Goodbye, Facebook News Feed: 9 Things Publishers Need to Know About the News Feed Armageddon (Source: Inc)

CREDIT: Getty Images

Earlier today, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, announced the end of the Facebook News Feed as we know it.

In a nutshell, public posts from brands, pages, and publishers are being diminished in a substantial way from the Facebook News Feed.

Here are nine things you need to know about the impending news feed Armageddon:

1. In the near future, page posts from brands and publishers will be scored differently from posts from friends.

Facebook determines which status updates you see and in what order they appear in your news feed, by calculating a post ranking score for each status update.

Currently, this algorithm optimizes for time spent onsite and looks at other engagement metrics such as “likes,” clicks, comments, and shares of posts. Basically, Facebook wants you to be glued to Facebook as much as possible.

Going forward, the weightings of signals in the news feed algorithm will change dramatically. Posts from family and friends will be much more prominent, and posts from publisher pages will be suppressed, as much as 5x.

2. Zuckerberg is doing it to save Facebook.

Earlier this year, Zuckerberg acknowledged the damage the Facebook community is causing in the world, saying “Facebook has a lot of work to do,” and has made fixing it his personal challenge for 2018.

3. The effect on post-engagement will be devastating.

Some are saying that this change isn’t a big deal, as Facebook organic post reach has been declining for many years now.

We estimate that currently, average page reach per post is approximately 2 to 5 percent–meaning that if 100 people opted in to “liking” your page, only two to five of them are likely to see one of your posts.

But Zuckerberg says that publisher posts in aggregate still account for most of the content people see in their news feed. This is because publishers push out substantially more updates than regular users do (e.g., 10, 100, or even 1000 per day). So even if individual post reach is low, Facebook overall still generates an enormous amount of free exposure for brands.

Since Zuckerberg is saying that Facebook would like most updates to come from friends, we estimate that publishers will on average see an 80 percent reduction in page reach, clicks, and engagement. We view this as a devastating new reduction in publisher engagement, despite falling engagement rates over the past few years.

4. Time spent on Facebook will plummet.

Zuckerberg says that “by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down.”

5. Ad prices will skyrocket.

Zuckerberg adds: “But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable.” This is true not only for users but also advertisers.

If people are spending less time watching funny videos and consuming fake news on Facebook, it means that there’s going to be less ad inventory to purchase. Furthermore, desperate brands and publishers will likely resort to spending more on Facebook ads to revive their dead organic post reach. The combination of decreased supply of ads and increased advertiser competition will most certainly yield.

We estimate that Facebook ad costs have increased by approximately 41 percent in the past year, given the increased popularity of Facebook ads alone. The new change could increase ad prices by substantially more going forward.

6. Facebook acknowledges that spending time browsing videos and news on Facebook is bad for your health.

Zuckerberg explains that the news feed is bad for your brain: “We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being. So we’ve studied this trend carefully by looking at the academic research and doing our own research with leading experts at universities.”

The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long-term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they’re entertaining or informative — may not be as good.

7. Publishers that resort to engagement-baiting will be punished.

Many advertisers bait users into engaging with their content with offers that promise a coupon code or other incentive for liking a publisher post, as a way to manufacture artificial engagement. Going forward, Facebook says, these tactics will result in demotion of post rank.

8. Meaningful discussion among friends matters the most.

Facebook says that “liking” a post is just a passive activity and is therefore a less meaningful signal to use for ranking purposes. The company intends to prioritize posts on the basis of how much meaningful discussion they spark. For example, posts that require longer-form responses and subsequent follow-up replies from your friends are the type that will do well.

9. Users can still opt into seeing posts from the pages they follow at the top of News Feed.

Users who want to see more posts from pages they follow or help ensure they see posts from certain pages can choose “See First” in News Feed Preferences.

Closing Thoughts

It’s time to re-think our Facebook marketing strategy and tactics. For more information, check out our Facebook News Feed Armageddon Survival Guide.

