Facebook Launches Mobile App Install Ads

Facebook has announced that it will be making its new mobile app install ad units available to all developers. It had been testing them in beta since August. These new ad units are being positioned as a great way for developers to drive installs and aid social app discovery for their mobile apps. Facebook noted that its testing partners saw more than 50% higher CTRs compared to their existing channels as well as much greater reach.

The official announcement by Facebook said:

Today we’re making our new mobile app install ads available to all developers. We announced these ads in beta in August as a new and effective way for mobile app developers to drive installs and increase app discovery.

For years, many apps and games on Facebook.com have used ads as an important part of their growth strategy. Now we are bringing these opportunities to mobile apps. With these new ads, mobile apps and games of all sizes across any category can reach the right audience, at scale.

In coming months, we’ll continue to make updates that improve the user experience and the performance of mobile app install ads. For example, you may be able to customize your ad unit based on your audience, ensure that your ads are only shown to people who have not installed your app on iOS or Android devices, and allow people to start installing your app without leaving Facebook.

These new ad units work in conjunction with Facebook App Center, and could help Facebook shore up its mobile ad revenues by monetizing its rapidly increasing mobile user base.

Facebook Offers Free Talktime to New Indian Users

FacebookWith developed nations like the US and the UK in the bag, the social networking giant Facebook is turning its attention to developing nations like India, where millions of new internet users are being added every year. The social networking giant has announced a new promotion, which is going to give all new users signing up with their mobile phones a Rs. 50 talktime. The same amount of talktime can also be won by referring new users.

Facebook is already pretty big in India, where it overtook Orkut to become the most popular social network in 2010. Since then, its reach has increased steadily. However, India is a country with a population of more than one billion, and an internet penetration of only about 10%. As the country continues to develop, millions of people are being newly introduced to the internet. This represents a tremendous growth opportunity for Facebook, which has hit saturation in several developed nations. The promotion is extremely smart as it offers something that is both relatively easy to distribute and also useful. India has a remarkable mobile penetration, and as Opera’s State of the Mobile Web Report has highlighted time and again, a huge chunk of the population access the web solely through their mobile phones.

However, there is a major caveat with promotions like these. Most Indians have multiple SIMs and a promotion like this might lead to a sudden spurt of fake profiles. If this happens, Facebook might succeed in bolstering its user count, but in the long term it probably won’t gain much. Also, one has to keep in mind that if Facebook is struggling to monetize eyeballs from countries like the US, Canada, and the UK, it’s going to be significantly tougher to monetize eyeballs from countries like India.

In order to avail this promotion, go to m.facebook.com/tt and register with your mobile number.

Twitter Acquires Cabana, A Mobile App Platform

Twitter has acquired Cabana, a mobile app development platform, which specializes in making social apps for Facebook and Twitter. Cabana has a popular product called Fan Page Mobilizer which lets small businesses convert their Facebook pages into a new mobile website in just a few easy steps.

Twitter could use Cabana’s team to develop offerings targeted at enterprises and small businesses to attract them to its platform, and eventually monetize them using its new ad offerings.

Cabana has announced this in an official blog post, and like all such acquisitions, this will mean the end of all development on its existing products. Cabana has stated that they will be building tools that will help developers create apps for Twitter and contribute to its ecosystem.

“We are writing today with some exciting news: Cabana has been acquired by Twitter and our team is #JoiningTheFlock!

We built Cabana because we are passionate about empowering people to develop interactive content in new and innovative ways. That same passion for innovation and the democratization of content creation is also shared by the amazing team at Twitter.

Over the past few months, we’ve gotten to know the Twitter team and discovered the tremendous amount of technological synergy and alignment of our visions. The more we explored this synergy, the more excited we became about joining forces and working together.

Starting today we will be joining Twitter’s platform team, and will build tools to help third-party developers create new experiences on Twitter and empower the larger Twitter ecosystem.

This means that we will no longer be offering Cabana as a standalone mobile app development environment.

