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InsideFMM | April 16, 2014

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The New Facebook: What Brands Should Know

The New Facebook: What Fashion, Lifestyle, Beauty and Luxury Consumer Products Should Know

Facebook now has 800 million users, and on Thursday, CEO and founder Mark Zuckerburg proved to marketers, retailers and consumers why all Facebook does in (in the words of DJ Khaled) “Win, Win, Win No Matter What.”

The following article and my marketing insights specifically address Zuckerburg’s keynote presented:

Deeper Engagement + Deeper Sharing = Real-Time Serendipity

Social networks are ubiquitous tools that people will use to connect. –Mark Zuckerberg

Better User Experiences: Facebook is following the model that most social marketers haven been calling for sometime–focus on engagement, not just growth. Zuckerberg noted that the future of social networks will be related to growth through moving towards openness and transparency. Facebook changes to their open graph hope to bring the best of the web (Tumblr, Path, GetGlue) all together and create almost frictionless social experiences.

Users can share their personal experiences wherever they go by creating one-click permissions–automatic additions of apps to keep user actions in sync. Facebook’s permissions dialogue redesign is following the trend that Amazon has laid down in one click ordering. Since Facebook already has the connections in place, the future of social media relies in social apps, depth of engagement with those apps and their users sharing their lives with people in their social graph (those that they’re connected with online and offline).

Streamlined Mobile Integration: During the week of September 11th, Facebook experienced 1/2 billion users in one day. Since Facebook’s launch, Zuckerburg noted that mobile Facebook users have grown by five time since the platform has launched: Facebook averages 350 million mobile users per month. These two statistics show that mobile and social are integrating fast and the changes to Facebook are based on this merge.

The Impact Facebook Changes Are Going To Have On Users

Timelines: What We Love. What We Fear.

Facebook Fan Pages MarketingAccording to Zuckerberg, “People feel intense ownership over profile. People have invested a ton of time to tell their personal story and have made the profile the best way to express who [they] are.”

Zuckerburg noted that a profile is the first five minutes of an introduction to a person, their stream is the next 15 minutes. For strangers or friends, the new Timeline, the heart of the Facebook experience, will serve as the next few hours. Since people have spent years expressing the stories of their life, the new Facebook Timelines seek to serve as an expression point where important events doesn’t fall off a cliff. Instead, they keep going and a historical archive exists.

The overhaul also heavily focuses on the mobile experience via tablets and smart phones. Facebook has optimized the visual design of the Timeline for our mobile devices. For those creating content or apps on the platform that users are viewing, they simply have to take into account Facebook users mobile behavior instead of designing things specifically created for mobile devices.

Facebook Fashion Pages

What We Love: We love the fact that user Timelines are visual documentation of their lives that allow users to express who they are in a curated fashion without becoming to reminiscent of flashing, animated gifs that once overran MySpace pages. As many consumers have taken to photo sharing apps such as Instagram, Lockerz and Moby, we’re sure the integration of these services via “post to Facebook” will increase as the new Timelines are oriented towards such visual content. As I’ve already said, “We have to inspire people with photos and educate them with words.”

What We Fear: Our biggest fear are users sharing too much information on Facebook. No, we are not talking about the mundane things, like checking into every cab in New York City, that most of us post now. Facebook is moving those things to the Ticker–a function that’s already live.

While Facebook makes app integration, content sharing and syndication of our lives easier than ever, they are becoming even more powerful than Google (oh wait–they already are) in the information they are gaining from us. Now that we’ll be able to share our “likes” via verbs such as “listening, reading, drinking, tasting”–and we predict that “buying” and “wearing” are not far behind--as users, we are doing the work for Facebook and all its marketing partners and advertisers to better serve us ads and sponsored stories. Why? Because we’re providing all the demographic data that they could ever want. (We wrote about the impact of real-time, behavior ad targeting on Facebook in March). The marketer in me jumps up and down, but the personal users is going to be more weary of what apps she’s using, what brands she’s interacting with and simply what she’s sharing on Facebook. There is such a thing as too much information or irrelevant information.

The Impact Facebook Changes Are Going To Have On Marketers, Brands And Retailers

In his keynote, Zuckerberg noted that people who use Facebook LOVE APPS and they’ve learned that users utilize apps to express themselves. Thus, thanks to partnerships with Hulu, Netflix, Spotify and gaming companies, apps have become the focus of Facebook’s new monetization efforts. The next version of the open graph will lead to a new class of apps that lead users to have more open, connected experiences. This means that users can discover apps from their friends’ timelines as well; all they have to do is click an app they discover and it’s added to their Timeline. The new version of the open graph is not just about connections users have in have in their immediate circles, it’s about connections in the world; the graph becomes the map of all these relationships. Hello frictionless experiences.

Perhaps the biggest news, aside from real-time behavior data are the analytics reports that Facebook is going to be able to generate, these reports roll up everything a user has ever done with their apps into monthly, yearly or lifetime reports. What this means to us is that we’re going to be able to not only going to be able to better target our current customers and fans, but we’re also going to be able to target new fans and customers based on their app use. Moreover, we’re going to be able to find patterns in their behavior that show us how they, and their preferences and shopping patterns, evolve over time.

