Social Trading Apps Coming of Age

social_tradingOnline trading is growing and now it’s spreading to Facebook.  From the world of Forex to Binary Options, trading online from the comfort of your own home is a big business.  In June 2012, retail banks began to give their customers the option of linking their Facebook profiles to their telephone banking services.  This gave customers to access their bank account through the Bank’s Facebook application in order to check balances and make payments.  Among the first of the Banks to offer this application was the South African FNB.

CEO of FNB’s  Cellphone Bankingndivision, Ravesh Ramlakan stated “It is without a doubt that social media banking is the next frontier – to us this is a channel that will provide our customers with more choice and convenience to do their banking.”

Security is a big issue with social media banking and despite measures to implement proper security, the security issue still remains a big block for potential users.

Using animated pictures, videos and games, Finovate have also created an appealing product to capture the new generation of social media junkies.

Based on prepaid card, the app lets cardholder perform a limited number of online banking activities.  Checking balances and viewing recent purchases are two of the mainstream banking activities.  The app also allows users to set goals for savings plans with an integrated progress bar to notify customers when they have reached the necessary level to buy their heart’s desire.

Trading in the form of games is also continuing to grow.  According to the financial portal How Traders Make Money, many binary options and retail forex platforms are beginning to capitalize on the ‘coming of age’ of Facebook users.  Three to five years ago when the target age for Facebook applications and games was between 14 and 18, these applications had a difficult time converting users to real depositors.  Now that these users have grown up and are beginning to receive credit cards and join the world as young adults, the trading applications are expecting much better results for the social media targeted campaigns.

The editor of How Traders Make Money, John Dean, stated “We have seen a dramatic change in the user profile of social media financial applications.  This all points to the growing use of Facebook, specifically on mobile devices.  Online trading applications have been rolling social and mobile apps for the past eight to ten months.  I believe that the mobile products will gain momentum as we approach the 3rd quarter in 2013.”

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Timeline and a Lesson in Consumer Engagement

Despite the recent bad press surrounding f-Commerce together with the ‘sudden’ and ‘forced’ implementation of Facebook’s timeline for pages, ShopIgniter’s offering has now become even more compelling.  Not only has timeline not been an obstacle for ShopIgniter, but has actually enhanced the ShopIgniter offering.

By fully understanding every element of the new timeline, ShopIgniter’s f-Commerce solution caters for each individual feature of the new timeline.  From the cover photo to engaging posts, ShopIgniter’s customized shopping application utilizes every benefit of the new timeline page design.

According to a CMO council study, 79% of fans want to learn about the products offered by brands they’ve liked.  In another study by Simply Measured, there has been a 46% increase in engagement per post since the implementation of timeline.  Content engagement, such as compelling pictures and videos is receiving a 65% engagement increase in comparison to the old design.

For brands looking to sell on Facebook, these are substantial statistics.  Now, product and brand awareness is simpler, more effective and has a higher response rate.  The ability to highlight and draw attention to specific promotions and products can be done using the scalable fan page images and post pinning to keep relevant and important news directly in the vision of the consumer.

The use of stunning imagery, collages and eye-catching promotional banners can enhance the brand and the user experience alike.  By steering the consumer and guiding them through their purchase via imagery, brands will see an increase in sales conversion.

Speaking to Commerce On Facebook, ShopIgniter CMO Kevin Tate stated “We are PCI level 1 compliant.  Security is a big deal for consumers and we’ve made the Facebook shopping experience as safe, if not safer, than dot com shopping sites.”

Unlike competitor f-Commerce providers who have stayed with the ‘catalog on a tab’ approach to consumer engagement, ShopIgniter are bringing the point of purchase to the consumer at the very first moment a consumer engages with an offer, product or promotion.  Timeline tells a story in real time.  Therefore it makes sense for brands to offer time based promotions.  Whether it’s a teaser in advance of a special promotion or a limited offer discount, timeline is now the ideal place for f-Commerce.

The fit between ShopIgniter’s offering and Facebook’s Timeline is a perfect match.  Mobile engagement is on the ShopIgniter 2012 roadmap.  Realizing that the majority of people are using mobile devices, ShopIgniter are ensuring that their brands receive the most up to the minute methods to engage with consumers.   At this point in time, ShopIgniter are definitely pulling away from the rest of the pack to offer a unique and effective product to fulfill the social needs of every brand.

