is great news. Fans now have the opportunity to send the brand a private message through Facebook’s messaging platform. These private messages work in the same way as personal Facebook messages and allow brands and fans to discretely communicate with each other without the conversation appearing on the Page’s Timeline.

8.        New Admin Panel

The new admin panel – visible only to Page admins – will be displayed at the top of the Page’s Timeline and provide quick and easy access for admins to view Insights, respond to fans’ private messages, edit the Page information and edit Timeline posts.

9.        Facebook Offers

Facebook is now rolling out Facebook Offers. This is a free product that will be available to all Pages and allow you to create a coupon for your Facebook fans. The coupons are simple and include an area for a thumbnail image and the details of the offer. With just one click, fans can have the coupon sent to their email and/or mobile phone; fans don’t have to grant permissions or go through any extra steps. Simply by clicking “Get Offer,” fans will instantly receive the coupon.

10.     Facebook Premium

Facebook’s internal research (and common sense) has shown that more Facebook users engage with stories, rather than ads. A new Facebook advertising product titled “Facebook Premium” will take a story that is published to your Page’s Timeline and display the story directly in a user’s News Feed (even non-fans). Additionally, these ads will be shown in the News Feeds of mobile devices as well as on the logout page when someone logs out of Facebook. Now, rather than clicking on an ad, users can engage with a story directly. This engagement will generate additional stories that will extend the reach of the ad unit.

11.     Facebook Reach Generator

Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm prevents Page content from reaching all of a Page’s fans and only shows a Page’s content to the fans that are most engaged with the Page. Yesterday, Facebook revealed that, on average, only 16% of a Page’s fans see the Page’s content. So what about the other 84%? Facebook is rolling out a new advertising product called Facebook Reach Generator that will take a story that is published to your Page’s Timeline and post it in the right column of your fans’ News Feeds. These ad units will only be shown to fans of your Page, but Facebook guarantees that your sponsored stories will reach at least 75% of your Page’s fans.

12.     Change Your Fan Page Name

When you registered your Page, did you misspell your brand name or have since wished you’d named your Page differently? Facebook is now allowing Pages to request name changes to your Page. To do this, you must contact Facebook Customer Service

 

It’s Time to Act!

March 30, 2012 is right around the corner and there are a lot of things that you should begin doing right now to make sure that your Facebook Page doesn’t suffer when the existing layout is sunset at the end of the month. Now’s the time to begin working on creating an updated Facebook strategy and editing and building your Page’s creative assets. We knew that this transition was coming to Pages and now that it’s here and we know the exact changes, it’s time to act!


Why SOPA Will Stifle Innovation

What has always made America great is its ability to lead the world in innovation. That innovation may be at risk of being censored as Congress considers legislation titled the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The legislation is meant to help protect American innovation by punishing off-shore copyright infringers, but unfortunately this legislation will ultimately punish the very innovation it’s intended to protect.

I try to avoid taking political stances (it tends to be bad business), but if SOPA is passed, it would stifle free enterprise in an industry that is leading American innovation. I was surprised to see that this legislation is supported largely by pro-business legislators and organizations; groups I might normally endorse. As an entrepreneur, I fail to understand supporters’ shortsightedness on this issue. Don’t misunderstand me, websites that knowingly pirate content should be punished, but the current SOPA bill is so broad that innocent websites could get swept into the fray.

The legislation is structured in such a way that if a copyright infringement claim is submitted on a piece of content, the entire website will be investigated. During this investigation the entire website in question would be blocked. For example, if a pirated video makes its way onto YouTube and an infringement claim is submitted, YouTube.com will shutdown in its entirety during the investigation. Additionally, YouTube could be held liable for hosting that illegal content. This increased risk of liability litigation would lead to the destruction of the user-generated content movement that has been so important to the Internet’s growth over the past few years.

Moreover, the FBI’s servers need to be able to access and shutdown any suspected websites of infringement. This means that security standards that been implemented in recent years to protect consumers’ privacy would have to be rolled back, leaving millions of consumers at risk.

Big companies like YouTube, Google and Facebook may have the financial wherewithal to endure a piracy infringement claim, but smaller tech startups wouldn’t be able to afford an investigation, even if the claim turns out to be false. A website shutdown means lost revenue and expensive legal fees, a deadly combination for startups. How can legislation like this promote economic growth? At such an important time in our economy, we cannot afford to stifle innovation and free enterprise. The rest of the Internet largely agrees.

Today, the Internet united to protest SOPA. In an act of solidarity, dozens of high-profile websites have expressed their opposition to the bill. Each website took a stand in their own unique way, but the message was always the same: SOPA would kill the Internet and the innovation that fuels it. Turntable.fm’s anti-SOPA statement was subtle but strong. Google dedicated its iconic Doodle to state its opposition to the bill. In a more bold statement, Wikipedia actually shut down their entire website, dramatically demonstrating how SOPA might affect the Web.

