Archive for the ‘Facebook’ Category

Read the Irish Times inside Facebook

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

Thanks to Online Journalism Blog, I learned that Dapper now allows you to build Facebook apps with ease. So I took the main news feed from, added it to Dapper and told Dapper to create an application that displayed the main news headlines from the Irish Times.

So we have the unofficial Irish Times news inside in Facebook app now. Bebo is next. If they won’t go to the kids, we’ll just take em there anyway.

Update: Running targetted ads on FB for the Irish Times app. Targetting Oireachtas and Taoiseach’s Office employees and TCD students into politics. Thanks to the 100 dollars worth of free ads.

Facebook Ad Competition – Best Irish Facebook Ad Campaign

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

In brief: The Facebook Ad/Ad Campaign that gets the best stats (you have to share/export them for proof) wins 100 quid.

Terms are that at least 7 people have to enter this competition in order for the money to be given out. Winning because it’s a one horse race wastes my money! By stats I mean clicks, not views. It’s a campaign targeting Irish users of Facebook. You can’t be deceptive promising free stuff or begging for clicks.

And how will you pay for the ads you run? Alexia and Dave pointed out that Visa will give you a hundred dollars worth of free Facebook Ads if you add their application to your profile.

Here’s a guide I wrote to running a Facebook Ad Campaign. So you have no excuse.

You can run the campaign over a month. You can only spend 100 dollars. Are you mental spending any more than the free money?

Reason I’m doing this is I don’t think we have enough case studies yet to see what works and doesn’t work for Facebook Ads, especially from an Irish perspective so I think it’s worth the expenditure.

Photo owned by acme (cc)

Saving Irish companies from Social Media Crooks

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

I think the IIA Social Media Working Group which has just been formed has come out just in the nick of time. “Social media” is the new hot thing (despite being around for a few years) and just like in every gold rush you get the devious, duplicitous, defrauding, dodgy types who will tell you and sell you any lie they can in order to remove you from your money, “social media” already seems to have the scammer types in this new field. This probably won’t be the main remit but I do think this group will stop SMEs and larger companies from being ripped off and conned just by existing. Thank the gods. Imagine if we had such a group when SEO and Search Marketing started off. Or blogging? Maybe less people would have gotten screwed on blog installs?

The lineup of people in the group is impressive too with a good deal of people (most in fact) talking the talk walking the walk (edit: apologies, I meant walking!) and they are blogging, podcasting, twittering, facebooking and friendfeeding. This is exactly what’s needed. A group that’s already immersed.

Some of the folks on the Social Media Working Group are:
Krishna De, Bernie Goldbach, Niall Devine, Fred Herrera, Brendan Hughes, Gordon Jenkinson, Mike Kelly, Fintan Lonergan, Philip MacCartney, John McGuinness, Aisling McMahon, Kieran Murphy, Bartley O’Connor, Kieran O’Hea, Joy Redmond, Keith Shirley, and Roseanne Smith.

Thieves Ladder
Photo owned by unusualimage (cc)

I’m sure the IIA will bring out their whitepapers in time but here’s a short list of things I’d suggest in order to spot the clueless “consultants” who are pitching to you:

  • If people tell you creating a skinned mySpace profile or Bebo profile is social media “engagement”, don’t hire them.
  • If they tell you stuff on social networks can’t be measured, don’t hire them.
  • If they tell you to create a company “personality” as a profile on Facebook and add people to it then shoot them in the face. FB will crucify you for this.
  • If their only suggestion about social networks is to buy banner ads, don’t hire them.
  • If they tell you set your blog up on or, don’t hire them and tell me where they live.
  • If they tell you that you can buy links for your site, don’t hire them.
  • If they tell you to ghostwrite your blog, don’t hire them.

That list could go on and on.

Anyway, three cheers for this IIA Working Group.

Internet Marketing – Campaign Measurement with YouTube and Feedburner

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

This is the another in a series of posts about measurement. I’ve written previously about how to monitor what people are saying about you online and the tools mentioned are great ways of seeing what blogs, websites, people on Twitter and people on YouTube are saying about you. stewart Curry has also written a great post on it. These same tools are the same ones you can use to monitor and gauge the effectiveness of an Internet Marketing Campaign that you might be running.

But there are a few more ways of course. Take the previous post and the Facebook measurement post and the below into account when you are running a campaign.

Measuring your Internet Marketing campaign on YouTube

YouTube now has “Insights” for your videos. They supply some fantastic stats now that shows you how many viewed the video, where they came from, how they came to find it, their gender and age groups etc. With all these details you can give se exactly how effective you were and even amend live campaigns due to the data.

