Facebook Knows What You’re Watching & Hearing

Facebook Feelings App

As of Wednesday, Facebook launched a new opt-in audio recognition feature to their platform that can identify songs and TV shows that you’re listening to or watching, then help push the content into a post to share with friends.

Although this new app is technically part of Facebook’s recent “Feelings” feature (see photo below) and makes it easier to share what one is listening to or watching, it also allows Facebook to collect data from its fans at an even faster rate. For example, if the tool is turned on but the user decides not the share the post, Facebook still keeps the data. As there have been 5 billion “Feelings” posts in the last year, this new addition will only help the growing platform obtain more and more information about its users.

Facebook Feelings App

Sound scary? It should to a certain extent. Although Facebook has noted that no actual audio will be recorded, nor will your information be shared to company servers or be monetized, it is a creative way to allow fans to share more — and not just with their close friends. As a tip, always be aware of how much information you’re providing others.

This will be a slower roll-out for all users, but keep an eye out for the new tool coming soon!

— Samantha

Brand New Look for Facebook Brand Pages

New Facebook PagesIf you haven’t noticed already, Facebook has started to implement a brand new look for brand Pages (on desktops) that allow users to more easily access information — and help administrators behind each page find the tools and analytics that they need the most.

First, Facebook has updated the overall Page timeline. Now, you’ll see a column on the right side of the timeline that shows all of the brand’s posts. On the left, you’ll find a new column housing all of company’s important info, such as hours of business, phone number, location and website.

If you’re an admin, you’ll love how easy it is to view information about current ad campaigns, unread messages and notifications. There are new options at the top of the page that will make it simpler to view current and past activity, insights and settings. Additionally, there is a new Pages to Watch feature, which permits admins to create a list of Pages similar to the brand at hand to compare performance and engagement rates.

New Facebook Pages to Watch

For more about the updates made to Pages, check out the link here.

— Samantha

Sympathize Buttons On Facebook

http://mashable.com/2013/12/06/facebook-sympathize-button/

Using a Facebook “Like” has become second nature for people to show appreciation for a cool news story, a friend’s engagement photo or an announcement that a family member will be running next year’s NYC Marathon. However, what do we do when we want to sympathize with a piece of content with something other than a Like?

Well, last week Facebook held another “hackathon” to push employees to come up with the next big idea for the worldwide social platform. One engineer came up with a button that fans could click to relate with particular content that was sad, disappointing, etc. to answer the question above. According to The Huffington Post:

During a Facebook hackathon held “a little while back,” an engineer devised a “sympathize” button that would accompany gloomier status updates, according to Dan Muriello, a different Facebook engineer who described the hackathon experiment at a company event Thursday. If someone selected a negative emotion like “sad” or “depressed” from Facebook’s fixed list of feelings, the “like” button would be relabeled “sympathize.”

Although this button isn’t set to be rolled out just yet, it is great to see a platform like Facebook recognizing that its users are feeling more than a simple Like. In fact, we as humans feel many emotions across a large scale. As we become more and more involved in our lives online, it only makes sense to be able to show those emotions that are otherwise not currently accounted for within social media.

Having said that, sites other than Facebook are attempting to more accurately capture how fans are feeling. For instance, Buzzfeed has seven buttons to click including OMG! Cute, Fail and Win after each article which helps express emotion and filter content.

Buzzfeed Buttons

Overall, we’re excited to see where Facebook will take the next Like button and hope that more social platforms develop ways for fans to further engage with content. For marketers in particular, these new buttons will be critical to further learning about what content pulls on the heart strings to promote engagement — and what doesn’t.

Tell us: Would you use a “sympathize” button on Facebook?

— Samantha

Teens on Facebook Can Now Post Publicly

Teens on Facebook

Before, teens with Facebook accounts could only share content with friends, friends of friends and specific custom groups. As of Wednesday, teens 13-17 years old will be able to post publicly and gain ‘followers’ on their profiles, just as anyone over 18 years old has the ability to do so.

Facebook recently blogged saying, “Teens are among the savviest people using of social media, and whether it comes to civic engagement, activism, or their thoughts on a new movie, they want to be heard. While only a small fraction of teens using Facebook might choose to post publicly, this update now gives them the choice to share more broadly, just like on other social media services.”

To post publicly, teens will need to manually change their audience preferences on each post to ‘public’ before sharing. Note that the platform’s audience settings will remain the same for all posts for all users, including the newly added teens. Having said that, a secondary reminder will pop up for teens after they choose to post publicly a following time.

