The Facebook Marketing Bible

www.insidefacebook.com

The Facebook Marketing Bible
40+ Ways to Market Your Brand, Company, Product, or Service Inside Facebook
By Justin Smith justin@insidefacebook.com Editor, Inside Facebook www.insidefacebook.com Version 1.12 February 2, 2009

©2009 Inside Facebook. Unauthorized duplication or redistribution is expressly prohibited. Inside Facebook is not affiliated with or endorsed by Facebook, Inc.

©2009 Inside Facebook

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The Facebook Marketing Bible

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Introduction
A large and growing portion of some of the most valuable demographics are spending more of their time and attention on Facebook and less on other channels and media. Not only are US college students and teenagers fully engaged in Facebook, but adults, professionals, and people from around the world now constitute a substantial portion of the Facebook user base as well. At the beginning of 2009, 150 million people worldwide were on Facebook, with about 500,000 new people joining each day. However, most marketers lack a comprehensive understanding of the vast array of explicit and implicit marketing channels Facebook offers – many of which have changed with the “new” Facebook design - and most of which are “viral.” My goal here is to provide an introduction to what’s possible on Facebook to the spectrum of marketers - from brand advertisers to volunteer grassroots evangelists. Tactics are divided into three categories: tools for guerilla marketers, tools for advertisers, and tools for application developers. Throughout and after each section, I’ve offered recommendations for your Facebook campaign strategy. Facebook offers many ways to get the word out and enable engagement with your brand in more compelling ways than were ever before possible on the web. Here’s how to get started.

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The Facebook Marketing Bible

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Contents
I. Tools for Guerilla Marketers
1. Profile Page 2. Groups 3. Pages
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • Strategy: What about spamming existing groups? SEO Strategy: Groups and Pages are very similar. Which makes more sense? Strategy: I’ve just created a Page. How do I promote it? Group to Page Migration Guidelines for Promoting Pages Outside Facebook Official vs Unofficial Pages Pages and SEO Ways Page Owners Can Restrict Content for Underage Users More Features Coming Soon Events API Events SEO The Viral Dynamics of Photo Tagging Photos as a Facebook Marketing Channel: Opportunities and Limitations

4. Events

5. Notes and Photos 6. Messages 7. Status Updates 8. Share / Posted Items 9. Mini Feed and News Feed 10. Feed Importing > Data: Latest US Facebook Age and Gender Demographics > Recommended Strategies for Guerilla Marketers

II. Tools for Advertisers
11. Social Ads 12. Engagement Ads

Summary of ad units available to Facebook advertisers 1. Sponsorship Units on the New Facebook Home Page • Social Video Ads • Sponsored Virtual Gifts • Events Ads • Pages Ads • Polling Ads 2. Advertising in the New Facebook News Feed 3. Advertising on the Profile Page (and other pages)

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13. Virtual Gifts • The future of Virtual Gifts on Facebook 14. Performance Ads 15. Localization Opportunities 16. Integrated Opportunities 17. Facebook Platform Ad Networks 18. Facebook Platform Application Sponsorships
• • • • List of Leading Facebook Platform Ad Networks What eCPMs do apps charge? Data from Facebook application developers List of Leading Facebook Platform Sponsorship Resellers/Rep Firms Strategy: Why sponsor applications when I can sponsor Facebook itself?

19. Specialized Facebook Platform Advertising Service Providers > Recommended Strategies for Advertisers

III. Tools for Application Developers
• • Strategy: What is the Right Way to Market Through Facebook Applications? Strategy: Where to Most New Application Users Come From?

20. Profile Box
• •

5 Things Developers May Not Know About the Facebook Redesign Profile Integration: Tour of New Facebook App Settings

21. Application Tabs 22. Application Info Sections 23. Designing Feed Stories 24. Feeds 2.0
• • • • • • • • • • • • •

Strategy: Designing High Performance Feed Items News Feed Optimization: Strategies and Techniques Feed Forms Feed Clustering Publishing in the Feed with Feed Comments Policy Updates: Requiring Invites to Access Hidden Features, Offering Incentives for Invites, Ads on Profile Page Prohibited Strategy: Facebook’s Evolving Approach to Platform Governance Sending Application Invitations to Non-Facebook-Members Chat Integration: Facebook Wants More Synchronous Notifications Policy Update: Bulk Pre-Selection Prohibited Application-to-User notifications Spammy Affiliate Marketers Sure to be Shut Down Updates: Email’s Status as Core Application Marketing Channel in Doubt

25. Feed Publisher

26. Requests / Invitations

27. Facebook Notifications

28. Email Notifications

29. Application Bookmarks 30. Application Directory 31. Status Updates & Donations

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32. Demographic Restrictions 33. Verification and Certification 34. Translations
• • Data: Stats on Facebook Apps Built for International Markets Tutorial: Translating Your Applications Using Facebook’s Crowd-sourced Translation Service Overview: Integrating Facebook Connect with Your Website Related: Google Friend Connect Examples: 40 Sites Live with Facebook Connect Today Variety of Facebook Connect Plugins Now Available for Blogs and Wikis List of Leading Third-Party Facebook Platform Analytics Providers New Metrics for Developers with Facebook Profile Redesign • • Great Apps Program Application Verification

35. Facebook Connect
• • • • • •

36. Analytics Tools

37. Search Engine Optimization 38. Mobile 39. Customer Service 40. Custom Tags

Facebook for iPhone and Connect for iPhone

> Poll: Which viral channels do Facebook users hate most about apps? > Recommended Strategies for Application Developers

Conclusion

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I. Tools for Guerilla Marketers
For the aggressive guerilla marketer, Facebook offers a bevy of viral channels to get the word out to your friends and creatively reach your target audience. The best part about these guerilla tactics is their cost: free. Everyone on Facebook can use these strategies to recruit and to evangelize their causes.

Strategy: If you build it, will they come?
Marketers often wonder whether it makes sense to attempt to build their own social network around their product, company, brand or service. Some hire development shops to build a custom web site, others use white label products, and still others use hosted services like Ning. The problem with this approach, however, is that it’s extremely expensive to bring a significant enough number of users onto your own service to make it worth the expense (which can often run in the tens of thousands of dollars). In most cases, it makes much more sense to craft your strategies targeting the social networks in which people already “live” online—once someone builds their profile and friend list on a popular platform like Facebook, it’s awfully hard to get them to move.

1. Profile Page
The starting point for your presence on Facebook is your profile page. Your profile page is basically a landing page that you design in order to convert your friends to engage with certain parts of your identity.

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Not only is your profile the page that you have the most control over, it’s the place where you can most deeply and authentically express your passion for the brand, company, or product you want to promote. Your profile page is an opportunity to craft a credible real-world story around the reasons your products or services are so valuable. Take advantage of Personal Info, Work Info, Photos, and applications to tell bits and pieces of your narrative as it relates to your brand. If you’re not buying your own stuff, why should anyone else? If you don’t want to associate your personal identity with the product or service you’re trying to promote, Facebook is not for you. Inherent in the current state of Facebook is a culture of transparency that devalues and ignores inauthenticity. If you’re afraid to show the real people behind your campaign, that’s okay–-but save your time and money and go somewhere beside Facebook. Finally, most people don’t realize how many page views profile pages receive. One of the most common habits of Facebook users is browsing the profile pages of friends and stalking the profile pages of people they want to learn more about. By connecting to hundreds of partners, customers, associates, and friends on Facebook, you’ll drive a TON of traffic to your profile page. Take advantage of that huge opportunity.

2. Facebook Groups
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Groups are oldest and simplest way to build community around your brand or company on Facebook. By starting a group, you create a central place for customers, partners, and friends to participate in conversations around your brand. Facebook groups come with boards for posting discussion topics, photos, videos, and links right out of the box. You can also easily send news and updates to your group members as often as you like - messages arrive in their Facebook Inbox. And the best part about Groups is you can create as many as you like for free.

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Groups are one of the simplest ways to do viral marketing on Facebook. Once members have joined your group, they can easily invite their friends to join the group via a built-in Invite feature. If your members are excited about your group, it can grow really quickly. (The group 1,000,000 Strong for Stephen Colbert grew from zero to one million members in 9 days!) Additionally, your group name will usually appear on your members’ personal profile pages until they leave the group. Many people view groups as “Bumper Stickers” for their profile page in this regard. Because profile pages are highly trafficked, these links can generate a lot of clicks to your group page. Of course, groups do have their problems. First and foremost, Facebook removes your ability to blast messages to your group once it surpasses a certain size. Until June 2008, group owners experienced this restriction at 1200 members. However, as of June 2008, Facebook increased the limit on group size for message blasting to 5,000. The increase makes Facebook a more usable tool for those managing large user groups. However, for those with large groups, converting your group to a Facebook Page is the right move (see below). Second, if your group becomes popular, it can become a target for spammers. If you want to keep your group clean, be prepared to spend time deleting spam wall posts and reporting users that spam your group to Facebook. This can take a lot of time. Finally, while Groups do offer a reasonably robust feature set with no setup, you’re not able to extend their functionality with Facebook applications. In order to use those, you’ll need to get a Facebook Page.

Strategy: What about spamming existing Groups?
Many marketers choose to post links in existing Facebook Groups to their own Facebook Group or website. While this tactic may work on a small scale, Facebook’s automated systems will shut down accounts that post links in many groups. A better approach would be to approach existing Group owners and ask to set up a reciprocal link exchange between your groups, just as you would on the open web.

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SEO In September 2008, Facebook made Groups and Pages more accessible to search engines than they were before by publishing an index of them in a new search-enginefriendly page called the Facebook Directory, as well as making user discussion on Groups and Pages visible to search engines as well. This means marketers should expect Facebook Groups and Pages to get more traffic (as well as more public visibility) than they did before.

3. Facebook Pages
Pages were launched by Facebook in November 2007 as a way for businesses of many types to easily establish a brand presence on Facebook. Pages are a lot like groups, with some important differences: Pages are more customizable than groups. You can add content or even Facebook applications to your pages to extend their functionality and the depth of experience users can have with your brand. • Pages get more prominent “Bumper Stickers” real estate than groups on the profile pages of your fans. • There is no limitation to the number of fans in your group that you can message. This means Pages can be an effective way to communicate with large numbers of Facebook users who are fans of your Page. • “Fans” who join your group are NOT able to invite their friends to be fans of your Page. Fans must either “Share” your page with their friends, or their

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friends must observe that they “are a fan” of your Page either via their profile page or News Feed. • • You can view demographic information on who your fans are. Facebook enables you to export breakdowns by age and gender in Excel format. Facebook has taken an active role in cracking down on Pages not created by authorized agents. In March of 2008, Facebook launched an upgrade to Pages that will be welcome news to businesses and marketers. It’s now easy to add custom Flash or HTML (FBML) to your Facebook Page. In order to add Flash and FBML capabilities to your Page, install the “Flash Player” or “Static FBML” apps. Adding the Flash Player will allow you to upload your own Flash files to your page, while adding the Static FBML app will allow you to enter your own HTML. This will allow Pages to provide much more customized experiences. In addition, Facebook added a Legal Drinking Age setting to Pages. If you operate a page related to alcohol products or bars, you can now meet legal drinking age requirements by editing your settings to only allow your page to be fully accessible by those over the legal drinking age where they live. Finally, Facebook added the Photos and Videos modules to Pages so that Page owners can allow fans to upload photos and videos. Pages are a good option for small or local businesses that want to establish a presence on Facebook. Like groups, they’re another free and easy way to do viral marketing. Pages will become an increasingly important marketing vehicle on Facebook over time - especially as the volume of fan-endorsed Social Ads continues to grow.

Strategy: Groups and Pages are very similar. Which makes more sense?
This is a hard question, and the answer depends on the goals of your campaign. If your campaign depends heavily on regular communication with large numbers of

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people, Pages are definitely your best option. Facebook is going to continue to build out Pages functionality for brand owners. By contrast, if your goal is to maximize the number of people that come in contact with your brand, but communicating with them over time is less important, the viral invitation feature of Groups allows them to potentially grow much faster. You’ll just need to be creative in giving your group members a reason to invite their friends.

Strategy: I’ve just created a Page. How do I promote it?
Once you’ve created a page, there are a few things that you can do to grow your “fan base” within Facebook: 1) Share/Post your page on your Facebook profile. This will convert more friends and profile visitors to visit the Page. 2) Create Events within your page. When fans RSVP, their friends will see the news in their News Feeds. 3) Post messages in related Groups. Use Facebook’s search function to post messages in related groups about the existence of your page. If you don’t feel comfortable “spamming” these groups with unsolicited Wall posts, try messaging the group admins and officers to ask their permission to promote your page within their group. They may even be willing to promote your page for you. 4) Email the Page URL to your mailing lists and invite contacts to become Facebook “Fans” of your page. 5) Buy Social Ads to promote your page. Facebook is hoping to promote Pages more by integrating Page traffic stats into its Social Ads advertising service. Also, remember that whenever someone becomes a fan of your Page, that news appears in their Mini Feed and their friends’ News Feeds.

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Group to Page Migration In the Spring of 2008, Facebook began offering a Group > Page conversion tool. Essentially, if you’re the owner of a Facebook Group and want to convert the members of that group into “Fans” of your Facebook Page instead, you can fill out a request and Facebook will perform the migration for you automatically if your request meets its criteria. According to Facebook: If you have a group that fits into one of the categories offered for Pages and you are the official representative of that artist, business, or brand, we can help you convert your group into a Page. Please fill out your request by providing us with the URL to your current group and the URL to the Page you have created that you would like your group members and group content transferred to. Brand owners that originally created groups that have grown too large to manage effectively should consider migrating their groups to pages.

Facebook Issues Guidelines for Promoting Pages Outside Facebook
While Facebook uses Social Ads and the News Feed to help brands promote Pages within Facebook, the task of promoting Pages outside Facebook is largely left to the brand owner. In order to help marketers clearly promote Pages without causing Facebook brand confusion, Facebook has released the following Pages marketing guidelines: 1) Use or reference to the Facebook brand should not imply partnership, endorsement or sponsorship unless approved by Facebook Brand Marketing. * Example Do: “Find us on Facebook to discover more about…”

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* Example Don’t: Don’t: “Company X partners with Facebook in social advertising campaign” 2) Do not use icons, visuals, logos, etc. taken from the Facebook site. Instead, use the Facebook Page Badge or Facebook Page Screenshots. 3) A registered trademark symbol ® must be included in all print / online displays of logo or wordmark that reference the Facebook brand. 4) When advertisers request use of Facebook brand features, they may or may not require a Trademark License Agreement from the Facebook Legal team. In other words, Facebook is trying to prevent marketers from incorrectly implying special partnership or affiliation with Facebook to strengthen their own brand. For more information and details on Facebook’s Page marketing do’s and don’ts, check out the Pages Promotional Guidelines page.

Official vs Unofficial Pages Because Facebook allows anyone to create a Facebook Page, the situation often arises that several “unofficial” versions of a company’s or brand’s Page exist alongside the official version. Facebook makes it easy for you to migrate fans of your brand’s unofficial Pages over to your official Page – all you have to do is ask. However, brand owners should message all fans of the unofficial Page, letting them know the transition that is about to take place. In particular, getting your unofficial fan Page “stolen” could leave a bad taste in an otherwise very positive evangelist’s mouth. Pages and SEO

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In a move to increase the amount of Page Rank and traffic Google gives to Facebook Pages, Facebook launched a new feature in November 2008 that essentially added hundreds of millions of new internal links to Facebook’s brand Pages in users’ public search listings. Public search listings are Facebook’s way of exposing user information to Google. Before today, the default public search listings included users’ name, profile picture, network, and a few friends’ photos. Now, Facebook has added Pages that users are a fan of to users’ default public search listings.

