Facebook Advertising Platform

November 22, 2007

A short while ago Facebook announced the release of their advertising platform. Given that I had written about that previously, and was in need of some fresh ideas for advertising the Thursday Club (side-project), I decided to give it a go.

Setting up a campaign is a pretty straightforward process. You select the criteria for your audience segmentation, starting with the geography (I’d love to have the option to select ‘World’, but you have to start at a particular country – although you can run multiple campaigns simultaneously in different countries). You can also select gender, age ranges and target keywords to further define your audience. I do like the fact that as you select each keyword you are shown a tally of the number of people that match your criteria. I’m sure someone could reverse engineer some interesting statistics out of that.

It doesn’t appear that the keywords currently include group membership, or much other than a persons direct interests.

You can then create some simple text copy (think basic Google adword style) and optionally upload a picture. If you have a company page, you can also choose to include related information from that. Finally, select how much you’d like to pay per click or per view (I chose ‘per-click’) and that’s pretty much it. You can set timeframes for your campaign and maximum spends per day.

I would recommend experimenting with the CPC rate you bid as you can go from zero impressions to many thousands through some very small adjustments. You can see the effects almost straight away. Current click-through rates are pretty low, but that may be a function of my test ad-copy too 🙂

Overall though I like it. The operation is pretty much identical to how I perceived it might work, bar some limitations on granularity. It would also be nice to get some clarity on exactly where these ads show up.

I’ll let you know what affect this has on traffic to my site, but as of now (24 hours after starting) there have been 5000+ ad impressions which I don’t think is too shabby.

I’ll also be experimenting with some much more targeted ads with a small number of potential viewers.

Stay tuned!

When You’re Done With Playing Nicely On Facebook

October 16, 2007

If you fancy a change from being friendly with your mates on Facebook, why not head over to Hatebook and vent some steam? Hatebook is the equivalent of an anti-Facebook. A Yang to its Ying, where you can set up enemies lists, publish nasty stories and generally be horrible to people!


There are a number of these ‘anti’ sites popping up (including the dubiously titled ‘Jihad On You‘) and even Facebook itself offers plug-ins such as Enemybook.

So, for some good fashioned hating, you know where go. Just watch out for the flood of lawsuits that seem almost bound to follow … !

Top Ten Facebook Apps

October 10, 2007

If you’re a Facebooker you can’t have helped being spammed, err, I mean invited by your friends to install some of the third-party applications that can now be built on the platform. I’ve actually disabled almost all of the ones I installed as I was getting overwhelmed with pirates and ninjas and people throwing virtual chairs at me 🙂

if you do like your FB apps though, here’s a list of the current top ten (with the developer in brackets). Apparently there are over 5000 different applications available, but only 84 of them account for over 90 percent of usage. I wonder what would happen if you tried to install all 5000?

Here’s the list. How many have you got?

1. Top Friends (Slide)
2. FunWall (Slide)
3. Super Wall (RockYou!)
4. SuperPoke! (Slide)
5. Video (Facebook)
6. X Me (RockYou!)
7. iLike
8. Movies
9. Graffiti
10. Likeness (RockYou!)
11. My Questions (Slide)
12. Quizzes
13. Mobile (Facebook)
14. Free Gifts
15. Booze Mail
16. Compare People
17. Honesty Box
18. (fluff)Friends
19. Vampires
20. Scrabulous


October 4, 2007

Ahh, now this is more like it! Let’s get back to some good old fashioned nonsense.

As a sure fire way to waste even more of your precious time, Blabberize is bound to be a hit! A little flaky at the moment thanks to a mention on Techcrunch, the site lets you .. well, it lets you add an animated mouth and some sound to a photo. A description doesn’t do it justice, but if you’ve seen Rove Live here in Australia you’ll recognise the effect.

Here’s our friend Mr Ballmer as an example.

Last One And I’ll Move On

October 4, 2007

Much like blogging about blogging, blogging about Facebook is also currently contributing to blocking the tubes: you can see that I’ve been just as guilty as the next person in that regard. I also wasn’t trying to create a series on Web 2.0 either, but as I have the admin power please indulge me one last time (just don’t hold me to ‘last’ ;-)).

