Both Twitter and Facebook are competing with other tech giants, including Apple, Google, PayPal and the leading credit card companies to own the emerging mobile payment sector, which is immensely popular with consumers and has proven fertile territory for startups. More specifically, the leading technology companies are seeking an advantage in so-called peer-to-peer payments, which are typically smaller payments sent from one person to another. Individuals could use such payments, for example, when they are splitting a bill or to wire money.
Did you hear the one about Facebook charging $2.99 per month for access?
Recently, the Facebook fee hoax started circulating on, yes, Facebook, and you didn’t have to be an investigative journalist to debunk the thing. You just had to look at the company’s revenue numbers. Facebook’s 1.3 billion users are so valuable as advertising targets, the company would never run the risk of cutting any of them off with a paywall.
But, as it turns out, Facebook is willing to risk alienating its users in other ways. It also sees tremendous value in using its social network to experiment on those 1.3 billion souls—so much value that it’s still worth losing a few here and there.
If anything in recent memory comes close to validating off-repeated conspiracy theories about the motives of Facebook, it was the company’s now infamous “emotional contagion” study published over the summer. In the study, Facebook researchers tweaked the News Feeds of nearly 700,000 users—without their knowledge—to see if more positive or negative updates from friends induced the same emotions in the users themselves. The outcry was swift and loud, and now, several months later, Facebook says it’s being more careful in how it conducts its research. But there’s no sign that it’s stopping.
Anyone who has even breathed in the vicinity of a website redesign knows that there is no more perfect time for every single site user to say exactly what they think about the terrible, horrible changes that never should have been made in the first place. Now consider Facebook FB, with its 1.23 billion subscribers, most of whom feel quite proprietary about the site. Who wants to mess with a billion avid users?
Margaret Gould Stewart does. As Facebook’s director of product design, it’s her job to make sure the site’s latest layout changes don’t tilt the love-hate Facebook equation too far toward “hate.” The Silicon Valley veteran, who led user experience teams at YouTube and Google before joining Mark Zuckerberg’s crew, says that designing for the masses brings up particular challenges: Any pixel tweak could rankle half the population of the internet. Here’s how she does it
Are you doing the bare minimum when it comes to your small business website? Just having a website is no longer enough if it ever was. You’ve got to take action to get potential customers to discover, engage with and buy from your business. And that means creating an integrated online marketing plan where all parts of your Web presence work together.
Deluxe Corporation recently polled small business owners to find out what they’re doing online. Here’s some of what they found:
Small business owners say word-of-mouth is their most important way of engaging with customers 73 percent. However, they don’t seem to realize that social media has become a crucial part of word-of-mouth. Just 21 percent say social media is an important way to engage with customers; in comparison, 40 percent say business cards are.
What about websites? While two-thirds of small business owners have a business website, that number is still way too small. As I mentioned earlier, having a website is the bare minimum these days. Small business owners are also falling short in what features they have on their website. Fewer than half have photos or videos; just 32 percent use search engine optimization SEO, and only 28 percent have reviews or social media share/follow buttons.
Like last year and the year before that, 2014 has been dubbed the “Year of Mobile” when ad dollars would start to catch up to smartphone usage. With major players like Facebook, Twitter and Google all pivoting to a mobile-first strategy, pundits claim this accelerated monetization as imminent. Unfortunately, there are fundamental hurdles inherent to the mobile ad ecosystem that must be cleared for this to become a reality.
Without a doubt, mobile marketing has fantastic potential, but we’re not there just yet. Outside of Facebook and Twitter, the majority of ad inventory available to marketers is the mobile banner, which has nearly the worst signal-to-noise ratio of any ad medium ever invented—second only to incentivized clicks. That means that the success of campaigns has almost no correlation to click performance data. Mobile game companies have consequently swallowed this market, buying ads based on inferred lifetime valuations LTV of customers.
Digital advertising is a booming business, with the market expected to approach $200 billion annually by 2017. But you know what makes it look like pocket change? Banking. McKinsey reports that banks pulled in $1.3 trillion in payment fees two years ago. Facebook is extremely tight-lipped about its interest in this market. COO Sheryl Sandberg snapped off a crisp “Nothing new to announce,” when the question came up during April’s earnings conference call, and company representatives expressed confusion as to our interest. But even JPMorganChase CEO Jamie Dimon and American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault expect Facebook and Google to be a future rival of their mega-banks.
The source of the hubbub is a Financial Times report this spring that Facebook is close to securing a license in Ireland to market e-payment services in Europe and developing economics. With the license in hand, Facebook could facilitate users sending money to loved ones; conduct foreign exchange; or store money digitally or on a plastic card. In theory, it could even open the way to a crypto currency like Bitcoin.