Sheryl Sandberg Explains the Most Important Thing to Get Right on Facebook

Advertisements

Why AI Is the ‘New Electricity’ (Source: Wharton)

Source: http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/ai-new-electricity/

Just as electricity transformed the way industries functioned in the past century, artificial intelligence — the science of programming cognitive abilities into machines — has the power to substantially change society in the next 100 years. AI is being harnessed to enable such things as home robots, robo-taxis and mental health chatbots to make you feel better.

A startup is developing robots with AI that brings them closer to human level intelligence. Already, AI has been embedding itself in daily life — such as powering the brains of digital assistants Siri and Alexa. It lets consumers shop and search online more accurately and efficiently, among other tasks that people take for granted.

“AI is the new electricity,” said Andrew Ng, co-founder of Coursera and an adjunct Stanford professor who founded the Google Brain Deep Learning Project, in a keynote speech at the AI Frontiers conference that was held this past weekend in Silicon Valley. “About 100 years ago, electricity transformed every major industry. AI has advanced to the point where it has the power to transform” every major sector in coming years. And even though there’s a perception that AI was a fairly new development, it has actually been around for decades, he said. But it is taking off now because of the ability to scale data and computation.

Ng said most of the value created through AI today has been through supervised learning, in which an input of X leads to Y. But there have been two major waves of progress: One wave leverages deep learning to enable such things as predicting whether a consumer will click on an online ad after the algorithm gets some information about him. The second wave came when the output no longer has to be a number or integer but things like speech recognition, a sentence structure in another language or audio. For example, in self-driving cars, the input of an image can lead to an output of the positions of other cars on the road.

Indeed, deep learning — where a computer learns from datasets to perform functions, instead of just executing specific tasks it was programmed to do — was instrumental in achieving human parity in speech recognition, said Xuedong Huang, who led the team at Microsoft on the historic achievement in 2016 when their system booked a 5.9% error rate, the same as a human transcriptionist. “Thanks to deep learning, we were able to reach human parity after 20 years,” he said at the conference. The team has since lowered the error rate even more, to 5.1%.

“We have cheap motors, sensors, batteries, plastics and processors … why don’t we have Rosie?”–Dileep George

The Rise of Digital Assistants

Starting in 2010, the quality of speech recognition began to improve for the industry, eventually leading to the creation of Siri and Alexa. “Now, you almost take it for granted,” Ng said. That’s not all; speech is expected to replace touch-typing for input, said Ruhi Sarikaya, director of Amazon Alexa. The key to greater accuracy is to understand the context. For example, if a person asks Alexa what he should do for dinner, the digital assistant has to assess his intent. Is he asking Alexa to make a restaurant reservation, order food or find a recipe? If he asks Alexa to find ‘Hunger Games,’ does he want the music, video or audiobook?

And what’s next for the digital assistant is an even more advanced undertaking — to understand “meaning beyond words,” said Dilek Hakkani-Tur, research scientist at Google. For example, if the user uses the words “later today,” it could mean 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. for dinner or 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. for meetings. This next level up also calls for more complex and lively conversations, multi-domain tasks and interactions beyond domain boundaries, she said. Moreover, Hakkani-Tur said, digital assistants should be able to do things such as easily read and summarize emails.

After speech, ‘computer vision’ — or the ability of computers to recognize images and categorize them — was the next to leap, speakers said. With many people uploading images and video, it became cumbersome to add metadata to all content as a way to categorize them. Facebook built an AI to understand and categorize videos at scale called Lumos, said Manohar Paluri, a research lead at the company. Facebook uses Lumos to do data collection of, for example, fireworks images and videos. The platform can also use people’s poses to identify a video, such as categorizing people lounging around on couches as hanging out.

“Her job is to bring a spot of life to your home. She provides entertainment — she can play music, podcasts, audiobooks.”–Kaijen Hsiao

What’s critical is to ascertain the primary semantic content of the uploaded video, added Rahul Sukthankar, head of video understanding at Google. And to help the computer correctly identify what’s in the video — for example, whether professionals or amateurs are dancing — his team mines YouTube for similar content that AI can learn from, such as having a certain frame rate for non-professional content. Sukthankar adds that a promising direction for future research is to do computer training using videos. So if a robot is shown a video of a person pouring cereal into a bowl at multiple angles, it should learn by watching.

