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Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Facebook To Change How It Counts Likes

Liked No More

Facebook are messing around with their algorithms and likes once again.
It seems to me that Facebook never can quite nail down just how they want all of their business and marketing tools to function. I’d happily estimate that within the next few years they still won’t have decided and will still be trying to work out how to best use the tools at their disposal.
In their next steps to try and figure out what works best, Facebook have announced that they’re going to changing how their count Likes.
Before you panic, don’t worry, it won’t affect any of your personal accounts. So you can stand proud of your profile picture with 100 Likes and rest assured it’ll stick with those triples.
So what exactly are Facebook planning to change? They’re no longer going to count likes from people who have either deactivated their accounts or passed away. Also, this will only apply to celebrity and business pages.
This change should hopefully make it clearer to businesses about how many likes they really command and how relevant those likes are to their brands. This should hopefully lead to more conversions when compared to the current like count.
In a blog post where Facebook announced this change, they commented that:

To make audience data even more meaningful for businesses, we’re updating the way Page likes are counted by removing memorialized and voluntarily deactivated accounts from Pages’ like counts. This change ensures that data on Facebook is consistent and up-to-date.’
Facebook then went on to talk about the benefits:
Removing inactive Facebook accounts from Page audience data gives businesses up-to-date insights on the people who actively follow their Page and makes it easier for businesses to find people like their followers through tools like lookalike audiences.’
Facebook have warned businesses and celebrities that over the next few days they should be expecting a ‘small dip’ in their like count. So if you notice any differences on your own pages, don’t worry, those likes didn't really exist anyway. Also, if someone reactivates their account, all of their likes will pop up again.
Essentially, all this update is going to do is give businesses and celebrities a more honest Like count.
Facebook aren't necessarily getting everything wrong when it comes to marketing. They're just working out all the kinks very slowly. 

Time will tell how beneficial this all really is though. All eyes on you again, Facebook. 


YouTube Preparing to Launch Paid Ad-Free Subscription Service

Streamlined Service
There have been rumblings of an ad-free, paid subscription-based YouTube service for some time now, but in the past few days the rumors have been confirmed by Google officials. Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s head of content, confirmed that they were “fine-tuning the experience” at the Code/Media conference in Orange County late last week.

Paid, ad-free versions of otherwise free services have been proven to work well in the past. As of mid-January, around 25% of Spotify’s hulking 60 million-strong user base are paying subscribers, a ratio that it’s been healthily maintaining for almost a year. Spotify’s traffic figures are of course utterly dwarfed by YouTube, who rake in more than one billion users every single month.

This move will also play a vital role in YouTube’s increasing presence in the movie streaming market. Some full films are available to watch on YouTube, some legally, others not. You can also pay a one-off rental or purchase fee for certain films. With a subscription service, YouTube could eliminate or at least downsize this function and move a model more similar to Netflix.

This idea was actually taken for something of a test-drive back in 2013, when certain content providers were allowed to charge a subscription fee to access certain video channels. Partners during this trial run included National Geographic, Sesame Street and the PGA. It got some attention, but not anywhere near as much as some of the partners had hoped for.

Similarly, the Music Key service was launched to invited members as a beta back in November, enabling said users to watch music videos without any advertising between them and the content.
“We’ve invited our best users - it will launch in a few months to the public. It is a very important part of business. There are audiences who just don’t want to see ads. and in music - they want things like offline access. We want to deliver to fans and we want to deliver to creators a new revenue stream. This is an important initiative for us.” - Robert Kyncl

Currently Music Key is the service being earmarked for an imminent release, but it’s clear that it’s intended as a precursor to a more rounded, complete, universally applicable ad-free service.


Facebook’s 2 Million Advertisers

 Facebook's Advertiser Base Doubles
The number of Facebook advertisers has lept from 1 million to 2 million in the last 18 months.
Facebook is always trying to find new ways to modernise and open up their website to as many social groups and generations as possible.  Right now, the focus seems to be on businesses.

As many young adults are entering the adult world, having grown up with a Facebook account, starting a business on their reliable social media network will come as second nature. As for older companies who haven’t tried online marketing until now, who will they find first? Facebook: the most popular and accessible site of their time and their children’s time.