This means that if a user is a fan of The Gap, U2, or Barack Obama, that information is now listed in that user’s public search listing. In addition, each of those items listed point back to Facebook Pages - such as The Gap’s Facebook Page, U2’s Facebook Page, and Barack Obama’s Facebook Page. The net result? Hundreds of millions of more internal links to Facebook Pages just appeared. Ways Page Owners Can Restrict Content for Underage Users In September 2008, Facebook changed its policy and opened its gates more broadly to beer, wine, and liquor companies. What can those companies who must restrict access to certain content do when building Facebook Pages? Here are 3 tactics recommended by Facebook:

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1. Use Settings to Restrict Access to Your Page: Facebook allows you to restrict access to your Page to users who say they are over 13, 17, 18, 19, 21, or the “legal drinking age where they live.” To change this setting, go to its edit page and change the “Settings” at the bottom. 2. Use FBML Tags to Restrict Certain Content within Your Page: You can use FBML to restrict certain content on your Page according to the viewing user’s declared country and age. For example, if you have rights to certain content in North America but not other locations, you can show different things to folks outside that region 3. Target Your Messages to Certain Demographics: When sending a message to fans of your Page, you can restrict who receives your messages by declared age, geography, and gender. To change this setting, select the “Target this update” box when sending a message. These are great tools that all marketers in relevant industries should use. Marketers interested in learning more about the ins and outs of marketing on Facebook using Pages should also check out our Facebook Marketing Bible for more detailed information on the capabilities of Facebook Pages and Facebook applications. More Features Coming Soon In an effort to give brand owners more ways to engage with users via Facebook Pages, Facebook is preparing to launch a new Contest/Sweepstakes application that could be available to some clients as soon as summer. The Contest app will only be available to marketers within Facebook Pages. In order to participate in a contest or sweepstakes, users would first have to become “Fans” of the page, and then opt-in to the promotion. In addition, in order for Facebook to avoid contest risk, any contests run on Facebook Pages will first need to be contracted and approved by Facebook’s legal team at least 3 weeks before the contest starts. As Facebook seeks to increase revenue from Social Ads, expect to see more marketing features and functionality developed for Facebook Pages. Facebook wants to give

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brands as many reasons as possible to want to drive traffic to their Pages, and contests are a key step forward in expanding Pages functionality. In an interesting sign of the times, major US mobile phone carrier Verizon is moving its Verizon Community social network from the Verizon website over to the Verizon page on Facebook. Verizon Community, which let users write blogs, post photos, and discuss in forums, will close. Clearly, Verizon decided that trying to run its own branded social network wasn’t worth the effort.

4. Facebook Events
Facebook Events is a free application developed by Facebook that anyone can use to promote marketing events, sponsored parties, or even product launches, transactions, or company milestones. When you create an event, it gets a fully-featured page, much like a group, that includes a wall, discussion, photos, videos, and links. You can invite all of your friends to the event; friends you invite will receive a special notification requesting their RSVP. You can also add administrators to the event, who can also invite all of their friends. Facebook Events makes it easy to get the word out to hundreds of people, manage your guest list, and build community around your upcoming event.

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Events API In an effort to allow applications to more tightly integrate with the Facebook Events system, Facebook launched new APIs that allow applications to create and manage Facebook Events from within the application in August 2008. Application users can RSVP to events, which will result in News Feed stories being published and give the user an opportunity to invite friends. Events SEO With the launch of the Facebook redesign, Facebook made many public Facebook events that were never before indexable by search engines now publicly visible and searchable. This means more search traffic is likely to hit Facebook Events pages in the coming months and years.

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5. Facebook Notes and Photos
Notes and Photos are two Facebook applications that allow you to share blog posts and pictures with your friends. You can use these features to post content about your brand, but be careful to always do it authentically - don’t be spammy. If your photo albums are all company logos, for example, you’ll lose a lot of credibility. One feature that often goes overlooked within Facebook Notes and Photos is “tagging.” When you publish a note or post a photo, Facebook allows you to “tag” that note or photo with the names of your friends who are “included” in it. When you “tag” a friend in your photo or note, he/she gets a special notification. However, you don’t have to use “tagging” only to tag people that are actually “included” in the note or photo–you can also use it to selectively choose certain people whose attention you want to bring to the content you’ve created. When they view your note or photo, they’ll see the other people you tagged in it - so make sure it’s a group of people they’d be complimented to be included in.

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The Viral Dynamics of Photo Tagging Photos are extremely popular inside Facebook: Facebook gives both significant visibility on the profile page and significant distribution in the News Feed to photorelated stories. The reason Facebook is the most popular photo sharing site on the web is not because its features are the best, but because its Photos application is very tightly integrated with the social graph. Tagging is the primary means by which photos are made social: when a user uploads a photo, they can “tag” their friends who appear in the photo. Notifications are sent to tagged friends letting them know that a new tagged photo of them exists on Facebook, and feed stories are published on both the tagger’s and taggee’s profiles.

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Users who receive a notification that they have just been tagged usually investigate the photo. If they don’t want to be associated with the picture, they “detag” themselves from it. Similarly, users who see a feed story about their friends being tagged in photos often check out the photo. Bottom line: Photo-related notifications and feed stories both get a lot of impressions and have a high conversion rate inside Facebook.

Photos as a Facebook Marketing Channel: Opportunities and Limitations Tagging Facebook Photos (and Notes as well) can be used to drive traffic. However, legitimate marketers using these tactics should be aware of a couple important limitations: 1. If you abuse the implied social contract with your Facebook friends by spamming them with photo tags, you’re sure to quickly develop a low conversion rate and lose friends. And if you tag spam too much, Facebook’s automated spam detection systems will simply shut down your account. 2. Unlike Notes, which can include direct links to destination URLs (inside or outside Facebook), Photos can’t. While you can caption the photo or label the photo album with a few words or a URL you’re trying to push, driving traffic to a Photo page through tagging is not likely to produce a lot of traffic to a destination page.

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Rather, photo tagging can be used as a way to send specific messages to targeted people - a special kind of social capital transaction not entirely unlike sending a virtual gift or writing on a wall. It can be effectively used to occasionally notify select people whose attention you want to bring to content you’ve created. Finally, some Facebook applications are making use of photo tagging as well. TouchGraph is a friend network visualization app that outputs photo albums and (somewhat overzealously) tags photos with your friends’ names. KnockedUp is a more interesting example created by an experimental marketing group at Microsoft.

6. Facebook Messages
The rise of Facebook Messages as a popular alternative to email has confused many “old” people. Nevertheless, Messages can be a powerful vehicle for targeted marketing on Facebook. Messages are like email, except a lot less fully featured - Facebook offers no way to search, sort, filter, categorize, or star messages. While Facebook’s default privacy settings prevent you from seeing the full profile page of most Facebook users, Facebook allows you to send messages to users you have no connection with. However, Facebook has invested heavily in message spam prevention. If you use your Facebook account to message users you have no connection with in high volume, Facebook’s automated systems will shut down your account. While they do offer a direct line to a hard to find sales lead or potential job candidate, it is not smart to try to spam people using Facebook messages.

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7. Status Updates
Status updates are a way to share real-time updates with your friends. It’s kind of like a blog entry, except in 140 characters for less. Here are some examples: • Justin is pulling for the Cardinals in the Super Bowl! • Justin just enjoyed a nice dinner at Joanie’s. • Justin just went for a run – new Nikes are great. When you post a status update on Facebook, it appears both on your own wall and on the top of your friends’ News Feeds. Here’s how a status update appears on your own profile:

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And here’s how a status update appears on your friends’ News Feeds:

Status updates are a great way to share authentic endorsements for your brand. However, don’t be too spammy – your friends will devalue your status updates if they’re too full of forced or fake endorsements. The most successful status updates are honest, enthusiastic, and authentic – just like if you were talking to your friends in person.

8. Facebook Share / Posted Items
Facebook Share is a Facebook application that lets you promote any Group, Event, Photo, Link, or Application you come across by a) giving it real estate in your “Posted Items” list on your profile page, or b) sending it directly to your friends’ Inbox.

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By posting it on your profile page, you can direct some clicks to the shared item. However, while this is an effective promotional tactic, it’s not as targeted as sending it directly to friends’ Inboxes. Those messages are more likely to convert into valuable clicks. In an effort to increase the amount of commenting on and resharing of posted links, in December 2008 Facebook added a new navigation bar that users see when they click on shared links from friends. The navigation bar adds a “Comment” button which, when clicked, opens a popup and allows the user to post comments back to Facebook (and view previous comments on the posted item) without leaving the page. A second “Share” button works similarly.

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9. Mini Feed and News Feed
While all the channels I’ve described above are useful for grassroots marketing on Facebook, the wind that blows your marketing seeds is Facebook’s News Feed. While you’re not able to publish directly to the feeds (unless you’re willing to pay or build an application), Facebook’s Mini Feed and News Feed archive your users’ engagement with your brand and syndicate it to their friends, networks, and beyond, amplifying the reach of your campaign by orders of magnitude.

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When Facebook users join your group, RSVP to your event, become fans of your page, share your photos, or further engage with your brand in any of these channels, Facebook automatically adds a feed item to their Mini Feed. That feed item exists for all to see, and is often in a prominent location on Facebook profile pages. Facebook’s News Feed, which occupies most of the Facebook login landing page, then amalgamates each user’s friends’ Mini Feeds into one unified stream of “recent news”. It’s possible that one Mini Feed item generated by a Facebook user could be seen in hundreds of their friends’ News Feeds. The News Feed has revolutionized the way information is shared between friends on Facebook. This can mean great things for your campaign and your brand. In fact, a new marketing field I’ve called “News Feed Optimization” is emerging – for more information, see the “Tools for Application Developers” section below.

10. Feed Importing

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In May 2008, Facebook launched a feature specifically designed to make it easier to share content from around the web, called Feed Importing. Users just enter their credentials for their accounts at supported partner sites and your content will appear in your Mini Feed (and your friends’ News Feeds). According to Facebook’s Harry Wang, “These stories will look just like any other Mini-Feed stories, and will hopefully increase your ability to share information with the people you care about.” This will certainly make Facebook a more powerful way to share content from your existing website - currently, users have to actively “Post” items to their profiles or for certain friends.

In addition, Facebook also enabled general importing of any RSS feed into the Facebook Mini Feed. While Facebook users have previously been able to import their blog RSS into Notes for a long time, the new Feed Importer makes it easy to syndicate multiple feeds directly to your Mini Feed. Encourage your website users to import feeds for your service into their Facebook Mini Feed could be an extremely valuable way to get exposure inside Facebook.

Data: Latest US Facebook Age and Gender Demographics

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For marketers interested in reaching US users, here’s the latest check of Facebook’s current (user-reported) age and gender demographics. As of February 1, 2009: There 33 million Facebook users in the United States 55% of US Facebook users are female, and female users outnumber male users in every age bracket • 52% are between the ages of 18-25, but the younger and older groups are growing

• •

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Recommended Strategies for Guerilla Marketers
Marketing on Facebook is really all about the News Feed. Getting prominence in Facebook users’ News Feeds allows your brand to spread more rapidly and powerfully than has ever before been possible on the social web. The simplest way to get started on Facebook and get News Feed distribution is: 1) 2) Start a profile page. (You have probably already done this.) Build your network. Import all your email contacts and add all of your friends as appropriate.

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3)

Start a Group. (If you’re marketing a brand, skip Groups and create a Page.) Be sure to make your Group/Page available to all of Facebook, not just your school, regional, or work network.

4) 5) 6) 7)

Invite all your Facebook friends that it would be appropriate to invite to join your Group/Page. Ask all your Group/Page members to invite the 10 friends that they think would be most interested in the Group/Page. Create regular events within the Group/Page, and encourage members/fans to post content (like notes, photos, and videos) regularly. Message your Group/Page members regularly.

Every time a Facebook member joins a Group/Page, posts to it, or RSVPs to your events, their friends will come into contact with your brand via the Mini and News Feed. Thousands of Facebook users could touch your brand within a matter of days. (Of course, you’ll need to mix in a healthy amount of link posting to keep everyone engaged.) If you want to add more robust application functionality or advertise your group, you should start off with (or switch to) Pages, since Facebook has indicated that it will add increasing support to Pages for brand owners going forward.

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II. Tools for Advertisers
For marketers with a budget, Facebook offers both integrated and self-serve solutions to reach broader slices of the Facebook audience. Depending on your budget, you can get started as an advertiser on Facebook with as little as a few dollars for a short-run flyer or as much as several hundred thousand dollars for a customized “sponsored group” destination inside Facebook.

11. Social Ads
Social Ads replaced Facebook Flyers in November 2007 at the same time Facebook launched Pages. With Social Ads, Facebook offers advertisers the option to pay on a CPC or CPM basis, whichever they prefer. Social Ads offers very powerful targeting capabilities: when you create your ad, you have the option to limit who sees your ad by age, sex, location, keywords, education level, workplaces, political views, and relationship status. Social Ads are the best way to drive traffic to your Facebook Page. Social Ads is completely self-serve and provides real time feedback on the size of your target audience and the suggested bid range to achieve impressions. While Facebook doesn’t guarantee your budget will be reached, I can’t imagine they’re anywhere close to filling their inventory.

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Social Ads also offers placements in the News Feed, and these units get much better click through. You can also target Social Ads to friends of users who have recently engaged with your brand via your Facebook Page. These units convert at a much better rate. When the Facebook redesign launched in August 2008, Facebook created a new ad unit on the Facebook home page as well.

How Specialty Brands are Driving Sales on Facebook
While many small to medium sized etailers drive a large portion of their sales through search marketing, many are beginning to experiment with different marketing channels inside Facebook to reach new customers. Inside Facebook sat down with Dave Eisenberg, VP of Marketing at Bonobos, a rapidly growing designer and retailer of high-quality hand-made pants for men. Below, Dave shares advice on reaching the right target demographic inside Facebook, his perspective on how the Facebook advertising market has changed over recent months, and the opportunities and challenges Bonobos sees ahead. Could you give us a little background on your experience with Bonobos on Facebook? We were one of the earliest folks to invest in the Social Ads platform. I quickly became very excited because the clicks that we were able to get from our targeted demographic were less expensive than those we acquired from people searching for men’s pants in particular. Some of the early experiments we ran were against schools where we thought our products might be popular. We also had a particular pant that was done in the Chicago Cubs blue colors, and we were able to run ads against people in Chicago who had a Cubs interest. It was really easy to do targeted advertisements and track the clicks. From there I was able to use Google Analytics to track what was

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converting, and it was great to see what I could pay for a new customer. We were one of Facebook’s top small business advertisers last fall. Since then, so many more people have jumped onto Facebook’s advertising platform that the costs have gone up, and the ROI decreased somewhat in December. We’re just not as unique any more. Why did you want to be one of the earlier adopters of Social Ads? In a way that is very different from SEM, Facebook offers a chance to do passive display using the information that Facebook users are sharing to help your targeting. For example, last year we named one pant after Obama and another after McCain, and we could target ads for each of them to people who supported one candidate or the other. This was a really cheap way to get people to show up on the site and check us out for the first time. In addition, our ad was a breath of fresh air for people who were dissatisfied with the quality of the ads generally. We have spent the bulk of our efforts targeting men between the ages of 25 and 45. How do you measure the ROI on your Facebook campaigns? Any new business is interested in how many visitors it has. However, what moves the bottom line is a person who tries out our product, enjoys it, and comes back. There’s nothing as important as new customer acquisition for us. That being said, visitors are important and word of mouth conversations that help people hear about us are also important. There are a lot of influential people on Facebook, and our ads have done better as more people over 30 have signed up for Facebook. How would you suggest Facebook needs to improve its advertising solutions?

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For one thing, in some cases national advertisers are starting to price out local advertisers. Clicks that started in the $0.10 range are now above $1.00, so Facebook will need to address the impression limitations that will arise. They almost need to subsidize the local advertisers. However, in the bigger picture, Facebook needs to undertake figuring out who is willing to use Facebook for shopping and who isn’t. People who are should receive better ads, they should see more ads, and they should be more expensive to reach. Many of our clients say that we’re one of the only ads they’ve ever clicked on. We want to play against the relevant folks. It’s part of a broader question about how internet advertising is going to evolve on a performance basis. I’d love to pay for acquired customers. Facebook could figure out more ways to promote our page. If it costs the same amount to promote my Facebook Page and my website, I’m going to choose my site because I can track what users are doing there. Facebook has worked for us for quite a long time, but now it needs to find the next new thing. If Facebook were able to more deeply measure user engagement after the click, that could make for a more efficient pricing system. Yes, you almost need a way to track user satisfaction or a mechanism for users to provide more guidance on what kinds of ads they would like to see. For example, my friends who are gay have said that they have seen racier ads on Facebook. Hearing that has made me more conscious about what I put in my profile. It’s almost like you want people to opt in to certain kinds of advertising. There may also be some interesting opportunities with Facebook Connect coming up. Facebook Connect is going in a great direction. All of the things that it enables are

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very powerful. Anything they did that would do more to let me show that I want to integrate shopping with social media would help. For example, integrating on landing pages. In a lot of ways we want the benefits of Beacon, but in a way that users understand. Deeper integration with sites where users want to engage with the ads would be great for everyone involved.