Normal service of random nonsense will then return. Promise.

I do find this stuff interesting though, so whilst doing some random link following on the FB subject I came across a comment on Bubble Generation from one Phil Jones. Phil is a lot more eloquent than I am on this, and so I hope he doesn’t mind me quoting him.

This is, to me, the essence of my platform argument below.

Phil says: “Actually, the world of Facebook apps. and widgets is the first time I’ve started to see that an old-style platform strategy may be possible. Here the basis is something which which is a hybrid of technology, namespace and social convention. Of which Facebook’s “news-feed” is the archetypal example. Facebook’s news-feed is not merely technological : which is why other generic data-sharing feeds like RSS or Twitter aren’t equivalent. It’s also a social convention within a particular namespace and community: I’m willing to look at data that an application writes on my friend’s feed, even though I haven’t installed the application or explicitly subscribed to it. This is different from the open web – I wouldn’t welcome an ordinary web-application that my friend used, randomly spamming my email. (Similarly, if too many bots started writing to Twitter, that would kill that particular community pretty damned quickly, it’s not part of its culture either.)

Facebook’s platform power ultimately rests on their ownership of this complex but delicate socio-technical hybrid. If they can nurture and grow it, such as giving both users and applications, more and subtler ways to manage it, more nuanced types of relationships between people, with more fine grained privacy control and applications that access these both through the APIs and patterns of software behaviour, then I think they have something that’s very hard to escape from or reproduce elsewhere.

This is no longer about just data, or arguments about open access to it. It’s data + social data + social conventions.”

Well said Phil!

Infamy, Infamy .. They’ve All Got It Infamy

October 2, 2007

Following on from my post about Web 2.0 apathy, I’ve decided to repost an entry I made on another long-dead blog as it seemed aposite (and I’m pushed for time 🙂 ). Well, we all need to do our bit for recycling – right?

“When I was young – back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, surfing was only ever done on water and Googlewhacking would probably have seen you being arrested – a friend of mine called Peter Marsh and I used to amuse ourselves by sitting in front of my little mono tape machine and recording a home-made program we amusingly titled: “Radio Gummy Johan”.

I don’t recall too many details of each program, except that they were entirely unscripted and consisted of little sketches and news items. Each one was done in the style of a particularly crap pirate radio station. We used to use a little Casio keyboard for sound effects and jingles. It had a cunning ‘white-noise’ generator, which accounted for the fact that most of the recordings featured ‘helicopters’ or reporters in very windy places. One memorable piece had Fish from Marillion finding his long lost brother on a cliff-top in Dover.

Our little masterpieces had a small but loyal audience which consisted of about six classmates, and ran for all of half a dozen episodes before we got bored and formed a ‘band’ instead (I use the term ‘band’ in the loosest sense).

Fast forward 20 years or so into the ‘Internet age’, and – had we been recording it nowadays – Peter Marsh and myself would be podcasting or streaming Radio Gummy Johan to millions of devoted listeners, eager to get their latest fix of ‘Sir Francis Francis’, and ‘The Weather Report (sponsored by the IRA)’.

At least, that’s how I’d like to imagine it.

The reality would be that like most blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos, vanity publishing and dare I say websites, our Goon show wannabe would still be attracting roughly the same number of devotees as it did back in 1985: a distant electronic pulse in a galaxy of electronic noise.

And yet still these things come, in ever increasing numbers. Everyone hopes that someday, somehow, in some bizarre cosmic coincidence they’ll be ‘discovered’ and break out into the big time. As slim a chance as it is for amateur broadcasters, unsigned bands and aspiring authors, the Internet offers the slimmest of the thinnest of the narrowest of channels through which, if you manage to squeeze, your 15-minute patch of infamy awaits.

So, altogether now: ‘Welcome to .. Radio … bing bong bing … Gummy Johhhhaaaannnn!!'”