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Facebook’s new ‘friends & family first’ algorithm: What businesses should know

By | Announcements, Facebook, Social Media | No Comments

facebookchanges

Facebook once again tweaks its news feed algorithm (see this post for a history of Facebook algorithm and other changes). This time, it’s ‘friends and family first’ – what’s being shared from friends and family will now be prioritised over posts shared by business and news media pages, rendering them less prominent or less visible to Facebook users.

This will lessen traffic to many business and news media sites that are dependent on sharing articles in their Facebook pages.

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Why Facebook surpassed Google in Media Referral Traffic

By | Comment, SEO, Social Media | No Comments

1 Google

 

image source: Parse.ly Quarterly Authority Report

Facebook shoots up

In August, the news that Facebook overtook Google in referral traffic, for the second time in less than a year, exploded among SEO sites. This is according to a report by content analytics service, Parse.ly

Headlines blared:

For Major Publishers, Facebook Referral Traffic Passes Google Again” —Marketing Land

Facebook has taken over from Google as a traffic source for news” —Fortune

Facebook, Not Google, Is Now the Top Referral Source for Digital Publishers” —Adweek

Facebook Passes Google In Referral Traffic” —MediaPost

Facebook is now more important than Google for online publishers” —Business Insider

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Facebook, the kids are moving out

By | Blog, Facebook, Research, Social Media, Uncategorized, Webpage Monitoring | No Comments

SWEDEN-FACEBOOK-DATA-CENTER-SERVERS

Social media is a finicky business—just ask MySpace.

Just a few months after being acquired by News Corporation in 2006, MySpace somehow lost its ‘cool factor’, turning from a once thriving social network where teenagers shared music, videos, and photos in ways only teenagers could fathom, to the online version of a ghost town.

MySpace losing its reputation as the cool place to be on the Internet can be partly attributed to the rise of Facebook, which has grown to have a base of 1.2 billion active users as of September 2013. But even the social media giant may not be so safe, with a recent blog post casting doubts on the company’s perception among youths, potentially leading to a similar exodus of users.

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Speculations like these are important because Facebook has for the most part, enjoyed the bullish patronage of investors. Since going public, the company’s share price has soared to more than double in 2013, ending the year above $54. It’s a clear indication of how the market just loves to gobble up social media stocks, and it shows their belief that Facebook’s users won’t tire of the site.

Enter Daniel Miller

Stirring up the pot is an article on the academic research site, The Conversation. Published by Daniel Miller, professor of material culture at University College London, the article describes how young users are reportedly turning away from Facebook in large numbers, going as far as to say the social network “is not just on the slide, it is basically dead and buried.” Miller notes that most teenagers now prefer to use photo-sharing and messaging mobile apps like Instagram, WhatsApp, and Snapchat—places where parents aren’t around.

Miller drew his conclusions on Facebook’s waning popularity with young Internet users after conducting a survey among 16- to 18-year olds in Britain, part of an EU-funded report on social networks.

Critics responded to the article, pointing out that Miller’s small sample of just 40 students was far too small to extrapolate such a sweeping conclusion from. In response, Miller published a follow-up article to defend his findings, revealing that he had based his conclusions on a wider set of discussions. He also pointed out that a journalist had written his original post, which explains its alarmist tone—something he vowed would be fixed in the future.

Facebook’s safe, or is it?

So as it turns out, Facebook isn’t quite facing a MySpace moment. Still, the social network can’t afford to rest easy, which might partly explain the acquisition of Instagram for $1 billion. As is common with big networks, Facebook has drawn huge numbers of older users, as shown by this chart below from Pew Research Centre.

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It’s also worth mentioning that Facebook CFO David Ebersman  admitted that daily usage of Facebook by younger teens had decreased. It doesn’t help that the social network has a growing reputation of being inhabited by parents, the bane of most youngsters.

But saying there’s a mass defection happening would be irresponsible. It is true, however, that teens now use a wide range of social networks for different purposes, this according to Lee Rainie of the Pew Research Centre’s Internet and American Life project. They’ve observed that ‘safer’ content is posted on Facebook, while more intimate posts (read risqué) are uploaded to networks not penetrated by parents as of yet—it’s an observation echoed by Professor Miller.

The teens may not be leaving in droves, but Facebook knows all too well the dangers of being casted as ‘uncool,’ as evidenced by their recent attempt to acquire Snapchat.

 

Are Facebook Pages Still Worth It In 2014?