12. Engagement Ads
Facebook’s sales team gave a picture of their vision for the future of Facebook ad units in August of 2008. They said Facebook is focusing on 3 different types of “engagement” ads to build its business going forward: 1) Comment style ads – ads that users can leave comments on, which spread to their friends’ News Feed 2) Virtual gifts style ads – brands can create items that users can spread by sending to each other 3) Fan style ads – users can express their affinity for a product or service, which brands can then tie ads onto Here’s a summary of the ad units available to advertisers on Facebook: 1) Home Page Advertising on the home page is now available to advertisers in the new “Sponsor” module on the right side of the News Feed. As of September 2008, Facebook offered both standard and video ads in this unit.

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Facebook Home Page Ad Unit: Social Videos
The home page social video ad unit is particularly interesting. Its behavior: 1. Clicking on the ad image opens a video player in-line 2. Comments on the video are visible to your entire friend list. The comments around the ad dramatically increase engagement with the unit, as the highly visible comments provide an opportunity for users to simultaneously draw attention to the ad by drawing attention to themselves. While this could backfire if comments degrading the advertiser are abundant (I saw a few “LAME!” comments about Tropic Thunder today), the ad comments powerfully take advantage of Facebook’s social dynamics to draw attention to an ad in a way that is impossible without the social graph. When is the last time you heard 9 friends talk about an online ad in the same day? Ad comments are an interesting step forward in the evolution of “Social Ads.” While this kind of ad may not work as well outside of a few advertiser verticals, I expect that early advertisers will be pleased with its performance.

Facebook Home Page Ad Unit: Sponsored Virtual Gifts
As of September 2008, a new “sponsored gifts” unit is now available on the redesigned Facebook home page. The sponsored gifts ad unit follows Facebook’s new social video ad unit as one of the three new types of “engagement ads” advertisers can use to reach Facebook users more powerfully within the redesigned Facebook. Here’s how it works: Sponsored gifts are simply virtual gifts that users can send to each other. Facebook has created a virtual gifts store that offers some gifts for

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sale at $1 and offers some gifts for free (recent estimates put Facebook’s virtual gifts business at over $30 million/year). Gifts can normally be sent either publicly or privately, depending on the preference of the sender.

With sponsored gifts, gifts can be sent directly from the home page (see above) and are always delivered publicly on friends’ Wall feeds (see below). Facebook then gives a lot of News Feed juice to help gifts spread further to the friends of those who get them. For many types of brands, like consumer products and entertainment, sponsored gifts could be an excellent and simple way to engage users in a social and meaningful way.

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Many Facebook Platform application developers also offer advertising products much like sponsored gifts. If you’re interested in finding applications that may be able to provide deeper experiences, feel free to let me know your verticals of interest.

Facebook Home Page Ad Unit: Events
The Event Ad is integrated with Facebook Events and includes an “RSVP” call to action. When RSVP is clicked, full event details are displayed, including the number of Facebook users and friends attending. Friends’ responses are visible beneath the ad after they have RSVP’d.

Facebook Home Page Ad Unit: Pages
The Page Ad is designed to drive fans of Facebook Pages, and allows users to become fans of a Page in line. When users become fans, it’s listed beneath the ad for friends to see.

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Facebook Home Page Ad Unit: Polls
The Polls Ad allows advertisers to reach large numbers of Facebook users. People who respond can see how others voted - and how each of their friends voted - in the poll.

2) News Feed Currently, ads in the News Feed itself are only available to advertisers who purchase a minimum buy of around $50,000 USD. Facebook has no word yet on exactly when News Feed ads will be available to more advertisers. The News Feed as is a place where “fan style” ads can amplify the spread of brands when users express their affinity for a product or service.

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3) Profile Page (and other pages) Ads on the Facebook profile page is on the right side of the page. In the new design, there are a few different options for advertisers: * Two Facebook Ads running together * One Facebook Ad running above a banner ad * Only one Facebook ad showing These ads can appear on profile pages, groups, and on the right side of application canvas pages (but not on Facebook’s business Pages). 4) Facebook Virtual Gifts Facebook has been pushing its virtual gifts prominently on the home page over the last year. Why? Because it’s becoming a nice secondary revenue stream for the company, doing somewhere around $3 million/month in sales as of August 2008. Brands can create virtual gifts that Facebook users can send to their friends and spread the brand. Branded virtual gifts are usually large buys and are often supported with home page promotion.

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Papa John’s Connecting with 200,000 Fans on Facebook
More brands are engaging with Facebook’s 150 million users through Facebook advertising solutions and the Facebook Platform, patterns of best practices are emerging for brands in different verticals. Inside Facebook sat down with Bob Ford, Papa John’s Director of Online Marketing, about the ways the pizza restaurant chain is reaching customers on Facebook. Why did Papa John’s decide to get involved on Facebook? We’ve obviously been tracking social networks for a number of years now, but we’ve been looking for opportunity that is right for our brand, and Facebook’s engagement ads made sense to me and to Papa John’s. Facebook has actually initially reached out to us three years ago, but this is the first one we felt like we were ready to try. Before we built our Facebook Page, there were other Papa John’s Facebook Pages out there. They had a limited number of fans, but when you looked and saw something that was put up by someone who was literally just a fan, it became intriguing to us. So we dedicated the time to put together our Facebook Page, working closely with Facebook to design it in a way that the audience is looking for. Who was your campaign targeted at and how did it work? Facebook is very different today in terms of who their audience is even compared to just a couple years ago. We were really looking for a way to feature some of our new features like mobile ordering, and the 15-24 audience is a great fit for that. We did two projects with Facebook. First, in November of last year, we did our engagement ad where we drove people to become a fan of our Facebook Page. Fans were notified on three different dates via an Update from the Papa John’s

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Page, and were then directed to the Papa John’s site to receive their promotional code for the pizza. We added 125,000 fans within a day, that number has grown to over 200,000 today. We’re very pleased with how many fans we’ve gained, and we’re examining ways we can promote it more. We look at our Facebook page almost as an extension of our website, and we have more campaigns coming up soon in the next 6 moths. We also gave away some virtual pizzas. Using Facebook Gifts, we gave away as many virtual pizzas as we could. We funded and gave away a couple hundred thousand pizzas. You may think, “What’s the value in a virtual pizza?” We looked at it almost like we do our widgets - they’re a constant reminder that sits on someone’s profile page. The person sent their friend a gift that was a Papa John’s ad that the friend was happy to get. It’s not often that you find an advertising vehicle that people are happy to get. From the feedback we’ve seen it seemed to be very well received. How did the ROI on these campaigns compare to your expectations? We set out targets for both promotions, and they came back dead on. In fact, we got a much better ROI than we expected from the number of impressions we ended up receiving from our virtual gifts - Facebook did a great job projecting that. In terms of the number of fans we added to the Papa John’s, it is probably double what we projected. What we were truly hoping for was to sign up 100,000 fans. I would have been okay if we had signed up 50,000. The fact that we’re at 200,000 is fantastic. Why do you think your Page has been successful?

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Facebook has been really good about providing guidance on what their users expect to see on Pages, and how to keep them active. What we need to do is make sure that we keep that page fresh so that people keep coming back, and so that when we send an update people will see it and find it valuable. Thanks Bob. Do you have any final thoughts for other brand marketers out there? Industry by indusry we have to be willing to put ourselves out there, knowing that not everything we do will be perfect. We know we will take some hits from our customers, but we as a brand need to embrace that. We need to monitor it and react to it. We have worked to resolve issues with people who have had any issues - for example, I have sent personal messages to people that have had issues, and the responses I’ve gotten have been fantastic. Even if someone makes a negative post the first time, they often go back and make unbelievably positive comments.

13. Virtual Gifts
For as long as gifts have been available for purchase in the Facebook Gift Shop, users have been able to send virtual gifts to their friends for $1 each. However, Facebook makes a select number of sponsored gifts available to users to send to each other for free. When a user sends a virtual gift to their friend, it appears on their Facebook profile. This is one of the only ways sponsors can get profile Wall presence – Facebook otherwise prohibits advertising in the profile feed.

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The Future of Virtual Gifts on Facebook The people at Facebook think about Facebook as a market for the exchange of social capital. In that sense, nearly every interaction on the site is either a “gift” or exchange of some kind. Facebook’s decision to implement variable pricing on explicit “virtual gifts” in October 2008 makes them a more flexible currency for trade in the social capital markets. This should allow more users to give and receive more value on Facebook over time. This means more users will be more engaged with Facebook over time, which is a good thing for the greater ecosystem in the long run. (That is, assuming variable “worth” of virtual goods can be differentiated by Facebook users. That will probably take some time, but Facebook will certainly try hard to “educate” the marketplace in a variety of ways by designing subtle signals into the gift delivery experience.) As for Facebook itself, as virtual gifting on Facebook matures, flexible pricing will allow the company to capture a greater portion of the market’s demand at more efficient prices, which should lead to significant revenue increases. Facebook’s direct gift sales efforts could even reach 9 figures on the top line in 2009 (ok, perhaps that’s a bit aggressive). The bottom line? Both users and advertisers should expect to see more robust ways to spend their money on Facebook Gifts in the coming months.

14. Performance Ads

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For those advertisers simply wanting to drive traffic to a website or page, Facebook’s self-serve performance advertising system is the simplest alternative available. Advertisers can simply place orders for people who match certain demographic or targeting requirements, and are only charged for performance. The minimum daily budget is only $1.00 USD, and the minimum bid per click is only $0.01 USD, so it’s easy to get started, test, and compare Facebook Ads to other channels. See the campaign creation interface below:

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From Keyword Targeting to People Targeting: Talking Performance Advertising with Facebook’s Tim Kendall
In order to gain a deeper understanding of how Facebook sees its performance advertising business, we sat down with Tim Kendall, Facebook’s Director of Monetization and performance advertising head. Below, Tim shares his thoughts with us on Facebook’s positioning of performance ads in the marketplace, how performance advertisers are succeeding using Facebook’s solutions, and what messages about Facebook’s performance advertising opportunity are resonating with agencies today.

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IF: Thanks for your time Tim. Looking at your overall strategy, how does performance advertising fit into what you’re doing today? TK: We like to think about it this way. If you think about the classic marketing funnel that’s very big at the top and very small at the bottom - where at the top you’re planting the notion of a brand in the consumer’s head, and at the bottom you’re delivering to a consumer who explicitly wants something, such as paid search - what’s happening at the bottom of that funnel is what we call demand fulfillment. The guy at the top of the funnel may not even be thinking about photography if he’s on Yahoo Sports and sees a Canon banner ad. We believe that we play in the funnel above that threshold. We don’t have people that come to the site to buy a digital camera, but we have a lot of users on the site who spend a lot of time on the site, and we think there’s a big opportunity for brand marketers to get broad reach and tell their story to those customers at the very top of the funnel. We can show an ad to people who have expressed an interest in photography. The next step down the funnel is where we see our performance marketing solution - toward the middle/bottom part of funnel. We think there is a huge opportunity in latent demand right above the bottom part of the funnel. What would you say are your core differentiators in that area? Three reasons: 1) We have amazing reach, and we’re growing by a lot every day. The people who have the widest reach win the brand game. 2) We have a lot of information about you the user, because you’ve declared it to us so you can share it with your friends. We can look at your profile fields to determine your interests, and we can look at your status updates and know what your interests are today. 3) We know who you know. This is where we’re just starting to come out with a couple sets of offerings. The Social Ad offering takes into account the notion of who you’re friends with.

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We think about both brand and performance together (but we have many marketers who come to us for one or the other). We think marketers increasingly want an end to end solution where you can first help them build their brand with large numbers of consumers, and then convert them into buyers. In terms of internal priorities, we view performance as equal to brand. In the performance area, our core differentiators are: 1) We have a lot of information about users, so we can provide powerful targeting to advertisers so that they can efficiently allocate spend, and 2) We have market based pricing - it’s an auction, so advertisers don’t overpay. Also, “who users know” (Facebook’s Social Ads product) is something that some performance advertisers are leveraging, but it hasn’t become central yet. How much lift do you see in click through rates when advertisers employ Social Ads? On a click through rate basis, we see over 100% improvement when an impression is a Social Ad. For example, a local restaurant could do a happy hour ad and connect it to an event, so that when you RSVP, your friends get Social Ads. People come to Facebook to learn about their friends, so if you can make the advertising about their friends, it’s more effective. In addition, it may get seen by their friends in their News Feed as pure organic content - Facebook has decided that something like this is often relevant enough to not display like an ad. What kinds of advertisers are you most aggressively targeting right now? Wherever we have greater density of information about users, we tend to be able to provide more relevant ads. Entertainment is a category that works well because those are the types of niche interests that users are willing to share on their profile. Categories that match up well with music, movies, books, hobbies tend to do well. We can also target users based on what pages they’re affiliated with, which broadens the number of users we can target. We are actually seeing success

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in every major category. However, success tends to be more determined by the degree to which the advertiser understands how the system works and how targeting works differently than in other systems. It’s a people targeting system, not a keyword targeting system. On Google, I would select things like a specific camera brand or name to target. On Facebook, it would be more like interest or hobby keywords. Paid search had the same challenge in the beginning. We do have a lot of SEM agencies that are working with us and are seeing success, but we are still early on. There will be the constant process of educating agencies, the local market, and the international markets - where the objectives of advertisers are different. So what are your current priorities for improving the performance ad platform in 2009? I can talk in general terms. Generally, we’re trying to make it easier for advertisers to order ads and allocate their spend and get higher ROI. But we spend just as much time thinking about how we can make ads more relevant for the user. There will be more features and functionality that help with both of those. We want to figure out in a very transparent and privacy compliant way how to make ads more relevant. Given current and possible future innovations in Facebook’s targeting technology, how are you addressing privacy concerns? Using the graph is something we want to do more in 2009, while respecting privacy as well. When your friends click on an ad, we view it as a reasonable inference that that would be valuable and fair to share with your friends. We’ve done pretty well with privacy on this because we stick to what the user provides to us. In many ways we view Social Ads as less surreptitious than many types of behavioral targeting technologies. We also already provide “thumbs up/thumbs

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down” ad feedback so that users can tune what they see. Finally - when you talk about latent demand and demand generation with agencies, what do you find most effective in helping them appreciate the opportunity? Yes, again we think that there’s a tremendous opportunity in the latent demand realm where there’s a lot of open space on the internet to create value. No one has really figured out how to effectively generate demand and effectively measure that. How do you make that sound compelling to agencies? At the end of the day, an agency’s job is to find more customers for its clients. Going back to the camera example, there are so many cameras that are sold in a month. A fair amount of those are done through search. However, there are also a lot of people every month for whom it doesn’t occur to them to buy a camera off the bat, but they may buy a camera if you put the right ad in front of them at the right time. We tell agencies they may have great SEM programs going on, but there’s a whole other set of customers that they can gain access to that would be accretive to their current channels. If you’re a 49ers fan, there’s a chance you’ll actively search for tickets, and there’s another chance you won’t. Because we know you’re a fan, we can put 49ers tickets ads on your profile. Had you not seen that ad, you might be in that set of people that never would have done a search or would have sought that product in an active way.

How Search Marketers are Reaching Local Customers on Facebook

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As Facebook’s audience continues to grow, more marketing agencies that have traditionally focused on search are beginning to experiment with Facebook. Inside Facebook spoke with Devin Davis, the Director of Marketing at G5 Search Marketing, a search agency that focuses primarily on the local market in the US. Below, Devin compares his experience on Facebook to SEM and shares examples of campaign tactics that have performed well on Facebook. Could you give a quick summary of the type of clients G5 works with and the types of campaigns you run? G5 has been working with Facebook on traditional Facebook ads (which, I realize, is a fairly fluid term) for quite some time now. We have clients in the self storage industry, the medical industry and the salon industry who have all seen fantastic results from their campaigns. Being able to target a specific audience has been key to this success. How does the ROI your clients see on Facebook compare to search? The CPC has been virtually the same across all the verticals. The total amount spent has varied depending on the campaign, of course. We have some clients in very rural areas so we have typically seen less total spend there when compared to areas with higher population density. Our cost per conversion has also been similar across verticals. We have typically seen a CPC of $1.25 or less. This has led to a $10.25 cost per lead. We have also been able to nail down a 10% conversion rate from visits originating from Facebook Ads, which is quite high. We attribute this to the granularity that Facebook provides us in targeting the users we’re reaching. How do the results you’ve seen on Facebook compare across your storage, medical, and salon industry campaigns?

