Twitter adds photo sharing… Better late than never.

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What is blurry, noisy and shared on Twitter in the millions? Bad cell phone pictures! Photo sharing has almost single handedly helped propel Twitter it to 200 million users. That’s why it’s surprising that Twitter itself has never had that feature baked in, it’s always been provided by 3rd parties such as Twitpic and yFrog. On June 1st, Jack Dorsey announced that Twitter will be providing their own photo sharing service. It will start with the website and then propagate to their cell phone clients. Did you hear that sound? That was the sound of Twitpic and yFrog crying out in despair.

This is going to be great for users because it will streamline the whole photo uploading aspect of Twitter. You can just dump a photo into the website and post it. Viewing photos will be consistent and build right into Twitter.com or their mobile applications, alleviating the need to navigate to another page. It is also going to bring some slick features such as trending photos, where photos that are getting traffic will be displayed on Twitter. Now imagine if they add promoted photos, letting marketers pay to have a photo displayed on the side of users’ profiles. How much better will it be to promote a picture than a little text trend with a yellow text icon next to it?

Twitter has been slowly taking back control over the entire Twitter experience from 3rd parties; first with official mobile apps, then with their own URL shortener and now with photo uploading. Expect this to continue as Twitter continues to tighten their grip and find ways to fully monetize their 200 million minions.

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Facebook Places is Here!

Well folks, this is it. Facebook announced earlier today that Facebook Places is up and running.

Starting today, you can tell everyone you know (or at least those you connect with on Facebook) where you are, at all times, from your mobile device. Just like Foursquare and Gowalla, you can “check in” to the place where you are.

The Places feature is designed for those with an iPhone (there’s an app for that) or others who have HTML and geolocation features on their mobile device (go to touch.facebook.com on your phone). One cool feature Facebook offers (and that Foursquare doesn’t have) is that when you check in to a location, you can tag people who are with you, just like in a picture or status update.

So what does this mean for privacy? Will everyone know where you are all the time? Just like anything with Facebook, you have privacy options, but you must make sure you set restrictive customized settings if you don’t want everyone to see where you are. Want to learn more? Check out Mashable’s Facebook Places Field Guide.

We’re wondering if Facebook Places will jump ahead of the competition. What do you think about Places? Will you use it? Do you prefer other geolocation services like Foursquare or Gowalla?

Effectively Leveraging Facebook Advertising (Part 1)

Impressive Facebook Advertising Results

This is part one of a two-part series on Facebook ads. There was just so much to say about Facebook advertising that we couldn’t fit it all into one post!

We just started another Facebook advertising campaign for one of our clients, and we wanted to share some of the results of the first 10 days:

Impressive Facebook Advertising Results

Quantitative Social Media Measurement for one of our client's Facebook ads

What do those graphs mean? The first graph shows the number of people that clicked on our ad. The second picture is a spreadsheet of some of the numbers behind the results. At The Cyphers Agency, we are always measuring our results so (1) our clients know that their money is being used effectively and so (2) we can measure our success against benchmarks, and adjust strategy as needed.

If the graph above is somewhat confusing, no worries. Here is an explanation of each term and how it plays into the bigger picture:

Impressions

This simply shows how many times your ad was displayed to the audience you are targeting. In this example, we are targeting a very specific group of people, with only a modest budget, so the impressions are relatively low. Some of our Facebook advertising campaigns see tens of millions of impressions.

Clicks

This shows how many people clicked on your Facebook ad. As you can see in the graph, with under $32 in media costs, we garnered almost 300 clicks to our client’s website! (Debbie Downer Disclaimer: the costs described here are misleading as they don’t reflect all the planning and strategy that came before this ad’s execution)

Click Rate

This shows the percentage of people that saw your ad (impressions) divided by the number of people that clicked on the ad (clicks). This gives you a benchmark to compare to other ads and other campaigns. Although each industry and audience produce different average click rates, we tend to see an average of %0.02 – %0.04 click rate. This might seem low, but when you see how cheap it can be to reach 1,000,000 people in your target audience, those 200-400 clicks can be a huge boon for business. Combine that with several different ads, or with the rest of your campaign, and you’ve got some serious traction. Of course we’d like to take this opportunity to point out our stellar .22% average click rate!

Actions

“Actions” explains how many people interacted with your Facebook ad and decided to “like” whatever you are advertising. These are powerful numbers, because they (1) show affinity for your product/service/brand, and more importantly (2) are people whom with you now have direct communication. Similar to an email list, people that “like” your Facebook page will see your regular status updates. Often “actions” can be just as important as clicks; although sending people to the website (clicks) often drives immediate revenue, “actions” drive customer lifetime value, and help stimulate word of mouth marketing. What would you rather have, 10,000 people to your website or 10,000 people that will each tell 5 people that you are having a sale? Good thing you don’t have to choose, because we can deliver both. With under $32 spent, we’ve garnered over 180 subscribers to our client’s Facebook page! (not to mention the 294 visitors sent to the website!)

Cost Per Click (CPC)

This is a way to bid on the delivery of your Facebook ad. If you choose this option, you pay every time that someone clicks on your ad. When is this method best? When you (1) can’t target your audience or (2) your audience isn’t succinctly defined. This way, you can show your ad to 1,000,000 people, but if only one person clicks on your ad, you only pay for that one click. With Cost Per Thousand (CPM), you would need to pay for each 1,000 people to show your ad to all of those 1,000,000, just to get that one click. We did not use CPC bidding for the campaign in the graphs above, but Facebook still shows us our average CPC, based on what we are paying and how many clicks we have.

Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM)

Another way to get your ad in front of an audience is to bid a certain amount to show it to 1,000 people in your target audience. If you’ve narrowed down your audience to those that you know might be interested in your product/service, this can be a great way to leverage your budget. For example, if your audience size is 1,000,000 people, it will be expensive to show your ad to all of them, just to get to the 10,000 people that might be interested in your product/service. However if you use the targeting options (see “strategic targeting” and “tweaking and maintenance” below) you can start out just showing your ad to those 10,000 people. That way, you make sure that they see it, and can even show them multiple ads multiple times. We used CPM bidding in the example above, and it delivered a very good return on investment. When we created the campaign we could have paid for each click (see “CPC” above), which would have cost approximately 50-80 cents per click. But because we chose CPM, our cost per click is approximately 12 cents. This leverages our client’s budget so that we can get maximum exposure and results.

Spent

Simply put, this is the money spent for each day of results. As you can see, we earned this client an average of over 8 clicks for every dollar spent. That’s 8 people sent to the client’s page for every dollar spent, 8 people that interact with the brand, 8 people that are saying “I want to know more.” This is a strong example of how much your budget can work for you if you know how.