 

 

 

 

 

Content pirates will always find ways to circumvent the system; they’ve been doing it for decades. The only accomplishment of this bill would be to punish the companies that are growing our economy. There has to be a better way to investigate and punish these pirates; SOPA is definitely not the answer. What do you think?


Is Google+ a Facebook-Killer?

Is Google+ a Facebook-Killer?

If you haven’t heard, Google announced its latest attempt at a social network a few weeks ago. Google’s tried several times to take make its products more social (ie the recent fails of Google Buzz and Google Wave) and to steal some of Facebook’s limelight, but to no avail. Google hopes that Google+ is the goose that lays the social egg.


I claimed my Google+ account the other night and started playing around on the site. Because Google+ is still in beta testing and not everyone can join yet (you need an invite from other Google+ users), I could only add a handful of folks into my “circles.”

Google+’s circles are groups that you put all of your connections into. There is a “family” circle, “friends” circle, “acquaintances” circle, “enter group name here” circle, etc. It’s kind of a neat idea. These circles act as completely separate mini social networks. If I want to share a great article with my Industry Connections circle, I don’t have to worry about my relatives referring me to Geeks Anonymous meetings (again…). Similarly, if I wish my Grandma a happy birthday and share it with my Family circle, I don’t have to worry about my Industry Connections “uncircling” me for sharing disinteresting posts (imagine those useless/annoying tweets about waking up, putting on socks and eating a bowl of Cheerios).

Another neat feature is group video chat (called Hangouts). Hangouts allow you to setup a video chat with up to 10 other people from your circles. The video chat window lines up all of the Hangout attendees along the bottom of the screen and automatically recognizes which participant is talking and shows their video feed enlarged in the middle of the screen. Pretty sweet functionality.

With Google+ being so new, I feel like I’m on a tiny island and really unable to make these connections that Google hopes that I will make. Now, it’s a matter of testing out the tools, completing my profile and twiddling my thumbs until (or more likely, if) Google+ is more widely adopted (if you’re on this island with me, you can find me at http://gplus.to/pwocken).

At this point, there is a lot of exciting buzz about Google+. There always is with these sites, especially when it comes from Google. New sites always have a lot of bells and whistles, but once the Geekerati (present company included) find a new and different shiny object, these once brilliant services quickly become dulled and unused.

When Facebook and Twitter started, they started small and organically grew to be the behemoths that they are today. Google seems to be taking a different approach (mostly because they’re already a behemoth in their own right) by heavily marketing the product to an already large Google membership base. Facebook waited 30 months before it was openly available to the general public and not just college kids. Can Google just ignore the industry-standard incubation period and step right into being a major industry player?

So is Google+ a Facebook-killer? It’s still too early to tell. We won’t know the impact of Google+ until it leaves the beta stage and has some time in the marketplace. My gut tells me that Google+ might stick around as a service used by other Google loyalists, but I don’t think they become the preferred social network. My money’s on Facebook taking some of the features that make Google+ unique and building them into the Facebook platform so that there’s really no incentive for Facebookers to abandon ship for Google+.

The true test will be once Google+ is more widely available. Really, it doesn’t matter how many millions of users the service has. All that matters is if your closest 50 friends are using the service. Only then might you consider switching from Facebook to Google+. It’s these small groups of friends that will make the service successful, not a well-publicized and over-hyped marketing campaign.

What do you think? Have you tried Google+ yet? Do you think it’s going to take a chunk out of Facebook’s market share? Please share your comments below. Also, if you’re out on Google+, feel free to add a link to your profile in the Comments so that other Google+ers can find you.


Science Fiction Becomes Science Fact

A couple of weeks ago, I dug back into the video archives to watch Minority Report. A tech geek at heart, I have always loved watching that movie for the technological advancements available to Tom Cruise’s character in 2054. Of course, these types of science fiction movies are just fiction, right? Well, when Steven Spielberg hired a team of technology consultants for the movie back in 1999, he may have produced a movie that’s more science fact than science fiction.

Today’s world is starting to see Minority Report’s technologies come to life. In the movie, Tom Cruise runs through the park and is displayed personalized advertisements targeted specifically to him. Not unlike these ads in the park, we too are seeing marketing messages tailored specifically to us. Whether it’s banner retargeting based on our previous visits to an e-commerce website, personalized search results based on our previous search history or targeted ads based on the information in our social profiles, we are receiving the same types of personalized ads.

These advertisements are only shown when Cruise’s character is within a certain proximity to the advertisements. In the movie, the ad interface used facial recognition software to identify the ad recipient. While we’re not quite to the point of facial recognition billboards yet (Japanese company NEC has already developed billboards that can identify age and gender and deliver customized messages based on those demographics), we do have technology called Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).