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So far we have seen the best results in the storage industry. The ability to target students at particular universities was a huge win for us since a huge percentage of customers who use self storage facilities are students storing their stuff during breaks. The salon industry saw the next best results because we could target women in areas around the salons. The medical industry saw the lowest return of the three because of their specific practice. In fact, we started the medical campaign with the intention of using it as much as a branding tool as anything else. In that regard, it has been quite successful. What targeting and timing strategies have worked well for you so far? Within the Facebook Ads realm, both targeting and timing have been key. An example: we have a self storage client who has facilities in numerous college towns (such as Berkeley and Flagstaff). Toward the end of the school year last year, we ran a campaign for them that focused on students of specific schools. This took advantage of both timing and targeting. As a direct result of that campaign, that client added more college students to their facilities than ever before. What do you think Facebook could do to improve its performance advertising offering? It would be great to have the ability to handle multiple clients under one login. Right now, we are using the same login for multiple clients and just separating them out into different campaigns. If we could have a “My Client List” that allows us to have one login and multiple clients, that would be extremely beneficial. Also, the reporting piece is a bit lacking. So far you can only download campaign or ad data in very specific time frames. We would like to see more freedom to choose specific date ranges. Also, we would like the ability to pull reports further

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back in time than three months. This does not allow enough time to really run sufficient tests. More advanced targeting regarding locations where the user is and the ability to target a radius around a city would also be very helpful. We have clients that are in more remote areas of the country and their city does not show up in the City field for targeting. Right now we would have to target an entire state to reach our users. If we had a radius targeting, we then might be able to get a more highly targeted campaign without going after an entire state. This would, obviously, also be markedly more cost effective which, for us, is always the ultimate goal.

15. Localization Opportunities
While most of Facebook’s users speak English, a growing number speak many of the world’s languages. Starting in the spring of 2008, Facebook launched versions of the site in Spanish, French, and German, allowing users to experience Facebook completely in their local language. There are ongoing translation projects in on in Français, Deutsch, Español, Català, Čeština, Dansk, Euskara, Galego, Italiano, 한국어, Magyar, Norsk, 日本語, Nederlands, Polski, Português do Brasil, Română, Русский, Slovenščina, Suomi, Svenska, languages. Advertisers can now consider localized versions of your campaigns targeted to Facebook users in specific countries. To learn more about Facebook’s international growth – and get detailed historical country and regional data – see Inside Facebook’s Facebook Global Monitor at http://www.insidefacebook.com/facebook-global-marketmonitor/. , Türkçe, 中文(简体, 中文(繁體, and many other

16. Integrated Opportunities

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If you represent a large account, Facebook has partnered with Microsoft to serve advertisers with higher campaign budgets (above around $50,000). Just contact Facebook, and a sales rep will work with you to explore more integrated advertising opportunities than are available via the Performance Ads or Social Ads services.

17. Facebook Platform Ad Networks
When Facebook launched the Facebook Platform in May 2007, they also made a promise to allow application developers to monetize their applications however they like and keep 100% of the revenue. This market green-field led to the birth of a new niche of ad networks dedicated to serving the inventory created by Facebook Platform applications.

These networks offer an important way to reach the Facebook audience when engaged in a particular application vertical. Inventory is sold on a CPM, CPC, CPA, and CPI (cost per installation of YOUR application) basis. List of Leading Facebook Platform Ad Networks Leading firms include: Social Media (www.socialmedia.com) Offerpal Media (www.offerpalmedia.com) Super Rewards (www.srpoints.com) AdParlor (http://www.adparlor.com) Buddy Media (www.buddymedia.com) RockYou (www.rockyou.com) AdKnowledge/Cubics (www.cubics.com) AOL’s Platform-A (www.platform-a.com)

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Videoegg (www.videoegg.com) And many more…

What eCPMs do apps charge? Data from Facebook application developers
Every ad network is different (and so is every app). Some can fill different types of creative, and others can fill different user segments. For example, VideoEgg has a unique high performing unit, but can only fill a small amount of inventory, while Lookery has an open offer promising guaranteed rates for all European traffic. While different ad networks make different claims regarding what kind of price and performance they’ll be able to deliver, the best solution for all marketers is to give several of them a try and stick with the ones that work best for you. As a reference point, here’s info from current Facebook app developers on what they’re making on a CPM/eCPM basis from ad networks serving the Facebook Platform: tspree15 is making $0.60 CPM with Social Media cbovis is making $1.50 CPM with VideoEgg, but they can’t cover all his inventory (the rest runs on RockYou) • • • • sweetsteve is making $0.27 CPM with Cubics, down from $0.43 ejono is seeing a $0.40 CPM with Cubics cory is making a $4.78 eCPM with Social Media (much higher than the rest!) mzeitler is making a $0.50 CPM each with AdSense, FB Exchange, Social Media, and RockYou (and by combining 2 units on a page is making $1.00 CPM) • • • saintseiya is making $0.125 CPM with Lookery ($0.25 with 2 ads above the fold) markdoub is seeing $0.10 CPM with Cubics, down from $0.43 ersingencturk is seeing $0.04 CPM with AdSense

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18. Facebook Platform Application Sponsorships
Advertisers looking for more integrated opportunities inside Facebook applications can consider approaching application developers and negotiating a sponsorship directly. For example, beverage companies have sponsored “drink-sharing” applications, while contact lens companies have sponsored “winking” applications. By browsing the Facebook Application directory, you may be able to find applications fitting with your campaign. In addition, several firms have begun serving agencies and advertisers by helping them connect with users on the Facebook Platform. These firms can connect brands with application developers or create and manage custom applications for brands. List of Leading Facebook Platform Sponsorship Resellers/Rep Firms Firms Inside Facebook recommends include: Buddy Media (www.buddymedia.com) Federated Media (www.federatedmedia.net) Context Optional (www.contextoptional.com) Appssavvy (www.appssavvy.com)

• • • •

Strategy: Why sponsor applications when I can sponsor Facebook itself?
While developers face many of the same monetization challenges as social networks at the end of the day, developers have two big advantages over the social networks that can actually enable them to deliver more value to marketers than the social networks themselves (albeit in less volume):

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1. App usage is a better signal for intent than profile data. While users who indicate an interest on their profile may not have significant purchase intent at any given time, users actively engaged in applications around that same interest are more likely to conduct a relevant transaction. Of course, that application needs to serve a need in high value verticals like travel, media, finance, or shopping. For example, it’s hard to know with much precision when users who list “skiing” as an interest on their profile page are most likely to purchase a lift ticket just based on profile data. While this is great for basic targeting, it’s nowhere near the level of intent signaled by a Google search. However, users actively engaged in an application used to research current ski conditions and find friends going skiing this weekend are much more likely to have monetizable intent. Whereas profile data is often write-once-live-forever, application usage is a better indication of activated interest in a given vertical. 2. Apps offer better opportunities for brand alignment and integration. While Facebook offers Pages and Social Ads for brand owners interested in building a presence in Facebook’s social environment, applications can go much deeper and offer experiences much more directly aligned with the values of the brand. With Facebook Pages, brands can only achieve fairly generic levels of user interaction. On the Page itself, users can post messages, upload photos and videos, and sign up to receive future updates. When users become a “Fan” of your brand, their friends will see a message that says, “Justin became a fan of Colgate Toothpaste.” All of these things are great, but they leave a lot of value to brands on the table. With apps, brands can create more directly aligned and integrated brand experiences - both within the application itself AND in the “viral” messages that users send to their friends.

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For example, Federated Media recently did a BMW “What Drives You?” campaign with application developer Graffiti in which users created over 6,000 entries and shared their creations with their friends. Which is a more valuable brand experience to BMW - looking at a Page with a logo and messaging, or drawing the car of your dreams? Which is a better feed item to be seen by millions of friends “Justin became a fan of BMW” or “Justin challenges you to show What Drives You in the Graffiti Car Contest”? You decide.

19. Specialized Facebook Platform Advertising Service Providers
In addition to the Facebook Platform ad networks and representation firms, new kinds of services are emerging to serve advertisers in more specialized ways on the Facebook Platform. While this list will build over time, Inside Facebook recommends the following two. 1. Wildfire – Contest Platform for Facebook (www.wildfireapp.com) Wildfire’s Promotion Builder services provides a turnkey solution for companies to create and distribute their own branded interactive promotions (e.g. sweepstakes, user-generated contests, coupons and giveaways), and to simultaneously publish them on their website, Facebook, and throughout the social web. If you’re interested in running a contest, giveaway, or sweepstakes promotion on Facebook, the Wildfire app is the most powerful tool available on the Facebook Platform. 2. AdNectar – Sponsored Virtual Gifts Network for Facebook Applications (www.adnectar.com) Virtual gifts are increasingly popular ways for advertisers to enable users to share their brand with friends on social networks. New virtual gifts ad network AdNectar is one of
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the leading companies specializing in this service. If you’re interested in reaching users across the Facebook Platform with branded/sponsored virtual gifts, a partner like AdNectar can integrate your branded virtual gifts with the most fitting Facebook Platform applications.

Recommended Strategies for Advertisers
For most advertisers, the place to get started is to build a fully-featured Facebook Page, and drive traffic to it through Social Ads. Facebook ads that send traffic to other websites historically have performed quite poorly, while ads that direct traffic to Facebook Pages (or even Groups) perform well. Facebook users becoming fans of your page is a valuable conversion, because you’ll be able to communicate with them directly as long as they’re fans of your page. You can use those communications to encourage further engagement with your brand. For companies that have developed Facebook applications, advertising with Facebook Application Ad Networks (like SocialMedia, RockYou, and Lookery) on a CPI basis can be a powerful way to drive installations of your apps at reasonable cost levels. You’ll just need to define the value of an application conversion (which heavily depends on the nature of the app you’ve built) compared to a Page-fan conversion in order to determine which channel is more cost effective. Brand managers should seriously consider campaigns with firms that represent Facebook Platform applications. Facebook apps are able to offer the best of both worlds: deeply aligned and integrated brand experiences that get naturally shared with thousands of friends through Facebook’s “viral” communication channels.

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III. Tools for Application Developers
For marketers who can harness technical resources, the Facebook Platform offers the most powerful way to create engaging connections with your target audience on Facebook. Thousands of third-party applications have already been built on the Platform APIs–many of which have allowed for new kinds of deep brand experiences, and many of which turned out to be transient ad delivery vehicles that failed to take user experience into account. While I can’t tell you how to dream up a good app for your business here, I will explain the channels that your applications must absolutely take advantage of in order to achieve maximum success.

Strategy: What is the Right Way to Market Through Facebook Applications?
In a December 2008 Adweek column, Digital Editor Brian Morrissey fired a shot across the bow of branded Facebook applications as a viable Facebook marketing tactic. Calling sponsored apps “the newest brand graveyard,” Morrissey pointed out that several applications built for big brands like Nike, Ford, Microsoft, and Fedex that have not gained lasting traction. Says Morrissey: Brands, in general, have found Facebook unforgiving terrain for marketing. It’s well known, for instance, that banner ads perform poorly on the site. (A recent IDC report called advertising on social networks “stillborn.”) But the Facebook Platform, launched 18 months ago — which lets developers create social applications for users — was thought to offer the perfect opportunity to move beyond banners to provide “branded utility.” So far, however, Facebook apps from brands like Coca-Cola, Champion, Ford and Microsoft are as popular as desolate Second Life islands…

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Application experts pointed to several other reasons so many top brands have fallen short. In some cases, they said, brand apps are too complicated. Some provide little worthwhile interactivity and are overly branded. And despite Murphy’s admonition, most exist as one-off experiments, tied to a launch-and-forget campaign approach versus one created with the mind-set of a developer, which leaves room for tinkering. What’s more, many companies build applications on the cheap, frequently relying on “viral” distribution rather than buying media. One overriding criticism: They’re often little more than ads. Morrissey’s disappointment with the ongoing metrics enjoyed by branded Facebook applications makes sense, and sheds light a much deeper problem: designing a good Facebook application that will engage users over time is really hard. The Challenges of Application Design At the end of the day, branded Facebook applications are a hybrid between an ad unit and a consumer product. Designers of branded Facebook applications must be experienced in the ways of product development on the Facebook Platform, or the engagement graph is going to shark fin pretty quickly. For many brand advertisers, getting a lot of engagement during the focus period of the campaign that then decreases quickly afterward is still a satisfactory result. For example, many contests and event promotions fall into this category. However, for many other advertisers, sustainable engagement may be quite valuable. If the application dynamic generates sustained gift giving over a longer period of time, campaign ROI can often be several times higher. Unfortunately, there’s no simple formula for building a winning Facebook application. But for those interested in learning advanced Facebook application

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marketing tactics, check out the Facebook Marketing Bible. It goes into detail on all the vital ways applications can grow virally and engage users on the Facebook Platform, and is a valuable resource that can be clearly applied to your specific marketing context. There are also several firms which specialize in branded application campaigns, including Votigo, AdParlor, Buddy Media, and Context Optional. This blog often features examples of their work as reference cases for the advertiser community. An Alternative: Branded Integrations With Existing Facebook Applications Designing your own branded Facebook application isn’t the only way to engage a broad audience on the Facebook Platform. Many large application developers offer advertisers interesting avenues for brand integration with parts of their product. Brands interested in reaching a large audience in a vertical where good applications exist, but who don’t want to design, build, and drive traffic to their own Facebook application, may be interested in working with the application developer directly or through a rep firm. For example, brands interested in reaching a large movie viewing audience can work with Flixster, those interested in music can work with iLike, and those interested in reaching a large sports or television viewing audience can work with Watercooler (note: I work with Watercooler). For example, Target recently ran an integration with the trivia feature in Watercooler’s TVLoop applications, combined with a rich media awareness campaign, promoting the launch of the “Sex and the City” DVD. Brands can also work with rep firms that work with Facebook app developers, like Federated Media or Appssavvy. These firms help match brands with developers who offer applications which could be a good fit for the campaign’s goals.

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Conclusion While branded Facebook applications are not easy to create, they can be vehicles for delivering engagement well above and beyond what most advertisers see in traditional display campaigns. Advertisers interested in building the deepest connections with Facebook users should look to the opportunities Facebook applications afford - whether it be by creating their own application or working with an existing application developer, the rich social and viral opportunities found in well designed Facebook applications are hard to match elsewhere.

Strategy: Where do most new application users come from?
The answer to this question depends largely on your application. Usually, it’s a combination of the key viral channels Facebook makes available to application developers: invitations, feed items, notifications, and the profile box. Sadly, Facebook provides no comprehensive marketing dashboard for you. You’ll need to build your own system to track each time an invitation, feed item, or notification is sent out, whether or not it is clicked, and whether or not that click turns into a converted installation and engaged user. However, Facebook does provide some partial stats on application virality. Inside your application settings page, Facebook provides information on the number referrers to your app install page through the following channels: Product Directory - how many users found your app in the application directory

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• • • • •

Profile Box Add Link - the standard link Facebook places in the top right of your profile box (note: this link has been removed in the Facebook redesign) Add Application News Feed Story – the Facebook generated News Feed item (“Justin Smith installed the Video application”) Mini Feed Story Facebook Search From within your App - how many users clicked content within your profile box or another canvas page that led them to install your app (unfortunately, since all these links are part of your application, you’ll need to track them yourself).

