Stipple and Facebook Publishing

I have been following Stipple for a while now and with today’s big announcement tied to Facebook support launched the platform to the forefront of my mind to support social content & publishing strategies. What is Stipple? If you have not heard about the service, Stipple allows you to embed interactive hotspots into an image to create additional connections directly within the image. Today’s announcement is key for those who manage owned properties as now Stipple supports direct publishing support via Facebook a feature that has been missing to date.

Now it is possible to add a data driven overlay to an image that can create connections directly from the newsfeed that allow users to take action. Whether it is to drive to a branded destination such as the brands Facebook brand page or .com, create a quick path to purchase opportunity by linking the image to an e-commerce based product, embed a link to videos that relate to the image, or create additional connections as outlined below.

Tag Types

Today’s announcement is a huge addition for those of us who manage Facebook brand properties. Combine this with my recent discussions associated with visual storytelling to drive engagement and you can create a rich experience that can immediately extend the reach of a static image.

With a majority of engagement happening directly from the newsfeed, adding a rich content overlay to images can optimize associations related to the content. The combinations and support possibilities are endless. Whether it’s supporting branded content, promotion, acquisition, etc… the flexibility to tag and append content to an image is a great way to maximize story creation and connection throughout an integrated approach across channels.

Stipple Facebook Overview

In November of 2012, Stipple rolled out the ability to support Twitter publishing. From a single Tweet you can surface videos, photos, etc.. in-stream vs pushing to another destination. Adding a rich content overlay through this media is a great way to extend static images, or link to terms & conditions for a Twitter driven promotion, etc…

Stipple Twitter

I first noticed a Stipple execution by IKEA and I immediately saw the potential. The ability to claim attribution, but also create a centralized experience with various access points is something that create additional value for online retailers. I immediately started to tout the benefits to this approach, but there were limitations to social sharing until today. Now with the additional support for Facebook & Twitter, the value of this platform increases exponentially for those who drive owned asset creation & publication.

Stipple Web

It’s one thing to publish and push content out, but having the ability to measure the engagement and reach of each individual image and the interactions that Stipple creates is another advantage to leveraging this platform. As you can see below, Stipple allows the tracking of engagement and reach so image interactions can be applied into the current KPI’s associated with your publishing strategy.

Measurement

I would definitely recommend evaluating Stipple and the potential impact to your publishing strategy.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

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The rise of PWNED Media

Recently, I had the privilege to speak at the Dallas Digital Summit discussing the convergence of owned & paid media. The talk covered the importance of visual storytelling and the intersection of real-time paid amplification.

Tom Edwards DDS speak

One of the outputs of the presentation is a new phrase that better defines the intersection of paid & owned media. Being a gamer of course I gravitated towards “PWNED media” as the new descriptor for this emerging trend.
TheBlackin PWNED MEDIA Final

There is a consistent theme coming from Facebook regarding owned content strategies. Whether it’s a Facebook conference, on-site at Menlo Park or other interactions with Facebook team members you will consistently hear the phrase “Storytelling”.

Facebook DDS

This definitely makes sense as Facebook’s platform is organized around the generation and amplification of stories.

Storybook DDS

With this in mind, one of the more powerful elements to incorporate into an owned content strategy is visual storytelling.

Snickers Snowman

Think about this for a moment… when we were first learning to read, our parents most likely used picture books to begin to create associations between visual images and the context of the story.

Curious George DDS

The same thing still happens now as adults.

Felix DDS

A picture paints a 1000 words, images are more powerful storytellers than words. Within Facebook, timeline now showcases and rewards brands that use visual imagery to help tell the brands story.

Oreo DDS

In the past I have written about the importance of Edgerank as well as recent changes to the algorithm. In order to optimize owned content, it is important to drive engagement around that content.

edgerank

Creating engaging visual content is definitely the first step to maximize the platform, but there is another step to further drive the reach and impact of visual content.

This is where the paid portion of “PWNED Media” comes into play. Instead of having a separation between owned content & paid campaigns, there should be an intersection to drive a more efficient media spend.

Green DDS

One of the ideal methods to drive engagement both within an existing fan base and beyond is to execute real-time amplification of engaged content.

Converged Media

In layman’s terms take owned content that people are already engaging with and add it to the targeted paid inventory to further maximize the reach of content that people already find interesting.

This is done by setting a pre-determined virality rate based on the size of the fan base and a carefully calculated threshold based on engagement.

This ensures that content that users find compelling can be maximized on behalf of the brand and also serve as an acquisition driver for like-minded fans that align with the persona of the brand.