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Virtual World Real Potential

Walking into a bar or nightclub alone and striking up a conversation with a stranger is daunting for the majority of people.  By nature, most people have insecurities which inhibit them from doing such a thing.  But now, the latest addition to the world of virtual reality enables people to feel comfortable doing exactly that. Based within an application inside Facebook, Dot Friends allows users to determine exactly how they look, what they wear and even how they move on the dance floor.

The application, which is currently in Beta, lets users choose which places to “enter” anywhere in the world.  Bars and nightclubs are represented by drop pins on a world map and on entering users are transported to a graphically enhanced experience of being inside a bar or club.  And that’s just where the fun begins.

Within each environment users can select videos which are played out on a big screen within the bar or club.  Virtual currency is used to buy drinks which can be given to anyone in the club.  With public and private chat functionality, users can strike up conversations with strangers or chat with a group of friends.  A choice of customized dance moves enables the user’s avatar to become the center of attention on the dance floor.  Alternatively, users can choose to sit at tables or by the bar and just quietly take in all the action.

Similar to the early days of online chat rooms, Dot Friends is the next generation of socializing within the already social environment of Facebook.  Dot Friends will also soon be giving users the chance to create their own bars and nightclubs and take control of their own virtual environment.  Unlike online chat rooms, the virtual world created by Dot Friends is full of unleashed potential.

Brands have already begun to approach Dot Friends in order to ‘own’ customized social environments in order to promote products.  Until now, f-Commerce has not been successful and the sale of goods within Facebook has not taken off as expected.  This has been identified by brands being unable to understand the psychology of social consumers and correctly engage in social interaction.  Now brands have the chance to interact with users in a zone where the user already feels comfortable.  They can additionally speak directly with brand representatives, ask questions and receive real-time answers.  This makes the social interaction and engagement of users through Fan Pages a thing of the past.

Dot Friends have a plan to add a whole host of features and functionality to their existing virtual world. The potential to add new venues such as coffee shops, libraries which can be connected to online reading areas, celebrity zones with celebrity interaction, picture and art galleries displaying inspirational and original work, television shows, supermarkets, clothes stores, dating areas – is endless.

For users, the attraction is initially the same as the eagerness to be a part of online chat rooms in the late 90’s.  The thing that will keep users returning is the age of social in which we now live and the sometimes necessary urge to temporarily escape the madness of the real world.


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Changes to Facebook Pages Sees Another Setback to Retail Brands Selling on Facebook

After implementing timeline for fan pages Facebook has yet again changed the playing field in the way that brands interact with customers through their branded Facebook fan pages.

The ability to set a default landing tab will affect retailers who are using fan page apps such as Payvment and ShopTab in order to sell directly from their pages.

Small to medium sized retailers, who have already had little luck selling in Facebook with little, if any, marketing budgets will be hit the hardest by this move.  As reported a little while ago by CommerceOnFacebook, it will be the enterprise solutions of retail applications who will benefit the most from this change.

Companies such as 8th Bridge, ShopIgniter and Sortal who offer both customized solutions and the correct tools for successful marketing will now pull away from the crowd.  ‘Off the shelf’ solutions which rely on the merchant to find their own marketing success, will see a continued decline in signups and subscription cancellations.  Smaller storefront providers will probably begin to shut their own doors or change their Facebook applications completely.

Due to the most recent changes, not only the ability to set the default landing tab has changed.  The size of the canvas has increased which means that subscription based storefront providers will need to move fast to keep up with the development changes.

Fan pages will have the same timeline format as personal pages.  The picture at the top of the screen displayed on the default landing tab will not have the ability to link anywhere, display pricing information or have any clickable call to action.  Developers of fan page storefront applications must now offer retail customers solutions which entice shoppers to enter the storefront.  This is yet another click away from the reach of customers, who have already displayed a lack of interest in shopping on Facebook.

Below is the new layout of the Walmart Facebook fan page after the switch to the new timeline.