Cabana will be shutting down on December 1st 2012. If you have any questions about our rolldown, please email us at [email protected]

Rest assured that the ideas and passion behind Cabana will live on, albeit in a slightly different form – at Twitter!

We want to thank all of you, from our users and investors to our family and friends, who made this journey possible.

We’re excited for what the future with Twitter holds!”

via Techcrunch

Facebook Expands Antivirus Marketplace to Mobile Along with Seven New Partners

Earlier in April this year, Facebook, in an attempt to increase the existing level of protection for its huge user base, introduced the Antivirus Marketplace app to keep them safe and away from possible threats and malware attacks, and help share virus free content throughout the Facebook network. This offered free downloads and six-month licenses of security software from Microsoft, McAfee, Trend Micro, Sophos, and Symantec.

Nearly six months after the launch, the social networking giant has announced today that it is offering free antivirus software downloads for mobile users also, as Facebook has reportedly grown its mobile users to 543 million in June, 2012.

Along with the expansion of the Antivirus Marketplace to mobile users, Facebook has announced seven new partners including Avast, AVG, Avira, Kaspersky Lab, Panda, Total Defense, and Webroot.

According to Facebook, nearly 30 million users have visited the AV Marketplace since its launch almost six months ago. Facebook is continuing its effort to make the social networking site a safer place to share and connect with friends.

In a post on its Facebook Security page, Facebook stated:

Our new anti-virus partners bring with them both the latest software and comprehensive intelligence. As with our existing partners, these eight companies will help protect Facebook’s community of more than 1 billion users by improving our URL blacklist system. This system scans trillions of clicks per day, and before each click, the system consults the databases of all our AV Marketplace partners to make sure the website you are about to visit is safe. This means that whenever you click a link on our site, you are protected both by Facebook and 13 of the industry leaders in computer security. We will be cooperating with these partners more in the future, and look forward to announcing new tools soon.

Fcebook Mobile Anitvirus Marketplace

With the new additions to Antivirus Marketplace app along with the expansion to mobile devices, it not only allows the users to download the free trials of the anti-virus software, but also helps Facebook to augment its blacklist database.

In August, Facebook announced the launch of [email protected], with which users can report any phishing or malicious links they have received from their friends, or unknown sources. This would enable the Facebook to investigate and request for browser blacklisting.

Facebook Testing New Navigation Bar Layout

We have always seen Facebook testing out new features and design changes, and eventually implementing them on the site to make it default across the network regardless of whether users like it or not. Recently, a new change in the Facebook navigation bar (the top blue bar) was noticed by Art Director, Jeremy Carson, with the search box pushed close to the Facebook logo, and the icons for messages, notifications and friend request were pushed to the right-hand side, next to the profile image.

Earlier today, Inside Facebook posted the following screenshot of the top navigation bar shared by Jeremy:

Facebook Testing a Navigation Bar Layout

You also notice that the current “Home” button on the right-side has been removed, which means that users have only one way to go back to the homepage and that is by clicking on the Facebook logo on the left.

Current navigation bar:

Facebook Testing a Navigation Bar Layout

TechCrunch suggests that “Facebook wants to put more focus on the right-hand side of the site, which is the place that houses birthdays, engagement or marriage updates, gifts, and of course, advertising”

Many users have already found the new navigation bar very similar to that of Google Plus navigation bar, with notification and profile option positioned on the right-hand side.

Recently, Facebook announced “Sponsored Results” search ads, and also increased the size of the search bar with an introduced to “top hit” result in the typeahead in August. Back in July, Facebook was testing the “search the Web” feature, but released it as “Search for people, places, and things,” to the search box in June.

A Facebook spokesperson has confirmed the tests to The Next Web stating, “This is just a test, we have nothing more to share at this time.”

Native Facebook App for Android in Final Testing Phase

It has been a disastrous year for Facebook, and it certainly hasn’t found any luck at all. As Facebook stock continues to disappoint and hurt its investors, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is trying his best to set things right for the company.

With the recent milestone of over one billion members on Facebook, Zuckerberg has got his attention towards mobile users, and is planning to take a huge advantage of it. Facebook in its second quarter 2012 highlighted that the site had over 543 million mobile MAUs (as of June 30, 2012), an increase of 67% year-over-year.

