POV on The Latest Facebook Pages Redesign

February 11, 2011 – 3:05 pm | by



Today Facebook launched a redesign for Facebook Pages which will transition brand pages from the current tabbed layout to a layout that mirrors regular user profiles. The new design brings some additional functionality to Facebook Pages, but also reduces the discoverability of brand content that is housed in tabs. What follows is a summary + implications of the the most important changes and suggestions on how to take best take advantage of the new features:

  • Content featured on tab applications is much less visible
    Similar to how personal profiles are designed, tab applications are now listed on the left-hand side of the profile underneath the profile picture rather than in page tabs across the top of the profile. While this provides a consistent user experience for Facebook users (and brands can have longer tab-titles), brand content hosted on tab applications is now much less likely to be discovered without guidance. Now, more than ever, brands need well designed welcome tabs that introduce new visitors to the content housed in the tab applications of the brand-page. Brands will also have to use wall posts and conversation tactically to guide fans to content housed in tab applications.
  • Profile images are now competing with page navigation
    Previously brands often used a tall profile image (up to 200×600 px) to include attractive imagery, feature messages and even guide users to content on the page. However, because the page navigation links are now below the profile image, a tall graphic will push navigation to “below the fold” (below the first level of visible screen real-estate). Given this, brands should be more conservative with their profile images moving forward, rather than using the whole allotment (which is now a slightly smaller 180×540 px).
  • Album photos are now much more visible to visitors
    The new brand-page designfeatures the 5 latest photos a brand has uploaded to one of their albums directly on the top of their info page (no fan-uploaded photos are featured, and individual photos can be removed as well). This makes photo albums a significantly more valuable asset. Brands launching new Facebook pages should start their albums with at least five interesting photos and plan out how albums are organized because users will likely spend more time in the photos application. Brands should also think about how they can use comments on their featured photos to drive viewers from photos to other relevant pieces of content.
  • Brands can now show off their admins for more transparency
    Brand-pages can now feature some or all of their admins on the left-hand side of the page below the page navigation. While this may not make sense for everyone, brands can use this to be much more upfront about who from their organization is participating in the management of the page. This also means brands need to payattention to how their admins present themselves on Facebook on their own personal pages. To prevent conflicts of interest, brands who make their admins visible may want to recommend that the admins turn their own profiles “private” to the public.
  • Admins can now navigate + interact across Facebook on behalf of the brand
    Previously brand-page admins were only able to interact on the brand page, but now admins can ‘like’ and comment on other brand pages on behalf of the brand. These interactions will show up in brand-page follower news-feeds just like if a friend of theirs was interacting in Facebook. There will be many interesting ways for brands to leverage this, such as having sister brands or products & parent companies interact with each other across their respective Facebook walls.
  • Conversation on the wall will be more compelling to visitors
    Facebook has made several upgrades to help improve the value of the conversation on the wall. Previously posts were displayed completely chronologically. Now visitors will see interesting posts first: posts from their friends, similar users, and posts that have received a lot of likes + comments. For additional control, brands can choose to set the default view to show only wall posts from the brand itself. Brands can also keep the wall clean bysetting a “moderation blocklist” that automatically marks any inappropriate posts as spam.

This latest Facebook redesign is available to all brand pages starting now (admins will be alerted the next time they visit one of the brand-pages they control), but admins have the option to hold off on activating the transition until March 10th. This gives brand teams a one-month window to analyze how these changes will impact their brand page specifically and plan a strategy that most effectively leverages the layout. SS+K will also be actively exploring the new Facebook landscape over the coming weeks to identify further implications and opportunities to take advantage of. In the mean time, please let us know if you have any specific questions or concerns.

