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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Incentivized Pre-Sale Social Sharing by AddShoppers

In short, Add Shoppers™ is a pre-sale solution for e-Commerce providers to incentivize more sales through its unique social sharing technology.  But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  This robust platform gives retailers the opportunity to easily install share buttons which, in turn, offer coupon code incentives to their potential customers.

For example, a retailer logs into the Add Shoppers™ dashboard, selects either the code which fits their e-Commerce shopping platform provider or a custom code, then adds the short java script to their e-Commerce site.  Icons are then displayed showing the coupon amount the potential shopper will receive once they’ve shared the item on either Facebook, Twitter, Email, Pinterest, Kaboodle, Stumble Upon or Google Plus.

Platforms currently supported by the Add Shoppers™ technology include Magento, Volusion, Big Commerce and Shopify.  In an effort to increase sales and virally spread product offerings this really is a no-brainer for both retailers and e-Commerce platforms looking to offer their retail customers additional tools to increase sales.

Add Shoppers™ is a North Carolina based startup led by CEO Jon West.  Speaking to Commerce On Facebook, Jon stated “We just want to make the coolest, best product for retailers.  Our aim is to become the ‘add this’ of e-Commerce”.

Once a potential shopper shares an item, the retailer has access to a whole array of well laid out, easy to read and manage, reports.  The data includes information about the people who are the brands social influencers, which products are being shared, which social networks are producing the best return on investment, social network reach and demographic information including gender and geographic location of the people sharing the brands’ products.

The screenshots below show the dashboard layout and how the retailer would view their social reports:

Additionally, live examples can also be found on Fairway Styles and 3Tailer.

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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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Social Media Case Studies in Loyalty and Acquisition


Extole helps brands engage, interact and reach their goals by harnessing the full power of social media.  Four brands from different verticals each had objectives which had to be reached with social media.  By using Extole’s Social Recommendation Platform (SRP) each brand was able to meet and exceed their expectations.

The common factor with each brand was an existing customer database and the necessity to leverage the power of social media as a retention tool to identify and reward good customers.  What is also seen is the affectivity of tapping into an existing user base in order to increase customer acquisition.

Below are the results taken from the published case studies:

The Brands

  • SendGrid (Information Technology – Email Delivery)
  • Roku (Consumer Electrics)
  • Folica (Retail – Health and Beauty)
  • J. Hilburn (Retail – Menswear)


With the objective of developing a word of mouth referral program which utilized both social media and their existing email sending technology, SendGrid turned to Extole.  One huge factor was the ability to completely outsource the new referral technology aspect of the development, completely to Extole.  This meant that internal development resources would not be diverted away from existing projects and would continue to be focused on their core product.

The Program

The program that was developed for SendGrid contained a simple offer for existing customers which could be shared socially.  Additionally, it took Extole just weeks to complete the project.

The offer was made to existing customers to share referral links.  This meant that when any of their referred friends became new paying customers of SendGrid, they would receive $20 cash and the referred customer would also receive a 25% discount on their first three months of service.  By giving the existing customer a gift and the new customer a discount, a “Captive Offer” had been created.  A real, tangible bonus for both the referrer and the referee.  The share could be made using email, Facebook or Twitter.


SendGrid achieved a 111% return on investment after the first six months of running the newly implemented referral program.  Based on the results to date, a 353% return on investment has been projected for the first year of the program.


It is very important for brands, especially brands that have access to internal development technology, to understand and realize their own limitations.  Outsourcing to experts is often a difficult decision to make.  In the short term it may seem like an expensive solution.  However, in the long term it saves more money trying to undertake a task where no internal expertise is present.

This was an acquisition strategy in which every new customer was referred by an existing customer.  Therefore, not only were new customers successfully signed up, but existing customers felt good receiving a bonus to refer a service that they were already content with.


Roku specializes in streaming entertainment devices for television.  With over one million units already sold, they wanted a way to tap into their existing and large user database.  They turned to Extole to figure out the dynamics, logistics and the implementation needed to turn their existing customers into a source of acquisition and become ‘word of mouth’ brand ambassadors.

The Program

Extole built a solution for Roku that was completely brand customized to match Roku’s look and feel.  However, under the hood was a tried and tested solution that had already shown great success with other brands.  Therefore, based on the existing Roku referral program, Roku was able to leverage the addition of Extole’s SRM.


Postive return on investment from the moment the program was launched.  Referral based sales increased 30% and the number of monthly referrals is now around 10,000 per month.


This example shows that any existing effort can always be optimized to produce better results. 


Folica, a well-known retailer of health and beauty products, noticed that they had many referrals to their website, but had no way of tracking and identifying these referrals.  The importance of identifying the source meant that Folica could replicate whatever they appeared to be doing ‘organically’ and focus their effort to increase the number of referred users.

The Program

By engaging their customers and encouraging them to share the secrets of great hair, created buzz around the brand.  Customers were able to share via Facebook, Twitter, email and personalized urls.  Once again, there was reward for both the referrer and the referee.  Each party would receive $10.


After 30 days of running the new Social Referral Program 6,000 brand advocates were identified.  The average number of shares per advocate was four.  21,000 shares had been generated via Facebook, Twitter and email and a 16% conversion rate was driven by the program.


Successful brands will be recommended by happy customers.  But identifying these customers and rewarding them accordingly will encourage them to continue to recommend your brand.  There is no better recommendation than ‘word of mouth’ recommendation.

J. Hilburn

Similar to Folica, J. Hilburn is a retail brand which was receiving many referrals from existing satisfied customers.  An apparel brand for men, J. Hilburn wanted to identify their most valuable customers and reward them for their ‘word of mouth’ recommendations.  They also wanted to learn about the social behavior of their customers.