Here are some stats on my David Lynch on an iPhone video, 20k views and YouTube breaks it down for me which is great:

The four tabs for stats:
YouTube Stats

Stats the public can also see:
YouTube Stats

Graph goodness:
YouTube Stats

There’s a lot more stats too so log in and have a look. The Google Blog gives more details about YouTube Insights. This is a good Washington Post article on how marketing companies use it too.

Measuring your Internet Marketing campaign blog with Feedburner

Feedburner, also owned by Google helps you monitor your blog feed subscriptions. You can see how many people are subbed to your blog, where they come from, what blog posts they found most interesting, what feed reader they used and who is subbed to the blog via email. You can export data to Excel and you should be able to track growth rate and other stats over time with this.

Feedburner Stats

Feedburner Stats

Feedburner Stats

Internet Marketing – Measuring your Facebook campaign

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

It seems the experts that were at the IIA Congress last week didn’t know how to measure the success of a campaign inside Social Networks. Well here you go folks. For those that are hiring an Internet Marketing company in Ireland to do some social network marketing stuff and they don’t offer stats from the below methods then maybe you hired one of the many cowboy operations that slither around this area.

There are various elements in this and it all depends on which ones were incorporated into your campaign.

Check your website stats:

While Facebook is a walled garden and you can’t see inside it without logging in, they still send a lot of traffic out to websites. If you have set up a Facebook Profile, a Page, a Group or run Facebook “Social Ads” then they can all send users from Facebook to you. In addition so can anyone else in Twitter if they’re talking about you. For a marketing campaign you should have special website addresses tailored for the campaign so you know only your campaign elements are sending that traffic to your site. Google Analytics or any of the clones will allow you to measure incoming traffic from Facebook and you can tell if they are coming from profiles, ads, pages or groups.

Facebook Lexicon

Facebook Lexicon allows you to see what Facebook users have been discussing. It’s a keyword trend program that doesn’t show the number of times a keyword is mentioned but the number of people who mentioned the keyword one or more times over a certain period of time. More details on Facebook Lexicon here. For companies you can get an estimate of the number of times your brand or product is mentioned. Ideal to see are there jumps around the time you start a campaign. You can also compare up to five different keywords at the same time. But there’s a big but, it doesn’t give raw numbers so it’s just a rough estimate but it’s still good. Maybe you can purchase them from them though? Big marketing companies would probably pay for that.

Facebook Lexicon

Facebook Pages

I recently created a Facebook “Page” which is very much like a profile but for a company, brand, product. Instead of friending this Page, you “Fan” it. The Page was called “Gnéas” as a joke. When you become a fan, your friends also see you’ve become a fan of it as it shows up in their news feed. So a few people saw “Damien is a fan of Gnéas” and the viral element would have encouraged others to join too. The stats that are provided to Page owners are fairly good.

This is the Insights Control Panel (Everyone calls the stats Insights these days):
Facebook Stats

This is a graph of sign-up activity:
Facebook Stats

Some demographics of the Fans:
Facebook Stats

Facebook Social Ads

Read this Blog Post on how to run Social Ads. Like Pages there’s a whole section on statistics for your ads.

This is the Ads control panel. Note that the ads for the Gnéas page got canned because the Facebook prudes deemed the ads inappropriate:
Facebook Ad Measurement

Here’s how you can export all your data to Excel and add more calculations:
Facebook Ad Measurement

Facebook Apps

Many marketing campaigns will include the creation of special applications to get people to learn more about your brand/product. If you have an application created, Facebook will give you a whole load of information about installations and usage. Who, what, where, when etc. Data once again can be exported and presented to you.
Facebook App Measurement

Messy Measuring – Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups can be created by anyone and some do well and some stagnate. It takes a lot of work to keep activity going and Facebook really prefers if you use Facebook Pages to do marketing. They supply nice stat tools as mentioned above for Facebook Pages but nothing at all for Groups unless you pay a considerable sum for a sponsored Group. But you can manually check your group and measure it. Measuring it is a case of seeing how many have signed up for the Group and what the activity is like. So for example, the Bertie, Take Enda With You group:
Facebook Groups

You can see how many members there are. Then you can see what kind of activity is happening by counting the number of discussions, photos and videos that have started/ were added.
Facebook Groups

And you can also look at the Wall activity.
Facebook Groups

As I said, nothing that’s automated and more work but still data that’s valuable. Other measurements to take into account are the number of people that respond to messages that you send to the whole Group. See what the response rate is like. Don’t be surprised if it’s very very low.

I hope this was useful. Shall I do one on Bebo next?