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Effects of Google Instant on Search Marketing

November 13, 2010 – 7:15 pm | by

Google has made some significant changes to their search product in the last few months, most notably turning on Google Instant- a lightning fast immediate view of search results that reflect exactly what you’re typing as you type it. This changes the search experience on Google.com somewhat radically, and search marketers have been paying close attention to how the new environment impacts Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). While tests are still running and full verdicts are still out, here are two important changes that brands and marketers should pay attention to:

  1. Total search volume is up significantly (impressions), but click-through rate (CTR) is down. The rapid nature of search and discovery with new Google Instant is enabling users to search faster, view more results and make decisions on content right on Google. Because of this users are viewing more organic results and ad-impressions, but clicking less often. Overall click-volume is up all-together though, and at least in the short term that appears to be decreasing the cost-per-click (CPC) of paid ads.
  2. While search volume is increasing all around, shorter + broader search phrases are growing disproportionately in search share. This is because users are apt to notice a result that is suitable to them when they are only part-way through typing their intended query, and stop typing all-together. Because of this change in search behavior, brands who are focusing on generating awareness through search advertising impressions need to focus more on shorter / broader search terms. This is true as well in site content optimization for organic search optimization.
    Still, it is important to remember that effective conversion often comes from more precise long-tail search matches, even if impressions decrease. It will be more important than ever to consider brand objectives and optimize campaigns accordingly.
  3. Google’s coveted top-of-page ad placements may be less valuable in the new page design. Now that Google Instant causes a drop-down of search suggestions as you type, the top three ad placements can, at times, drop below the fourth ad spot on the right which sits right next to the suggested queries box. Previously the rule of thumb was to bid for 3rd position or better, but for some searches brands could potentially bid less aggressively now and still be well positioned for exposure (see image above).

This is just the beginning of how the search marketing experience is going to evolve. Google continues to iterate on the search experience- infact, they launched Instant Previews and Product Image Ads just this week. I will continue to share results as they surface. Let me know if you have any questions.

For further reading:
How Google Instant Changes Behavior (MediaPost)
Google Instant’s Impact on SEM (Compete)
Google Instant…(@danbrough)

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Facebook instant personalization coming to banners everywhere

October 18, 2010 – 9:49 am | by

A second Facebook post in as many weeks.  Facebook is apparently launching another interesting innovation, though in a small under-the-radar test:  Facebook and select advertisers are working together to incorporate social-graph powered instant personalization in banner campaigns across the web.  This essentially extends Facebook’s social engagement ads out across the web.  This means when you see a standard 300×250 banner ad for Mountain Dew when you’re reading an article on CNN.com you will see the same type of social endorsement you see on the ads on Facebook.com, how many likes the brand has, and which of your friends have liked it, right in the banner.

Why is this important?  Social endorsement has a huge impact on performance metrics.  Nielsen published a study in April that shows the social endorsement (i.e. your friend’s likes) has a significant impact on ad recall, awareness, and purchase intent (e.2. below).  Interaction with the social ads also generates Facebook newsfeed stories, which lead to further reach and engagement.

This is an early test of a feature that probably won’t be available to a lot of advertisers soon, and it definitely has the chance to trigger privacy concerns, but it has the potential to disrupt online display ads significantly.

UPDATE: A Facebook employee has responded that this isn’t really instant personalization as Facebook defines it because data isn’t being passed to the publisher (see comment below)

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What Facebook Instant Personalization on Microsoft Bing Search Means for Brands

October 13, 2010 – 5:08 pm | by

A big announcement from Facebook + Microsoft today: Facebook’s social graph will now be incorporated into Microsoft’s Bing search results. What this means is when you search for anything using Bing, articles your friends have ‘liked’ anywhere on the web will start to gain priority in the search results. This is the deepest integration of Facebook’s personal social graph into search content ever, and it’s only happening on Bing.

What does this mean for brands:

  1. This gives Bing a valuable layer of data that Google doesn’t have, and it sounds like Facebook won’t allow Google to have it any time soon. Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook’s founder) said on stage today “the thing that makes Microsoft such a great partner for us is they’re the underdog in search…We’re interested in working with companies that are really scrappy, that are underdogs… they have an incentive go to all out and innovate”. Bing is already growing, and a full alliance with Facebook could help them steal market share from Google.
  2. As more and more social data gets layered into search results, it underscores the importance for brands to have a successful social strategy. Brands need to be talked about, and their content needs to be shared. Content generated and endorsed by people’s personal connections is going to be increasingly prioritized in search results. That means social is increasingly a search engine optimization strategy.