At Alibaba, AI is used to boost sales. For example, shoppers of its Taobao e-commerce site can upload a picture of a product they would like to buy, like a trendy handbag sported by a stranger on the street, and the website will come up with handbags for sale that come closest to the photo. Alibaba also uses augmented reality/virtual reality to make people see and shop from stores like Costco. On its Youku video site, which is similar to YouTube, Alibaba is working on a way to insert virtual 3D objects into people’s uploaded videos, as a way to increase revenue. That’s because many video sites struggle with profitability. “YouTube still loses money,” said Xiaofeng Ren, a chief scientist at Alibaba.

Rosie and the Home Robot

But with all the advances in AI, it’s still no match for the human brain. Vicarious is a startup that aims to close the gap by developing human level intelligence in robots. Co-founder Dileep George said that the components are there for smarter robots.  “We have cheap motors, sensors, batteries, plastics and processors … why don’t we have Rosie?” He was referring to the multipurpose robot maid in the 1960s space-age cartoon The Jetsons. George said the current level of AI is like what he calls the “old brain,” similar to the cognitive ability of rats. The “new brain” is more developed such as what’s seen in primates and whales.

George said the “old brain” AI gets confused when small inputs are changed. For example, a robot that can play a video game goes awry when the colors are made just 2% brighter. “AI today is not ready,” he said. Vicarious uses deep learning to get the robot closer to human cognitive ability. In the same test, a robot with Vicarious’s AI kept playing the game even though the brightness had changed. Another thing that confuses “old brain” AI is putting two objects together. People can see two things superimposed on each other, such as a coffee mug partly obscuring a vase in a photo, but robots mistake it for one unidentified object. Vicarious, which counts Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as an investor, aims to solve such problems.

The intelligence inside Kuri, a robot companion and videographer meant for the home, is different. Kaijen Hsiao, chief technology officer of creator Mayfield Robotics, said there is a camera behind the robot’s left eye that gathers video in HD. Kuri has depth sensors to map the home and uses images to improve navigation. She also has pet and person detection features so she can smile or react when they are around. Kuri has place recognition as well, so she will remember she has been to a place before even if the lighting has changed, such as the kitchen during the day or night. Moment selection is another feature of the robot, which lets her recognize similar videos she records — such as dad playing with the baby in the living room — and eliminates redundant ones.

“Her job is to bring a spot of life to your home. She provides entertainment — she can play music, podcasts, audiobooks. You can check your home from anywhere,” Hsiao said. Kuri is the family’s videographer, going around the house recording so no one is left out. The robot will curate the videos and show the best ones. For this, Kuri uses vision and deep learning algorithms. “Her point is her personality … [as] an adorable companion,” Hsiao said. Kuri will hit the market in December at $799.

“About 100 years ago, electricity transformed every major industry. AI has advanced to the point where it has the power to transform” every major sector in coming years.–Andrew Ng

Business Response to AI

The U.S. and China lead the world in investments in AI, according to James Manyika, chairman and director of the McKinsey Global Institute. Last year, AI investment in North America ranged from $15 billion to $23 billion, Asia (mainly China) was $8 billion to $12 billion, and Europe lagged at $3 billion to $4 billion. Tech giants are the primary investors in AI, pouring in between $20 billion and $30 billion, with another $6 billion to $9 billion from others, such as venture capitalists and private equity firms.

Where did they put their money? Machine learning took 56% of the investments with computer vision second at 28%. Natural language garnered 7%, autonomous vehicles was at 6% and virtual assistants made up the rest. But despite the level of investment, actual business adoption of AI remains limited, even among firms that know its capabilities, Manyika said. Around 40% of firms are thinking about it, 40% experiment with it and only 20% actually adopt AI in a few areas.

The reason for such reticence is that 41% of companies surveyed are not convinced they can see a return on their investment, 30% said the business case isn’t quite there and the rest said they don’t have the skills to handle AI. However, McKinsey believes that AI can more than double the impact of other analytics and has the potential to materially raise corporate performance.