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20. Profile Box
Surprisingly, the most common way new users find many applications is through application profile boxes on their friends’ profile pages. The challenge of profile box design is making it both compelling for an existing user to keep it on his/her profile, and appealing enough to a new user to click on and install the application. If your profile box doesn’t provide the profile owner sufficient value to merit its presence on the profile page, your user will hide your profile box, or worse, uninstall your application. Simultaneously, if your profile box is too spammy, your user will get rid of it instantly. Major Update: Facebook Profile Redesign In the spring of 2008, Facebook announced major impending changes to the design of the Profile Page. These changes include: The creation of “Feed,” “Info, “Photos,” “Boxes,” and application tabs Moving all current profile boxes to a new “Boxes” tab The creation of a third profile box unit, called the “main profile” box, that will appear on the left column of the Feed, Info, and Wall tabs. • • • The Feed tab will contain new, larger story types and a new feed Publisher. This will be the default tab when viewing your own or your friends’ profiles. Users can now add tabs entirely devoted to individual applications. The Info tab contains static information about you. Applications will also have the ability to publish content to this tab. Details on each of these changes are in sections below.

• • •

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Facebook is also updating core parts of the Facebook UI that will be rolled out with the upcoming Facebook profile redesign. In addition to redesigning the profile page, Facebook is making some pretty major changes to core navigation on the site as well: the left navigation menu is gone. The Applications menu now sits at the bottom of the page, instead of on the left side. Next to the new Applications menu, there is a “Bookmarks” section. You can add up to 6 apps to your “Bookmarks” section. • • The Search box now sits in the top menu as well. Facebook ads will now appear on the right side of the page, instead of on the left. This will make the left side seem relatively bare.

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Overall Impact On the whole, the updates to the profile page will have a big impact on how users interact with each other and express themselves with applications. With the profile redesign, Facebook wants to give users more control over their profile and make the profile more communication focused. In order to integrate with the new profile design, developers are going to need to adapt to and take advantage of several new integration points on the Facebook profile.

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In late May 2008, Facebook opened a developers’ sandbox that allows developers to test their apps. If developers do nothing, their apps will continue to work as is. However, in order to take advantage of new opportunities for integration with the redesigned profile page, developers will need to update their apps in several ways. The Facebook profile redesign will have a big impact on the developer community. Developers will need to think long and hard about how to make their apps more valuable to users, specifically in the integration points that Facebook is providing. While much of the first year of the Facebook Platform has been about virality, it will be harder for purely “viral” apps that don’t provide much value to users to grow - the second year of the Facebook Platform will be about engagement. Kicking profile boxes off the default view of the profile page will definitely make it harder for users to discover and re-engage with applications. Facebook must embark on a major user education campaign to help users understand the new tools they have to organize application content on their profile page (specifically, moving boxes between tabs and adding new app tabs) and share application content with their friends (specifically, the new feed publisher).

5 Things Developers May Not Know About the Facebook Redesign
With the Facebook profile redesign launch upon us, developers are quickly scrambling to update their apps to adapt to the new profile integration points. However, the latest version of the Platform Changes page on the Developer Wiki explains some changes that haven’t been talked about much yet (though some were mentioned briefly tonight at the Palo Alto Developer Garage). Here’s a quick summary: 1. Users can no longer add app profile boxes during installation. Since the beginning of the Platform, users have had the option (defaulted on) to add an app profile box when adding an app. While this has significantly helped application growth, it has also led to significant profile clutter. After the redesign, users will

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be able to “add a profile box to the main profile by clicking an Add New Profile Section button which the application can insert into their canvas pages via the fb:add-section-button FBML tag.” The installation process will consist only of authorization to let apps know who users are, but will no longer lead to automatic profile integration. 2. Left side navigation links are moving. Until now, up to 7 applications (including Facebook’s own) have been directly accessible from the left nav. With the redesign, “Users can directly bookmark applications they are using.” All applications will be accessible from the “Applications” menu in the Facebook footer. “Bookmarked” applications will appear next to the Applications button. 3. Profile action links are gone. According to Facebook, “There are no profile action links for third party applications. Instead, users interact with their friends using applications in the Publisher box.” 4. Feed stories are turned on by default. According to Facebook, “By default, applications can send Feed stories to Users. Users can choose to opt out of having applications send Feed stories.” Currently, users have the choice to opt out of receiving feed stories during app installation. With the simplified app “authorization” process, this checkbox will also be removed. 5. Application emails are turned off by default. Facebook has announced that because app emails have been so spammy, user emails will be turned off by default when users add apps. Previously, this option was presented to users on the app installation page, checked on by default. While many Facebook app developers have been sending spammy emails, turning email off by default for all app developers seems like a severe policy change. What do all these changes mean for the future of the Platform? Certainly, these changes will present challenges for apps. What’s good for users and good for Facebook is usually good for developers - hopefully, the profile redesign will

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ultimately be just that.

Impact on Profile Boxes Application profile boxes will largely be moving to a new home in the updated profile design. All current profile boxes will be moved to the “Boxes” tab with the update (the title of the “Boxes” tab is still up in the air). The specific migration flow has not yet been determined, but the specifics of how Facebook implements it and helps users decide how to organize their new profile pages will have a big impact on developers. On the Boxes tab, users will be able to add, remove, and organize their profile boxes. In addition, the Feed and Info tabs will have a left-hand column that will hold “main profile” boxes that will be height limited (to about 250 pixels) but otherwise will be very similar to current profile boxes. Users will be able to move their profile boxes between the Boxes tab and the “main profile” area fairly easily. Finally, users will be able to have up to 5 boxes in their “main profile” area - more than that will be put into the “Extended Profile” that developers have come to know well since the initial profile cleanup tool.

Profile Integration: Tour of New Facebook App Settings
When Facebook launched its redesigned profile page in August 2008, it also turned on a new way for users to edit their Application Settings while using the app. Now that the idea of “installing” applications has shifted to “authorizing” applications by default and integrating apps into your profile in different ways later, these new settings show how users will be able to change application permissions. There are now new options at the top of the “Applications” drop-down menu.

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These appear when you’re within the canvas page of an application:

1. Feed Settings If you choose to “Edit [application name] settings,” the following dialog box appears:

The default tab is Feed/Wall settings, and these are likely to be the most frequently changed. Users often react negatively to undesirable stories being published in their Feed, so this level of control will allow them to give their favorite applications full rights while limiting those they feel are abusing the privilege. (This is also an interesting change from the existing process whereby the user is expected to make Mini Feed permission decisions before they know what the application does.) 2. Profile Settings

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The Profile tab settings show if the application appears on the Boxes tab and the application tab (if it’s been added). If either hasn’t been added, then you can add them from this tab directly:

3. Bookmark Settings Here is how applications are removed from the bookmarks list once they’ve been added:

4. Additional Permissions The last tab gives users more granular control over whether applications can

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access their data any time or just when they’re using the application. This won’t be ideal for some applications, but it puts control in the hands of the users. This is also where users can edit their email setting.

Conclusion All-in-all, moving application settings within the application itself rather than being hidden in other settings screens makes sense. It also fits the new model of “logging in” - users aren’t asked to make choices up front based on limited knowledge, but instead can refine and tune their application settings as they use it. These changes could also raise the level of user/application trust in the system overall, as users now have more transparency on an app-by-app basis.

21. Application Tabs
Another major new integration point for developers is app tabs. These will be built like “semi-canvas” pages, meaning Facebook will be proxying the images but hitting the apps for the tab’s content. Like profile boxes, app tabs can’t be built with iframes or using auto-play Flash, but developers will be able to build fully interactive FBML pages.

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The only place users will be able to add tabs is on the profile itself, using the “+” button to the right of their default tabs, and up to 6 tabs will appear (the rest will be accessible via a “More” dropdown). Facebook will provide a drop-down list of users’ applications, sorted by those they use most. Facebook’s intention for app tabs is that they’ll meet the personal expression needs of those users for whom profile boxes are not enough. However, the page is also a place visitors will be able to initiate interactions, like starting a game. Developers won’t be able to create different views for the profile owner vs. profile visitor - similar limitations to the current app box FBML rules to prevent profile page spam.

22. Application Info Sections

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One of the new integration points for developers in the profile redesign is the new Info tab. This will be a very structured tab, much like the Info sections on the current Facebook profile page, containing key-value pairs on which information will exist in comma separated text or thumbnail lists. Unlike the Info sections currently on the profile page, content added to the Info tab from apps links directly to the application (not Facebook search results). Users can add content to the Info tab from within application canvas pages (in FBML). After users see a popup confirmation, the content is added automatically. Each application gets its own section on the Info tab that look much like the different Info sections currently in Facebook’s current profile.

23. Designing Feed Stories
The Mini Feed is a powerful part of the Facebook Platform API that allows developers to publish news about a user’s engagement with their applications. Like the profile box, your feed items must be compelling to the profile owner while not being spammy, AND attract your user’s friends to click on the feed item and explore the app. If you mess up in either direction, users will hide your feed item, and thanks to a recent new feature from Facebook, uninstall it in-line. As I mentioned earlier, the Facebook News Feed offers immense value by syndicating your feed items to thousands of users’ home pages inside Facebook.

Strategy: Designing High Performance Feed Items
1. The most important thing you can do as a Facebook application marketer is to publish engaging, authentic Feed items. Whenever a user performs an action within your application, consider whether hearing about that action would be valuable to that user’s friends. If so, publish a

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Feed item about that event.

For example, the Moods application invokes a Feed item when a user changes their mood. The feed item simply contains this contextually appropriate “news” about my friend Holly–she has updated her mood within the Moods application (I’m glad to hear she’s feeling happy).

Likewise, the Books application publishes a Feed item when a user indicates that they have started or finished reading a book. This is also news that I find appropriate and interesting about my friend–I might even casually follow up with Jonathan about this “news”. In January 2008, Facebook banned using the word “message” anywhere in your feed item copy in order to prevent user confusion regarding whether or not applications had access to the Facebook Inbox. While it may create a short term performance boost, your feed items should not be so aggressive that it creates confusion with Facebook itself – Facebook is likely to ban more words in the future that could cause this same issue. 2. Be sure you optimize your Feed items for all of the Feed item elements made available to you by Facebook: title, body, and images.

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The Facebook Developers Feed Item documentation describes the requirements and limitations of each Feed item element as the following: The title is required, and is limited to 60 displayed characters (excluding tags). o o The a tag is allowed, and there can be zero or one instance in the title. One fb:userlink tag is allowed, and the uid parameter must be populated with the user id on whose behalf the action is being published. If there is no such fb:userlink tag found, then one is automatically prepended to the title. o o • • The fb:name tag is allowed, and there may be multiple instances of this tag. No other tags are allowed. The body is optional, is limited to 200 displayed characters (excluding tags), and can include the tags fb:userlink, fb:name, a, b, and i. Up to 4 images can be displayed, which will be shrunk to fit within 75×75, cached, and formatted by Facebook. Images can either be a URL, or a facebook PID. If it is a URL, you must own the image and grant Facebook the permission to cache it. Each image must have a link associated with it, which must start with http:// As you notice above, both Moods and Feeds use short titles to get your attention and longer, more descriptive bodies. Moods also includes an image, which is very attention grabbing. Be careful, however, to resist the temptation to always max out the images you include with every feed item just because they’re “essentially free ad space”. This could make your Feed items seem spammy and adversely affect your Feed item conversion rate. 3. Include inviting, provocative calls to action that lead the reader to install the

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application directly. Ultimately, the value of the News Feed the application developer is that it’s powerful, free marketing. The News Feed can be used to convert your users’ friends to do things you want them to do - like install your application. You need to make this conversion process as quick and easy as possible.

For example, you’ll notice that the Moods application asks the reader, “How are you feeling?” immediately after the Feed item body. Clicking this link leads to the Moods application installation page. As a result, the Moods application has experienced significant growth despite not doing any active marketing.

The Books application prompts the reader to click on the title of the book my friend just finished reading. However, clicking this link does not lead me to install the application, but rather through an affiliate link to Amazon, where the Books developer will earn a commission on anything I purchase.

Since the Platform launch, Facebook enabled a new way of increasing the selection frequency and distribution breadth of feed items called Feed Templates. By registering feed templates in your Developer Settings, your feed items can now be a) lumped together and shown more often, and b) shown to friends of your app’s users

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who don’t have the app installed (previously, only friends who had the app could see your app’s feed items in their News Feeds).

News Feed Optimization: Strategies and Techniques
In January 2008, Facebook made a change to the way these “templated” feed items are distributed to users without the app: if the feed items link to application pages that require the user to install the app in order to be viewed, Facebook will lower that feed item’s rank. Apparently, Facebook wants application developers to give new users more of a “taste” of applications before requiring them to install the app. Whether this translates into a deeper philosophical shift remains to be seen, but it could be interpreted as a sign that Facebook wants more applications (or at least application elements) available to users without requiring installation. In February 2008, Facebook made another change to the way feed items work to prevent an often-spammy practice: “passive” feed items. Passive feed items were those that were published without your explicit action – for example, “Justin was invited to play Poker” instead of “Justin has been playing poker.” This became a problem when aggressive developers spammed users’ Mini Feeds even when they weren’t using the app. It is now deprecated.

Testing, tracking, and optimizing your feed items is definitely a worthwhile investment for any application developer. You should instrument your feed items as early as possible.

24. Feeds 2.0
The focal point of the profile redesign is the new Feed tab. For profile owners and friends, it will be the default tab you see. For profile visitors who aren’t friends, the Info tab will be shown by default (Facebook says this is because it’s more likely you’ll

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want to learn basic information about non-friends, like where they live or go to college, before you want to learn detailed info about their recent activity). With the new Feed, there are now 3 different feed sizes: One-Line Stories. This is very similar to what currently exists on the Facebook profile. In the profile redesign, app developers will still be able to use the API to publish feed stories to users’ profile pages. • • Short Stories. Short stories will be slightly larger feed stories, that will have limited FBML. Users can embed images and (soon) Flash. Full Stories. These will be up to 700 pixels of free form FBML.

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Unlike one-line stories, app developers will not be able to automatically publish short and full stories via the Facebook API. Instead, users will have to approve them. Developers can use feed forms to create multiple versions of feed stories that the user can choose from for publication. When developers want to publish a short or full feed story, users will be given a popup preview of the story, the choice of size (one line, short, full), and the button to approve it. This is a major shift from the current framework of auto-publishing feed stories, but Facebook believes it must give users more control over their profile in this way in order to keep the Feed from becoming spammy.

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After a story has been published, users can change which version (one line, short, full) of the feed story is published in their Feed via UI in the feed itself. This means that app developers can publish one line stories automatically, and users can “make them bigger” later on. Facebook will encourage developers to create feed stories in all sizes, so that users can choose which one they like best. Obviously, larger stories are likely to generate more application click traffic than smaller stories. Feed Forms In addition to being able to publish stories for app users themselves, developers will also have the power to let users publish stories into their friends’ feeds (for example, giving a gift) using what Facebook calls “feed forms.” Once the sender approves the feed story, it will automatically appear in their friends’ feed. However, recipients will be able to change or remove the story later on. Since removing passive feed publishing earlier this year, developers have been unable to publish feed stories for users not using the app. Now, users will again be able to share app content with their friends not using the app (currently or at all). Feed Clustering In September 2008, Facebook made a change to the way it handles one line News Feed stories published by Facebook Platform applications. When an application generates multiple one-line stories for a user during a 24 hour period, Facebook is now clustering the stories together into one line instead of leaving them as independent feed stories. The clustered story will contain a link to show all the individual stories, and Facebook will only cluster one line stories - not short and full stories. However, stories from different template bundles can be clustered into one. This change is designed to prevent applications which publish many one line feed stories from creating too much clutter on a user’s profile page. Action Links
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In October 2008, Facebook launched an update to the way Feed stories work that could allow app developers to get more engagement from the Feed. “Action Links” are a new addition to Feed templates that allow developers to include an array of actions profile viewers can take in response to a feed item. For example, this feed item can be enhanced by adding “Listen,” “Buy,” and “Review” action links. Action links will always appear after a default “Comment” action link.

Action links are a nice minor enhancement to give developers more hooks into applications from the profile page, now that boxes have largely disappeared from the redesigned profile. For specs on how to add action links to your feed template bundles, check out the Developer Wiki.

