Tag Archives: facebook

New Study reveals Facebook’s influence on the News

Tech News from Ascentive

According to a new study on the flow of traffic to the Web’s 25 largest news destinations, the social network Facebook is influencing what news gets read online, as Facebook users have to ability to use the network to share and recommend content. The study was released on Monday by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. The Pew report is based on an analysis of Internet traffic data compiled by the research firm Nielsen Co. during the first nine months of last year.

The popular social network site is responsible for 3 percent of traffic to the 21 news sites that allowed data to be tracked, according to the study’s co-author, Amy Mitchell. Five of the sites studied got 6 percent to 8 percent of their readers from Facebook.

The referrals to the news sites typically came from links posted by friends on Facebook’s social-networking site or from Facebook’s “like” buttons, which Facebook encourages other websites to place alongside their content, usually through the use of a plugin.

Although Facebook is making a substantial impact on the news, according to the report, the single biggest source remained Google, which accounted for an average of 30 percent of the traffic as people used the search engine to find topics and stories. For some sites, the Drudge Report was the top source. However, Facebook and other sharing tools are empowering people to rely on their online social circles to point out interesting content. Google uses an automated formula to help people find news. Facebook is at the forefront of this shift because it has more than 500 million worldwide users, more than any other Internet service built for socializing and sharing.

“If searching for the news was the most important development of the last decade, sharing the news may be among the most important of the next,” the Pew report said.

Pew examined data from various Internet research sources, such as Nielsen Co., ComScore and Hitwise, during the first nine months of 2010. The study focused on the top 25 general interest news sites, including the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, ABC News, CBS News, AOL News, Reuters, Yahoo News, and Google News. The study found an average 77 percent of the traffic came from “casual users” who visited just once or twice a month. And in 34 percent of those visits, users spent from one to five minutes on the site per month.

The study also found that 25 to 29 percent of the audiences for the top news sites have bachelor’s degrees, compared with 21 percent of general Internet users. The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the BBC, the Boston Globe and SFGate.com had the highest percentages of users with post-graduate degrees.

Also of note, according to the researchers from Millward Brown Optimor, Facebook’s brand has grown in value to $19.1 billion, an increase of over 246 percent as compared to last year.

Facing Your Facebook Ad Needs

Facebook Ads

Google ads are often at the forefront of our minds when it comes to Internet marketing, but don’t forget their plucky sidekick, the Facebook ad! Let’s chat about the best ways to set up your Facebook ad campaign for maximum effectiveness and results.

First, let’s get a handle on the parameters of the Facebook ad. Your title: 25 characters. That last sentence was exactly 25 characters, so you can see how brief you have to be. In such a space, it’s best to draw the viewer in with a question – Need Better Facebook Ads? – or the promise/solution you are offering – Facebook Ads with Results. You can also start with a problem question – Facebook Ads Confusing?

The next section is the body, which can be 135 characters maximum. For this section, be solution-oriented and be conversational. If you started with a problem in your title, offer a solution. And it’s best if the solution is specific. It’s not enough to talk about “car parts”; talk about “car parts, oil filters, engine parts, mufflers, and carburetors.” These do double-duty, as they act as your SEO-style keyword phrases as well. This is also your opportunity to inject geo-targeted keywords, if your campaign is focusing on a specific region: “The best car parts in St. Louis and East St. Louis.”

At the end of the body, urge the reader to action with a call-to-action phrase: “Sign up for our newsletter and receive 25% off your next order.” This phrase is nice because it not only calls the reader to action, but it offers an enticement. If you have any similar enticement to offer, this is your opportunity. The very best ads are “event” ads – big sale, special offer, freebie, and other enticements.

Facebook ads require images. This image should have a 4:3 aspect ratio, and measure approximately 110 by 80 pixels (though Facebook will resize smaller and larger images). These images will be seen at a thumbnail-type size, so it’s important to choose an image that is simple and clean. Graphic-designed images, such as logos, are nice due to this reason, though carefully-selected photos are also effective.

The remainder of your ad set-up is dedicated to defining your audience, so these pages are obviously key in your ad campaign. In general, all the basic stuff you can define in your own profile can be targeted with Facebook ads: location, age, sex, education level, and even birthday or relationship status. You can also list interests of your audience, another opportunity to inject some keyword phrases. On the final page, you can set a per-day campaign budget (with a minimum of $1.00) and a time frame to run the campaign in.

Pretty simple, right? But with so many million regular Facebookers, this avenue can be particularly fruitful as part of your overall Internet marketing campaign. What do you think? What did I get wrong? What ads have you found to be most effective in your own campaign? Any tips for our readers? Weigh in with your thoughts!

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