Facebook Search – Again

Monday, May 12th, 2008

I wrote before about how Facebook could beef up their internal search engine and get users used to good internal search and then they could go off and switch on external search too and how it would be more powerful than Google’s search as it would have so much profile data about their users that they could really refine search results. Time is ticking for Facebook on this, Google is battling back now with their profiling work.

I think Facebook, when they attempt to do Internet search will feel the full force of Google’s wealth and impressive collective brain to disrupt and wreck their plans. I’m sure Google has a whole team devoted to wondering what Facebook could do to them. If OpenSocial, their flailing attempt at hitting at Facebook’s growth by offering open alternatives to competitors; is all they can come up with then Facebook shouldn’t worry but I think this ill-thought out programme was a badly implemented 11th hour attempt at slowing Facebook. It’s not worked kids. They’re surely smarting enough now to get the next swipe to be more effective?

Plastic Bags with...Plastic Bags part1
Photo owned by scottwyden (cc)

So why not roll out a basic external search now anyway? Know of any companies hurting over a failed attempt at taking on Google? Oh yeah, Microsoft. They seem to have a lot of money to spend now that Yahoo! has rejected them. Rumours are saying they want to buy Facebook. Not gonna happen. If Microsoft became the external search partner for Facebook though it would be a huge boost. 70M extra and very active customers for Yes please. And all the ads around those searches! If some profile data was shared too for the ad servers – better ads, more money. Maybe this is what they’re negotiating?

Or there’s Yahoo! themselves. In my previous post I said that Facebook could one day buy Yahoo! but in the meantime they could allow Yahoo! to be their external search partner. Years back Yahoo! gave Google a break and used their search tech. Yahoo! had the chance of buying Facebook but now Facebook could give Yahoo! a break and do external search. God knows both companies could do with some real revenue.

Copyright: Amily Gelbman exhibit-5
Photo owned by zeevveez (cc)

Saying that though, Yahoo! seems to have become too aligned with Google of late and Microsoft are really good pals with Facebook at the same time. Search is a core thing needed for any “utility”. Facebook is connecting people and allowing them to share data and content but search is still essential and it’s never going to die.

Facebook Connect – Is this Beacon 2.0?

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

Some are saying this is something like a version of openID and the current implementations for Facebook Connect are for interacting with your Facebook Friends outside of Facebook. An example is being able to see what your Facebook Friends are doing on DIGG for example.

Abandon aircraft beacon
Photo owned by saschapohflepp (cc)

What they’re saying though is that the apps that you could once run on Facebook only and which could access certain data about you and your friends can now be run on other websites. So external sites/webservices can now access your Facebook data or some of it. Now this is good, it’s almost data portability. But.

Isn’t this going to allow sites to know more about you and so sell more to you? Beacon allows external sites see that you’re a Facebooker and send “stories” (ads) back down your connection and into your news feed for your friends to see. Almost like that Candiru fish in the Amazon that swims up your urethra and feeds off you once inside. With a site using Connect and Beacon, won’t they know even more about you and your friends? Will Connect allow external sites to better display ads to you?

Should Google sign up to Connect?

The social network is us

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Facebook, mySpace, Bebo, O2, Vodafone are all just rough approximations of the underlying social network that links humans together.

Humans still power the Internet. The biggest search and advertising company in the world marked themselves from the crowd by powering itself on human people connecting bits of information. Google became big because of links. Their pagerank and their famous top secret always-changing algorithm found out the relationships between webpages and websites and came up with a much better way of categorising information online from this. But it was humans that did the initial linking. A link is a human tieing data together.

What started off with the likes of Friendster moved on to mySpace, Bebo, Facebook and now Twitter. Funnily enough many of them got bigger by connecting people that were already connected via email. The network already existed. Bebo, Facebook and Twitter allow you to trawl your address book and find people in there that are already on their services and then make connection requests to them. All they’re doing is taking all the existing connections and stuffing them into their network too. We’re all in social networks already, technology in a way just highlights them more, like Google maps highlight existing routes.

Adding to your network

What makes these social networks more sticky though? Well it’s much easier to share photos, videos and music and leave comments and all in public. You add the media to your profile and everyone connected to you can see it. A bit like a blog though stickier. Much better than pressing the forward button or composing an email ain’t it? These networks really to me are not so much building new groups but increasing data transfer and sharing between existing groups.

I don’t think I added someone to Facebook because I valued their input in some Facebook group we were both in or actually liked their taste in music after looking at their likes and dislikes on their profile. I more than likely added them because of an existing relationship even if it was a weak one. Weak ones being we were at a conference, I saw them speak or they saw me, they read my blog and feel they know me that way, we emailed each other once about something etc. etc. The social networks take any and all connections/relationships and lasso them into your network and sometimes they add great value to these connections but sometimes not.