Publishing

At the beginning of the year, I started questioning the value of designing Facebook specific content. When Effen Vodka launched Defining Style that featured content from Signature9.com, Fashionista.com, Vivienne Tam and Peter Som. All participants featured links to the Facebook page on their sites in some way. At the time, there was no easy way to add customized content to Facebook that wasn’t costly in my opinion. Now, that has changed with the launch of the Newscorp Washiongton Post social reader, which includes Mashable, Yahoo! News, The Economist, Telegraph, Gizmodo, Le Monde and the Guardian, and WSJ Social.

Media companies now are grasping the concept that social marketers have been saying for years: you have to go where your community is and make your products, services and company apart of that community’s ecosystem. What’s interesting is that with the adoption of social gaming and rewards, according to Jeff Bercovici of Forbes, WSJ Social allows users to chose whose streams to follow–the official ones of the article authors as well as other users–and that determines the content they see. The most followed users can compare their rankings on a leaderboard and earn prizes, including their own WSJ-style stipple portraits. “It’s really about the users being elevated to editors,” said Maya Baratz, head of new products. With the Washington Post social reader, content will be personalized based on news users have already liked on Facebook. The reader gets smarter the more people read and will tailor the content to user interests.

Publishing exclusive content to Facebook now has context and it’s also going to be a requirement for publishers, but also brands and retailers who publish their own content as part of their online marketing strategies. And doing it in ways that get recognized is going to the biggest challenge for marketers and brands because the content is only going to surface through true social engagement. Clever one, Mr. Zuckerberg!

Advertising

The addition of verbs will allow Facebook to gain more data to power ad targeting. According to InsideFacebook, “Advertisers on Facebook’s Ads API or who work directly work with the direct sales team will soon have the option to target users who’ve shared through apps or clicked on buttons, letting them reach consumers through content they might not have ‘liked’. Granular targeting will allow advertisers to choose if they want to reach users who listened to a specific song or everyone who used an app.”

Advertisers will also be able to turn media sharing and user content into Sponsored Stories using feedback button, which can turn news feed or Ticker stories into sidebar ads.” Facebook’s VP of global marketing solutions David Fischer told InsideFacebook that they are consider releasing a “want” button for products as well. Developers will also be able to create customized feedback buttons as well.

So what does “want” potentially mean?

  • It means Target can target people who buy Missoni or bought the Missoni For Target line to promote and premarket their collaboration with Versace.
  • A fashion school such as FIT could target potential students that would be interested in degrees it offered because they “want” to work in the fashion industry.
  • Hudson Jeans could target users who read articles about how to shop for premium or created content about how to care for premium denim.

FREE IDEA: How about customer who wants to skin their profile with your brand? I see the new cover photo as a low cost opps to let customers show how your brand or cause is part of their DNA. Custom design them, make them available. Let them spread across Timelines.

Changes To Monetization Model

The addition of verbs also shows a shift in Facebook’s revenue models. Brands and retailers have felt that getting fans to notice and ‘like’ a brand page has been difficult without launching complex online marketing campaigns. Well, it’s going to get even more complex. In the next few weeks, Facebook is in the process of developing partnerships with a first string of lifestyle apps that integrate the use of verbs, but the new timelines won’t be available for brands and businesses right away.

Spotify Facebook Music App

Naill Harbison of Simply Zesty notes there are no ads on the new Facebook Timelines (though they currently show). Harbison also notes that “Facebook is clearly looking at the 30 percent they can take from all platforms activities as a much bigger carrot than advertising can ever be. With less room for advertising Facebook could be cutting their revenues unless they are thinking about moving ads into the main timeline at a future date to give them more prominence, which is not out of the question.”

With the addition of sponsored stories within the new ticker, coupled with the addition of verbs, brands and retailers are going to have to change the way in which the market to consumers on Facebook. While it may be a challenge, I believe those who do it well are going to have unprecedented successes in building engaged, highly-active communities with the new features available (and if you need help with this, that’s what I’m here for).

Brands will have to become more social, not just say they’re social. May fashion brands and retailers fail to respond to comments on Facebook or Twitter. These new changes are going to force us to be less polished and become more community oriented. And the people heading these positions are going to have to be employees/agencies that not only understand your brand, believe in it, but also live and die for social media. And the apps that you develop for Facebook will be the vehicle in which you engage your community now. – @Macala

Privacy: Let’s Set The Record Straight

I think it’s important to the mass speculation regarding privacy and new changes that are happening on Facebook. According to Stephanie Lee, Esq. (disclosure: Stephanie is my business partner at WHY THIS WAY; she is an attorney that specializes in Internet Law), here are two things you need to know:

  1. Only the look of user profiles–now called Timelines–are changing. All the privacy settings are staying the same.
  2. Users need to read the fine print of all Facebook apps that they authorize. Moving forward apps will operate in the background of your sharing activities across Facebook, users may be posting updates they don’t remember authorizing.