Although we agree that younger generations are incredibly tech-savvy, we are curious to see how the recent changes will impact the current Facebook base. Teens naturally gravitate toward social platforms, but with the increase of the ability to share, will this simply add more noise to our already full newsfeeds, or will it simply mean that our community is better connected?

Tellus: How do you think this new freedom for teens will impact Facebook?

— Samantha

Facebook to Add Shared Photo Albums

In the latest & greatest updates on social media, Facebook has announced that they will be adding a brand new feature to their site. Shared photo albums will be in incorporated into the already photo-friendly social platform on Monday, which will let multiple Facebook users to add photos to the same album.

Unlike before when fans could only add pics to albums they created, the new shared photo albums will be able to ask others (up to 50 fans) to add images to a single shared album.

Facebook Shared Albums

With new privacy and editing settings, Facebook hopes that creating sharable albums will be easier for the user. Now, fans will be able to create albums for events like birthday parties, weddings and vacations, where photos from multiple sources can be added together to form more compelling collections of stories.

Although this new feature will continue to evolve over the next few months including increasing the photo limits and extended mobile abilities, we can’t wait to experience this highly collaborative way to share experiences with friends and family. In addition, we’re excited to see how this roll-out will impact businesses to better showcase events, product launches and more!

How do you plan on using a shared photo album on Facebook?

— Samantha & Mike

Facebook Releases New User Data

facebook-rolling-in-cash

We had recently done a piece on how Facebook is getting ready to sell video advertisements on their platform. In order to create some hype among advertisers, Facebook released some recent user data for the U.S. and UK. Get ready for this:

More than 128 million people in the U.S. visit Facebook at least once a day. That’s a third of the population! Also, in the UK, about 24 million people visit the social media website everyday.

Of course these numbers are pretty staggering on their own, but another important thing to take away from this announcement, is that this is one of the first times Facebook has released regional data. This is significant to TV advertisers, who rely heavily on those breakdowns. Facebook is trying to show all the advertisers out there just how many people they can reach on a daily basis.

At $66.3 billion estimated to go towards TV ads this year, or 39% of all advertising spent in the U.S., there is some serious money to be made by Facebook. Although these daily user number are no doubt impressive, advertising analysts would like to see more granularity before they can really put a value on Facebook’s reach. For the first time ever, researchers say the average time spent on digital media will surpass TV viewing this year.

We can all see where  TV advertising is going and it is no surprise that Facebook is on the forefront. Sure there will be some backlash from user over having video ads in their newsfeed, but after seeing the potential revenues for Facebook in this new field, we expect to see them take TV advertising head-on.

-Mike & Samantha

Teens No Longer Interested in Facebook

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Leave it to a 13 year-old to tell us how things really are. In this article, I’m 13 and None of My Friends Use Facebook, on Mashable.com, Ruby Karp explains how teens now see Facebook. It is no secret that Facebook has been losing part of its youngest demographic. They have been making up for these loses with additions from the older generations, but as we all know, without the youth on-board, Facebook’s future is not looking so bright. We are really impressed how Ruby was able to explain Facebook’s problems in such simple terms. For example:

Part of the reason Facebook is losing my generation’s attention is the fact that there are other networks now. When I was 10, I wasn’t old enough to have a Facebook. But a magical thing called Instagram had just come out … and our parents had no idea there was an age limit. Rapidly, all my friends got Instagrams.

We think this is an often overlooked fact. People seem to forget that when Facebook came out, the teens of today were not allowed to have accounts. Of course, when a teen is told they can’t have something, it makes them want it even more. However, now that this group is old enough to have a Facebook account, they have already moved on to the latest and coolest platform, as Ruby explains:

Now, when we are old enough to get Facebook, we don’t want it. By the time we could have Facebooks, we were already obsessed with Instagram. Facebook was just this thing all our parents seemed to have.

Facebook is now so popular with the parents, and even grandparents, of today that kids don’t want to be involved. Besides the obvious fact that what parents do is never “cool”, teens are afraid of the Big Brother effect Facebook can have. With people constantly sharing and over-sharing every aspect of their lives on Facebook, it is only a matter of time before a teen’s parent or grandparent sees something they shouldn’t have. Ruby perfectly sums that up by saying:

All of our parents and parents’ friends have Facebooks. It’s not just the fact that I occasionally get wall posts like, “Hello sweetie pie!” But my friends post photos that get me in trouble with those parents. 

