Quote to Note: Facebook Search

August 31, 2014

Facebook has done little public facing work on search. Behind the scenes, Facebookers and Xooglers have been beavering away. A bit of public information surfaced in “Zuckerberg On Search — Facebook Has More Content Than Google.” Does Facebook have a trillion pieces of content. Is that more content than Google has? Nah. But it is the thought that counts:

Here’s the quote I highlighted:

What would it ultimately mean if Facebook’s search efforts are effective–and if Facebook allowed universal use of a post search tool that really worked? It’s dizzying, really. As Zuckerberg said early this year on an earnings call: “There are more than a trillion status updates and unstructured text posts and photos and pieces of content that people have shared over the past 10 years.” Then the Facebook CEO put that figure into context: “a trillion pieces of content is more than the index in any web search engine.” You know what “any web search engine” spells? That’s a funny way of spelling Google.

With Amazon nosing into ads and Facebook contemplating more public search functionality, will Google be able to respond in a manner that keeps its revenues flowing and projects like Loon flying? I wonder what the Arnold name surfer thinks about Facebook? Maybe it is a place to post musings about failed youth coaching?

Stephen E Arnold, August 31, 2014

Facebook Factoids

July 24, 2014

I enjoyed “Facebook Now Has 1.32 Billion Users, with 30 Percent Only Using It on Their Mobile—and the Average American Spends 40 minutes a Day on the Site.” Why read anything except the headline?

Tucked into this sensational write up was this gem:

The number of people who log in at least once a day on mobile devices was 654 million on average in June, up 14 percent from a year earlier.

The reason I highlighted this item is that it focuses on the problem Facebook poses to Google. Not only do hundreds of millions of people use Facebook on a notebook or desktop computer, Facebook’s mobile cohort is growing.

So what?

Facebook users willingly create content for Facebook. Facebook users willingly provide information to Facebook. Facebook captures implicit data from user behaviors.

Advertisers like this situation.

If Facebook keeps expanding its mobile advertising paw print, the Google will have to find a way to counter or take some steps that might be unpalatable to some folks.

In short, the headline tells a story, but the pressure on Google is not front and center where it should be. And search? Who thinks about that for either Facebook or Google? (My tiny voice says, “I do.”)

Stephen E Arnold, July 24, 2014

Facebook: All the News Socially

March 27, 2014

I read “STUDY: Facebook’s Role In Pew Research Center’s ‘State Of The News Media 2014’/” The source is a research project from Pew Research Center. The sample, well, who knows? The finding fascinating, particularly to advertisers, news professionals, and old people like me sitting around the cast iron stove in Harrod’s Creek, Kentucky.

Here it is:

30 percent of the sample get their [sic] news from Facebook.

The survey seems to have been completed in mid 2013, which may be important in the wake of Facebook’s interest in virtual reality.

The write up highlights six “Facebook-related findings.” I don’t want to spoil your fun by listing the listicle of the six factoids. I want to point out three of these insights:

  1. Three out of every 10 US adults get “some news while on Facebook.”
  2. The news is “shared by friends.”
  3. The demographics of the Facebook news consumers “were high earners and college educated.”

My thought is that social news is not something a traditional newspaper like my former employer the Courier Journal & Louisville Times considers a native habitat. The idea that social news is news is fascinating. With tools to generate disinformation, misinformation, and reformation, figuring out what’s accurate may be difficult for a Facebooker.

I assume that a Walter Cronkite of social media news will emerge. Advertisers are likely to sniff the edges of the Pew information and conclude, “Opportunity.” Experiencing Facebook as news is a facet of the service that has the potential to be disruptive. Which traditional network will run the Facebook news hour? Will Thomson Reuters and the BBC add a Facebook stream? Opportunities abound.

Stephen E Arnold, March 27, 2014

Facebook Takes Out The People

March 24, 2014

Facebook is a network for people to communicate and connect. Forbes.com’s article, “The Approaching Demise Of Organic Reach In Facebook” says that organic connections for brands. are dropping faster than page counts on Justin Bieber’s fan page. The information comes from Social@Oglivy study. Facebook’s response is that will go to zero in the future.