There are companies that get it. Among sectors leading in AI are telecom and tech companies, financial institutions and automakers. Manyika said these early adopters tend to be larger and digitally mature companies that incorporate AI into core activities, focus on growth and innovation over cost savings and enjoy the support of C-suite level executives. The slowest adopters are companies in health care, travel, professional services, education and construction. However, as AI becomes widespread, it’s a matter of time before firms get on board, experts said.

Social Media Interactions are Changing – Here’s Why That’s Important

In a recent post, marketing expert Mark Schaefer highlighted an important trend which is probably getting far less coverage than it should.

Source: https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/social-media-interactions-are-changing-heres-why-thats-important/513658/

Schaefer actually took it a step further than that:

“I think this graph represents one of the most significant trends in the recent history of marketing … and yet there is relatively little conversation about it. Social interaction is migrating away from the public view into private spaces.”

Social Media Interactions are Changing - Here's Why That's Important | Social Media Today

No doubt you’re at least somewhat aware of this – both Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp now have 1.3 billion users each, and both, as the chart shows, are seeing massive growth in comparison to your usual social platforms.

As social networking, as a concept, has expanded, so too have the risks and concerns with public posting. The data suggests that people are becoming more wary, more inclined to converse in smaller groups, as opposed to broadcasting everything. While the capacity to share with everyone is great, most conversations are probably better within a more refined group of friends and connections.

Even the social networks themselves have acknowledged this, and have moved to offer tools which cater to such usage – Facebook, for example, has put a bigger emphasis on groups this year, aligning with the trend towards more specific discussions, as opposed to the ‘public square’ approach.

But they’re actually going even further than that – Instagram’s been testing out a new ‘Lists’ feature which enables users to share posts and Stories with selected groups of friends only, creating a level of exclusivity and intimacy via their personal lists within the app.

Social Media Interactions are Changing - Here's Why That's Important

Instagram’s also considering splitting messages into its own separate app, further separating the public and private elements – they would only be seeking to do so if they saw a clear usage trend moving in this direction.

Facebook too is working on its own private sharing – or limited sharing – tools.

The shift is important to note, because it’s a different way of using social networks, requiring a different approach to connect with users. The main brand solution offered on this front thus far would be Messenger Bots, enabling simple, one-to-one communication, without the need for dedicated staff labor – but bots haven’t seen wide take-up as yet.

So what else should businesses do – what approach should they be taking to ensure they’re moving in line with audience trends and tapping into this new shift?

Creating more private, intimate brand connection is hard, and can easily veer into intrusive territory, but the broader impetus appears to highlight a need for more focus on brand communities, on building groups and participating in relevant conversations to help enhance your business standing, and give you a way into that more direct communication.

Content would be a key step, highlighting your expertize and willingness to provide valuable, relevant advice, but responsiveness is also critical – and that does require a dedicated human touch.

 Here’s How 5 Tech Giants Make Their Billions – Alphabet & Facebook: Advertising

Source: Chart: Here’s How 5 Tech Giants Make Their Billions

on May 12, 2017 at 1:03 pm

Chart: How 5 Tech Giants Make Their Billions

The Revenue Streams of the Five Largest Tech Companies

The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.

Last year, we published a chart showing that tech companies have displaced traditional blue chip companies like Exxon Mobil and Walmart as the most valuable companies in the world.

Here are the latest market valuations for those same five companies:

Rank Company Market Cap (Billions, as of May 11, 2017) Primary Revenue Driver
#1 Apple $804 Hardware
#2 Alphabet $651 Advertising
#3 Microsoft $536 Software
#4 Amazon $455 Online Retail
#5 Facebook $434 Advertising
TOTAL $2,880

Together, they are worth $2.9 trillion in market capitalization – and they combined in FY2016 for revenues of $555 billion with a $94 billion bottom line.

BRINGING HOME THE BACON?

Despite all being at the top of the stock market food chain, the companies are at very different stages.

In 2016, Apple experienced its first annual revenue decline since 2001, but the company brought home a profit equal to that of all other four companies combined.

On the other hand, Amazon is becoming a revenue machine with very little margin, while Facebook generates 5x more profit despite far smaller top line numbers.