25. Feed Publisher
The new publisher flow (a significant upgrade from Wall attachments) will allow users to share content from apps both on their own and friends’ profiles. It’s the main place Facebook wants profile viewers and owners to interact, and this is the change that’s likely to have the most impact on users. At the top of everyone’s feed will be a way for you to create content on their feed or yours. For example, you may want to add a photo or video, write a note, send a gift or song, draw graffiti, or share links. The interaction will be similar to the way wall attachments currently work. (Facebook thinks of its Wall as just another application that integrates into the Feed’s publisher flow.) When you create content, it will look

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like a feed story and go directly into the feed. The default feed size will be long for your own profile, short for your friends’. When you want to attach content to a feed, you’ll be shown Facebook’s default apps (like photos and notes), as well as apps that users have recently used to create content on their feed or otherwise used pretty recently. (In addition, when visiting others’ profiles, users will be invited to use apps that others have recently used to create content on their profile.) Developers will be able to design the publisher interface that users will use to share content from their apps. For example, users may want to be able to search for songs. And in addition to the “attach-post” flow, developers will have the opportunity to create a multi-step wizard interaction (though like profile boxes, they can’t be iframes, but can be FBML or on-click Flash). Finally, developers will have the option to display a text comment field (or the app can provide that themselves). Developers will have option to specify different publisher flows for your own vs others’ profile if they want. For example, adding a video would be pretty similar, but it would be odd to send a gift to yourself. Finally, developers will also be able to allow users to send feed items to their own Wall and friends’ Walls through the use of feed forms inside the canvas page. This should allow for new and interesting kinds of feed publishing and interaction.

Publishing in the Feed with Feed Comments
In June 2008, Facebook turned on in-line commenting in friends’ feeds. Why are feed comments interesting? The feed is a perfect place for semi-personal, semipublic conversation, exactly the type of communication that fuels important dynamics within social networks. Updates on friends’ status, application engagement, and new friend connections are compelling contexts for in-feed

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conversations. The update makes the profile page more like a “room” where conversation occurs, instead of just a classified listing. Facebook, however, will not be turning on comments in the News Feed yet, though it is considering turning on comments there as well.

26. Requests / Invitations
One of the most powerful viral channels available to Facebook Platform application developers is request (invitations). The requests API allows users of your application to invite many friends per day to install your app (the exact limit depends on how much users rate your invitations as spammy). When maximized, invitations can lead to very quick growth. However, encouraging your users to invite their friends to install your application is not as easy as you think. The scenario must be compelling enough for your users to send invitations on your behalf, and the invitation itself must be compelling enough for the recipient to convert. These examples show two different invitation requests, each of which is compelling for different users.

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Facebook Reigns in Invitation Flood In February 2008, Facebook made three changes to invitations that affect developers: 1) “Clear all invitations” button. For users with dozens of unwanted invitations, it became difficult to clear them all. Thus, Facebook added a “clear all” button that removes all unanswered invitations. 2) No more infinite invitation loops. Some developers were employing a very aggressive practice of requiring users to invite friends before being able to access promised functionality. Facebook cracked down on this practice – which created a very poor user experience – by punishing developers who did it by turning off their ability to send invitations until that behavior was stopped. 3) Variable invitation limits. Until February 2008, applications were limited to sending 20 invitations per day, no matter what. In March, Facebook imposed variable limits that depend on how much users accept your invitations and rate your application as spammy. Most apps are seeing allocation limits of 812 per day – a significant decrease. In May 2008, Facebook made these limits even more sensitive to user feedback, making it harder for spammy app developers to keep growing and rewarding developers with good user feedback ratings with more opportunity for growth. To see what your current limit is, go the Developer Insights page for your app.

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All in all, while these changes are apparently negative for the developer community, they will protect the Facebook Platform user experience in the long run, and are ultimately good for developers building quality applications. Facebook also added the ability for users to select Friend Lists in the multi-friendselector box. This could be an interesting new way for your app users to choose request recipients. (i.e. Business related applications might spread more quickly if many users have work-related friend lists and this change allows batch selection.) Friend Lists were made more prominent in the Facebook user experience with the launch of Friend List-based privacy controls in March 2008.

Policy Updates: Requiring Invites to Access Hidden Features, Offering Incentives for Invites, Ads on Profile Page Prohibited
In May 2008, perhaps in response to a recent similar MySpace policy update, Facebook announced an update to its Platform guidelines prohibiting applications from requiring users to send messages in order to gain access application features. While Facebook has officially not allowed forced invites for a long time, this update makes the rule more broadly applicable. The new policy says, [Applications cannot] Require that users invite, notify, or otherwise communicate with one or more friends to gain access to any feature, information, or portion of the application, unless (a) it would be logically impossible to deliver that content without the user’s friend(s) also using the application, and (b) the fact of this requirement, and the reason(s) for it, are explicitly and prominently explained inside the application before the first element of the flow path users would reasonably expect to lead to that content. In July 2008, Facebook announced further updates to Platform policies: Applications are no longer allowed to “create artificial or inappropriate incentives to use Facebook features (including, for example, sending

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requests and adding profile boxes)” • Developers “should not intrude on the user’s experience by prompting for a permission [to integrate into a user's profile] if doing so isn’t appropriate in the natural flow of events” • Developer ads are not allowed to appear “on the newly launched features that deeply integrate into profiles (tabs, Publisher, and application info sections),” just as they’re not allowed to appear on the profile box today • Notifications and feed items “should be timely, accurate, informative, valuable, non-deceptive, and anticipated by the sender. They can contain calls to action, which are sometimes great ways to stimulate engagement and sharing of information. But to do that, they must be on-topic, oriented towards the user’s interest, and non-spammy.” Application developers have been asking for more detail on the Platform Policy in the Developers Forum, and the Facebook Platform team has offered valuable clarifications in responses there. Specifically: Facebook says that incentivized invites fall within this policy, but actions within an application do not: “Incentivizing sending a notification is prohibited, but incentivizing an app action (like SuperPoking) is not banned (even if that action typically leads to a subsequent notification). On the other hand, if an app provides bonus points for inviting friends, or just for sending notifications, that would be a violation.” • The Facebook Platform team also issued this further explanation: “As noted in the blog post, the new policies prevent applications from creating artificial or inappropriate incentives to use Facebook features (including, for example, sending requests and adding profile boxes). Generally, awarding money, or bonus points that can be used to do things in the application or elsewhere, for sending invitations or for the acceptance of invitations, falls under the intended scope of what is prohibited by the policies.” This new policy isn’t necessarily bad news for developers as some may expect.

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Facebook is continuing its efforts to improve the quality of messages that applications generate within Facebook communication channels, which should improve the conversion rates of app messages throughout the Platform as a whole. Clearly Facebook is taking a more aggressive stance to curb application spam by cutting down on unwanted profile integration and use of Facebook communication channels. The challenge, of course, is going to be enforcing these inherently subjective policies to the vast variety of Facebook application behaviors and designs in a consistent way.

Strategy: Facebook’s Evolving Approach to Platform Governance
In June 2008, Slide’s Top Friends application disappeared from the Facebook Platform for over a week as a result of an apparent Developer Terms of Service violation. This suspension was the most severe punitive action imposed by the Facebook Platform team that the development community has seen yet, and is at least in some sense emblematic of Facebook’s evolving approach to Platform governance and regulation. Throughout most of this year, Facebook has taken fairly a fairly algorithmic approach to regulating the Platform economy. By limiting developers’ access to communication channels based on user feedback, Facebook has been able to squeeze much distribution arbitrage out of the system, and align developer and user interests much more than it had before. (Before allocation limits, for example, it was cheaper to make a quiz application than buy inventory.) However, there are always some types of user experience issues, like privacy concerns, that cannot be managed with automated systems. As such, Facebook has demonstrated that they’re willing to enforce some policies publicly. Public case by case policy enforcement is a necessary approach for more mature economies.

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Earlier in the year, Facebook responded to abuse by outlawing the tool being abused (for example, in the case of forced invites). This would be akin to outlawing something like assault rifles that almost everyone agrees are harmful to society. However, in more complex cases, outlawing the tool at hand is not necessarily what’s best for the system. For example, removing APIs that access profile data from the Platform altogether because of one application’s privacy concerns would hurt the overall Platform economy significantly: many developers and users would be negatively impacted. This would be somewhat like outlawing kitchen knives because they were once used in a crime. Instead of removing knives from society, the better solution would be to hire a district attorney and set up a court system and bill of rights: news of verdicts and sentences would deter many future cases. Of course, that’s a very expensive proposition, and sufficient accountability must be enforced for stakeholders to have faith in the system. While the government analogy breaks down in many senses (policy makers aren’t exactly elected officials in this case!), ultimately most of the “assault weapons” have already been removed from the Platform economy, and we’re beginning to see more cases of “kitchen knives.” Kitchen knife cases are more expensive to police and enforce, but even the libertarian-laden Silicon Valley would agree that policy enforcement is necessary for any mature Platform to be healthy. Will Facebook choose to publicly comment on future cases, like Facebook’s Director of Platform Product Marketing Ben Ling did in the Facebook blog? I’m not sure that they always will, but I think it would help everybody to know as much as possible about what’s kosher and what’s not. Facebook’s approach to platform governance is becoming decreasingly dependent on algorithms and increasingly based on policy-enforcement. If you’re looking for a career in (platform) law enforcement, I know at least one social network that’s hiring!

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Sending Application Invitations to Non-Facebook-Members In an effort to simultaneously increase the growth of Facebook and applications, Facebook’s growth team in December 2008 announced the launch of an update to the “multi-friend selector” to allow app users to invite friends not already using Facebook to the application as well. The feature allows Facebook users to type in email addresses to send app invites to anyone. (However, it doesn’t provide in line access to contact list importing from popular email providers like Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail.)

Here’s how the user experience works: When users type in addresses, a “special email” is sent which invites the recipient both to Facebook (where they will become friends with the sender) and to the application. When clicking on the email, the recipient is sent to an “Express

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Registration” page. After they join, the app from which the Facebook invite was sent will be bookmarked and present on the home page app menu. At the end of the day, this update should help Facebook leverage applications to expand more deeply into demographic niches it has not yet reached. With over 50,000 applications on the Facebook Platform, that number could add up over the coming months and years.

27. Facebook Notifications
Notifications get less press than feed items and invitations because they’re not as effective at spreading your app. Because Facebook mysteriously assigns your apps a spamminess rating based on the number of notifications your apps send out, many developers choose to use notifications sparingly to prevent having their notification channel shut down by Facebook. However, notifications have been proven to be an effective tool for retaining existing users of your app.

Like the new dynamic invitation limits Facebook instituted for invitations, notification limits are now dynamic, depending on user response. If your notifications are too spammy, Facebook will decrease the limit on how many you can send. Chat Integration: Facebook Wants More Synchronous Notifications With the full launch of Facebook Chat in April 2008, Facebook users were introduced to a new interface for receiving notifications. While notifications used to be presented in a kind of restricted “inbox,” now notifications are accessible via a red flag in the chat bar which pops open a notification “bubble.”

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Shining more light on Facebook’s thinking behind this change, Facebook said, “Whether it’s to announce the giving of a gift, the challenging to a game, or the joining of a cause, your applications’ notifications will make a more instant impact. We encourage you to think about new ways to integrate with Facebook when you send notifications.” Facebook’s intent with Chat, and Notifications going forward, is to encourage a more synchronous communication experience for users. Why? Facebook’s average session length is likely very short (lots of “Log in - Check News Feed - Check messages Leave” types of paths in their server logs), and synchronous communication sessions (i.e. games) are much longer than asynchronous ones. Facebook needs apps to help make sessions longer.

Policy Update: Bulk Pre-Selection Prohibited
In June 2008, Facebook updated its platform policy guidelines to prohibit developers from making it easy for users to accidentally send app notifications to hundreds or thousands of friends with one click. While Facebook has taken product steps to solve this problem with the multi-friend selector for invitations and notifications, it is now adopting more general policy positions for all viral channels with which it can enforce punitive actions against overly-spammy applications. The updated guidelines are listed in the Developer Wiki. They are summarized by these overarching principles: Users must not be surprised by the outcome of an action they take. To ensure users only take actions they intend, an application must avoid oneclick triggers of actions that apply to multiple people, except in special circumstances. • To ensure users only take actions they intend, multiple recipients must be

• •

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selected by the user, rather than pre-selected by the application.

Application-to-User Notifications With the release of Facebook’s redesign, Facebook has expanded the notifications API to include a new type of “announcement” notification, now being referred to as “application-to-user” notifications. These new notifications can effectively be used as general announcements and updates to users. Previously, the best solution for publishing this type of notification has been through the use of automated CRON scripts set to run daily. There are no set “best practices” for application-to-user notifications yet, as Facebook is still making tweaks to their allocation limits for these new notifications. However, the current limit (7 notifications per user, per week is the maximum and default) seems to discourage any type of “real-time” application notifications and places more of an emphasis on general daily updates. For example, sending a notification to a user to alert them of new application features. They are not limited to application updates, though, and can be utilized in more creative manners, so long as you stay within allocation limits. Application-to-user notifications can only be sent to current application users. Also note that they may be sent to any application user whether or not that user has an active application session-key. Finally, when a user receives an application-to-user notification, it does not have any text pre-pended to the front of it. It simply displays your application icon next to the notification text. This is in contrast to user-to-user notifications which pre-pend the name of the user who performed the action to the notification.

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Spammy Affiliate Marketers Sure to be Shut Down
Affiliate marketers will try to find inventory any way they can, but those trying to find leads through Facebook applications are not likely to find much long term success. While Facebook has allowed developers to monetize their application canvas pages however they like, the company has been very protective of the profile page and viral communication channels. Many application developers have successfully sold “sponsored gifts,” but placing ads that link directly to affiliate landing pages in notifications or wall messages has never been treated as a generally acceptable practice. However, that’s not stopping some people from trying. The myTV video sharing app is still sending out an announcement linking to this sponsored links page for plasma TV’s on BizRate (see below).

Ultimately, Facebook has invested significant time and human resources to create a low-spam environment - a massive challenge for a service operating at this scale - and has too much at stake. Facebook’s combination of automated and manual detection systems are likely to prevent this kind of affiliate marketing from ever becoming very widespread.

28. Email Notifications
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Email notifications are just like Facebook Notifications, except they are delivered directly to your users’ email address INSTEAD of to their Facebook Notifications inbox. While originally scheduled to be deprecated by Facebook, Facebook recently enabled a new API method for email notifications that allows developers to send users up to 5 email notifications per day.

Updates: Email’s Status as Core Application Marketing Channel in Doubt
In March 2008, Facebook turned on new application email allocation limits as part of the Platform team’s continuing efforts to build a comprehensive Application Reputation System that controls access to Facebook’s viral marketing channels according to user feedback. The new email allocations limit the number of emails that applications are allowed to send per user per day. Like request and notification limits, applications are assigned a bucket rating. For email limits, buckets are assigned based on user disable rates. In addition, Facebook added a new app “allocation” that changes the location of the disable link within emails. For applications with low disable rates, the disable links will appear at the bottom of emails; for apps with high disable rates, the disable links will remain at the top. This was a good move for the Platform, since only a few developers were abusing the email disable link location, and putting the disable link at the top leads to many users inadvertently disabling their application emails - a bad experience for all. However, as of June 2008, Facebook has announced that because app emails have been so spammy, user emails will be turned off by default when users add apps. Previously, this option was presented to users on the app installation page, checked on by default. This will have a big impact on the ability of developers of new applications to use email as a core marketing channel.

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In November 2008, Facebook added several new features for developers to employ in their application emails. Here’s a summary: 1. Many new formatting tags are available for the first time. For a complete list of which HTML tags developers can use in their emails, see the Developer Wiki page. 2. Demographic restrictions are now available in email through FBML 3. Personalization is now available in subject lines through FBML (”Justin, your latest updates…”) 4. Internationalization tags are also available through FBML for those who have translated their apps 5. Daily email limits are gone for users who explicitly granted email permission to your application. The allocation limits still apply to all users who added the app before the redesign. While there are still some restrictions in place, these new features will certainly allow developers to send richer, more engaging application emails, which should benefit everyone in the ecosystem.

29. Application Bookmarks
As part of the site redesign, Facebook released a new Applications menu. While the direct links in the shortcut bar and the menu itself have received much acclaim from developers anxious to improve application accessibility in the new design, the “Add bookmark” icon could prove to have the greatest material impact on developers. Bookmarking an application is a relatively new behavior for users on Facebook, as previously the application sidebar was populated by links that were added during the initial installation process. Before the introduction of the application menu, some developers (and users alike) complained that the bookmarking process was too unclear. Now, the “add bookmark” icon is readily available to users, thus those complaints should largely disappear.