Imagine your own teenage years if your parents could see your every move online, pretty scary thought huh? No matter what they are doing, innocent or not, no teenager wants their parents in on every aspect of their lives, and if not having a Facebook account can help keep that secrecy, the choice is obvious.

The final topic that Ruby brings up is Facebook’s ever-changing interface:

Look at something like Twitter, where it’s four buttons — people like the “simple” design better. In the end, Facebook has been trying too hard. Teens hate it when people try too hard; it pushes them away. It’s like if my mom told me not to do something — I immediately need to do it. When she forces something on me, I really don’t want to do it. 

We all get annoyed when Facebook updates their platform and overhauls the user interface. Just like Ruby said, we like simple and we like familiar.  Every time Facebook makes you relearn how to use their platform, it turns people off and forces them to other, more simple, platforms.

Will Facebook figure out a way to win back the teens? We think they probably will. You don’t get to where Facebook is without being able to adapt and solve problems. It will be very interesting to see how they do it, and what tactics they will use. Social media is built on trends, and nowhere is trending more important than with teenagers.

-Mike & Samantha

Better Facebook Posts in 10 Easy Steps

One of the most common mistakes businesses make on Facebook, is underestimating they strategy needed for a successful post. In order to achieve a truly engaging post, a business needs to do a certain amount of research and understand the best practices involved for each post. The infographic below, created by Shortstack, highlights 10 simple, but effective, ways you can improve your Facebook status updates.

facebook-status-update-infographic

 

-Mike & Samantha

Facebook to Launch Video Ads

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Facebook users will have a whole new reason to complain any day now as the social media giant plans to roll out video ads on your Newsfeed. As if your Newsfeed isn’t already cluttered enough with various ads and promotions, Facebook’s new video ads will be 15-second commercials that automatically play as soon as the site is loaded. Thankfully the ads will be muted as a default, but we are not so confident this convenient feature will last for long.

According to Bloomberg, Facebook is planning to charge between $1 million and $2.5 million for each 15-second ad, per day! Prices like that put these Facebook ads on the same level as the most notoriously expensive advertisements in the world, Super Bowl commercials. With the average 30-second commercial costing $4 million during the 2013 Super Bowl, Facebook’s pricing seems to be right on track. Is your Newsfeed as valuable to marketers as the Super Bowl? According to Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandburg, with Facebook getting 3 times the viewership of the Super Bowl, EVERY DAY, it most certainly is. Now are you and your friends going to gather around your Newsfeed in anticipation for clever ads like on Super Bowl Sunday? We would think not. However, with the sheer numbers advantage alone, Facebook has a lot to offer its future advertising clients. 

Like any change on Facebook, there is sure to be complaints from its users. We think these video ads will create a larger backlash than normal, primarily depending on how annoying and intrusive Facebook allows these ads to be. However, like all the other changes Facebook has gone through over the years, give it a little bit of time, and most users will eventually accept it as normal.

Is this the right move for Facebook? With growing discontent among its users, we think it is dangerous for Facebook to continually hurt the user experience it has prided itself on since day one. However, on the other hand, we can see how saying no to the profit Facebook will see off these ads would be hard for any capitalistic company. Only time will tell if the monetary gains outweigh the potential loss in users due to this advertising decision.

-Mike & Samantha

The Silencer

Do you have Facebook friends who are always spoiling the latest episode of Game of Thrones or the newest blockbuster flick? Do you have friends who you would rather not see activity for anymore, but don’t want to go through the trouble of explaining why you unfriended them? If you do, the Google Chrome Silencer plug-in may be for you. This plug-in allows you to add terms, phrases, names, or hashtags that you want silenced in your Facebook or Twitter feed. Not only do you have the option to manually create the silenced criteria, they also offer Mute Packs. These allow you to silence dozens of terms from popular shows like Mad Men or Game of Thrones with one click. The description of this plug-in according to Google is:

Silencer lets you mute and filter any content you want out of your Twitter stream or Facebook News Feed.

Avoid TV show or sports spoilers. Block people that you can’t unfollow but aren’t really interested in anymore. Take back the Internet on your terms!

Introducing Mute Packs! Mute dozens of terms from “Game of Thrones,” “Mad Men,” or “Arrested Development” instantly with one click!

Mute terms, phrases, people or hashtags quickly and easily.

Silencer

If you are not using Google Chrome as your browser yet, you should seriously consider it. They offer tons of helpful plug-ins and the Silencer seems like one we could all get a lot of use out of.

-Mike