This should be going live soon on Bing, and it will happen automatically for you unless you’ve opted out of instant personalization on Facebook. Read more about the Facebook + Microsoft Bing partnership here.

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Additional reading on the power of social in search:

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7 Free Twitter Analytics Tools to Optimize Your Twitter Presence

August 17, 2010 – 7:40 am | by

Ever since the Twitter’s launch there have been thousands of tools that help expand the experience.  Most people tend to think of the Twitter clients (e.g. Tweetdeck), but there are also a lot of really valuable analytics tools.  Using these periodically will help you to optimize your efforts.  We’ve listed 7 free tools (many have paid premium options) and their best case uses below; tell us which tools you use regularly and how you use them, and we’ll add them to our list!

KLOUT
Best used for: Tracking your expected reach (how many active twitter users you can expect to view each of your tweets) and identifying the Twitter users who most often engage with your content.

TWEETSTATS
Best used for: Viewing your twitter posting habits and making sure you post regularly throughout the day and week.

TWITTERCOUNTER
Best used for: Seeing the correlation between your Twitter activity and follower growth

TWEETLEVEL
Best used for: Simple benchmarking of your engagement score versus your followers, and quick recommendations on how to improve your value

TWITCLEANER
Best used for: Cleaning up the list of people you’re following by removing people who are no longer active on Twitter

TWEETREACH
Best used for: Viewing lists of influencers on Twitter around a brand keyword, name, or phrase

QWITTER
Best used for: Identifying attrition rate of follower base and potential posts that caused users to unfollow

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The Emergence of the Facebook Search Engine + Facebook SEO Needs

June 25, 2010 – 2:06 pm | by

Though Facebook has had a search box for many years, it’s predominately been used to help users find their friends quickly, track down existing community groups, or locate brand pages.  But slowly Facebook’s search ambitions are growing, and with the recent launch of the open social graph (mostly known for those ‘like’ buttons) the social networking behemoth is moving full steam towards providing a full service search engine right inside Facebook.com.  Here are two ways that Facebook is expanding on search, and why we need to make sure our clients are prepared for the looming Facebook SEO battle:

1. People-powered search results
Every site that incorporates Facebook open social graph tools (like buttons, comment boxes, etc.) is being indexed and ranked by Facebook based on how much Facebook users engage with the content.  As more and more users ‘like’ websites Facebook is beginning to include the popular sites in the Facebook.com search box.  This approach is different from Google, which ranks sites based on linking and content relevancy.  Instead Facebook is prioritizing search results based on what the Facebook audience is saying about sites on the web.  Facebook will also likely prioritize search content based on what your specific friends recommend as well.  Brands can get a head start in ensuring they’re in the Facebook.com search results by implementing Facebook open social graph plug-ins in a smart way and fueling users to start ‘liking’ their content.  Brands can also influence how their sites are listed in Facebook’s search engine by including special meta-data in their site code.

2. Socially powered content farm
Facebook is now automatically building what they call “community pages” for any topics that users list as interests in their profiles.  These community pages enable Facebook to serve up content through their search box that “locks in” users by providing them internal site content rather than sending them out of Facebook the public web.  The community pages are filled with pictures + text pulled directly from Wikipedia about the topic, as well as a stream of status updates that Facebook users have posted on their walls about the topic (any status updates from a viewer’s friends are highlighted first).  Currently the “community pages” are not able to be edited by anyone, and brands cannot claim pages.  However, brands should monitor the conversation that is being aggregated on community pages, and they can join in the stream by publishing content on their own pages about the subjects.

Though we’re still at the early stages of Facebook’s search product and the changes aren’t very visible yet, it’s important for us to pay attention to this on behalf of our brands.  With over 500 million users, Facebook has the ability to make major waves in search very quickly.  We can help prepare our clients for this by recommending smart Facebook SEO tactics- building a robust Facebook presence, leveraging the social graph plug-ins, and watching the community pages.  We need to lead this forward thinking as social search hits prime-time.

Read about how Google is tackling Social Search

Further reading on Facebook SEO:
http://www.allfacebook.com/2010/06/facebook-unleashes-open-graph-search-engine-declares-war-on-google/
http://staynalive.com/articles/facebook-and-the-new-seo/

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