Facebook Updates Promotional Guidelines

Big news on the promotional front from Facebook today. According to the Fb team & latest blog post it’s now easier to administer promotions on Facebook.

Per the Facebook blog postWe’ve updated our Pages Terms in order to make it easier for businesses of all sizes to create and administer promotions on Facebook. Here’s what Page administrators need to know:
We’ve removed the requirement that promotions on Facebook only be administered through apps

Now, promotions may be administered on Page Timelines and in apps on Facebook. For example, businesses can now:

  • Collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like a Page post
  • Collect entries by having users message the Page
  • Utilize likes as a voting mechanism

As before, however, businesses cannot administer promotions on personal Timelines.”

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Accurate tagging is required in promotions

In order to maintain the accuracy of Page content, our Pages Terms now prohibit Pages from tagging or encouraging people to tag themselves in content that they are not actually depicted in. So, for instance:

  • It’s OK to ask people to submit names of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize
  • It’s not OK to ask people tag themselves in pictures of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize

We hope these updates will enable more businesses to use Facebook to launch their promotions. For more information regarding the changes to our promotions policies, check out our downloadable Promotion Guidelines, which include FAQs and best practices for running promotions through Facebook.

Here are Best practices & a quick FAQ tied to the announcement.

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This is a significant shift and the first movement of change prior to incorporating hashtag based submissions. The recent shift to support photos in comments and the recent focus on page level engagement and minimizing the importance of apps as well as adding the ability to highlight contests via mobile all contributed to the changes that were announced today and preview of the changes that are definitely coming.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

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SXSW 2014 – Evolution of the Hashtag

Now through September 6th is the time to vote on the panels & presentations for SXSW Interactive 2014. I have submitted a presentation for consideration and would greatly appreciate your support.

SXSW Panel PIcker

My proposed topic is Evolution of the Hashtag. Here is a brief outline of the proposed presentation.


The evolution of the hashtag session will take the audience on a highly visual journey that answers the question that is on everyone’s mind… Why the hashtag?

Looking beyond the # key on your phone, we will explore where the hashtag came from and why it has become a staple of today’s social web.

We will also explore how the hashtag connects traditional media with digital and beyond and the potential to create converged media opportunities and how this can create value for brands.

Then we will move on to explore how brands are capitalizing on hashtags to create earned media opportunities.

Finally we will look into the future and review how the hashtag will impact the future of the newly forming contextual web.

Questions Answered

  1. Where did the Hashtag come from?
  2. Why has the hashtag become a staple in today’s social web?
  3. How is the Hashtag extending TV viewership and creating new converged media opportunities?
  4. How are brands capitalizing on Hashtags to create earned media?
  5. How will the Hashtag impact the future and the new contextual web?

I would greatly appreciate your vote. Please click the image below to vote for the presentation.

Evolution of the Hashtag

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

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Facebook Announces Major News Feed Algorithm Update


Today, Facebook held a press conference to announce more changes to the News Feed as well as a significant update to what was formerly named the EdgeRank algorithm. EdgeRank had been the formula that determines what content is to be seen in a users feed.


In March of this year Facebook announced the first major change to the Facebook News Feed in six years. The theme at the time was reduction of clutter by providing more choice and control over the content and stories users will see in their feeds.

Any time there is an update to the algorithm it is big news as Facebook has stated that 88% of engagement happens via the News Feed. The last major update to the algorithm was September of 2012. A month later there was concern over the changes impacting organic brand reach. Since that time organic post visibility has been stable at ~16% visibility.

This has led to the need to either amplify relevant owned content via paid (Paid + Owned = PWNED) or partner with Facebook & pay for reach generation to “guarantee” reach. With today’s announcement it initially appears that these changes will positively enhance a brands ability to impact organic reach.

To date, most brands focus on creating a compelling content strategy that creates relevant connections with their fans. But even with increased engagement & organic post visibility it is becoming increasingly difficult to cut through without some form of paid amplification to boost reach. Today’s update will hopefully allow relevant & engaging content to once again impact organic visibility.