However, with Facebook increasing their business audience more and more every few months, it is questionable if Facebook really is the best way to advertise your business.

Facebook is known for its fickle nature. In 2010 its focus was on gaming. Some people signed up to Facebook just to be able to tend to their virtual crops and livestock on FarmVille. Then in 2014 there were over 93 million people playing Candy Crush every day, most of these were through Facebook. When Facebook bought Instagram it became an even bigger platform for photo sharing as well.
So right now, advertising is where Facebook wants to excel. Since 2009, Facebook’s been trying to build a relationship with businesses, which was done through the introduction of 'Pages.' At first, all this did was encourage an onslaught of youths to create pages with vaguely amusing names whose main focus was to rack up the likes. Thankfully, they moved on and pages are now being used for the reason Facebook intended.

With a recent addition of a ‘Boost Post’ function available on pages, there really are no limits for businesses. Except you must have over 400 likes… and be willing to pay.

There are areas you can edit when boosting your post, one being budget. Basically the more you pay the more people you reach. 3 GBP will reach 1,200-3,200 on an average page with 800+ likes. At the other end of the scale, 99 GBP can reach up to 54,000 people on a similar page.  But this is for just one post and if you want it go for more than one day, and then you need to pay at least 1 GBP a day. However, allowing businesses to spend as little as 1 GBP a day, can be helpful for smaller businesses and budgets.

There have been fears that the traffic this feature brings to your page is not always legitimate; one business stated that although the likes on their page increased, the actual interests and locations of these people were not suitable for their product.

However, what seems important is to remember to edit all the settings that are available and make sure you’re specific with location and target audience, or you could end up wasting your money.

Facebook’s efforts have been impressive and although Google is still in the lead with over 4 million advertisers, Facebook has done in less than 3 years, what it took Google to do in five.  The fact that advertisers in Facebook are increasing at such a rate seems to suggest that this method is working.


Instagram Revenue To Hit $5.8 billion by 2020

 Filters In The Future 

Our ever popular photo-sharing network is projected to generate $700 million this year. That's going to jump to $5.8 billion in revenue in 2020 according to new estimates from analysts with Cowen & Co.

That is some remarkable growth. I can only imagine that Facebook is gleefully rubbing its hands together after it’s smart move to buy Instagram. I wish my investments would do that well. Maybe it’s time for all of us to purchase just a little bit of Facebook stock?
This prediction for greatly increased revenue is based on another prediction that the report makes. Cowen’s report estimates that by 2020, Instagram’s user base will have more than doubled to 680 million picture happy fanatics.
I don’t see why that’s a too farfetched idea. Every day I find that more and more of my friends who have always sworn off from Instagram and its filters have finally taken the plunge and started following me. It’s only natural – Give in to the dark side of filtering everything. Even some games have the right idea.
Naturally, the huge increase in user base leads to a huge increase in advertisers utilising the photo-sharing platform. Hence the ridiculously massive projected revenue for 2020.
Here’s what the analysts at Cowen & Co said in their report concerning Instagram’s revenue.
‘Given the user scale, adv. interest, shifting TV ad spend to Digital and FB’s monetization capabilities, we are more confident in our Instagram revenue ramp from $0.7BN in '15 to $5.8BN in '20.’
Facebook picked up Instagram in 2012 for what was a relatively modest $1 Billion. (I say modest when we speak about the realms of money these places dish out) and since then it’s now estimated to be worth about $33 Billion. Once again Facebook are showing us how and when to pick up brands.
Instagram now boasts more monthly users than even twitter and it still shows no signs of slowing down. It’s the social media giant that we all hate to love.
Did you know, that in 2014, if you stacked up all the Instagram photos on top of each other that were uploaded within 12 hours, you’d have a stack as high as Everest? In 6 days you’d have a stack that would reach the outer edge of the earths atmosphere. This was all last year as well, these figures are only going to go up. Take a quick look here.
I think it’s very safe to assume that Instagram are going to hit their revenue markers for 2020. It may sound like a ludicrous amount to us now, but they show no signs of slowing down.

Time to filter everything.