“The free ride for brands on Facebook is coming to an end, and Mark Zuckerberg’s network should now be moved into the ‘paid channel’ in the marketing budget. The end game here is that a message posted on a brand page will not be shown to anyone unless it gathers a notable number of likes from a user’s friends. If their friends like a post, if there is a visible adoption of the post by the community, only then the post has earned the right to be shown organically.”

Brands will have to fork over money to breathe life into a post and it means that they have will have to rethink their Facebook marketing strategies. Facebook is using basic economics to create a scarcity. Brands will have to pay more, but over time they will stop. It is all about the almighty dollar sign for Facebook. What happened to the people?

Whitney Grace, March 24, 2014
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Facebook Shrugs at End of Organic Reach to the Chagrin of Marketers

March 20, 2014

The article on Advertising Age titled Brands’ Organic Facebook Reach Has Crashed Since October: Study begins with a dire end-of-days of free reach on Facebook pronouncement. The data is from Social@Ogilvy, which discovered a decline from about 12% to just over 6% among 106 country-level brand pages. This drop is from October to February. The reason seems to be that users are getting too much content thrown at them, too much to possibly consume. The article explains,

“Increasingly Facebook is saying that you should assume a day will come when the organic reach is zero,” he said. In the short term, Mr. Manson expects to see the drop in organic reach to drive a bit more Facebook ad spending. In the longer term, he expects to see increased investment in social channels like Twitter, Facebook-owned Instagram and WeChat and for brands to effectively hedge their bets instead of being centrally focused on Facebook.”

Facebook, unsurprisingly, is putting money first, and assuming a position that looks more like a shrug than anything else. They have urged marketers to stop seeing organic reach as a bonus rather than part of what they are buying when they purchase ads on the social networking site. It remains to be seen whether marketers are buying this argument.

Chelsea Kerwin, March 20, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Kontagent Comes Clean

March 18, 2014

A recent partner audit by Facebook prompted the removal of business intelligence firm Kontagent from the Facebook Mobile Measurement Program (MMP). A post at the Kontagent Kaleidoscope blog from the company’s CEO, “An Update on our Relationship with Facebook, How We Store Data,” addresses the issue head-on. Andy Yang admits his company made a mistake, but assures us that absolutely no data breaches resulted from the misstep. Furthermore, though the company is not currently part of the MMP, it is still working with Facebook in other areas.

Yang details what precipitated his company’s removal from the program. They did violate Facebook’s policy on how long they could store data, but note that the slip-up occurred as they were working to exceed Facebook’s requirements on privacy and security. Still, they say, the mistake was theirs, they are learning from it, and they hope to earn the chance to rejoin the program. See the post for more on their security measures and on what transpired with Facebook. Yang summarizes:

“In short, Kontagent created an encryption policy that we designed to completely protect user privacy while addressing Facebook’s policy in one elegant solution. In hindsight, while our intentions were good, we overthought the solution when a more basic approach would have better met Facebook’s requirements.

“I completely respect the audits that Facebook conducts to ensure their partners are properly compliant. We will address each of the issues noted in Facebook’s audit despite not being a member of the MMP.”

After its launch in 2007, Kontagent cut their data analysis teeth on SaaS analytics for key social game developers. Now, leading brands in a variety of fields depend upon their expertise. Based in San Francisco, Kontagent also maintains offices in Toronto, London, Seoul, and Tokyo.

Cynthia Murrell, March 18, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Fetopolis Find Fault with Facebook Marketing

March 16, 2014

The article titled This $US600,000 Facebook Ad Disaster Is A Warning Small Business Owners on Business Insider Australia tells the story of Kapur Brar, CEO of small business Fetopolis. Fetopolis is a compendium of online fashion magazines with a healthy online following. Until recently, Brar relied heavily on marketing through Facebook, spending $100,000 a day. The article explains why Brar has “fallen out of love with Facebook,”

“He discovered…that his Facebook fanbase was becoming polluted with thousands of fake likes from bogus accounts. He can no longer tell the difference between his real fans and the fake ones. Many appear fake because the users have so few friends, are based in developing countries, or have generic profile pictures. At one point, he had a budget of more than $US600,000 for Facebook ad campaigns, he tells us. Now he believes those ads were a waste of time.”

Strangely, this story isn’t really being told, in spite of Facebook having 25 million small businesses using Facebook for marketing at varying levels of sophistication.