Shorter bursts in more locations
Facebook is doing no more than accentuating existing relationships I have with people and there certainly is value with that but as can be seen by many, people are moving their short-term attention to other things. The status update on Facebook was good and was a nice improvement over other social networks but now it seems that people are more into using twitter to send 140 character updates to people and Twitter is allowing you to update when you’re on the go with their text message capabilities. Luckily Twitter can ypdate Facebook. This can be seen by people using Facebook to display their Twitter status as their Facebook status. It’s keeping all those they’re connected to updated even when they are not on Facebook itself. I’m sure Facebook don’t mind as they are still the core and that’s where your social network is mostly stored but a new network is forming around Twitter too. It’s funny that in the age of infinite data and the ability to share it, most of us are happy with the amount exchanged in a text message.

twitter status

Twitter is the next step really, it’s making your stored social network more mobile. Half the world have mobiles now. A quarter have a computer. Now that the uptime issues are sorted a little bit more, Twitter is less annoying but it’s totally crippled. It pretty much does what it did a year ago. A text box and in it you update your friends on what you’re doing in 140 characters or less. Their main competitor is Jaiku which is much better except it lacks what social networks live and die by – people. The usual feature elitists insist that Jaiku is better (it is) but still think that alone will mean people will move over. It won’t. Features don’t matter unless they make people communicate and share more. Given the scenario of a social network with lots of features but with a small audience compared to a mass audience with sfa features will win. More people communicating is more attractive (and valuable) than less people sharing ore. Jaiku is turning into a ghost town as it is and people are moving on so we see the Jaikuistas coming back to twitter while knocking it. Ironically they are able to spread their “Twitter is shit, Jaiku is great” message to a wider audience via Twitter than Jaiku. Jaiku is dead. Maybe all those dimwitted nearsighted people building new social networks will cop on to that. Unless you can offer the influentual people to move over then you’re dust. Heya Nimble, how goes?

But yet nobody is doing mobile
Still for all this mobile talk, mobile has yet to be exploited. O2 is a social network that makes money when people update each other. So is Vodafone. Sure there are mobile versions of networks based on your email addresses. However my contacts list in my mobile does not connect to a social network. The data shared between me and the people on my phone are texts or phonecalls. And they’re pay to play. I have a social network with 531 contacts and it’s pretty dull. Jaiku has a mobile client that can make that come alive yet Google has never done anything to expand on that since they acquired them. The iPhone and Apple could easily do something like this since everytime you synch it with the computer it backs up the contacts.

Photo owned by alazaat (cc)

The future
There’s a lot of life still left in social networks but I don’t see Facebook or Twitter as the future because social networks have existed before technology and all technology can do is enchance these relationships. They might boost us past the Dunbarr number and allow us to interact with more people without getting relationship fatigue but right now they are still lacking. Not all of the people on our real social network are able to be added just yet, are they? Not that they want to be but the option should be there though. Still with so much left to do to match our real social networks to these rough representations called Facebook and Bebo it means there are lots of opportunities in the field still. Bring it.

Does the Irish Examiner check “facts” for their front page articles at all?

Monday, February 4th, 2008

I already blogged about it in the Fluffy links ages back but I’m still looking into the terribly alarmist piece the Examiner did on the cost of Facebook to Irish businesses.

The headline on the front page of the Irish Examiner on Thursday 24th of January 2008 was “Facebook: Staff use costing firms €700m a year” yet the first few lines contradicted this by saying:

Workers are logging onto sites such as Bebo, Facebook and MySpace for at least 30 minutes a day — which adds up to a minimum of 10 hours a month or three weeks a year, according to figures released by IT security group Global Secure Systems (GSS).

Except that would be UK workers, not Irish workers. Ireland as the Examiner being a Cork paper should know, is not in the United Kingdom. The figures are here. They are based on a survey of 776 UK workers. Not Irish.

I checked with the company. Half of those surveyed were surveyed at Liverpool St. station in London and half via a website. No Irish people surveyed. (I had actually interviewed the guy from GSS about their survey but it never got printed in the end but I might stick up my notes on the blog instead.)

This is from the press release about the UK:

The poll was carried out amongst 776 office workers, who admitted to spending at least 30 minutes a day visiting social networking sites whilst at work, that’s a minimum of 10 hours a month which equates to 3 weeks of every year

It gets better, this is from the Examiner piece:

Facebook is Ireland’s most popular social networking site with close to 100,000 members. It targets people in the 25-35 age category.