“Like email lists or catalog services, they are opt-in services,” says Lee. “It’s important to check your privacy settings on a regular basis.”

Macala…What Did Facebook Just Do To My Social Media Strategy?

Well, Facebook is now leading the evolution of social media, social marketers have known this has been coming for some time. What Zuckerberg said in his opening keynote is 100 percent correct. But here’s the thing, we’ve been talking about deep relationships with our customers and integrating into a part of daily lives for years, this hasn’t changed. We’ve just got better tools to make better connections. Facebook is awesome for that!

  1. Will you have to change your social media strategy? Yes.
  2. Will I have to develop content specifically for Facebook? Yes.
  3. Am I going to have to hire a specialist to help me understand how maximize my ad spend on Facebook like I do Google? Yes, unless you have one in house. You can also have an outside evaluation done and then have the consultant work with your internal team to implement it.
  4. Am I going to have to change my Facebook marketing strategy? Yes, but most brands don’t have cohesive ones anyway. We’re just starting to see good things happen so it’s the perfect time!
  5. Should I abandon all marketing efforts and forsake all other social media platforms? No.
  6. Why shouldn’t I abandon all social media platforms? Because, Facebook, while a large community, isn’t the only community. Niche marketing is going to be as powerful as Facebook in building awareness and brand advocates.
  7. What social media platforms are the next hot thing? Aside from “the new Facebook”? Well, it depends on you what your marketing goals. I’d advise focusing on maturing the current communities you use and also focus on dimensionalizing the experiences your followers are having in those communities. Augmented Reality and 3D are really hot right now.
  8. Will Facebook become Google? Well, that’s a really hard question to answer. That’s a 10,000 word article in itself.
  9. What platforms should I drop now? Hopefully you are completely off of MySpace, it’s very 1998.
  10. What else should I consider? Well, Facebook’s changes are enforcing something that multi-channel retailers are doing well–ONE CLICK SHOPPING. It’s going to be a very busy year for e-commerce developers. As etailers, we’ve got to make the purchase as quick, seamless and simple as possible for our customers. We’ll be rewarded increased online sales.

What do you think of the changes to Facebook’s Open Graph? We’d love for readers to share their insights.

Photos: Screenshots from Livestream – Zuckerberg Keynote. DJ Khaled – YouTube Video.

Comments

  1. Thank you so much Macala!

    I suppose as a publisher, engagement on facebook has been at the forefront for me…
    I was told that our Networked Blogs and social RSS apps will no longer allow us to automatically publish to facebook- do you know this true?

    This is all exciting and curious as to how things will evolve! Thank you!

    • Hey Marie: For now your add to Facebook, share on Facebook remain the same. From what I’m reading, the way in which we do add content to Facebook is going to change as the new features are implemented and changes are made to open graph. But naturally services, plugins etc will evolve as this becomes available. The whole point to curate content on Facebook, and a key point of doing this is sharing it. While we’re creating content for Facebook exclusively now, it won’t be well received if the only way to get content syndicated and share is if it lies solely in Facebook. And I’m not seeing, or hearing in the conference video, that this the goal. That would be like creating a pay wall for content, only works on 11% of the sites that try and implement it. The algorithm for content is becoming more complex, and good, RELEVANT content is going to appear through our social timelines. I think it makes it harder for people with subpar or just okay content to benefit from the traffic driven from Facebook. I am totally okay with that. I must also say that I am happy to not see what people’s dog is doing at 2AM in the morning. – Cala

      • Thomas

        Fascinating comment Macala. Thanks

      • I am sooo happy I was able to digest this fully! :) Thank you! I love this evolution of it all and hopefully it allows me to find and unearth gems across facebook… at least I know where to turn to first with the chances! :)

  2. As a new brand to the fashion scene I’m extremely excited about Facebook’s open graph. It will allow smaller brands to really develop their niche and brand community at a quicker pace due to all the consumer feedback you’ll receive.

    • Hey Aimee! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. That’s exactly what I think too. While the world of Facebook is big, you can now go deeper into niches. Individual and community! Keep us posted on what you’re doing.

  3. Looks to be an exciting new era for how we deal with Facebook – and potentially an easier one for us in the marketing world.

    I am interested in the point about the user possibly becoming rather weary of all the options to share… So thinking on the dark side of the moon here, it may complicate the user experience.

    Perhaps Google + and Facebook’s battle will center mostly around this one pointed question: What’s easier to use?

    Of-course I’ve heard a lot of people rely on the idea that “Well I’m already using Facebook, I don’t need another online account”.

    Just some opposing thoughts to consider. Thanks for writing this article – you always have such great insights!

    • Jason – I love anyone who play’s Devil’s Advocate. I think the conversation between Google + and Facebook is just beginning. In the end, depending on who the user is, most likely I think they’ll use both, just for different reasons. It’s what I currently and am figuring out. I don’t need to follow and interact with the same people that I’m connected with on Facebook, Twitter and geolocation services. As a marketer, I’m interested in content traffic and syndication. Google and Facebook are neck and neck for me. We’ll see how things evolve.

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