The Numbers Behind Facebook’s “Like” Button

Social Mediaon September 30th, 2010Comments Off on The Numbers Behind Facebook’s “Like” Button

Simple shot of how the new Facebook "Like" button functionsFacebook yesterday posted an analysis of “likers,” those who click the like button on sites using Facebook Friend Connect.  This story and Justin Osofsky’s Scrib’d presentation to which it was linked, provided some interesting insights.

When the “Like” button is used on an article, that story is added to Facebook’s search database; it is posted to the user’s profile and it is published to a user’s friends, creating three potential avenues for the story to be found by others.

It’s not surprising then, that adding “Like” has substantially increased both usage and engagement on certain sites.  News sites like Gawker have seen about a 200% increase in traffic; has experienced 2.2x more job searches and users have read 92% more articles. Sites that place friend’s faces next to the “Like” button have a much higher rate of like button usage than those that do not.

Facebook also provided some interesting numbers on “Likers.”  The average Facebook user has 130 friends, but people who use the “like” button have more than 2x more friends.  They are also over 5x more likely to browse external content.  News readers who use the “like” button have a median age about twenty years younger than the average newspaper reader, or 34 and 54. respectively.

Facebook also published guidelines on which kinds of stories increase engagement.  On the top of their list were “touching, emotional stories,” for example “fireman adopts girl orphaned in home fire…” and “passionate provocative debates,” for example, “is it time to ban vuvuzuvas?” Both of these types of stories increased engagement by over 2x.

Other recommendations for publishers included: placing the activity plugin above the fold and on multiple pages, using livestream for live events, creating pages on current events, using search API for visualizations that increase engagement.  Additional useful recommendations were given to journalists for using Facebook more effectively.

These statistics and guidelines should be quite useful for those seeking to maximize traffic on their sites.

Facebook + FriendFeed = FaceFeed?

Social Mediaon August 11th, 2009Comments Off on Facebook + FriendFeed = FaceFeed?

Facebook announced today that it had acquired FriendFeed.  Multiple sources carried the news after Technorati broke it, minutes before Facebook made its own announcement.  Largely believed to be an acquisition for talent, the 12 members of the Friendfeed team include founder Bret Taylor the creator of Google Maps and Paul Buchheit, who developed Gmail.  Facebook indicated that the four Friendfeed founders would all serve as senior executives in their product and engineering departments.

Articles have already been written about what FriendFeed brings to Facebook, including public profiles, conversations that involve people you don’t know, aggregated content from multiple sites and real time information.  Whether some of these features will continue to be supported if Friendfeed is fully incorporated into Facebook or not remains to be seen. Without question the biggest impact of this acquisition might be on Twitter.  Past analysis has shown that a majority of the content that Friendfeed aggregates is from Twitter.  Given Twitter’s very recent and very public snubbing of an acquisition offer from Facebook, is this simply the first volley in a capabilities war where Facebook will use its superior financial funding position to acquire companies that have advanced Twitter-like features so that they can eventually eliminate Twitter’s dominate position in microblogging?

But it’s not as though Facebook should be worried.  With over 250 million users against Twitter’s 4-5 million, adding Friendfeed, a site that reached over 1 million visits earlier this year, will not make an appreciable difference in the lead it already enjoys.  In Facebook’s and Friendfeed’s press releases, in addition to talent,  shared platform and work culture philosophies were cited as reasons for the acquisition.  But what might be good for these two companies might not be good for Friendfeed users.

Most of the feedback was negative when the deal was announced.  Indeed Friendfeed oftentimes seemed to be a haven for social media practitioners.  Prominent members of that community, including Robert Scoble, are avid users and as one commenter stated on Bret Taylor’s feed, “Uh, well that’s the end of that.”

Friendfeed now joins Pownce as yet another Twitter-like social media service that was hyped by the “social mediarati” only to be acquired by another company with different designs on the industry.

Social Media Bombs

Social Mediaon March 9th, 2009Comments Off on Social Media Bombs

Most social media articles cover the marketing side of social media. How marketshare can be gained, products sold, reputations built on the savvy use of web 2.0 tools. But as with any compelling new technology, this medium can also be used for other purposes. One of these is the social media bomb. Defined as a series of coordinated acts on social media networks, the social media bomb is intended to attract attention through a viral dissemination of a specific message. Recently, Amnesty International asked it’s supporters to send out a message at 1:10 p.m. on Friday, March 6 on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. The message: “Each year, 1 in 10 women in Britain experience rape or other violence,” was intended to raise public awareness of this issue. The results of this social media bomb are not yet known, but one can see a difference in impact between Twitter, where pages of retweets still appear and MySpace and Facebook, where nary any evidence of the message exists. Nonetheless with the profusion of social networks, and the ability to communicate on them ubiquitously, one can imagine more such awareness raising efforts in the future.