Uhm, try Bebo and the million Irish on it. Try Facebook with the 224,820 people on it as of this morning. Even a simple Google search would get you those REAL facts. Actually no, stop, ever heard of the Irish Examiner? Oh that’s you guys, yeah, you reported Facebook had 131k users last October. You do read your own paper, right?

Hang on though, here are the Examiner facts on Bebo:

Bebo is aimed at the 13-24 age group and it has in the region of 60,000 members in Ireland.

Eh no, see where I pointed to above there. Yeah, you know, a million people. You rang Bebo and asked, right. Front page story, you’d be verifying all the facts right? Even a quick Google, no? If you did ENN might help you.

We get more wisdom:

MySpace is aimed at the over 35s.

You emailed Jay Stevens in the mySpace London office and asked him that? No? Want his number? Let me know.

Let’s get to this money issue though:

If we use the totally WRONG 100k figure from the Examiner:
700Million wasted means that the 100k on Facebook cost their companies 7k a year.
They (wrongly) say 30minutes a day. At 5 days a week. 49 weeks a year. (52- 3 weeks hols) gives us 367.5 hours, Edit: I really can’t add. is 122.5 hours minus 9 bank hols (4.5 hours) gives us 118 hours on Facebook per working year.

So that means that the Examiner is saying that we are costing an employer on average €19.28 €59.32 an hour? So 39 hours a week, 52 weeks a year means us Irish that use Facebook are being paid €120k a year. Nice. Some of ye got pay increases. Congrats.

I don’t think I’ve seen such shoddy fact-checking in a long long time. I’d fire my fact-checkers. I’d hire blind and dumb chimps instead. Anything would improve what you have. Even a blogger.

Update: Changed the figures because I can’t add or multiply!

Sneaky Social Selling 101: Make (tainted) money from Facebook Groups via Sgroups

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

Alexia coined the phrase and I like it so much I bought the company, er, no I mean I liked it so much I stole the term too. I have a few groups I created on Facebook, one of which is the Dear L Drivers group. I didn’t look at it for a whole while and next thing there’s 600 people in the group. I’d love to see 1000 or 2000 people in the group and getting them to engage with each other. But. The evil side of my mostly evil brain was thinking “Couldn’t these groups be used by spammers or sneaky sellers to make money?”.

For example, imagine if a car parts company offered me money to to send a message to all members with some special deal they were offering? Does Facebook say no to this? Imagine if some insurance company offered to buy into the group and take it over and offer cheap insurance to the most young members of the group? What could Facebook do about it besides close the group? Not worth suing the insurance company. There’s probably something in the terms and conditions to prevent this, maybe a law nerd can check it out? I can just see the Pay for Post opportunists coming along and doing something like this. Build something up and then flip it. Isn’t this the business model of so many web apps these days? Build up a massive audience and make money by selling it to Google and the like?

Just look at all the groups that instantly pop up in Facebook surrounding a news event. Within minutes/hours there was a group for Benazir Bhuto and her murder. It currently has 800+ members. I wonder will we see spam groups or “sgroups” start popping up more and more just to get the attention of people in Facebook who love nothing better than to join a group on something that’s in the news? Big event, get people signed up and then sell them out. Or how about creating a “silly” or “fun” group on Facebook such as the I Use my Cell Phone to See in the Dark Group which has over 400,000 members. Imagine flipping that? How much would people pay for access to those people? I wonder are Facebook going to start offering some revenue share deal with these groups actually? That’s one way of stopping potential abuse. Many of these groups have been created by bored college students. But college students are idealists and would never sell out for beer and pizza money so we’re safe there…

But but, we can do positive things too. I freewheeled about this over and Twitter and JP Rangaswami came back with a few very salient points:
Am I really the owner?

“Who owns the group?”. The administrator? The initiator? I would have thought “its members”

Your group or community won’t last long if you sell them off:

as Julius Henry said all those years ago, I wouldn’t want to belong to a group who sold me as a member.

But he also points out that buying or hiring a creator is about their potential:

Ah but. “a salesman is only as good as his NEXT sale”. So when I buy a creator, it is for what she WILL DO, not what she DID.

And that there is a positive way to make money from a group/community you brought together. Get yourself noticed and get experience in looking after a group like that and don’t sell out, don’t do sneaky ads, instead use your skills to gather a community for a company or other interested party. It’s harder to do than just selling out though but I hope it becomes the norm. They’re now refering to people that do this as “community managers” which is a term that bothers me a bit and it’s not just me!

So, being an evil and making money is still a choice. With pay per post tanking, I really do wonder will their people start ruining Facebook too?