Beantin

James Royal-Lawson

facebook

What gets shown in Facebook’s Ticker?

Facebook has rolled out their Ticker to all users as part of their September updates (if you haven’t got it yet, you soon will!).

Combined with other changes to the appearance of the news feed, this has raised a fair few questions from people about their privacy settings and what gets shown where.

I’m going to try to explain it for you.

So how does it work?

The visibility of every update you post to Facebook is controlled by the privacy settings associated to it. Using the inline audience selector you can control the privacy settings at the time you post it, and adjusted them at any point afterwards.

Screenshot from Facebook

The news feed now just shows a selection of updates based on a number of factors (which i’m not going to go into during this post). If you want to see everything that is happening the world of Facebook as defined by your friends (and people subscribed to) then you need to take a look at the ticker in the right hand column.

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The activity firehose

This ticker shows everything people who you’ve subscribed to are doing on Facebook that has a privacy setting that you are included in. You are subscribed to your friends, and all their types of updates by default.

You can unsubscribe from a persons activity, and you can even turn off certain types of activity from a specific person. So if someone listens to far too much music on Spotify that rubs you the wrong way, you can untick Music and Videos.

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By and large though, what this means is that you may see more Facebook activity than you are used to seeing – if you bother to look at the Ticker in the right hand column that is!

Examples

Whenever any of your friends write someone on someone else’s wall, for example, you’ll see that action appear in your ticker.

If any of your friends comment on a person’s update who isn’t your friend, if that update has public or “friends of friends” as it’s privacy settings, then you will see not only your friends’ comment, but also all the other (non-public) comments everyone else has written.

If someone publishes a public update (of whatever kind; a status, a photo, event, action) then any comments and likes made to that public update will also be public. In this case, public means totally public. Not-logged-into-Facebook public.

Keep your eye on the grey icon

So what matters now is that you pay special attention to the little grey icon visible at the bottom of each update. If this has a little globe on it, whatever you say will be public. If it has a couple of silhouettes, then hover over the icon and see what it says. It will explain the reach of the update, and therefore the potential exposure of anything you write.

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Remember though, privacy can be changed afterwards. So something you once said in private may become public (and vice versa). Even if you said it years ago…


is a freelance web manager and strategist based in Stockholm Sweden.

Facebook page marketing: How not to do it

A familiar shaped postcard appeared in the post the other week. A big Facebook “like” thumbs up. My kids thought it was excellent (as 3 and 5 year olds, they haven’t really been infected by Facebook yet). For me, it just sent my web-sense into overdrive.

ICA Maxi Nacka

The postcard was sent from ICA, the largest supermarket chain in Sweden and Scandinavia, or more specifically, from one of my local ICA stores that I visit pretty regularly.

Postcard in the shape of a Facebook like thumbs up

This mailshot will have been sent to a large number of ICA Maxi Nacka’s customers – thousands at a guess. The Facebook page had 98 fans on the day the mailshot arrived. Today it’s got twenty more. So we can safely say that this is an example of how not how to market your Facebook page.

We’ll start with the post card itself. Where is the next step? what am I supposed to do? The advert isn’t going to magically click on a like button for me. I need some help. Where’s the URL to the facebook page? OK, perhaps a QR code to scan? Nope. A search term to put me in the right direction? Well, perhaps, but you can’t be certain. Maybe the Facebook page name is Maxi ICA Nacka?

Flawed marketing concept

The whole concept of the mailshot is flawed in this situation. I’m expected to do a series of improbably things. I’m expected to look at this and be convinced that liking this particular ICA store is going to give me something sufficient in return. They do explain that on their Facebook page “You will find inspiration, recipes, events, special offers”. Maybe that’s a big enough return for my Like-love…

Hello, what’s your name?

If that has convinced me to “like”, then I have to get myself to a computer, bring up Facebook and think of something to enter into the search box in order to find their incredibly compelling page. Perhaps if I’ve found the advert that compelling I might have taken it with me to the computer to help me (or perhaps I pulled out my tablet there and then in the kitchen, taking a pause from opening the rest of the mail).

You may remember that the postcard had “Maxi ICA Nacka” in the text. This is one of the names the store calls itself. Unfortunately for them, almost all ICA stores are known as ICA [place name], and the larger Maxi stores as ICA Maxi [place name] – and more often that not you don’t need to say the place name, there’s not that many of them nearby.