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It’s All Fun and Games on Facebook

Games engage on the social network better than any other online platform.  But is Facebook turning into the biggest interactive playground in the world?  Can it offer more?  The recent Facebook IPO saw a declaration that Facebook made 30% of it’s revenue from Zynga Poker, despite the fact that Zynga is reporting a net loss.  Just how dependent is Facebook on the games developed by Zynga?  These questions will only be answered in the coming months as the social network unveils it post IPO plans.

In the meantime, I believe that we will see games being used even more in the engagement process to gain new customers.  Many online gaming, casino and poker brands are looking to Facebook to add virtual currency gaming to their offerings.  In the past, online casino brands have used Facebook to advertise their casino offerings by running indirect campaigns and using filters through means of data capture or survey.  Now as talk of real money gaming applications will begin on Facebook, many regulated online casinos are strategically positioning themselves with virtual money gambling applications.

Additionally, many of the large game development companies are beginning to align themselves with regulated gambling entities.  Just last week saw PopCap, a subsidiary of Electronic Arts, extend its offering of social games by adding a social casino.  The Lucky Gem Casino, which will be exclusive to Facebook, will include some of PopCap’s most popular games such as Bejeweled, Bookworm, Chuzzle, and Zuma.

Will this be the future money generator for Facebook?  Would Facebook be bold enough to act as an affiliate partner of some of the bigger online casino operators and enjoy revenues from real money gaming?  Only time will tell.

F-Commerce isn’t just about selling tangible goods inside Facebook.  It’s about making money by reaching, engaging and interacting with the right audience and demographic.  Below is a table showing the top 25 game developers together with their respective list of games each one has developed.

Rank Developer Monthly Actives (M) 30 Day Trend Applications
Top Apps 30 Day trend
1 Zynga 31.86 Developer 30 Day Stats Texas HoldEm Poker Game App 30 Day Stats
ATTACK! Game App 30 Day Stats
Blackjack Game App 30 Day Stats
Triumph Game App 30 Day Stats
Scramble Game App 30 Day Stats
YoVille Game App 30 Day Stats
2 Playfish 26.86 Developer 30 Day Stats Bowling Buddies Game App 30 Day Stats
Who Has The Biggest Brain? Game App 30 Day Stats
Word Challenge Game App 30 Day Stats
Pet Society Game App 30 Day Stats
Minigolf Party Game App 30 Day Stats
3 6 waves 16.23 Developer 30 Day Stats 超級電視迷 Game App 30 Day Stats
愛情塔羅牌 Game App 30 Day Stats
我愛周星馳 Game App 30 Day Stats
懷舊街機王 Game App 30 Day Stats
Who Said That? (Movies) Game App 30 Day Stats
4 Green Patch 9.86 Developer 30 Day Stats (Lil) Green Patch Game App Day Stats
(Lil) Blue Cove Game App 30 Day Stats
5 Chainn Inc. 5.26 Developer 30 Day Stats Compare People Game App 30 Day Stats
Tiny Planet Game App 30 Day Stats
6 Context Optional 3.28 Developer 30 Day Stats Kidnap! Game App 30 Day Stats
7 Mob Wars 3.02 Developer 30 Day Stats Mob Wars Game App 30 Day Stats
8 Gina Lou 2.68 Developer 30 Day Stats Poker Palace Game App 30 Day Stats
9 Serious Business 2.38 Developer 30 Day Stats Friends For Sale! Game App 30 Day Stats
10 2.12 Developer 30 Day Stats Temple of Mahjong by Game App 30 Day Stats
is cool Game App 30 Day Stats
Sudoku Arena by Game App 30 Day Stats
11 SGN 1.97 Developer 30 Day Stats Superlatives Game App 30 Day Stats
Fighters’ Club Game App 30 Day Stats
WarBook Game App 30 Day Stats
Nicknames Game App 30 Day Stats
Jetman Game App 30 Day Stats
12 1.85 Developer 30 Day Stats MindJolt Games Game App 30 Day Stats
13 Hive7 1.50 Developer 30 Day Stats Knighthood Game App 30 Day Stats
Mobties Game App 30 Day Stats
14 playSocial 1.47 Developer 30 Day Stats myFarm Game App 30 Day Stats
15 Fendoo 1.07 Developer 30 Day Stats The Brain Game Game App 30 Day Stats
Optical Illusions Challenge Game App 30 Day Stats
Odd One Out Game App 30 Day Stats
16 TheBroth 1.05 Developer 30 Day Stats Kick Ass Game Game App 30 Day Stats
17 Platform Software 0.99 Developer 30 Day Stats Animated GIFTS Game App 30 Day Stats
Kiss: Are you a GOOD KISSER? Game App 30 Day Stats2
18 TripMonger, Inc 0.95 Developer 30 Day Stats Speed Racing Game App 30 Day Stats
19 Shikha 0.92 Developer 30 Day Stats Pillow Fight Game App 30 Day Stats
20 RockYou! 0.83 Developer 30 Day Stats PetrolHead Game App 30 Day Stats
Super Pets! Game App 30 Day Stats
21 Blake Commagere 0.82 Developer 30 Day Stats Zombies Game App 30 Day Stats
Vampires Game App 30 Day Stats
WereWolves Game App 30 Day Stats
Rockstar Bikes Game App 30 Day Stats
Rockstar Boats Game App 30 Day Stats
22 Graham Mather 0.74 Developer 30 Day Stats (fluff)Friends Game App 30 Day Stats
23 FrozenBear 0.73 Game App 30 Day Stats Pets Game App 30 Day Stats
Tuner Car Racer Game App 30 Day Stats
Armies Game App 30 Day Stats
Bar Fight! Game App 30 Day Stats
My House Game App 30 Day Stats
24 PageFad, LLC 0.70 Developer 30 Day Stats Premier Football Game App 30 Day Stats
25 Hidden Pixel 0.67 Developer 30 Day Stats Pet Pupz Developer 30 Day Stats
Cute Catz Game App 30 Day Stats
My Stable Game App 30 Day Stats


