A few Facebook related metrics

As you may know, there’s an AAUW Facebook Strategy group that’s tracking metrics on efforts related to AAUW in Facebook. See this Growth of Facebook Related Groups graph of FB metrics Nov. 23 2007

and the original data file (a Google doc). [Click for a larger view.]

You may also be interested in this Views of AAUW Mission Video at Youtube graph of the views of the AAUW Mission Video:

I draw a couple of inferences from the graphs:

  • It’s easier to engage friends in the “change” for Pay Equity than to get additional members to join the AAUW-specific group.
  • The posting about AAUW in Facebook on the webmanagers list (11/9) caused a slight increase in the group’s rate of growth, but certainly nothing dramatic.

Communication in the new way

As I’ve written before, part of the Facebook seduction is the brand clean message box — no years and years of of history. I’m trying to just accept the fact that I can’t search those messages — live in the moment, if you will.

But another attraction is the fact that Facebook’s model makes spam almost impossible (but for the crazies posting Yuwie invites all over). Even though it’s possible to get mail from strangers, there’s no way to get mass e-mail from strangers. Occasionally an application gone awry will send out a message to all of your friends, but those are fairly easy to ignore/deal with.

So the “opt in” is pretty strictly enforced, and it’s easy to “opt out” of groups where there are too many messages. Contrast that to the messages you get from folks who use “blind carbon copy” recipient lists for newsletters and such — sometimes you’ve no idea how you got on the list, and you’re not sure if a message back will get you off. If you don’t know the person, you can just set a filter to transfer all their messages to the trash. But what if you do know them? And you’ve commented on this practice before? You don’t want to junk all messages from them, but you’d like to be able to differentiate personal messages from the mass mailings.

I was thinking about this again when I saw the TechSoup posting “Are you a Spammer“.

Even for noncommercial e-mails I’d suggest that there be a clear description of the purpose of the list and how to unsubscribe whenever unsolicited e-mail goes out to a large(ish) group. Holler at me if there’s a list I control where I don’t observe this dictum.

First experiment with Facebook Ads

In September/October, I’d posted a couple of Facebook flyers to the Raleigh/Durham and the surrounding College networks. These were sold on a “total impressions” basis, and I spent about $25-$30 for a few days worth of 2500 or 5000 impressions in the community. One of these flyers ran over the weekend of Nov. 2-3 and invited folks to visit the branch’s booth at the Raleigh International Festival where we were recruiting volunteers for an Interpreters Directory. We also mentioned the project in the local paper’s community site, and saw a couple of dozen hits from Facebook and fewer from the paper. During the weekend we had a couple of volunteers over the web, but we didn’t ask “how did you hear about us.”

In early November, Facebook discontinued these flyers and substituted ads, giving different kinds of controls on selecting the population and paying for the results. Late Friday, Nov. 9, I created an ad to drive folks to the volunteer form. I said I was willing to pay $5.00/day and $.25/click. The ad was targeted at those 21 and older in Apex, NC, Cary, NC, Chapel Hill, NC, Durham, NC, Garner, NC, Raleigh, NC, and Wake Forest, NC – approximately 100,000 Facebook members.

Things started well on Saturday morning — 7970 impressions and a couple of clicks with an average cost of $.14. But then things just stopped.

On Tuesday, I increased the max payment per click to $2.00 and saw an immediate surge in both views and clicks. The campaign ran through 11/17 with the following stats. We paid $5/day for the clicks we got starting Tuesday.

Avg CPC ($)
Avg CPM ($)
3926 4 1.25 1.27 982
5820 4 1.25 0.86 1455
5910 3 1.67 0.85 1970
10803 7 0.71 0.46 1543
17856 9 0.56 0.28 1984
Mon (HOL)
0 0 0 0  
0 0 0 0  
7970 2 0.14 0.04 3985

We did get three volunteers that may be attributed to the campaign — one on 11/13, two on 11/14.

I’m not sure we’d do this again, but I’m interested in insights others might have.

  • Any ideas on why the cost/click rose over the week?
  • Does anyone else have cost/click data? While Facebook says it “adjusts” the amount based on demand, is there any documentation on that algorithm?
  • Are our impressions/click (Facebook reports the CTR% which rose over the week) in line with what others see? There’s very little that can be configured in a user-written ad. But could the ad itself have been “snazzier” to get a better result here? Or did the impressions/click and cost/click interact so that there wasn’t much we could tinker with given our budget?

I guess the main lesson I learned was to include a “how did you hear about us” in the form. I’ll also be more careful about tracking Facebook traffic to the page in question.
Comments welcome!

Facebook vs. LinkedIn

Last week I was in a meeting where a “choice” of social networking sites came up. I said I’d found Facebook more engaging than LinkedIn. Another participant said that she didn’t see value in Facebook, but found herself spending lots of time on LinkedIn.

Now our approaches to social networking sites are quite different. I work out of the house and don’t mind a bit of “chatter” about personal lives seeping into the networking discussion, particularly since my “persona” in Facebook is as an AAUW leader encouraging engagement among members from across the country. She has a small business (where she gets enough of that “chatter”) and is using LinkedIn to recruit new employees, and so it’s the professional information that’s important to her.

Here’s an attempt to compare/contrast those two platforms, and move towards an understanding of what goals are met by participating in one or the other or both.

  1. It’s easier to approach strangers in Facebook.
    • In LinkedIn you cannot send a message to someone new without using an “introduction” through one of your connections or through a group in which you are both members. Almost no one posts an e-mail address or other contact information that is visible to the public.
    • In Facebook you can message anyone who hasn’t explicitly chosen to stay “unreachable.” In the Facebook culture, almost everyone stays open to connections from strangers, so if you find someone with a common interest, it’s possible to communicate with them, even if you (or they) do not choose to establish a “friend” connection.
  2. It’s easier to integrate nonprofit goals in Facebook
    • There’s a richer set of applications (e.g. causes, change.org, changing the present), that integrate with Facebook profiles and encourage friend-to-friend information sharing about nonprofit goals.
    • While memberships, board service, and other non-profit activities can be listed on LinkedIn profiles, they aren’t supported in the same way as on Facebook
  3. There are different ways to find people by skill/interest
    • Both systems encourage users to list profile information. Facebook’s default is skewed to the personal, not professional, but it does have extensions that cover resume-type information, though it’s not clear how that information could be searched.
    • In Facebook, it’s easy to set up skill/interest based groups and it’s possible to find people by their contributions on those groups.
    • LinkedIn’s Q&A setup may serve some of the purpose of the Facebook groups in identifying people by their participation patterns.

I’ll add more as things come to me. Please comment or contact me if you’ve got other thoughts.

Quick update on FB Apps and FB Pages

Just a note to update earlier postings about the use of Facebook Pages, and my list of active Facebook Apps.

I found “Profile Box” on the list of recent applications, and that led me to “Profile HTML”, by the same developer. Each of these

  • allows entry of HTML
  • adds to both pages and individual profiles
  • has an option to tell friends about the app, but doesn’t do that by default.

The only difference between the two seems to be the name — if you use them both, you can then put two HTML containers on the profile or page.

I’m using them on the AAUW NC Facebook page to show the links to new content on both the AAUW NC and AAUW sites. It’d be better, of course, to republish the content itself, but I haven’t found an app that displays the contents of RSS feeds that works on pages.

I also tried to use the code that would associate the page with the main AAUW NC RSS feed — i.e. make the orange RSS icons show up in Firefox and IE 7. I may have done something wrong — but it looks as if Facebook stripped out that HTML code.