If you enter ICA Maxi into Facebook, you get a whole load of results containing supermarkets from all over Sweden. You’d have to work hard and long to find the Nacka store amongst them. So, let’s add Nacka to the search phrase giving us ICA Maxi Nacka. Surely that’ll work?

Screenshot from Facebook showing two search results

As you can see. You get two results. Both of which are Facebook Places. Joe Shopper is starting to lose a bit of the overwhelming urge to “like” this ICA store. The lack of profie pictures makes them instantly less “likable” and convincing too. They clearly aren’t the right pages.

Are we there yet?

Let’s put the phrase from the postcard into Facebook’s search. Maxi ICA Nacka. As Facebook provides instant search results, you’re going to naturally pause after typing Maxi ICA (as ICA stores appear at this point). None of them are Nacka. Let’s continue typing. Nope. It’s one of those Facebook places again.

Screenshot from Facebook showing four search results

Maxi Nacka – who needs ICA!

At this point, if anyone is still hunting, they are hunting for the page out of pure frustration and stubbournness. In one last try, we go for Maxi Nacka. Yes! Bingo! Of course! Obviously as an ICA store you are going to make sure that the main brand of your company is totally missing from the page name.

So we’ve made it to the page. Probably. Apparently this business is based in Nackawic, New Brunswick. At this point, i’ve stopped crying and i’m starting to laugh.

Screenshot of ICA Maxi Nacka's Facebook page

Despite being over the 25 fan threshold for choosing a custom name for your page, the page still has the ugly 14-digit ID number in it’s URL – 167901786576697. I understand that they don’t want to use that URL in their marketing material.

Perhaps they did think about claiming a better name, but just forgot to actually claim it. They do, after all, have a (broken) link to http://www.facebook.com/Maxi-Nacka on their Info page.

Over 150 dollars a fan?

The page had 98 fans on the day when the postcard arrived. A few weeks later whilst I’m writing this blog post, they’ve gained a well earned 20. Designing, printing and distributing an advert to a large number of your customers isn’t something that’s free. Even if i’m kind and say that the campaign cost 20000kr (design, print, distribution) they are looking at a cost per fan of 1000kr (approximately 150 dollars).

Given the amateur nature of this entire effort, I’m going to stick my neck out and presume that they didn’t have any specific, measurable, goals for the campaign. Suffice to say, I imagine they expected to earn more than 20 new recruits. I’m starting to feel I should like their page out of sympathy rather than enthusiasm!

Digital marketing is easy to execute – anyone can do it. This is both it’s advantage and it’s disadvantage. Anyone can do it, but not as many can do it well.


is a freelance web manager and strategist based in Stockholm Sweden.

11 Articles worth reading… (Spotted: Week 18-21, 2011)

For your reading pleasure this time, a collection of links (with summaries) including articles related to: web management, UX, cookies, search, UX and search.


Web management, UX, mobile web

10 rules to make a great online bank dashboard – Meniga blog

The headline says “online bank” but these 10 rules are just as good for any website

Going Mobile!

‎”It’s not about making our site work on a mobile device, it is about what our users need when they’re mobile”. A case study from Utah Valley University

New Data: 33% of Facebook Posting is Mobile

Some stats saying that a third of FB updates are from mobile devices. Probably a pretty reasonable statistic – but it was calculated using 70,000 publicly available updates. No idea if that’s a representative selection of FB as a whole. It will of course vary quite dramatically from country to country.

How to improve the usability (and conversion rate) of your forms

Nice little check-list for making better forms.

Intranet

Is your intranet a dinosaur?

Good set of 6 questions to ask yourself about your Intranet and help prioritise activities. Given that most orgs don’t have an intranet strategy, answering these wouldn’t be too bad a gap-filler.

Cookies

The Cookie Law in Sweden – Self regulation committee started by the IAB

From July the 1st, an amended law comes into force, making it effectively illegal to create cookies when someone visits your (Swedish) website without explicit permission (in advance). Exactly how the law should be intepreted is a bit unclear. There is a trade organisation working on a recommendation. This change, driven by the EU, is perhaps excellent news for companies offering hosting outside of the EU…

Information Commissioner’s Office

Countries across europe are starting to implement new laws regarding Cookies. The new Swedish law comes into effect on July 1st, but it’s still unclear exactly what needs to be done. Here though is an example of what the Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK has done: a banner on every page asking you to accept cookies

Search & personalisation

Personalization gone too far

Every single service is fighting to give us “exactly what we want”. But is exactly what we want really want we want? or need? Take 10 minutes to have a look at this thought provoking TED talk by Eli Pariser.