By | Blog, Facebook, Research, Social Media, tools, Uncategorized, Webpage Monitoring | No Comments

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From occupying a dominant position just a few years ago, Facebook’s fan (business) pages have seen their ‘fan reach’ sink to an alarming low, leading to speculation of their impending demise. If you maintain your own business page, fan reach is defined as the percentage of your fans that see your post after its published on Facebook.

Fan reach falls drastically

From 2009 to 2010, Facebook’s fan reach on its business pages was at 20+ percent, with many pages enjoying record impression results. Since then, page administrators have seen severe drops in their fan reach, so much so that even with significant growth, it would take at least 2 years to recover. Here’s a brief timeline on the problem put together by Just Ask Kim.

  • 2 years ago: Fan reach falls to 16 percent, a reduction but not enough to worry about
  • 1 year ago: Fan reach falls yet again to 14 percent
  • 8 months ago: Fan reach drops to 12 percent
  • 4 months to present: Fan reach has dropped to an all time low of 9 percent, with several pages reporting lower impressions

Of course, the numbers above are simplifications meant to make the downward trend understandable. But, in any case, several marketers have been forced to rethink their strategies, in particular, just how much time and effort they should spend on their FB pages with the start of 2014.

Not all pages are equal

Facebook-paid-advertising

Yet despite the fatalistic attitudes of many online and social media marketers, a subset of Facebook pages have actually been spared from this shortfall in fan reach. Marketers who have allocated a stable budget for Facebook advertising and creating effective ads have not been affected as significantly. While fan reach has fallen across the board, the effects are less consequential because they have a funnel that capitalizes on their ad strategy.

In other words, those paying for ads on Facebook aren’t feeling the decrease in fan reach as much as the people relying on ‘free’ reach are.

 Cough up the money

Similar to how Google had shifted its attention to its paid advertisement system, Facebook is slowly making a compelling case for page owners to cough up the cash and protect themselves from dwindling fan reach. And if your plan is to do it on a long-term basis, you’ll have to come up with a strategy that funnels money out of your leads.

Facebook fan pages have gone from being a free way to market your brand on the world’s largest social network, to joining the ranks of paid media. Facebook is of course, well within its right to do this— and are using this to maximize their revenue.

It’s now up to marketers to respond to this paradigm shift.

No budget? Here’s what you can do.

Facebook-EdgeRank-Formula

Just Ask Kim has taken the liberty of outlining some measures you can take to improve your fan reach without having spend one cent.

  • Study the EdgeRank formula to figure out how Facebook rewards pages with more reach and what they ignore.
  • Use your fan list to your advantage. Use posts that encourage discussions among your fans to show signs of engagement on your page, which in turns increases EdgeRank, thereby letting more fans see your posts.

Do note that if you choose not to invest Facebook’s business pages for your brand, you’ll have to do more research and work. In any case, we here at Enform can help you achieve better results with your social media presence.

 

Social Media Generates Intense Interest. Will it be Profitable in 2013?

By | Blog | No Comments

According to a 2012 study by Econsultancy, social media engagement proved to be the most exciting digital opportunities for marketers during the previous year. The study, which saw 54 percent of respondents—consisting of company marketers and agents—considered social media as the online marketing opportunity they’re most passionate about, rating it ahead of three digital opportunities.

These include:

  • Mobile optimisation at 38 percent
  • Content optimisation at 37 percent
  • Conversion rate optimisation at 31 percent
  • Brand/viral marketing at 27 percent
  • Video marketing at 24 percent

Social Media Considered a Top Priority

Surveyed marketers also noted that for the year 2012, social media marketing would be included in their top three priorities. In fact, social media engagement, along with content optimisation, topped the list at 39 percent. This was followed by:

  • Brand/viral marketing at 32 percent
  • Mobile optimisation at 29 percent
  • Content marketing at 29 percent

Passion Not Translating to Revenue

The same survey however, shows that while social media marketing is a high priority and engaging point of discussion, marketers still can’t figure out how to make it effective when it comes to generating revenue. Among the companies and agencies who participated in the survey, close to half admitted that while social media has added new goals and programs to their marketing schemes, it hasn’t generated much revenue to support new hires.

However, if used correctly, social media can provide a platform for business growth and networking at a convenience. The use of blogs and social networks, for instance, Facebook and Twitter, companies can market a new product or offers directly to their intended market. But, it is imperative that any message sent via social media needs to convey a strong and meaningful message or else it will be seen as ‘junk’ and become irrelevant.