RFID is a technology that uses radio waves to communicate between a reader and an electronic tag. RFID tags are commonly used to track warehouse inventory and product shipments, but is increasingly being used in unique ways. Drivers can place RFID tags in their cars to electronically pay road tolls as they drive underneath a reader instead of stopping at the toll booth. Credit card companies are building RFID microSD cards that can be inserted into a user’s phone so that the phone can become a mobile payment device. RFID tags can also be implanted in humans. In 2004, a European club owner offered RFID implants to VIPs so that when they walked into the club, the club management would know they were in the building. VIPs could also pay for their drinks using their embedded RFID tags. With the evolution of RFID technology, it might not be long before consumers who opt in to receive RFID tags (whether embedded in a mobile phone or embedded in their body) are targeted with customized messages as they walk through a shopping mall. Retailers’ window displays could display these targeted ads, or special text messages could be pushed out to these consumers’ phones as they walk by with special promotions.

But what about the big computer screen that Cruise’s character uses throughout the movie? How sweet would it be to outfit an office wall with one of those screens? Well, thanks to advancements in multi-touch technology, we now see these types of displays in several mobile phones, tablets and even desktop computers. We can swipe, pinch, scroll and rotate, but how can we get computers to react to motions rather than touches?

We have that technology too. Enter the Wii and the Xbox Kinect (and now several other gaming systems). A tiny camera senses our motions and allows our motions to have a direct interaction with the computer’s interface. If we want to get really technical, we can build a replica of the Minority Report wall with our own set of stylish gloves (although nobody wears those gloves as well as Tom Cruise). See the video below from one of the technology consultants that worked on Minority Report in this talk that he gave at TED2010 (it gets pretty geeky at times, so feel free to skip ahead to 11:00 for the fun demo).

So while we don’t rely on three shaven and naked siblings floating in a pool to predict our crimes (not yet anyway…) and we don’t have high-speed pods transporting us up the sides of buildings, we’re getting closer and closer to living in a Minority Report world. These real-life technologies are changing the way that we interact with each other and the world around us. Over the next decade, these are the technologies that will affect how we communicate with our target audiences as marketers.

How have you seen these Minority Report technologies in everyday life? Are there any other technologies that you’ve seen in other movies that you think are close to reality? Please, share your comments/thoughts below.


Top 5 Social Media Super Bowl XLV Commercials

Super Bowl Commercials, I’d like to introduce you to Social Media. Social Media, please meet Super Bowl Commercials.

We all know that Super Bowl commercials aren’t cheap. So how can brands make sure that their 30-second, multi-million dollar Super Bowl commercials get the best mileage possible? Make the ad extra funny? That’s an option, but remember the Herding Cats commercial from 2006? Funny commercial, but I’ll give you 5 bonus points if you can tell me the brand behind the commercial (without YouTubing it)? Anyone? I didn’t think so. The correct answer is EDS (now a division of HP Enterprise Solutions). Funny Super Bowl commercials are great, but if you’re customers can’t remember the brand behind it, you just told a $3+ million joke. Ha. Ha.

So how do you get the best mileage out of your Super Bowl Commercials and encourage viewers to interact with your brand beyond the 30-second spot? Mix in a little social media. Advertisers are beginning to test out the best ways to add social media into the traditional mix. This year’s set of Super Bowl commercials was no different.

So what brands did the best job at integrating social media into their Super Bowl Commercials? Here’s a countdown of the top 5 social media commercials from Super Bowl XLV:

5. The “Let’s Give It a Shot” Ads

There were a handful of commercials that decided to “give social media a shot” in their Super Bowl commercials this year and included the brands’ social media links on the final frame of the commercial. The most common links directed viewers to the brands’ Facebook and YouTube pages, showing that the brands had active social media profiles.

4. Salesforce: Chatter.com Launch

Salesforce.com tests the social networking waters by offering businesses the ability to create their own internal social networks. It’s a little strange that Chatter.com decided to announce the launch of its new social network using the most expensive traditional media buy of the year…but they did. They aired this commercial featuring will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas right before they performed at Half Time.

3. Living Social: It’ll Change Your Life

Living Social is a social coupon site similar to Groupon. Living Social decided to use the same strategy that Chatter.com used in the example above, but what gives Living Social the edge over Chattter.com is the entertainment value of the commercial; it almost seemed like a minor tribute to the super popular Old Spice ads.

2. Chevrolet: Cruze Status

Just in case you can’t wait to hear what your date thought of your first kiss, you can check your Facebook News Feed before you even get home. Now you can check your News Feed from your mobile phone too, but we all know that you shouldn’t use your phone while you drive, so buy a Chevy Cruze instead!

1. Ford: Focus Rally

The Focus Rally campaign is built entirely around viewer engagement, which gives it the top spot in this year’s set of social media Super Bowl commercials. Admittedly, Ford sponsored the “Pre-Kick” show on Fox before the game and didn’t advertise during the game, but the Focus Rally is totally effective in driving Super Bowl viewers to take further action. No need to buy a Chevy Cruse when you can win a Ford Focus by participating in the Rally.


What were your favorite commercials from this year’s Super Bowl?