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Gone from the prior Applications menu is the “Recently used” section, which used to sit above a user’s bookmarked applications. Now, the Applications menu exclusively features bookmarked applications. This change is subtle, but the impact could be substantial. For example, if a user were to “allow” a new application, she would need to bookmark it during her first session or possibly have no easy means of rediscovery in the future (other than recall). In most cases, that user is effectively lost as a potential repeat visitor if she didn’t click “add bookmark” during her first visit.

30. Application Directory
Although hard to find, a surprising number of application installations come directly from the Application Directory. When submitting your application for inclusion in the directory, be sure to create compelling art and copy for the listing, as well as your application’s About page. Doing this up front will create a meaningful difference in the number of users that add your application from the directory in the long run!

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In the spring of 2008, Facebook started recommending “Apps You May Like” in the Application Directory. This list is likely generated by looking at which apps your friends are engaging with in combination with which apps are more broadly popular with people like you. While this may decrease the importance of the App Directory as a source of new users for some apps, it should make discovery better for most users.

31. Status Updates and Donations
1. Status Update Source

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In September 2008, Facebook began showing the application used to update users’ Facebook status when they do so through Facebook Platform applications. While the application used to update Facebook status is not linked from the News Feed, it is displayed on the top of the profile page in small text. Services which integrate with Facebook via the Platform like Twitter, Ping.fm, and the Facebook Toolbar for Firefox take advantage of Facebook’s status update API to enable users to publish to Facebook from outside the site.

2. Status Donations The status update functionality can be extended by any Facebook application, which could be a great way to get traffic to your application. “Status donations” are a valuable feature of the Facebook Platform in which users can authenticate your application to publish status updates on their behalf. It’s important to pick a status update that your users will actually want to be published on their behalf. Here’s a good example:

32. Demographic Restrictions
Since the launch of the Facebook Platform, Facebook’s Platform Application Guidelines have expressly prohibited applications that promote the sale of alcohol.

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In August 2008, Facebook announced that, with the launch of its Demographic Restrictions capability for application developers, that policy is changing. Now, Facebook says it plans to allow application content that promotes the sale of alcohol, provided that developers “specifically use the Demographic Restrictions feature to restrict your application or content to users of appropriate legal age.” Along with the announcement, Facebook enabled two new Facebook Platform features that enable developers to restrict access to certain application content - or the entire application itself - from users fitting certain demographic profiles. Facebook’s new “Demographic Restrictions” APIs will enable developers to limit access to users according to any combination of age and location restrictions. Demographic restrictions have been requested by two camps of developers: 1. Those who have licensed content or games only in certain geographic regions like the US and Canada but not the rest of the world. 2. Those who want to limit access to certain application content or experiences to users of a certain age group - like under 18 or over 21. So, how exactly is Facebook going about implementing these restrictions? Facebook says it will be using “a combination of what information a user has entered and verified on Facebook as well as IP targeting” for location. Furthermore, Facebook says that developers should not rely on Facebook to implement any restrictions developers are legally obligated to. [Developers] must use this technology whenever Facebook policies require it… but you can and should consider implementing additional consent or confirmation in your application as appropriate. For example, if for legal reasons your application requires the user to affirm that they are of a certain age or are in a certain location, you should continue to solicit that explicit affirmation, and not regard the fact that the user passed through the Demographic Restrictions as equivalent.

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In November 2008, Facebook announced that starting January 6, 2009, it will require that “all content related to alcoholic beverages — including unbranded, generic drink images — be available only under Demographic Restriction.” This means that “send a drink” functionality will now become something developers need to be a little more careful about. Finally, Facebook also added a new feature allowing developers to rely on Facebook’s stored age limits for different types of restricted content in different countries. This will keep developers from having to look up the legal drinking age in Belgium, Belize, and Botswana, but instead just tell Facebook that it’s an “alcohol” ad and let Facebook do the rest.

33. Verification and Certification
In July 2008, Facebook announced two new programs today that will give greater visibility within the News Feed and possibly other communication channels for applications that “deliver value to users and advance the Facebook Platform vision.” Here are the details on the new programs: “Great Apps” and “Application Verification.” 1) Great Apps Program Facebook is selecting applications that “embody Facebook’s guiding principles for social applications through their meaningful, trustworthy and well-designed user experiences” for cerficiation through its “Great Apps” program. Great Apps will be rewarded with “greater visibility on Facebook, earlier access to new features and more feedback from Facebook.” Great Apps will be chosen according to the degree to which they embody all 10 of the following Facebook guiding principles, and help “advance the mission of Facebook” in Facebook’s eyes: 1. Meaningful - It’s gotta be social, useful, expressive and engaging.

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2. Trustworthy - It must be secure, respectful, and transparent. 3. Well-designed - Great applications are clean, fast, and robust. Great apps must have a minimum user base and a strong track record of adherence to Platform policies. Great apps will appear more like native Facebook applications, and will have access to Facebook feedback. iLike and Causes are Facebook’s inaugural Great Apps certification recipients. 2) Application Verification The Application Verification program is designed to “offer extra assurances to help users identify applications they can trust — applications that are secure, respectful and transparent, and have demonstrated commitment to compliance with Platform policies.” Verified applications will also “benefit from added visibility on Facebook.” In November 2008, Facebook opened the application process to developers for verification. Facebook has formed a team that will review applications “to ensure they satisfy the company’s guiding principles around security, respect and transparency, and have demonstrated commitment to compliance with Platform policies.” After an application has been initially submitted, it will enter a rolling approval process. When Facebook is ready to review developers’ submissions, they will be notified by email, though Facebook says, “This may take several weeks as we ramp up the program.” Developers can then choose to complete the application process by submitting screenshots and answering more detailed questions. Developers must also pay a $375 fee to apply - Facebook says this fee helps cover the operational costs of the program (students and non-profits can apply for special pricing). How will verified applications be treated differently within Facebook? Facebook say that “Verified apps will have greater visibility across the site.” This means verified applications will receive: 1. Greater distribution in the News Feed.

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2. Higher viral channel allocation limits for notifications, requests, and emails (though Facebook says “the application reputation system is still in effect”). 3. A “seal of approval” indicating that the application is verified. The first verified badges will go live in the application directory and on application about pages in early 2009. Facebook says it plans on doing some “user education” around the meaning of the verified badges.

34. Translations
In February 2008, Facebook launched a Spanish language website. This marked the first major step Facebook has taken to internationalize and grow its user base in Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Shortly thereafter, Facebook launched in German, French, Norwegian, and Japanese. There are translation projects currently going on in 55 languages, including Français, Deutsch, Español, Català, Čeština, Dansk, Euskara, Galego, Italiano, 한국어, Magyar, Norsk, 日本語, Nederlands, Polski, Português do Brasil, Română, Русский, Slovenščina, Suomi, Svenska, Türkçe, 中文(简体, and 中文(繁體. In June 2008, Facebook launched a Chinese language website. ,

At the same time, Facebook said that it intends to help application developers internationalize their apps for users in different locale settings by making available some of the same tools Facebook has employed to translate its own site. As of July 2008, that service is now available to developers. Clearly, Facebook is signaling to the developer community that helping apps through the extremely difficult process of internationalization is a top priority. (Though of

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course, there is no way Facebook can solve all the technical challenges associated with building localization support.)

Data: Stats on Facebook Apps Built for International Markets
Many developers have been asking whether they should develop for international markets now or wait for Facebook to release its crowd-sourced translation tools for applications. Inside Facebook compiled the following data in July 2008 on applications developed in other languages: In total, there are 527 apps currently listing a language other than English as their primary language. That’s about 1.7% of the 30,000 Facebook apps currently in the directory. • The most popular apps in languages other than English are Sexo Quizz (French), with 25,000 daily active users, Horoscope (French), with 18,000 daily active users, and Tarot Gratis (Spanish), with 13,000 daily active users. • Spanish is by far the language with the most apps developed at 330. Next comes French at 134. Trailing far behind are German (11), Italian (9), Japanese (7), Danish (6), and Finnish (6). Less than 5 apps have been developed in Chinese, Catalan, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Swedish, and Korean.

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I think there is a major opportunity for application developers to piggy back on Facebook’s international growth. Facebook continues to grow internationally, recently surpassing MySpace in global visitors for May 2008. Facebook’s Translations efforts are definitely accelerating its international growth. In addition, Facebook is gaining ground in important international ad markets, surpassing MySpace’s popularity in the UK, France, China, Canada, South Korea, and India. However, few applications have been developed in these local languages. See breakdown of where Facebook users live, by country, as of August 2008 at the end of Section I above. Developers who take advantage of emerging and quickly growing markets – such as many of those listed above in Europe, South America, Asia – have a lot of room to run. Most American developers don’t understand many of these markets, and will be too focused on running their core businesses in the US to focus their efforts abroad.

Tutorial: Translating Your Applications Using Facebook’s Crowd-sourced Translation Service

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In July 2008 Facebook launched access to its translation tool for third party developers. The tool itself was developed by Facebook to translate the main site and uses a crowd-sourcing model: users suggest translations in context of using the site, and the translations approved by the most votes actually go live. It’s proved highly successful as Facebook has been translated into over 60 languages, some of which within days of Facebook launching the translation in that language Being able to offer applications in local languages has obvious appeal to application developers given the international growth of Facebook, so we decided to try it out and see how it works in practice. The good news is that adding support for the Translation tool to an application is relatively easy (depending on how large the application is, obviously). The less-good news is that there is only so much the tool can do. Enabling Translations in Your Application You can access the Translations tool by simply selecting the “Translations” option for the application you want to add support for within your developer settings page. Once you’re into the Translations application, it’s a simple matter of checking boxes to select the languages you want to open up for translation. Enabling languages for your application will allow users to translate what Facebook calls your “static text”. This is what appears on the “About” page and other locations. Unfortunately, this won’t by itself be enough for your application to suddenly display your own content in Spanish. Translated text only appears when another user, who has also added the Translation tool, goes into your application and decides to do some translating. This is likely to work better with higher traffic applications, or any that have a significant user base from one region. How high “higher traffic” is remains to be seen.

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Integrating Translations with Your Application Enabling in-application translation involves a little more work, and there are a set of new FBML tags to support this (your pages need to be built in FBML). At it’s simplest, you wrap pieces of text with a new tag. Facebook registers this text (once someone tries to view it through the application) and highlights it to users of the translation tool. Translatable text appears underlined in red. (You can see what this looks like for your self by installing the Translations application. Once you’ve logged into it, you’ll have a small globe icon next to the chat and notifications area. This allows you to turn inline-translation on, as well as switch languages easily.) Right-clicking on a piece of underlined text brings up a dialogue box (see below) where the use can enter the translation without ever having to leave the page. (You won’t see this if you’re browsing in English – you can easily change to a different language within the translation tool and then go to your application to check that the underlined areas have been chosen correctly.) The translation popup is shown here:

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It’s possible to create translation options for HTML elements like form buttons using the new tags but it’s more complicated. For instance, a relatively simple form submit button becomes something like this: <fb:tag name="input"> <fb:tag-attribute name="type">submit</fb:tag-attribute> <fb:tag-attribute name="name">search</fb:tag-attribute> <fb:tag-attribute name="class">inputbutton</fb:tag-attribute> <fb:tag-attribute name="value"><fb:intl desc="Label for a text search field">Search</fb:intl></fb:tag-attribute> </fb:tag> One line of HTML becomes six, plus the inline translation tool also doesn’t seem to be able to render these very well at all, as you can see in the image on the right. Managing Your Translated Application Text All translated text is visible in the admin section of the translation tool. Here, you have a dashboard with overall translation progress. One of the best ways to check

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your progress is to change language and see a real-time count of translated and untranslated phrases for each application. Unfortunately, keeping track of a long list of languages is slightly cumbersome.

From the admin tool, you are able to approve translations individually (you have to approve translations in order for them to appear in the application). Users can vote on which suggested translations they prefer, so you may not want to accept the first text that is suggested, but wait until a few contributors have all agreed on the best piece of text. A larger volume of users should produce accurate results as has been the case with Facebook itself. Limitations and Restrictions If the idea of your users translating your application for you sounds too good to be true, you may be wondering what the catch is. Well, there isn’t a catch, but there are limitations. The application must be built using FBML, which it isn’t always the case. Many applications have chosen a more portable iframe option - some applications have been built on a templating system in order to use the same base application across multiple social networks. These new tags push your applications into slightly more proprietary territory. Application elements built in Flash (like many games) will also be unable to use the translation tool. It will be interesting to see if Facebook makes available new APIs to allow non-FBML applications to retrieve translated content. This would be technically feasible, but Facebook has always tended to promote development in FBML.

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Focus on Engagement and Repeat Use Some developers, particularly big brand owners, may be unlikely to make use of the tool as it relinquishes much control over content to users. The translation tool could be of the greatest benefit to medium-sized application developers: those with sufficient traffic to make crowd-sourcing feasible, but without the budget to employ translators themselves. “One-hit wonder” applications may also be less likely to be translated - users will be more willing to invest their time in translating apps they use every day, but may be less likely to go through a quiz translating it as they answer questions, never to return. This aligns with Facebook’s desire for more engaging applications. It will be interesting to see what the effects of translations is on application usage and the types of applications being developed on the Facebook Plaform.

35. Facebook Connect
In May 2008, Facebook announced Facebook Connect, a comprehensive set of Platform services designed to let users take their Facebook identity, friends, and privacy anywhere on the web. The idea behind Facebook Connect is a big one. As owners of a very large and relatively authentic part of the social graph, Facebook wants to allow users to share the identity, privacy settings, and friend lists that they have established on Facebook to application providers around the web. Historically, most social apps have attempted to build their own social graph (i.e. many failed social networks) or have punted on the idea of identity altogether (i.e. blog comments). With Facebook Connect, users can trust that their privacy will not be violated when they share their Facebook identity and friends with other sites.

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Facebook Connect has 4 main features: Trusted Authentication. Facebook users are in total control of permissions granted (though the identity crowd will note that it’s a proprietary authentication system). • Real Identity. Users can bring their real identity with them wherever they go on the web, including basic profile information, profile picture, name, friends, photos, events, groups, and more. • Friends Access. Users are able to take their friends with them wherever they go on the web. This will allow developers to create an entirely new class of applications leveraging much deeper social context. • Dynamic Privacy. Users’ Facebook privacy settings follow them around the open web. For example, if you change a profile picture or change a setting, this will automatically be updated in Facebook Connect partner websites. With Facebook Connect, Facebook hopes to take the Facebook Platform to a much deeper level around the open web. I think there is substantial opportunity for developers to integrate Facebook Connect support into their existing social web apps, and to consider creating new apps to take advantage of the deeper social context that is now possible.

Overview: Integrating Facebook Connect with Your Website
Here are the steps webmasters need to tale to integrate Facebook Connect on your own website: 1. Authenticating Users Facebook has provided a sample implementation of Facebook Connect that fully demonstrates the lightweight authentication process. Rather than mandate a standard login button for websites using Connect, Facebook is encouraging developers to create their own login buttons (you can also use the default).

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When a user clicks the login button, one of three dialog boxes will appear: If a user isn’t logged into Facebook, the login/TOS popup dialog appears. If the user then authorizes Facebook Connect, Facebook gives a session for this user on your site and generates a callback to your site. • • If the user is logged into Facebook but hasn’t authorized Facebook Connect for your site, an AJAX dialog appears. After authorizing Connect, the dialog closes. If the user is logged in and has already authorized Connect for your site, Facebook generates a session for this user and provides a callback to your site.

