Apparently Facebook has a lot work to do to satisfy gaming gurus: A very heated debate at the L.A. Games Conference revealed more negative opinions than positive ones among audience members and panelists alike.
Facebook announced new mobile social networking functionality for the Android platform this week. At Google I/O, Google’s developer conference, executives routinely made fun of Steve Jobs and Apple, but Facebook’s role in the drama was overlooked by the press. Facebook’s mobile development team soft launched a Facebook SDK for Android, bringing functionality that was previously only available on the iPhone to the Android platform. It gets better: Facebook gave the Android platform a de facto exclusive on two of its newest initiatives: Open Graph APIs and OAuth 2.0.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer paid “lip service” to a Yahoo! deal and cleverly set the stage for acquiring Facebook, during his keynote at the Digital Hollywood Media Summit.
Yahoo!’s stock price shot up on the news of his comments, but I think the press and the markets are missing the big picture: Microsoft’s is using the “potential Yahoo! deal” as a red herring with investors. Ballmer is using Yahoo! to convince the market that Microsoft needs to buy Facebook to compete with Google, and to set a price floor of 50 billion for the acquisition. Microsoft may be facing a situation where Facebook usage grows so fast that its costs skyrocket, creating a cash crunch, and in this difficult fundraising environment it’s best bet is just to buy Facebook.
Facebook’s platform strategy reached a critical milestone in February, surpassing Yahoo! as the most engaging web company. Compete.com reported last week that Facebook “dethroned” Yahoo!, crowning Facebook as the Attention King of the Internet.
Compete.com, a web research company, keeps a close eye on engagement using “Monthly Attention” as a metric. As of February 2009, Facebook is the “Monthly Attention Leader“, commanding nearly 6% of all time spent online by Americans.
While Facebook leads in engagement, it still lags well behind Google and Yahoo! in overall audience. MySpace is the losing end of the trends in Compete.com’s numbers, showing a dramatic fall in its attention share since Facebook’s platform launched.
August 18th, 2008
Tim Kendall, Facebook’s Director of Monetization spoke at an app developer Meetup at AOL Mountain View. All Facebook covered the Social Ads panel and got a chance to catch up with Tim afterwards.
Tim’s team incubated Facebook Social Ads, and he oversees product development and product marketing for social advertsing on the Facebook platform.
Facebook Social Ads
Social advertising is a huge opportunity for Facebook and app developers. Facebook gives advertisers unprecedented reach, however, the platform is dominated by expressions of social intent – more so than commercial intent.
Facebook Social Ads is developing ways to segue users’ activities to more commercial actions, in a way that fits with the overall user experience of the platform. App developers are going to be able to participate, by having their applications accelerated by Facebook in partnership with paying advertisers.
Social advertising on Facebook is clearly experiencing rapid innovation and evolving dramatically.
Facebook Social Ads - Early Iterations:
Initially, the Social Ads program focused on leveraging the social graph to increase interest in an advertiser’s message. This increases performance relative to an advertisement that does not take advantage of knowledge of friend connections and information about those friends.
A classic example would be a campaign to promote a move that leveraged and communicated information about which of your friends watched or enjoyed a particular movie trailer.
Facebook Social Ads – Next Generation:
In the next 6-12 months, Facebook is developing the ability for advertisers to throttle usage and engagement in areas they care about. Marketers will be able to pay to accelerate usage they find valuabel, to dial up and down actions that people take on applications, as part of the Social Ads program. For instance, News Feed uses an algorthm to communicate a users actions to the friends who would find it most interesting. Marketers will be able to pay for increased or enhanced distribution above and beyond what News Feed already provides.
An example would be purchasing a ticket to a concert. Usually, a small subset of your friends would receive a notification of this action, however, in the future Cheryl Crow or Ticketmaster could pay fo r this to be distributed to your full friend group.
Tim and Facebook are clearly innovating rapidly in the Social Ads space, after defining the category initially. Facebook is exploring ways to make it completely transparent which actions are commercially accelerated on the platform, essentially in similar way to which Google color codes sponsored search links above its organic search results. Additionally, Facebook is focusing on how App Developers will be helped by this new form of monetization for their applications. Facebook will help app developers accelerate the distribution of their applications drive more usage with Facebook’s next generation of social advertising tools.
Will everyone accept how Facebook Social Ads affects the user experience (UX)?