Last month, during the TechCrunch Disrupt, when Arrington enquired about mobile web, Zuckerberg stated that, “the biggest mistake that we made, as a company, is betting too much on HTML5 as opposed to native.”

The fact remains that the current HTML5 based Android Facebook app stinks big time. According to an anonymous tipster at Engadget, it is now known that Facebook is scrapping the current HTML5 based app and will release a new native Android version of the application.

Also Read: Facebook for Android is Still Unstable; Zuckerberg Forcing Employees To Use Android Phones

Facebook Android App

The new native Facebook app for Android is currently in its final phase of testing, and the initial release of the app can take around two weeks’ time. That is, we can expect the app to be released by the end of this month at the latest.

The current HTML5 app is considerably slow and lacks user-friendly features. The number of Android users who use Facebook on a daily basis is hard to imagine (relatively large). At the moment, Android users can only be excited and talk about a new and better dedicated app. Just like the faster iOS Facebook app, the new Facebook app for Android will be developed in native code, which should result in a smoother, faster user-friendly experience, and yes, less crashing.


Editorial: How Much Would You Pay to Get Facebook Friends’ Attention?

Facebook announced this past Wednesday that they were testing a new feature in the U.S. called ‘Promoted Posts”. Apparently, they have been running this test in New Zealand since May. Below, is a quote from their announcement:

Every day, news feed delivers your posts to your friends. Sometimes a particular friend might not notice your post, especially if a lot of their friends have been posting recently and your story isn’t near the top of their feed.

That being said, what Facebook is proposing with these “promoted posts” is to allow you to pay a dollar amount to have your posts get noticed by more of your friends. Below, you can see an example of a promoted post on Facebook’s newsroom article. In this instance, a couple wanted to make sure everyone knew about their recent engagement. By clicking the “promote” button, they were given the option to pay a little extra to reach a wider audience of friends. When you do this, your Facebook post will have the words “sponsored” at the bottom of it. You also have the ability to check how much extra reach the paid ad is giving you as opposed to just regular newsfeed views.

Promoted Post
Courtesy Facebook.com

Pictured below, you can see the options that are available to you when you hit the promote button. Notice the price. For $7 you can make sure your friends know about that big party you’re having, or big charity fundraiser. So I have to ask the question, “How much are you willing to pay to get your friend’s attention on Facebook?”


Has Facebook Jumped the Shark?

For those of you who may not be familiar with the term “jumping the shark”, it stems from an episode of the American hit TV show Happy Days, where the show’s main character, the Fonz, jumped over a confined shark tank on water skis. Since that time the term has been used in the entertainment industry to note the point where a TV series uses a gimmick that blatantly shows desperation and an almost certain soon-to-be demise for that show. Ever since Facebook went public, it seems like they have used every gimmick in the book to try to force revenue out of its users. In my humble opinion, things like this come across as acts of desperation and I believe are really unnecessary for Facebook to do.

I will not go so far as to say that Facebook has jumped the shark. One reason I say this is because of their recent announcement that they have reached the 1 billion monthly active user base. However, I will say that Facebook needs to get out of desperation mode and reach out for some better leadership at the top. One of the things I hate about companies that go public is that they so often they forget who got them where they are and who will take them where they want to go. There is no doubt in my mind that this newest offering will generate some money for Facebook, but seriously, isn’t $7 a little steep for a personal post? I personally loved a statement one of my friends posted about this new feature, which I believe says it all: (I will keep him anonymous to protect his identity)

Great feature. Thrilled to pay money to tell people what I had for lunch (bologna sandwich). [dripping with sarcasm] :)

I believe that statement not only drips with sarcasm, it drips with a lot of truth. Facebook better learn to listen to its user base. Business 101 says come up with a product that people want at a price the market can bear. $7 is an awful high price for something that used to work for free!