Company 2016 Revenue (Billions) 2016 Net Income (Billions) Margin
Apple $216 $46 21%
Alphabet $90 $19 21%
Microsoft $85 $17 20%
Amazon $136 $2 2%
Facebook $28 $10 36%

HOW THEY MAKE THEIR BILLIONS

Each of these companies is pretty unique in how they generate revenue, though there is some overlap:

  • Facebook and Alphabet each make the vast majority of their revenues from advertising (97% and 88%, respectively)
  • Apple makes 63% of their revenue from the iPhone, and another 21% coming from the iPad and Mac lines
  • Amazon makes 90% from its “Product” and “Media” categories, and 9% from AWS
  • Microsoft is diverse: Office (28%), servers (22%), Xbox (11%), Windows (9%), ads (7%), Surface (5%), and other (18%)

Lastly, for fun, what if we added all these companies’ revenues together, and categorized them by source?

Category 2016 Revenue (Millions) % Total Description
Hardware $197,020 36% iPhone, iPad, Mac, Xbox, Surface
Online Retail $122,205 22% Amazon (Product and Media Categories)
Advertising $112,366 20% Google, Facebook, YouTube, Bing ads
Software $31,692 6% Office, Windows
Cloud/Server $31,396 6% AWS, Microsoft Server, Azure
Other $60,177 11% Consulting, other services (iTunes, Google Play), etc.
$554,856 100%

Note: this isn’t perfect. As an example, Amazon’s fast-growing advertising business gets lumped into their “Other” category.

Hardware, e-commerce, and and advertising make up 76% of all revenues.

Meanwhile, software isn’t the cash cow it used to be, but it does help serve as a means to an end for some companies. For example, Android doesn’t generate any revenue directly, but it does allow more users to buy apps in the Play Store and to search Google via their mobile devices. Likewise, Apple bundles in operating systems with each hardware purchase.

Quelles évolutions pour les médias sociaux en 2017 ? (Hub Institute / Sciècle Digital)

Des chatbots, des fonctionnalités à venir sur Facebook et les autres réseaux sociaux, des marchés dévorés, du social CRM, de la détox, du live, des vidéos verticales, les influenceurs, de l’intelligence artificielle… Tout ce qui va émerger, exploser, ou encore se perfectionner en 2017 se trouve dans le report.

Daily chart: Which gaming company will dominate the virtual-reality market? | The Economist

Sony is expected to do better than its rivals in the high-end of the gaming industry

Source: Daily chart: Which gaming company will dominate the virtual-reality market? | The Economist

WITHIN a decade, virtual-reality (VR) technology is expected to transform the way businesses interact with customers. Immersive, 360-degree experiences, complete with touch and temperature sensations, should become the norm. As early as 2020, spending is forecast to reach $7.9 billion ≈ net worth of Rupert Murdoch, media mogul, 2011

≈ net worth of Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, 2011
≈ Domestic box office gross, 2011

“>[≈ cost of 2011 Hurricane Irene] on VR headsets and $3.3 billion ≈ net worth of George Lucas, creator of Star Wars, 2011

≈ total US football salaries for all teams, 2011
≈ Beijing Airport Terminal 3

“>[≈ box office sales of Gone with the Wind, 1939] on VR entertainment. In the short run, however, VR primarily remains the preserve of gamers. The companies releasing the latest wave of console and headset devices are not only bringing joy to aficionados of “The Lab” and “Gunjack”, but also jockeying for position to compete in a much larger market once the technology goes mainstream.

So far, the VR-gaming industry has roughly been divided into a casual sector, dominated by Samsung and Google, and the high end led by Facebook’s Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive (both unveiled this spring). Sony, which released its own headset on October 13th with much fanfare, came relatively late to the game. But with a product more powerful than the mass-market devices, and more affordable than the top-tier ones, it may have a sweet spot all to itself. Moreover, it can rely on a captive global customer base of over40m Playstation 4 users, forecast to surpass 50m by Christmas. As a result, the Sony headset is expected to make an immediate impact. IHS Markit, an analytics provider, projects the firm will make $134m ≈ Finance industry 2011 political donations”>[≈ net worth of Dr. Dre, rapper, 2011] from VR sales in the next few months.