Tag Archives: Facebook

Facebook introduces explicit sharing for apps to reduce Feed spam

Facebook has started to restrict those annoying apps that auto-post to news feeds. Now you have to specifically share those posts that you want to share. This means that there will no longer be those annoying posts from apps such as Spotify or images from Instagram that flood your news feed. Apps now need specific, explicit  permissions in order to be shared.

The News Feed algorithm has changed to allow priority of posts that have been explicitly shared. Implicit sharing was a good idea but there were few apps that were written well enough to make engaging content in users news feeds.

The number of implicitly shared stories has declined as users have marked posts implicitly made by apps as spam. Less users marked posts as spam as implicit post visibility declined.  Apps in your news feed will only appear if they have been explicitly shared by your Facebook friends.

In a blog post Facebook explained its rationale for the change:

We’ve found that stories people choose to explicitly share from third party apps are typically more interesting and get more engagement in News Feed than stories shared from third party apps without explicit action. We’ve also heard that people often feel surprised or confused by stories that are shared without taking an explicit action. In the coming months, we will continue to prioritize explicitly shared stories from apps in News Feed over implicitly shared stories.

Developers now have the option to add dialog boxes to their apps such as the Message Dialog, or the Send to Mobile option.  The Message dialog embeds content from within a conversation thread on Facebook Messenger.

The Send to Mobile feature enables developers to encourage more app downloads.

The option adds the functionality for the mobile app to be installed when people log into the app website using Facebook credentials. 

If users request the app then the link to the app is sent to the mobile phone with a notification.

Clicking on the notification sends the user to the Apple App store or the Android Google Play store to download and install the app.

This is a good move by Facebook. Facebook is all too aware that users need to remain engaged with the Facebook page in order to see the advertising. If users are flooded with spammy apps implicitly sharing everything from the app, then users will turn away from engaging with Facebook. This could lead to a revenue drop – something which Facebook is determined to avoid.

Eileen Brown is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Connect with Eileen on Twitter and or contact her to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Important changes to the way Facebook shows you Pages updates

Page Admins  might have been concerned recently as their text posts have not been getting as much engagement as their posts with links, images, or Videos. Facebook has been running a variety of tests to encourage engagement and it has noticed that when it shows users text based posts in the news feed, other users post more updates themselves.

Facebook also noticed that users reacted differently to text only updates from Pages. When shown to users, users did not feel compelled to write more texts themselves. On Its blog Facebook said that “Page admins can expect a decrease in the distribution of their text status updates, but they may see some increases in engagement and distribution for other story types”.

So why is Facebook playing around with what it shows you from brands and your friends? currently to get a post guaranteed to appear in another users feed, you need to promote the post.

Facebook recommends that we share links differently.  Usually we add the link to the post update in the text -  like this:

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But Facebook wants us to use the share button feature embedded in many websites. So the same link using the share button looks like this:

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Both options allow me to add my own text to the share, and both options give me the same link. But there is a fundamental difference between the two.

The share button gives Facebook much more detailed analytics that it can then use to sell on to businesses that want it.  Facebook has much greater difficulty tracking the links that we embed in our posts. Our own embeds do not give Facebook such rich information that It can share with its paying customers.

Facebook says  “We’ve found that, as compared to sharing links by embedding in status updates, these posts get more engagement (more likes, comments, shares and clicks) and they provide a more visual and compelling experience for people seeing them in their feeds”.

It also recommends that you use the share button to share to give the followers of your page the best possible experience.

The challenge is, if your page does not have a Facebook Share button – then there is the risk that your carefully crafter message will not be seen by your intended audience – at all…

Eileen Brown is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Connect with Eileen on Twitter and   or contact her to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Privacy and your increasing Internet presence

We all worry about privacy and how much information government has on us. The risks of the government losing  disks with our id or passwords, software companies being hacked for their user data and social engineering to persuade employees to reveal all.

But how much do we inadvertently reveal online? An interesting infographic from Visual.ly shows that the internet knows a lot more about you than you think.  The complete infographic is here – but I’ve snipped a section to show where Facebook encourages us to share far too much.

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Never put your real birthdate on Facebook or other social media sites. Vary the date of your birth by a few days either side. Adjust the year. People will not be able to get your social security number without your real birthdate.