Know Your Users

Mr. Zuckerberg, you came up with a fantastic idea and history says it was almost an accident of being in the right place at the right time with the right idea. People really do want to connect. Personally, I believe that I am a product of every encounter with every friend, family member, and acquaintance I have ever known. That is why I have so many “friends” on Facebook. Not that I am extremely close to every one of them, but they have all left some mark on the pages of my life’s book. For me, Facebook is all about people. So I make this plea to the decision makers at Facebook, get to know your people. Make an attempt to connect with this giant user base you have at your disposal and figure out a way to make some money without marginalizing them. Consider the Timeline fiasco. Personally, I like the Timeline feature of Facebook, but the way Facebook implemented this new feature was asinine. To this day, I still hear people complaining about the Timeline feature. Why? I believe it was because they felt slighted. Here they had to relearn how to use this chronological mess where everything looked different and not to forget the privacy issues that were exposed by the little live feed on the right side of the screen. In a business that was created on connecting people, Facebook seems completely incapable or unwilling to do the same.

Facebook Reaches One Billion Users

Facebook, which had last reported a very impressive milestone of nearly 950 million users months ago, has reported its greatest milestone yet – one billion users.

Mark Zuckerberg posted a note today, stating that Facebook’s monthly active users had surpassed the one billion users mark.

One Billion People on Facebook

This morning, there are more than one billion people using Facebook actively each month.

If you’re reading this: thank you for giving me and my little team the honor of serving you.

Helping a billion people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I am most proud of in my life.

I am committed to working every day to make Facebook better for you, and hopefully together one day we will be able to connect the rest of the world too.

Just to make it clear, Facebook’s total registered user base must have passed the one billion mark some time ago, but Facebook is focusing on monthly active users, a much more relevant metric.

Facebook has grown exponentially in the last couple of years, driven primarily by increasing global mobile penetration and initiatives like Facebook Zero.

It also shared some other interesting stats. Since launch, it has seen more than 219 billion photos uploaded, 140 billion friend connections and 1.13 trillion likes.

The timing of the announcement is great, as it comes right before Facebook gets ready to report its earnings for the third quarter of 2012.

If users were citizens, Facebook would now be the third largest country in the world after China and India. In the next couple of years, it may even overtake both.

What remains to be seen is whether or not Facebook is able to effectively monetize its growing user base and become the $100 billion company it was touted to be.

Google Stock Hits All-Time High; Nears $750

Apple was in the news last week as its shares hit an all-time high, following the launch of the iPhone 5. It’s Google’s time to celebrate this time around. Today, the company’s shares hit an all-time high of $748.90, and may go even higher as the day progresses. Its market capitalization is nearly $245 billion, the highest it has ever been, and the search giant may soon overtake Microsoft, which currently has a market cap of near $257 billion.

Google currently has a run rate of nearly $50 billion in annual revenue, based on its earnings last quarter, and its ad business is stronger than ever. The hype surrounding Facebook’s social advertising and its threat to Google has died down, and analysts seem to have renewed faith in Google’s trusty old search advertising machine which still generates tons of money.

We expect the rapid proliferation of Android in the mobile space to help Google continue its domination of the advertising space, both on desktop and on mobile. It might even hit $750 today, before trading hours end. Compare that to Facebook, which is trading near its all-time low.

Facebook to Charge Businesses for Facebook Offers

Facebook has been under tremendous pressure to monetize its massive user base through advertising or any other means ever since it went public. Its stock price has dropped significantly below its IPO price on concerns that it might not be able to monetize its growing mobile user base.

Today, it announced that it will start charging businesses and merchants to run and promote Facebook Offers on its social network. While the service was hitherto completely free, Facebook will now charge businesses at least $5 to promote Facebook offers to its fans and their friends. The cost of running an offer will depend on its reach.

Gokul Rajaram, director of product management for Facebook’s advertising and Pages businesses, said:

“We think this aligns incentives nicely. The best results on Facebook Offers will come from organic distribution plus paid distribution.

The requirement to pay for related ads will focus merchants on who and where they want the offer to reach.”

Facebook’s focus on generating revenue should offer some respite to investors, but its impact on the user experience remains to be seen.

via Reuters