Snickers Snowman

Today’s announcement

Today’s announcement started with a stat outlining that the average person has about 1500 stories they could see in the newsfeed – some have tens of thousands..

Every eligible item to show in news feed gets a score when the news feed is loaded. Each story in feed gets a score based on how relevant we think it is to the user. with the goal of putting the most relevant items at the top. The algorithm was called EdgeRank but as of today has been retired.

Moving forward the News Feed algorithm will continue to focus on your relationship to the person/source and how  you have interacted with them before. Facebook is promising more transparency going forward about news feed & ranking/scoring.


As the changes come into play there are three primary areas of focus for updates to the algorithm. Two of which will be incorporated, one will not.

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1) Story Bumping – Story bumping considers showing not only all new stories, but considers all stories that are new to the user that may have driven engagement since the last time you visited. If you miss stories on one visit, they may be eligible to show on the next visit. This was tested with 80% of employees, older stories were at the top of the feed and interaction went up on organic content during internal testing. Stories read went from 57% to 70%.

Story Bumping

Story bumping is separate from the ad system and applies to organic content only. Story bump is live now on web & coming soon to mobile.

fb story bumping

2) Last Actor – This is another new feature to the news feed algorithm and “captures your current state of mind”. This new element takes into consideration the most recent factors from your Facebook activity. This ties to your last 50 interactions with content and gives those users a slight bump in news feed ranking. An example is if you interact with an individual in the morning that same person’s content may be weighted slightly higher later in the day.

This has led to 1 to 2% bump in the number of interactions with posts. This feature is now live on mobile & web.

3) Chronological by Actor – One additional item that was tested and not launched was chronological by actor. This feature gives a higher score to most recent stories from your friends. This element caused issues with mapping unrelated stories and will not be launched at this time.

What does this mean?

Now the News Feed algorithm responds to the following signals

  • How often you interact with the friend, page who posted (Last actor)
  • The number of likes, shares & comments a post receives
  • How much interaction with this type of post in the past (Story bumping)
  • Reporting associated with a post

For brands both story bumping and last actor represent new opportunities to increase organic reach. By allowing more relevance with older stories that drive engagement as well as Last Actor’s “current state of mind” this allows brands to impact organic reach via engagement which is definitely good for brands with a solid focus on a relevant content strategy that begets engagement.

One additional note, Facebook’s VP Chris Cox did state that they are still working on balancing how many posts users will see from publishers.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

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Pinterest Pin To Save

Back in May of this year I attended the first Pinterest Partner Event in NYC. At that time they spoke about a number of topics from the newly launched Pinterest Interest Graph to the launch of new product innovation tied to Rich Pins. Here is the recap of that event.

I recently received word from Pinterest that a new feature would be announced today. The announcement will feature additional functionality tied to Product Rich Pins ahead of the holiday season.

Here is the note I received from the Pinterest Business Team:

Pinterest Announcement

To recap, Product Rich Pins create direct connections for retailers with consumers by showcasing active inventory as well as price & source reference directly into the pin. This additional data can take a consumer from simply considering a product to potentially enticing them to purchase based on availability of the product. This in turn can add value for the retailer and create a more direct connection between an item & a retailer.

Example of a Product Rich Pin prior to today’s announcement:

Pinterest Product Rich Pin

Today’s announcement shows that users will soon be able to receive notifications when the price of one of their product pins drops. This can help those that may look for savings tied to some their favorite pins to trigger a move from consideration to action on the product.

Here is what the experience will look like:

Pinterest rich pin

According to Pinterest In just two short months there are already tens of millions of product rich pins now on Pinterest. They state the benefits beyond traditional pins as follows:

  • Higher Click-Through rates compared to regular pins
  • Better brand visibility since the brand logo is featured on the pin
  • More likelihood of appearing in category feeds (like gifts, gardening, men’s fashion, etc.)
  • Details – like price changes – update automatically.

Retail & commerce based brands that are considering ways to drive action beyond consideration on the path to purchase should take note and implement Product Rich Pins ahead of the holiday season. Here is how to get started.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

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