Did the purchase of WhatsApp cause this interesting story to slip into oblivion? The article offers some defense of Facebook- the majority of customers are happy, the payment of Brar’s bill is disputed, and yet it is also true that Facebook does not allow for third party “click audits,” which is standard practice.

Chelsea Kerwin, March 16, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Russian Yandex and Facebook Strike a Deal

February 6, 2014

The article titled Russian Search Engine Yandex Sets Facebook Firehose On Full Blast on redOrbit explains the deal struck by Yandex and Facebook to include Facebook public content from Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Turkey. Private content will remain inaccessible, but Yandex believes that Facebook allowing access to public data will greatly enhance the volume of results.

The article states:

“Yandex will add up-to-date articles and videos, among other things that have had great resonance among Facebook users. In addition, the popularity of materials in the social network will be taken into consideration when ranking search results,” Yandex said.

The agreement is non-cash based, Reuters reports, and stands to benefit both parties. Yandex will improve the quality of its search results while Facebook will get more traffic. Both Yandex and Facebook make a significant portion of revenues from advertising.”

In the scene of Russian social networking, Facebook ranks fourth to such companies as Vkontakte, so while this deal will benefit Facebook’s visibility, Yandex will also show content from other networks. About a year ago, Facebook began protecting its data, which began the conversation leading to the deal. The two organizations worked together previously to build a social search app called Wonder.

Chelsea Kerwin, February 06, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Facebook Tracks the Evolution of a Meme

January 29, 2014

The article titled Facebook Data Scientists Prove Memes Mutate And Adapt Like DNA on TechCrunch investigates the lifespan of a type of memes he calls “adaptable.” The article explains that Facebook’s data scientists have been tracking memes just as a scientist might follow a genetic mutation. They use the example of the liberal meme “no one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, post this as your status for the rest of the day”. They supply a chart following all of the paths this one meme took.

The article explains:

“As I wrote in my Stanford Cybersociology Master’s program research paper, memes are more shareable if they’re easy to remix. When a meme has a clear template with substitutable variables, people recognize how to put their own spin on it. They’re then more likely to share their own modified creations, which drives awareness of the original. When I recognized this back in 2009, I based my research on Lolcats and Soulja Boy, but more recently The Harlem Shake meme proved me right.”

This explains the variants such as “no one should die because of zombies if they cannot afford a shotgun”, and “be without a beer because they cannot afford one,” and my personal favorite “be frozen in carbonite because… they couldn’t pay Jabba the Hut.” Each evolution is created due to a shift in audience. Studying the evolution of memes, the article posits, could make Facebook better able to provide and promote new content.

Chelsea Kerwin, January 29, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Elasticsearchs Facebook Happiness and Search Competition in 2014

January 21, 2014

A holiday leftover we’ve found at the Elasticsearch Blog has us contemplating the open-source search race for 2014. The site shares video from a recent event in which a Facebook representative discusses his company’s use of their product in, “Facebook & Elasticsearch: for Your Holiday Viewing Pleasure.” Is Elasticsearch surpassing Silicon Valley-based LucidWorks?

The post introduces the video:

“So, without further ado, we bring you this video from the inaugural Elasticsearch Silicon Valley meetup, in which you’ll learn more about Facebook’s use of Elasticsearch, including:

  • Facebook’s migration from Apache Solr to Elasticsearch
  • The company’s use of Elasticsearch to power internal search for developer tool sets and libraries
  • How Elasticsearch powers Facebook’s Community Help Site
  • And much, much more on their use case.”

The video is over an hour long, and full of good technical information, if that’s your thing. But the first two minutes summarize why Facebook prefers Elasticsearch over the competition. (The company had previously tried using Google Enterprise Search and Apache Solr and found each lacking.) Below the video, the post links to a webinar on getting started with their product. Formed in 2012, Elasticsearch is based in Amsterdam with offices in the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, and Switzerland. They are also hiring as of this writing; that’s usually a good sign.

We heard that OpenSearchServer, another open-source search vendor, snagged the Le Monde account from Sinequa. If true, there seems to be competition between open-source search vendors and non-open-source search systems as well as among open-source search vendors.
Contention and competition. The year 2014 will be fascinating.

Cynthia Murrell, January 21, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

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