2. Connecting Your Users’ Accounts with Facebook Accounts Connecting accounts can be completed either when a user logs into Facebook from your site, or by accepting a Facebook Connect request from another already-connected friend. When a user logs into your site, you can encourage that user to connect to her Facebook

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account by “calling connect.registerUsers, passing an email hash with it.” If the hash matches the user’s address on Facebook, Facebook will automatically return that “hash in the user’s email_hashes property.” This hash is then used as a key for merging your user’s account on your site and her account on Facebook. Once a user accepts, you can then determine which of that user’s friends are on your site. Additionally, authorized users can generate Connect Requests for their friends, which appear alongside all other requests on the Facebook homepage. When a friend receives a request, that friend can visit your site, and can then return to Facebook to accept the request. 3. Publishing Feed Stories Depending on a user’s login state and their authorization of Facebook Connect on your site, there are three possibilities: If the user has authorized Facebook connect and is logged in, you can publish one line stories automatically, or you can implement feed forms to allow your users to post short or full stories. • If the user is logged into Facebook but has not authorized Connect on your site, an approval message will be displayed to the user when your site tries to publish a one line story. For other story sizes previews are displayed which the user can then approve. • If the user is not logged in, nothing can be published.

After f8, the Facebook Connect sandbox opened for developers. It launched to all developers and users in full in December 2008.

Examples: 40 Sites Live with Facebook Connect Today

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While over 1,000 sites have integrated some form of Facebook Connect, here’s a list of 40 reference sites you can check out to see how they did it: 1. BrainFall.com 2. Cantorion 3. CBS’s The Insider 4. Citysearch 5. CNN’s The Forum 6. Connected Weddings 7. Deadspin 8. Diary.com 9. The Doghouse 10. EventVue 11. Fetch This! 12. Game-Rate 13. Global Grind 14. Govit 15. Howcast 16. Huddler 17. IModules 18. Indie GoGo 19. Inkling 20. Inside Facebook 21. Inside Social Games 22. Jooveler 23. Lociraj.net 24. MapMyFitness.com 25. MapMyRide.com 26. MapMyRun.com 27. MapMyTri.com 28. MapMyWalk.com

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29. MileSplit US 30. Mloovi 31. Mobnotes.com 32. MoveOn.org 33. MyBarackObama 34. Newsbrane 35. Red Bull 36. San Francisco Chronicle 37. TechCrunch 38. Vimeo 39. vLane 40. Xobni

Variety of Facebook Connect Plugins Now Available for Blogs and Wikis
Facebook has launched a directory of vetted Facebook Connect plugins that includes Disqus, the WordPress plugin created by Sociable.es, the WordPress plugin created by Facebook engineer Adap Hupp, a Movable Type plugin created by Six Apart, an an experimental plugin for MediaWiki. Most of these plugins are open source, meaning they are free for developers to use and modify (with any appropriate attributions given, of course). Here’s the full list of approved plugins as of early 2009: Disqus - Add Facebook Connect to the Disqus commenting system already on your blog or website • Movable Type - Open Source plugin by Six Apart which adds Facebook Connect to any Movable Type powered site and allows any Facebook user to sign in, comment, and share • Wordpress plugin by Sociable - Open Source WordPress plugin which offers

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community features including showing recent visitors, inviting friends, and sharing comments with friends on Facebook • WP-FBConnect Wordpress Plugin - Open Source WordPress plugin started by Adam Hupp which adds login and commenting to your blog with Facebook Connect • MediaWiki - experimental MediaWiki extension to incorporate Facebook Connect login and identity into your MediaWiki site Facebook Connect is increasing the authenticity (and quantity) of comments and discussion blogs that have adopted it thus far. However, many blog commenters have also vocalized the tensions of connecting all blog comments to your Facebook identity, pointing out that anonymity will always remain an important part of many kinds of online discussions.

Related: Google Friend Connect
Google has created a similar product for website owners to add OpenSocial Google Gadgets to their website called Friend Connect. However, as of July 2008, Facebook blocked Google Friend Connect access to the Facebook API for violating the Facebook Terms of Service. Facebook and Google are actively working on resolving the matter behind the scenes.

36. Analytics Tools
Any web marketer will tell you that measuring and analyzing user behavior and conversions is vital to the constant improvement of any marketing campaign. While Google and others have spent lots of time and energy building analytics infrastructure

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services for the general web, specialized analytics services for the Facebook Platform are still in their infancy. Because of the nature of social network application development, app analytics is inherently a fragmented problem: because only part of users’ interaction with your software occurs in places that you can measure, application developers must depend on the platform for visibility into channels the platform owns (on Facebook, this means the News Feed, invitations, notifications, and others). Although it did not provide developers with very much information at all for the first few months of the Platform’s launch, Facebook has been slowly but steadily adding more metrics to the Developer dashboard, including total invitation and notification conversion rates recently (though they still don’t provide News Feed impression stats). The rest is left to the developer. Most developers will want to build their own analytics systems that gather user behavior data. From there, the specific tables and reports you build and KPIs you optimize for depend on your particular marketing and business strategy. However, an increasing number of third party tools are aiming to help developers understand what their users are doing: List of Leading Third-Party Facebook Platform Analytics Providers KISSMetrics is a new service started by Hiten Shah. While not much has been publicly announced, look for product announcements later this year. • Sometrics is a new service recently funded by the MailRoom Fund started by Ian Swanson, Matt Gray, and Joe Hsieh in Los Angeles. Sometrics looks at demographics, user interests, and social actions (like sending links or uploading photos) to help developers know more about who’s engaging with and clicking on their ads. By combining analytics and ad platform services, Sometrics hopes to be able to help developers make more money. • Kontagent Viral Analytics is a new service started by Albert Lai that’s focused on providing Facebook product and marketing analytics in one integrated
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package. Kontagent offers viral channel effectiveness tracking and optimization, A/B testing tools, and cohort analysis. • Developer Analytics is a new service created by Charles Yong, Richard Chen, and Jing Chen. Watch for product releases in the near future. In the meantime, the dA website tracks top applications and provides predictive demographics and application overlap/affinity information in the “Advanced Statistics” of each application’s stats page. • Refresh Analytics is a simpler service that provides developers with daily snapshots of geographic, age, gender, education, political, and religious distribution, and allows developers to see trends in its user base over time. However, it does not provide behavioral information like page views or time spent. • And of course, there’s always Google Analytics. While Google Analytics can’t help with many of the social and viral metrics that many of these packages can, it can always serve as a good baseline for comparison.

New Metrics for Developers with Facebook Profile Redesign
Now that the Facebook redesign virtually eliminates the old concept of “installing” an app (users will now be able to access apps without integrating them into their profile at all), Facebook is changing metrics for apps again. Facebook is now providing developers with aggregate stats on how users are interacting with every profile integration point, including: # users who have added your application tab # users who have added your application profile box # users who have added your application info section # users who have bookmarked your application # users who are subscribed to your application emails

• • • • •

In addition, Facebook has announced that new application engagement metrics will soon become available in the Facebook Developer application. Specifically, the

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following new metrics will be added: Number of active users during the past 7 days Number of active users during the past 30 days Number of canvas page views Number of unique canvas page viewers Number of API calls made Number of unique users on whose behalf your application made API calls Average HTTP request time for canvas pages Average FBML render time for canvas pages

• • • • • • • •

This updated version of app stats show how much Facebook wants developers to create applications that are engaging by these metrics - bringing users back at least once a week, giving users deep experiences on the canvas page, and being valuable enough to users that they want to make your application part of their profile.

37. Search Engine Optimization
While most developers think about optimizing their Facebook viral channels, most don’t think about SEO as an important user acquisition strategy in the same way that most webmasters traditionally do. To help app developers increase their prominence in search engine results pages (SERPs), Facebook recently enabled developers to serve XML sitemaps off the apps.facebook.com. Sitemaps are used by webmasters to notify search engines of updates to pages and page structure, and generally are a worthwhile exercise in any SEO strategy. Since apps are served from apps.facebook.com, developers get to ride on the back of Facebook’s PageRank - potentially a big leg up on regular web apps.

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Obviously, applications that serve pages without requiring logins have the most to gain from SEO, since Google’s crawlers don’t login to Facebook and install apps.

38. Mobile
The Facebook Platform for Mobile has been around for some time, but many users and developers are barely aware of it. Ultimately, however, the limiting factors of mobile platform adoption are not lack of awareness or lack of functionality, but rather: First-time users have to jump through a number of hoops before being able to engage with mobile apps • The near-crippling of application SMS integration through a less-than-friendly permission granting system. This unfortunately means that the Facebook Mobile Platform economy is struggling to grow. Most developers have not yet taken the time to build a mobile interface for their apps. The perception of lack of interest from Facebook doesn’t help, as is takes a long time for bugs in the mobile platform to be addressed (e.g. here). As a result, most mobile profile pages lack any applications. Once you’re in, the functionality that Facebook provides within the mobile home page is quite good: it’s quick to use and has some core features (including status updates, pokes and messages). It’s also easy to use on a small screen. The functionality offered by Facebook mobile is quite extensive, but country and network provider limitations and the poor user sign-on experience are big barriers. Until Facebook views mobile, and especially SMS, as an integral part of the Platform, user adoption will be limited. Facebook for iPhone and Connect for iPhone Facebook launched a native iPhone application in July 2008. At launch, users can take photos with your iPhone and post them to your Mobile Uploads album on Facebook and use Facebook Chat. In the future, Facebook says it will enable

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users to take advantage of the iPhone’s GPS capabilities by sharing their location with friends and finding friends nearby. In September 2008, Facebook tonight launched version 2.0 of its Facebook for iPhone application, bringing many features that were before only available on the site to a mobile device for the first time. With version 2.0: The home page now features a full News Feed, along with access to filtered views of the News Feed, like Status Updates, Posted Items, Live Feed, and Events. • • • • Full photo tagging and posting is now supported. Notifications are now accessible for the first time. Profiles now have tabs, like the Facebook website redesign. Feed comments are accessible both here and on the News Feed.

Overall, Facebook for iPhone now looks and feels like a fully featured Facebook - it’s a remarkably well designed product. In addition, Facebook announced that its will be launching Facebook Connect for iPhone this fall. While an official launch date was not announced, Facebook said the service will be built as a Cocoa framework.

39. Customer Service
If customer service is the new marketing, then The Facebook Marketing Bible would be remiss not to address how to handle customer service as a Facebook Platform developer. Responsive customer service is of great importance to Facebook and app developers alike. However, the inherent limitations of the platform make establishing channels for user feedback an unnecessarily difficult task. Unsurprisingly, given Facebook users’ familiarity with wall-to-wall communications with friends, for most applications the wall is the most active channel of user feedback. Most users post on application walls with a question or piece of feedback

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and expect the developer to reply. Responses can of course be posted directly to app walls as well, but without a means of notifying users, more often than not replies go unread. One solution to this problem is to use private messages to directly respond to individual wall postings, but Facebook’s messaging limits make this approach unworkable (the exact caps are unknown). In the experience of many, being able to communicate through this channel has been valuable, particularly when compared to alternatives like support email and the Reviews wall. The reward is not worth risking your personal account, however, as you frequently hit the message limits - in some instances, developers have actually had their accounts disabled entirely. The addition of the Reviews app to application pages has been a source of some controversy, as fake reviews have popped up with regularity. While planted posts were certainly not the most desirable side effect of the Reviews wall, spam is a more serious problem. Spammers openly adopted the Reviews wall, and today their posts litter most application pages. Spammers add five star ratings to encourage developers to not delete their posts as those ratings can drive up an application’s average rating, while undermining the validity of the entire rating system in the process. Some Reviews merit a developer response, but as with the wall the only means of truly replying is via private message. Given these problems, it comes as no surprise that many developers take steps to reduce the Reviews wall’s visibility, usually by moving it to the bottom of the page beneath the wall and discussion board. Not all is lost, however, as the discussion board is a useful channel for user feedback. Replies to posts generate notifications that ensure that conversations remain open. The discussion board is evidence that workable tools can facilitate meaningful customer service. However, Facebook has a long way to go to make customer service easy for developers.

40. Custom Tags

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Since the Facebook Platform launched in 2007, FBML tags have always been created and defined by Facebook. However, in an effort to make the Facebook Platform more extensible, Facebook announced in January 2009 that developers can now create custom FBML tags to widgetize their content or functionality for other developers to use. With custom tags, any developer can create new FBML tags. These custom tags can be used just in their own applications, or they can be shared with other Facebook developers as “widgets.” For example, developers who have interesting access to content or functionality could now use custom FBML tags to extend their apps’ reach to any Facebook application, increasing their distribution. That could mean new partnerships and revenue opportunities.

Facebook said that although the company plans to make widgets built with custom tags functional for any websites which have enabled Facebook Connect in the future

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via XFBML, only applications that run inside Facebook will be able to use custom tags for now. Finally, Facebook says that another benefit of using custom tags are their potential to improve application performance: Much like how one FBML tag is a shorthand way to include a lot of markup (think of fb:comments, for example), one custom tag can replace a lot of FBML and HTML content inline. Using custom tags in this way lowers the communication overhead between Facebook and your application’s servers. One custom tag can render a larger amount of content. Instead of sending the full FBML fragment with every request, you can replace it with a custom tag that Facebook will expand when Facebook parses the page. Developers interested in checking out the custom tags created by other developers can use the custom tags directory on the Developer wiki. Facebook requests that if you’ve created new public tags, “Please let the community know by adding their documentation to this wiki article.”

Poll: Which viral channels do Facebook users hate most about apps?
When the Facebook Platform launched in May 2007, it included access to a number of Facebook’s powerful communication channels right from the start (unlike some other platforms that have launched since). Access to these channels - profile boxes, invitations, notifications, and feed items - allowed applications to spread quite quickly. However, due to user experience complaints, Facebook has been putting in place limits on how much apps can use these viral channels throughout much of 2008. While Facebook has not been explicitly clear in explaining what that feedback is, we ran a Facebook Poll to gain some anecdotal quantitative evidence on what users are complaining about. While the sample size was very small (only 200 responses), the

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results may offer some clues on upcoming Platform changes. Question: What do you hate most about Facebook apps? Answer Choices: • • • • Too many invitations Too many notifications Too much clutter on my profile Too much clutter in my mini feed

The Results: • • • Invitations are still the most annoying thing about apps (especially for women). Mini Feed stories are clearly the least annoying thing about apps. Profile clutter is still a big problem (especially for older folks).

Assuming Facebook is seeing roughly the same data in its user experience testing, what are some possible conclusions for the Platform? Facebook will likely update the rules on invitations again. Per-user limits or stricter per-app limits are possible changes. • • Given that the new profile page is about to become dominated by the Feed/Wall, apps will be increasingly given more functionality here. Facebook is also solving the profile clutter problem with the new profile page design. Only 3-5 apps will have a box on the default tab. The rest will be migrated to the new “Boxes” tab (name still TBD). Poll Data:

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Recommended Strategies for Application Developers
Achieving viral distribution of your application on Facebook is all about taking full advantage of all the viral channels Facebook makes available: 1) Invitations – make sure your apps give users natural and compelling ways to invite their friends to add the app. Applications that prompt users to invite their friends as part of the first time experience have historically grown quite quickly. 2) Feed Items – every time your user performs a significant action in your application, invoke a feed item on their behalf. Feed items are extremely valuable from both an acquisition and retention perspective. 3) Notifications – notifications are like mini-email-newsletters, so think of them as vehicles for increasing engagement. However, be careful not to be too spammy, or Facebook will shut you down without telling you why. Ultimately, the goal of any application is to get its viral factor above 1. Take advantage of every opportunity to optimize your application’s virality: Viral Factor = conversion rate * engagement rate * invitation rate Conversion rate = the percent of invited users who add the app. Maximize this by iterating on your invitation copy. • Engagement rate = the percent of users who use the app. Maximize this by designing compelling features and making thorough use of feed items and notifications. • Invitation rate = the number of invitations sent per user. Maximize this by designing features that encourage your users to invite their friends.

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Finally, think about each of the profile integration points deeply. The profile box, the main profile area, the tab, the publisher, and the application info section are all powerful and vital channels for the success of your application. For many developers, they’re also the primary source of viral growth.

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Conclusion
Never before has a social platform emerged that combines the authenticity of Facebook’s culture with the raw power of Facebook’s multitude of viral channels to offer such an unprecedented marketing opportunity. While some remain pessimistic about the potential of social networks to become viable direct marketing channels, I believe that direct marketers who craft intelligent strategies for the Facebook environment–which will require much more creativity than SEM campaigns–will find success. At the same time, Facebook offers brand marketers entirely new paradigms for designing immersive and persuasive brand experiences. At the same time, we are still early in the game, and we have a lot left to learn. Only when marketers learn how to capture new kinds of value available for the first time ever inside Facebook will the markets realize just how valuable Facebook is. ♦

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