To my knowledge only 2 brands are actively executing a “PWNED Media” strategy and I lead the social strategy for one of them. If you are interested in hearing more about real-time amplification in action please reach out to me.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

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Facebook Graph Search

Recently Facebook announced one of the biggest changes to their search feature to date with the limited beta release of Graph Search. Mark Zuckerberg stated Graph Search would become the third pillar of the Facebook experience in addition to the News Feed and Timeline. This post will review the features of Graph Search while also outlining what it all means.

Here is the official announcement from Facebook

Graph Search

The creation of Graph Search is reflective of the current direction of social which is the inevitable convergence of social and search. With so much information being created and limited alignment between traditional search and the social graph, Graph Search could be a key bridge to a new type of search behavior based on relevant and timely socially curated content.

Example of Bing Facebook integration which applied social as an additive to traditional search. Graph Search takes the inverse approach of searching inside of Facebook.

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When you begin to dig into the initial information about Graph Search, it is not intended to be a true web search engine like Google or Bing, but an engine that will search out information across all of Facebook and provide personalized answers to queries about people, photos, places & interests.

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Here are various examples of the types of searches that can be conducted.

Here is an example of my friends in San Francisco, as well as recommendations of individuals with similar interests in the area.

San Francisco - personal

Here is an example that leverages Friends Check-In’s via social graph data to uncover Restaurants that may be of interest when in London

Restaurants in London

Here is an an example of the capability to search for specific types of photos either that you as a user have liked, or topical such as the recent Red Bull Stratos jump.

Photos

The Search Graph is a natural extension of the curation of social graph data. By creating deeper connections across interests and access to crowdsourced information, Facebook will now be enabling a cleaner connection to relevant content beyond simply searching for users, brands and apps.

This immediately jumps to questions of privacy from a users perspective. The current explanation is that the Graph Search will honor your privacy settings and only show information to your friends if your privacy is not set to public.

Graph Search & Privacy

WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?

For starters this will eventually play into the Facebook revenue model. Initially this will be an ad free feature, but make no mistake, by further aligning interests with broader behaviors beyond a profile, it will help to further enable personalization as a search and interest overlay and will become an even more accurate tool to re-target relevant ads.

Also, by adding this as a third pillar, Facebook will eventually be able to monetize against Facebook centric search in a similar manner to how Twitter can place ads via search results with their various promoted products.

Here is an example of a Disney Twitter query that immediately ties into the upcoming Hansel & Gretel movie as a paid unit.

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From a brand perspective, this will mean more avenues to differentiate via search results. If the users behaviorally adopt the new way to engage with the rich and relevant content within the social graph, then placement upon search category & interest relevance will be at a premium.

Similar to Google Adwords & promotion of Google+ accounts, brand positioning associated with search may become the new premium Facebook units if users adopt the platform.

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It will be interesting to see if the existing Facebook recommendation engine will be put into service as the vehicle that enables placement associated with the results of the search. I did recently speak directly with Facebook and confirmed that the current recommendation engine is not a brand controlable asset, meaning it is not currently part of the paid options to insert a brand, it is strictly algorithm based. But with this new development, the recommendation engine may be a critical component to differentiate from the rest and that will most likely come with a cost.

Example of the Facebook Recommendation Engine for Apps

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I am certain that this will have a significant impact on Facebook as a platform moving forward. The amount of objects being added to the social graph will continue to scale at an exponential rate as the introduction of action objects (verbs) into the social graph in addition to all of the various pieces of content that create via interactions with Facebook will now be applied to a system that will make connections beyond the individual more feasible and better align individuals and brands.

GraphActionObject

Building a system that can now quickly mine relevant information that is based on interests and likes vs. traffic is an interesting proposition, especially when applying the overlay of your social graph with real world use cases such as finding a restaurant recommendation in a new city through the platform you already check 20 times a day.

facebook

While there was no immediate mobile support announced, previous behavior suggests that this will also further drive the move towards mobile enablement. If you are able to extend your social graph beyond 1:1 interactions to actually leveraging the data while you are on the go, this is an incredibly important addition and one that will have a significant impact on the future of Facebook’s mobile ad platform.

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It will also be interesting to see if a new algorithm, such as edgerank for the newsfeed, can be organically impacted by the amount of followers to a brand (similar to Google+ recommendations via search) or if other factors such as engagement or virality rates will impact which content types (brand content) will be served.

Example of the EdgeRank Algorithm

edgerank

Facebook initially has recommended the following:

1) The name, category, vanity URL, and information you share in the “About” section should be up to date.
2) If you have a location or a local place Page, update your address to make sure you can appear as a result when someone is searching for a specific location.

There was also an ominous tease towards other factors defining search results. Some early thoughts are possibly tied to engagement & virality rates. It will be interesting to monitor the progression of Graph Search with no immediate mobile version, no Instagram integration, API’s and English only at this stage of the beta, we will monitor the evolution of Graph Search and Facebook SEO.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

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