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Has f-Commerce Ended Before It Has Even Begun?

Sucharita Mulpuru has made no secret of the fact that she doesn’t believe in f-Commerce.  Mulpuru, a senior analyst at Forrester Research has even been quoted as saying “In the history of retail, there has probably been nothing that has been so widely anticipated yet underwhelming as the ‘era of social commerce,’”.

To back up her theory, one just needs to look at the recent news whereby big brands such as Gamestop, J C Penney and Nordstrom have made the decision to close their Facebook stores.  In a recent telephone interview with Bloomberg she was once again quoted with negativity toward f-Commerce, “There was a lot of anticipation that Facebook would turn into a new destination, a store, a place where people would shop, but it was like trying to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar.”

However, with that said, I don’t believe that f-Commerce or the future of selling products within a social environment should be dismissed so easily.  Instead, everyone involved with f-Commerce needs to take a step back, admit temporary defeat, understand the failings to date and either rebuild or improve the social shopping experience.

Even using Mulpuru’s own analogy of selling people ‘stuff’ while they hang out in a bar can be used positively.  For example, if someone if hanging out in a bar find out why they’re there, who they want to be with and what they would spend money during their visit.  Again using the ‘bar’ analogy, customers would be interested in being presented with relevant offers according the situation.  People are distracted into doing things spontaneously.  Just look at the success of all of the ‘off Broadway’ comedy shows.  Everyday hundreds of people on the streets around Times Square are asked “Do you like comedy?”  Has a comedy club ever decided to stop using this marketing tactic due to other comedy clubs not having success?  The answer is no.  This is the same reason why retailers looking to promote and sell within Facebook should not give up just because big name brands have not had success.

Admittedly things should change.  Storefronts in Facebook, sitting on Fan pages have become too readily available at too little cost.  Thereby alluring retailers into thinking that selling on Facebook is easy.  It’s not, nothing in life is.  But it doesn’t mean it’s time to give up.

Facebook itself has done very little to assist retailers get traction.  There have been no ‘best practice’ case studies on Social Commerce produced by Facebook.  Perhaps if Facebook didn’t take 30% on the sale of each Facebook credit, the credits may have a real monetary value that could be used to make purchases within Facebook stores.  After all, buying tangible goods is far more important and valuable than being used to buy virtual game tokens or imaginary swords.

Consumers still do not understand the security aspects of purchase transactions within Facebook.  This needs to be more widely spoken about.  It’s incredible that Facebook manages to get mentioned in the press at every given opportunity but does not use this sway to educate consumers.  Zuckerberg’s quote of how commerce on Facebook will blow up is almost two years old and is still being used by f-Commerce startups in their marketing material.