Social Search goes global

Google has rolled out search results from your social circle globally. So now everyone will see links shared by their “friends” in their SERPs when Google deems it to be relevant. I’ve been watching this for the a fair while now, and it really affects the order of the search results. This is

Analytics & Tools

Google Analytics’ New Site Speed Report Tracks Page Load Times

You can now get page load data in Google Analytics. It’s only sampled data (you don’t get figures for every page view) and it needs a slight modification to your trackng code – but worth monitoring. Slow page load times causes visitors to give up.

probably the single most significant shake up of SERPs (for an individual) in ages.

URL Shortening Services Compared: Bit.ly Pro and Yourls

I make use of both Yourls and Bit.ly pro. Bit.ly pro is a more convenient in a number of ways – but wth Yourls you own the redirects, you can decide the shortened URL. The power is totally yours.

13 Articles worth reading… (Spotted: Week 6-7, 2011)

This time, a collection of links (and summaries) including articles related to: Social media and social search, web strategy and web management, Optimisation, usability testing and Eye tracking.


Social media & social search

Google Search Finally Going Fully Social With Shared Twitter Links And Even Quora Data

More Google (social) search news. Adding “shared” information to SERPs is a sensible way of making use of open data. It’s basically recommendations for search results. As I’ve written about, certain results shared by certain people (or combinations of people) seem to get a bump up your (personalised) search results.

How To Target Social Tribes On Facebook

Pressing the right psychological buttons is always centre to marketing, but the ease at which you can tribalise a brand varies a lot from sector to sector and product to product.


Web strategy & web management

Erase and rewind

The BBC is going to close and remove a number of old websites. This has generated an interesting and worthy debate about historical content and how it should be archived rather than destroyed. The cost (and difficulty) of keeping such archived content is hardly worth mentioning. The similarity has been raised between this wiping policy and the same one the BBC had for video tapes back in the 60s and 70s – resulting in programmes and performances being lost forever.

Are marketing images damaging your website?

Banners that don’t match the task a visitor is trying to complete and “filler” marketing images and being shown time and time again to be either ignored, or as Gerry points out there – even detrimental to the trustworthiness of a site and the chances of goal completion. Worth re-reading this Nielsen Alertbox article too

Linking Google Analytics to Webmaster Tools

A long awaited improvement. I’m of the opinion now that even if you are running another statistics gathering script on your page, you probably should make sure GA is there too.

How to read the RSS feed of any Facebook page

Cross-feeding updates from one social media site to another, or back to your corporate website is an increasingly important aspect of a web presence. For some organisations (such as Swedish Councils) archiving these updates is a requirement. Pulling out status updates from a Facebook page as an RSS web feed is possible, but how you do it is not widely known. This post explains how.


Information architecture

Guide to Website Navigation Design Patterns

A good quick overview of a number of navigation design patterns. Be careful with some of the drawbacks though, as some of them aren’t fundamental drawbacks of the particular navigation type. The Bible for anyone interested in this subject is James Kalbach’s Designing Web Navigation.


Intranet & Collaboration

The Social Business Employee Manifesto

Here’s another manifesto – from May last year – outlining the ground rules for the business employee relationship in the era of social business.

Why Yammer Failed

A little intranet story showing again how important it is to have management buy in. At the end of the day, someone above you can stamp on pretty much anything they want should they want to – no matter how well planned, justified, and implemented.


Optimisation, Usability testing & eye tracking

Appsumo reveals its A/B testing secret: only 1 out of 8 tests produce results

Not every A/B test will give you a strong result, as this article explains you might end up with an awful lot of non-results. Take-homes – Weekly iterations, patience, persistence, focus on the big.

A guide to carrying out usability reviews

A DIY usability review kit – including a scorecard template. Have a little play on your own website.

To Track or Not To Track

For me, it’s a no-brainer. Eye tracking combined with retrospective think aloud interviews gives you data and insight that other usability testing can’t. Make sure you read the comments on this post.

The value of eye tracking vs. observation and mouse tracking

Tommy expands on his comment to the “To Track of Not To Track” blog post above by showing the extra value that eye tracking can give compared to traditional usability testing (or mouse tracking). The post is quite technical in places, but ultimately what it explains is that eye tracking testing in this case highlighted issues that otherwise wouldn’t have been spotted.

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