What Will the New Year Hold?

With 2013 upon us, we at Enform believe that the time is ripe for social media to finally become a real income-generating platform for companies looking to expand their online presence. We earlier reported a disparity between the goals of brand marketers and what consumers wanted from brands, and we think the two camps will finally see eye to eye this year.

 

Brand Relationship: How Consumers Respond to Social Network Marketing Messages

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When was the last time you ‘Liked’ a brand’s Facebook post on your News Feed or followed a brand on Twitter?

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A recent survey conducted by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Pitney Bowes Software delved into how consumers respond to social media marketing messages from the brands they follow. The study shows that while close to half of consumers welcome messages from their followed brands, the response is eliminated when terminating the ‘follow’ or ‘like’ relationship—only 18 percent of online consumers welcome social media marketing messages from brands they don’t like or follow.

On the other hand, 1 in every 5 consumers who knowingly follow a brand, find their social media marketing messages irritating. This figure jumps to 40 percent in people who don’t follow the brand.

The study, titled “Social Media: Contrasting the Marketing and Consumer Perspectives,” involved 300 respondents composed of senior marketing executives working in business to consumer companies in the US, Australia, Germany, France, and the UK, along with 3,000 consumers from similar markets.

Discrepancies

What struck us the most here at Enform is the disconnect between what brands are doing with social media messages and what consumers want. By comparing how marketers use social media messaging for marketing purposes with what consumers like, Bourne’s study uncovers a number of discrepancies.

For instance, the study reveals that 36 percent of consumers are interested in messages about upcoming sales and promos, but only 9 percent of social media marketers report to creating such messages. Meanwhile, 36 percent of consumers expressed interested in receiving messages about new services and products, but only 19 percent of marketers have created such messages.

Marketers apparently use social media messaging as a means of interacting directly with customers, but only 15 percent of those surveyed report to seeing value in this, preferring instead to getting messages about discounts and bargain coupons.

Another discrepancy the study found is how 24 percent of marketers see newsletters as crucial in generating consumer interest, even though only 9 percent of consumers like receiving them.

Social Media Still Not Supreme

When it comes to brand interaction, only 19 percent of consumers admitted to using social media to contact companies online. Instead, 67 percent of users report to using email, followed by 31 percent who call companies, and 30 percent contacting the company through their official website. Of course, these preferences may change over time.

Given these results, we, at Enform believe that a change in strategy as far as social media messages shouldn’t hurt. These results however, do not mean that the best way to use social media, is to inundate customer base with spam; the best approach is, always send something of value to your customers.

 

Study Takes Closer Look at Facebook Users’ Activities and Habits

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Facebook Activity Chart

A recent study done by Pew Internet delved deep into the social networking habits of Facebook users. Unlike other previous studies that only scratched the surface through interviews and surveys, Pew Internet’s study was different because researches were actually given access to respondents’ Facebook logs. Researchers were able to better investigate the different activities of Facebook users, how these activities were linked to the number of friends a Facebook user has, and find better answers to other commonly asked questions.

Unbalanced activities

Pew Internet noted a consistent occurrence in their sample wherein Facebook users received more feedback for their content than what they gave to their friends—feedback comes in likes, comments and shares. However, this imbalance is due to the subset of Facebook ‘power’ users who use the site heavily, liking, commenting, sharing and chatting with friends far more than the average Facebook users, which explains why it appears that they receive more than they give.

Friend requests received outnumber those sent

Pew Internet’s sample shows that around 40 percent of those in the study sent a friend request within the social network during the first month of observation. It’s a big difference to the 63 percent of users who were found to have received friend requests during the same time period. Power users once again, are an exemption, making at least 1 friend request per week.

More likes received than given

Just as with friend requests, users in the sample received more likes than they gave. Liking, by far one of the most popular activities on Facebook, was surprisingly something not everyone in the sample engaged in. About 33 percent were found to have clicked on the liked button once per week, while 37 percent had their content liked by a friend by just as much. The majority of users however, did not engage in using the like feature, nor did they receive likes.

Enform knows these valuable data can help you in your online presence. If you need help in maximizing such, get in touch with us now.
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Startup Conducts Survey on Social Profile Viewing Habits Using Eye Tracking Technology

By | Blog | No Comments

Have you ever wondered what people first look at when they view your social networking profile? EyeTrackShop, a startup company that specializes in eye-tracking technology to help advertisers determine the efficacy of their online ads, sought to find out the answer to that question by using their software to study the viewing habits of social network users, giving us a peak into how friends, potential dates and even prospective employers see your social profiles online.