In short, f-Commerce has not been done correctly.  The education and psychology of social consumers is still not understood well enough.  Development companies offering Facebook storefronts to the masses,  with no aid to assist their storefront customers, has also been detrimental to the industry.  If things do not change, if Facebook does not pay heed, f-Commerce may come to an end.  But it will not be the end of social commerce.  Social commerce began when the first person shared with a friend details of a deal or an offer via the web.  Facebook’s existence did not create f-Commerce.  It just created additional opportunities which, as yet, have not been fully optimized.

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The Connector Between Social Media and Return on Investment

Unless you’re a celebrity or well-known personality, what exactly does it mean to have a fan?  Have you been misled into thinking that someone who clicks on ‘like’ is your true fan?  Has this even tempted you to sign up to the sites that offer to ‘sell’ you fans?  If so, then you still don’t understand social media and how to maximize its potential and even monetize the people who have, on their own volition, decided to follow you.

Below is an image taken from FanPageList.Com.  This shows the top 12 fan pages on Facebook, in terms of number of fans.  Take a good look at this list.  Apart from Facebook, Zynga and YouTube the remaining nine fan pages all have ‘celebrity’ appeal.  The people following these nine pages are true fans.  What all 12 have in common is mass interest.  Whether it’s the Harry Potter movie, Shakira, Family Guy, Christian Ronaldo or Facebook, people are truly interested in seeing and receiving updates relating to these iconic pages.  The value given to ‘fans’, is the personal connection to their favorite singer, footballer, game or social network.  The same is true and even more relevant for Twitter.  But the key to this is the belief that ‘fans’ are being offered something that is valuable to them.

The Facebook fan page has over 60 million fans.  What do they get?  Insights into their favorite social network.  The first thing they are presented with is interesting and relevant information.  Memology 2011 offers fans the top ten global topics on Facebook.  This ranges from the death of Osama Bin Laden to the Royal Wedding.  It also shows the most shared articles on Facebook in 2011.  The page does not try to get anything from their fans.  It just gives the fans more information about Facebook.

Eminem, with over 52 million fans, also gives without expecting.  This page rewards loyal fans with videos and music and even a Facebook game application called ‘Bad Meets Evil’.

Television show Family Guy gives fans the opportunity to vote for their favorite character.  This gives fans the feeling that they are being listened to, and they are.  Polls are a great way to interact with fans and find out a little more about them in an unobtrusive way.

However, if you’re not an iconic figure, a famous movie, a sports star or a social network, why would someone even consider becoming your ‘fan’?

Social media is a two way street.  This is why there’s such a vast difference in mind set between conventional advertising channels and social media advertising channels.  It’s also why so many mistakes are made regarding expectant ROI.  As it stands right now, there is no ROI in acquiring new fans alone.  It takes time to cultivate followers into fans and only then you will be able to monetize your fan base.

It’s all about giving before expecting.  Journalists and news publications give content that is considered valuable to the people reading it.  Games give enjoyment to the people playing.  Only once a significant enjoyment level is reached, fans are prepared to make a financial contribution to take their ‘play’ to a new level.  For games it’s the difference between freemium and premium.  People first have to understand and desire the freemium before they opt-in to the premium.

Exactly the same tactics can and should be applied to selling anything within Facebook.  Here are the steps to take in order to successfully promote your products or brand on Facebook:

  1. Fan Acquisition
    For most brands this would start off with an advertising campaign using Facebook ads.  Define an appealing offer.  A compelling reason for someone to ‘like’ your page.  Then, once momentum begins move on to step 2.
  2. Be a Giving Brand
    Give something of value to your fans.  Whether it’s exclusive gossip, participation in a poll that your fans will feel part of or access to an exclusive VIP section of your page, give something for nothing.  Please note, offering a discount does not count.
  3. Measure Engagement
    Take another look at the graphic above.  Each statistic displaying the ‘fan’ count is followed by ‘Talking About’.  When you have more than 10% of your ‘fan’ base talking about you, you are approaching the time to start monetizing your fans.
  4. Exclusive Deals / Flash Sales
    By the time you are ready to run a deal or flash sale you should already have a solid fan base with more than 10% talking about you and what you have already given to your fans.  When you do make the decision to run an exclusive deal don’t hold back in telling your fans that they are receiving this deal just for being a fan.
  5. Attaching Viral Discounts
    For every fan who takes up an offer on Facebook, you should have a system to reward them.  This reward system should be twofold:

    1. A reward for their transaction
    2. A reward if they share (this can be a tiered reward system based on number of shares)

The result of this is a successful word of mouth marketing campaign, also known as a ‘refer a friend’ program.