Do not advertise that you are home alone. With all of the other data on you, it would be easy to come by your home when you are alone – or worse – when you have logged in to another place.

Watch what your children post. You might be keeping details about your home life private – but watch out for what your offspring are sharing with the world – without a secured timeline.

We look at our mobile device or our laptop like it is our cherished friend. We share things with our friends – our best friends.  Little do we realise that bit by bit our digital footprint is growing and sharing more and more about our personalities and the way we live our lives.

Eileen Brown is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business.  Connect with Eileen on Twitter and  or contact her to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

US State Department spent $630,000 getting you to Like its Pages

The US State Department has spent around $630,000 on two marketing campaigns to increase fans of its four English Facebook pages.

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It increased Facebook fans from about 100,000 to over 2 million for each of its English language pages. The campaigns also helped to increase interest in its foreign language pages which ranged from 68,000 to over 450,000 likes.

That works out at around 12.06 cents per ‘Like’.

The Department justified its advertising spend pointing to the ‘difficulty of finding a page on Facebook with a general search and the need to use ads to increase visibility’.

The four English language Facebook pages had over 2.5 million fans by March 2013, however interaction was low. Only two per cent engaged with each page on Facebook.

Posts had fewer than 100 comments or shares and most of the interaction was in the form of likes on a page.

The report noted that the bureau uses Facebook to advertise in 25 countries with the largest number of young users and the highest engagement rate.

The International Information Programs (IIP) justified its continued spending and blamed Facebook for it needing to do this. When fans do not interact with a page, then over time, posts from the page no longer appear in the users news feed – unless the page buys sponsored story ads to ensure that the post appears on the users feeds.

The Department said that the change ‘sharply reduced the value of having large numbers of marginally interested fans and
means that IIP must continually spend money on sponsored story ads or else its “reach” statistics will plummet.’

It commented that a posting on cyber censorship in March 2013 reached 234,000 Facebook users on its first day whereas only around 20,000 would have seen the post without it advertising. Its post on Women and the web was shown in 360,000 Facebook feeds instead of 27,000.

Many staff in the bureau have criticized the advertising campaigns as buying fans who have no interest in the topic and have not engaged further.

It has been recommended that the bureau directs its advertising to ‘specific public diplomacy goals’ and adopt a social media strategy that ‘clarifies the primary goals and public diplomacy priorities of its social media sites.’

Does it matter if the bureau is ‘Liked’?  With over 150 social media accounts that are uncoordinated and overlap, does the bureau need to focus on its core messaging and not its sponsored posts and like generation?

And is the US taxpayer prepared to spend over 12 cents for each ‘Like’ that the bureau receives in these economically straightened times?

Image Credit: Enoc.vt

Eileen is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Are we bored with Facebook?

Perhaps Facebook is reaching saturation in the US and the UK. Over the last month Socialbakers has recorded that there has been a drop in the number of Facebook Users in the US and the UK.

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Users in the US have dropped by 668,740 users whilst users in the UK have dropped by almost 1 million. Perhaps we have reached maximum penetration of users in the UK with almost 53 per cent? 

Chile has almost 58 per cent penetration whilst the UAE has over 69 per cent and Qatar has over 81 per cent of users that use Facebook.

So are we becoming jaded by Facebook in the UK and US?  A recent poll indicates that we are.

  • 52 per cent of respondents feel that they will spend less time on Facebook in the next year, while only 12 per cent plan on spending more time.
  • 36 per cent think they will spend the same amount of time on Facebook
  • 37 per cent of respondents do not check Facebook at all, while 33 per cent check a few times per day, 20 per cent check once or twice a day and 10 per cent are checking constantly
  • 73 per cent of respondents believe another social network will eventually eclipse Facebook, while only 27 per cent think that no other social network will ever top Facebook
  • In terms of the number of social networks used by respondents, 61 per cent use a few, 23 per cent use just one, nine per cent use “a ton,” while only seven per cent don’t use any social network

This seasonal change happens most years. We spend more time with family and less time at work. Some of us avoid social channels completely. Perhaps we’re not bored with Facebook. We just have more interesting things to occupy our minds than Facebook during the extra long break that we have in the UK.

As we get finally back into work mode, I think that this trend will reverse. After all, what else are we going to do with our data enabled devices? Smile

Eileen is a social business and social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.