The Program

By offering customers $50 for each friend referred and encouraging the advocates to share the offer using social media, identified and rewarded brand advocates.  It also achieved the brand’s goal of getting an insight into the social behavior of its customers.  Any referred customer who spent over $100 received a $50 discount on their purchase.  Once again, a two sided offer for the referrer and the referee.


After 45 days of running the new program, 1,000 customers had made referrals.  Averaging 12 shares per advocate, the referral program produced 10,000 social shares via Facebook, Twitter and email.  The bottom line result was 600 transactions which created over $250,000 in sales.

Overall Summary

It is quite clear that commerce on Facebook has not yet blown up in quite the way predicted by Mark Zuckerberg.  However, it is clear that social media is highly affective for retaining and rewarding an existing customer user base.

In the bid to generate real sales within the Facebook environment, there is currently no leader in the field.  However, by taking a step back and constantly analyzing the psychology of the social consumer, brands will begin to understand that more transactions will begin to occur within Facebook, but only as a result of a brand initiated action.


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The Key to Successfully Selling on Facebook

Imagine you’re a brand.  You want to have direct contact with the people who buy your products.  You want to know what they want.  How much they are prepared to pay for your products.  And who is recommending your products.  You want to identify your brand advocates and ambassadors and reward them accordingly.  You also want to be up-to-date with buying trends and therefore offer group deals and even customer initiated group deals.  All of this is now possible, but only in one place.

As a brand, selling directly and maintaining a direct channel of communication with your customers may seem a little alien.  It may also conflict with your distributors.  But what if you can give each and every distributor their own online channel of social communication and the ability to sell your products directly from this channel?  As a brand working with distributors you need to be able to set revenue percentages for sales and give your distributors an interface to view sales and commissions.

This is exactly what Panasonic Israel has done using the f-Commerce platform developed and supplied by SortalPanasonic Israel has over 25,500 fans on Facebook.  Therefore, from a common sense point of view, it’s just logical to be able to interact, learn a little and reward the consumers following the Panasonic brand in the Israeli market.  On top of that, Panasonic distributors also have exactly the same tools to utilize and leverage the power of selling on Facebook.  This is already being used by Future Audio Video Ltd, a smaller distributor who is now able to sell Panasonic products directly within Facebook.

Up until now, Sortal have been quietly, but confidently developing their f-Commerce solution.  After signing up a number of high profile clients within the Israeli market in 2011, Sortal are set to offer and promote their fully tuned solution to the rest of the world in 2012.

Sortal’s model is geared towards enterprise clients.  Each customer receives their own custom made, separately hosted application.  Built using the solid foundation of e-Commerce platform Magento, Sortal’s model is simple and focused.  They are looking at working with clients who have already budgeted for selling in Facebook and understand that uploading a few products to a fan page in the hope that items will sell themselves is not the way that commerce on Facebook will work.  Sortal clients must be serious about social media.

Sortal offer features that can already be found in the marketplace such as:

  • Group Offers
  • Offline Coupons
  • Purchasing Within Facebook

They also offer features that have yet to be seen or completely utilized within the social shopping stratosphere:

  • Full featured social loyalty program, including a points system for identifying brand ambassadors
  • Unlimited stores for distributors / affiliates based on Brand’s partners and resellers
  • Gifting – where the recipient is prompted to complete address details
  • Customer initiated group offers
  • Bargaining – which allows customers to name their own price for items

Additionally, being built around the Magento e-Commerce platform, all Magento functionality can be found within the Sortal Facebook store.  These features include:

  • Full account dashboard for customers and merchants
  • Ability to capture emails and send newsletters
  • Run in-store polls
  • Customer wish lists

If f-Commerce has been slow in 2011, part of the problem has been too many providers offering instant solutions to sell within Facebook, but not defining the methods.  The true success of f-Commerce depends on the actual selling within Facebook.  Selling in Facebook is not rocket science, but it is different to conventional online retailing.  Customers do not currently go to Facebook to make purchases.  However, given access to exclusive rewards and the chance to directly communicate with their favorite brands and retailers, will see the trust and purchase levels increase.  Cleverly implemented loyalty programs will keep customers returning and increase the conversion rates on sales.  Brands and retailers, whether big or small, who understand the importance of the investment in terms of both time and money in social media, will be among the first to experience success with social shopping on Facebook.  In short, brands who are able to listen to their customers and respond accordingly, will succeed.

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Milyoni and TV Free Media to Bring WSOBP to Facebook

F-Commerce developer Milyoni (pronounced Million Eye) together with TV Free Media, a Vegas based production company, are bringing the World Series of Beer Pong to Facebook and will be streaming the tournament live.

The tournament which is now in its 7th year will take place from Jan 1st to Jan 5th 2012 in Las Vegas.  The event boasts a grand prize of $50,000.  After gaining a cult following among college kids, Milyoni founder and CEO John Corpus thought that Facebook would be the ideal venue for the streaming tournament.  “Our goal is to bring a truly social experience to unique events like this, allowing fans to get in on the action, even if they are watching from miles away.”

TV Free Media who will be using Milyoni’s Social Live technology are offering pay per view of the event at the cost of $4.99 or 50 Facebook credits if purchased in advance or $6.99 and 70 Facebook credits if purchased once the event begins.

By utilizing the social functionality of Facebook all three entities, Milyoni, TV Free Media and BPONG are looking to gain a high amount of exposure and publicity.  For more details about the World Series of Beer Pong VII, please visit the site.

A trailer for the forthcoming event can be seen below:

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