  1. Keep the cycle going and don’t stop.

This is the full cycle for selling and continuing on Facebook.  Every company trying to put key performance indicators (KPI’s) to their social media campaign should try these:

i.            Cost of a fan
If an advertising spend is $1,000 and 2,000 fans came in as a result of the campaign, but an additional 500 people became fans as a result of the 2,000, then $1,000 was spent to acquire 2,500, making the cost of a fan $0.40.

ii.            Cost of a fan talking about your brand
Fans talking about your brand are more valuable, but also cost more.  If 10% of your fan base are talking about your brand, that 250 fans.  This would put the cost of this type of fan at $4, based on the figures quoted above.

iii.            Cost of Fans purchasing straight from the offer.

iv.            Number of Additional friends of fans who purchased from the ‘word of mouth’ program.

There are additional KPI’s that can measure the full success of social media campaigns.  But, based on the above ideology, not everything is free!

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Will Timeline Hurt The Popularity of Facebook?

The new and widely spoken about Facebook timeline will imminently replace all users’ current Facebook home page.  The look and feel of the timeline is a drastic change to the current layout.  But is this change for the best?  So far, the feedback that we’ve seen here at CommerceOnFacebook.Com, has only been negative.  Admittedly, the timeline does appear to go in line with the whole ideology behind Facebook, allowing users to ‘scrapbook’ events in their lives.  But is it really too drastic?

The feedback from a poll asking 620 Facebook users if the implementation is too drastic and too sudden (despite all the online hype) is approximately 70% against the timeline.  “Half the stuff on my wall has disappeared.  I have no idea how to customize it and I really don’t have the time or energy to figure it out” stated Philip Fletcher.  Philip decided to change over to timeline in advance of the compulsory switch, but has been disappointed.  “It’s just not what I’m used to.  I’ve had a Facebook account for nearly five years.  Even though there have been changes in the past, nothing has changed as suddenly and with so much impact as the timeline.  Right now, there are only two things keeping me on Facebook.  Five years of pictures and the fact that it’s an easy way to stay in touch with most of my friends.”

Asked if he would consider changing to another social network such as Google plus Philip answered “Up until now I would never have considered it.  But with all the changes to Facebook, and if Google plus has a way of keeping my pictures and network of friends in a familiar manner, I probably wouldn’t hesitate right now.”

But logistically speaking how easy is it for a mass migration from Facebook to Google plus?

Technically speaking it’s very possible.  There are many applications currently plugging into Facebook’s API for many different features and functionality.  If Google were to create a ‘migration’ APi, in theory any Facebook user could automatically transfer all of their photo albums over to Google plus.  And it wouldn’t just stop there.  All profile information currently held in Facebook could also be transferred automatically to Google plus.  The only thing holding people back would be the connection to existing friends and the initial change to a different network.  However, if the majority of people, like Philip Fletcher, feel that Facebook’s timeline changes are so drastic that it no longer resembles the ‘old’ Facebook, now would be the ideal time for Google to push hard with their Google plus social network.

From a business perspective it wouldn’t be such a bad thing either.  Facebook hasn’t really made any changes which assist businesses promote themselves or easily sell products inside Facebook.  The predictions for commerce on Facebook have still yet to come to fruition.  Google already has the infrastructure for Google checkout, organic search and paid advertising from both the advertiser and publisher perspective.   Facebook ads, although currently still cheaper than Google’s adwords, still do not offer the kind of ROI enjoyed by adwords customers.

Social gamers still using Facebook will also find that all their favorite games can also be found on Google plus.  And that these games do not rely on being played within Facebook in order to continue playing with existing networks of friends.

In short, the introduction of timeline could go either way, but it could just be the start of a major decrease of Facebook users.  Will Google take advantage of this and push hard with an automatic migration for existing Facebook users?  Or will Facebook realize their potential mistake before it’s too late and amend the way timeline automatically displays user information?  With approximately 50 million users, Google plus is already starting to show early signs that the battle for social network dominance is well underway.