Facebook Heat Map

EyeTrackShop gathered 30 participating individuals and equipped them with webcams which would record their eye movements and patterns when viewing profile pages on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Digg, Tumbler, Klout, Reddit, StumbleUpon and other such sites.

While the study was by no means exhaustive—the sample size of 30 is simply insufficient to make concrete conclusions—a few key observations can still be gleaned from the research.

Key Observations

For example, on social sites such as Facebook, StumbleUpon and Klout, EyeTrackShop’s tracking software showed that profile photos got the most attention. While on LinkedIn, profile photos didn’t get as much attention as job titles did.

Facebook, Google+ and Twitter all had one thing in common—surveyed web users were observed to have directed their attention to the small thumbnails of friends on social profiles on these sites. Web designers and social media marketers will also be well advised to note that the study showed that web users are more likely to concentrate their attention on the topmost section of the page. The further content was located down a page, the less likely people were to look at it at first glance.

With Facebook’s recent overhaul to their profile pages, and YouTube undergoing a similar design and interface overhaul, it’ll be interesting to know how viewing habits will change as well. However, one thing’s certain, Enform will be on top of whatever changes social media has to offer just so we can take care of your business better.

Enform Offers App that Allows Facebook ‘Likes’ to be Converted into Email Newsletter Subscribers

By | Blog | No Comments

For site owners running a social media marketing campaign on Facebook, Enform now offers a Facebook app, or application, that allows Facebook users who have liked their pages to have access to a subscribe form  to your newsletter on the page itself. This feature makes it easier for Facebook page owners and managers such as yourself to convert Facebook likes into email subscribers, a step closer into making them regular customers.

Facebook Like

Enform’s latest Facebook app is a is a blessing for business owners who have been looking to merge their social media efforts with their email marketing campaigns. While having both may seem redundant and counterproductive, integration between the two methods of online marketing significantly expands the reach of your messages. Having a subscription page on a Facebook page ultimately allows you to hit two birds with one stone, increasing both your fans on the social network and your subscribers to your email list.

It’s worth pointing out that email newsletter integration has been present with ordinary Facebook profiles for quite some time. Due to limitations on Facebook’s API, the integration of subscription forms with Facebook pages has only been a recent addition. Still, it’s better late than never, and we know firsthand the demand for such a feature.

Remember that social media is essentially a dependence on email at its most fundamental level. In fact, it’s impossible to create a profile on a social network or social media site without first having an email address. Using both your Facebook page and email newsletters maximizes their effectiveness and allows you to reach your marketing goals faster.

Boost the effectiveness of your newsletters and give them a touch of social media power from Facebook. Try out Enform’s automailer service and see for yourself how it will work for you. You won’t be disappointed.

comScore Study Shows Increase in Social Network Visits Using Smartphones

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smartphone usage

A recent research study by comScore about the social networking habits of Americans shows that 3 out of 5 smartphone users in the country, ages 13 and up, logged in to social media networks and blog outlets using their smartphones and other mobile devices between April and June 2011. The number of smartphone and mobile device users who have accessed social network sites and blogs using their devices has grown exponentially over the last year, with the study indicating a 72 percent increase, or an audience number over 47 million users.
The study also showed that the number of mobile device users who access social networks and blogs on a daily basis has doubled, this time amounting to a little over 28 million users. If anything, this shows that social networks have now become more influential and far-spreading than ever.
This social network trend is also evident in Europe, with countries such as Spain, Italy, Germany and the UK showing similar smartphone usage trends to that of the US. This time around, 2 out of 5 smartphone users in Europe accessed social networks and blogs during the same 3-month window.
Yet the most interesting trend the comScore study found about smartphone usage with social networks is that the majority of mobile users in the United States spent the most time on Facebook’s homepage, wherein the virtual newsfeed can be found.
In May, most of the engagement and activity of mobile users on Facebook took place on the homepage and Newsfeed, with 27 percent of the activity happening here. This was followed by photo viewing at 21 percent and app and tool usage at 10 percent. Seeing as how the homepage holds the bulk of information around status updates and photo uploads, the results aren’t very surprising.
Let Enform help you capitalize on this trend, call now.