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Curebit Offers Online Stores the Solution for ‘Word of Mouth’ Social Marketing

Everyone talks about how effective ‘word of mouth’ marketing is within the realms of social media. But how easy is it to get customers to recommend your products? Incentivized offers are nothing new. Most online companies have at one time or another considered implementing a ‘refer a friend’ program. Some have successfully managed this while others have fallen by the way side.

The biggest problem, especially for small businesses, has always been the logistics of implementing such a program. In theory, it really isn’t rocket science. But when it comes to online tracking and the reward fulfillment, it just hasn’t been as easy as it sounds.

Now, designed for e-Commerce businesses, Curebit has the solution. First off, they offer simple and seamless integration for users of 3D Cart, Magento, Shopify, osCommerce, OpenCart, Zen Cart and DemandWare. They additionally offer custom integration for sites not using any of the above shopping platforms.

They allow the owners of online stores to offer paying customers a limited time discount in return for a successful recommendation to one of the customer’s friends. The customer can share the offer with their friends via Facebook, Twitter, eMail and Instant Messenger. On receiving the offer and clicking on the link, the friend is then taken to a landing page with additional details. Then, when the friend completes the purchase, the referrer is then notified and receives the discount for their next purchase.

Not only, is the store being recommended to new shoppers, but this also acts as a loyalty program for existing customers who become repeat shoppers. Documented on the Curebit website are two case study examples. Using Curebit, Diamond Candles ran a post-purchase campaign. Sales increased by 15% as a result of the campaign. Another client, Dodocase saw that 60% of their customers shared the offer, powered by Curebit, after making a purchase.

The system also identifies the power influencers with their “Social Influencer Tracking” giving merchants the ability to personally reach out to these customers and offer thanks or additional incentives.

So it’s no wonder that Curebit has just raised $1.2 million in funding from investors which include 500 Startups, Gordon Tucker and Alex Lloyd of Accelerator Ventures.


Below is a video which gives an overview of how Curebit works:

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Targeting Trendsetters to Spread Word of Mouth Advertising

With the development of social media tools which enable brands to interact with their ‘Fans’, it was just a matter of time before the same principles were applied to advertising and acquisition.

While running a contest for the worst looking website, in order to promote the services of a young and energetic web design company, the team behind Trendemon began to understand the true power of ‘Word of Mouth’ marketing.

Speaking to CommerceOnFacebook.Com, Avishai Sharon, CEO and co-Founder of Trendemon explained how, after mentioning the contest to a leading hip-hop artist who then wrote about it and shared his thoughts with his social media followers, the contest landing page received 4,000 visitors in the space of one hour.  The need to spend money on advertising was no longer necessary and the seed of how successful ‘Word of Mouth’ social marketing could be accomplished was firmly planted into the foundations of Trendemon.

Trendemon is making inroads into the world of social advertising.  Basing the principals around social psychology and trendsetting influencers, they are tapping into a whole new world of social customer acquisition.  The offering is comprised of an interface which links directly to community leaders and trendsetters.  In the past, where advertising networks consisted of advertisers and publishers, social advertising with Trendemon consists of advertisers and community influencers.

The people who influence their followers can choose which offers to share with their community.  They can be rewarded based on these actions and can even choose to share the reward with their communities.

The technology aspect of the equation is twofold.  Firstly, analysis of trendsetters and their audience to create channel relevancy and secondly, matching campaigns to relevant trendsetters.

“It’s more than just technology,” stated Avishai “it’s understanding the human algorithm.  More than just an announcement of an offer, it is conversation dominance.”

In short, trendsetters are followed.  What Trendemon have created is a way to identify trendsetters within their communities and offer this influence in a natural way to advertisers.  Unlike a celebrity endorsement within a televised advertising campaign, this form of ‘celebrity’ endorsement is a much more personal and focused interaction.  This is the evolution of social media for business.  It is also easier to see the direct results of ROI in relation to social media interaction, using the Trendemon dashboard.

Grey Group has already seen the value in this type of advertising and has already become one of the first clients to sign up for access to the Trendemon interface and advertising services.

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