Facebook Radically Simplifies Ad Buying

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Facebook ad buyers have cause to celebrate: On Tuesday, the social network unveiled a major overhaul of both its basic ad-buying platform, Ads Manager, and its more sophisticated offering, Power Editor, both of which now boast a more streamlined interface.

Those who have used Ads Manager and Power Editor in the past know that neither tool is the simplest or most logically designed. Previously, ad buyers were asked to choose from a range of ad options and then select their campaign objectives and optimization methods.

Now, more reasonably, advertisers are first asked to identify their objectives. That could be a sales conversion on a website, for example, or an increase in mobile app downloads. Other objectives include increasing total page Likes, increasing engagement with particular posts or a Facebook app, boosting in-store Offer claims and upping RSVPs to a Facebook event. Read more...

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Is Facebook an Effective Driver of Sales?

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In early August, Mashable set up Meg Faure, founder of The Baby Sense Company, with Jeremy Pepper, a Los Angeles-based social media and public relations consultant, to see if Faure could up engagement and sales conversions among her (already sizable) Facebook and Twitter communities.

Faure is the international bestselling author of Baby Sense, which over the past decade has expanded into a franchise that includes several more books, a seminar series and an ecommerce business that spans three continents. Faure and her company are a natural fit for social media: In her home country of South Africa especially, she is a well-recognized expert on child care, and the company's Facebook page and Twitter account are peppered with questions from concerned parents. With a modest marketing budget (less than $500 a month), Baby Sense had amassed more than 31,000 fans on Facebook and 2,400 followers on Twitter as of early August. Read more...

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GIFs Return to Facebook? Sort Of

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Editor's Note: To clarify, Giphy is using is not a GIF file format for its looping videos, despite the company's initial insistence that it was. Read our follow-up story here.

The web's favorite animation form returned to Facebook on Thursday, thanks to GIF search engine Giphy.

Facebook supported GIFs in "the early days," Giphy co-founder Alex Chung tells Mashable, but stopped supporting them presumably because "they didn't want to look like a MySpace mess with all the blinking garbage on profile pages."

Since then, the GIF has evolved from what Chung describes as "lame clip art" to "an art form." Facebook doesn't currently support GIFs. Giphy's workaround is a native embed solution such that GIFs will animate full-size in the timeline on click. "To our knowledge, no one has previously offered this functionality," a Giphy rep says Read more...

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Michael Kors Launches Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Facebook App

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Are you Sporty, Sexy or Glam?

Earlier this week, Michael Kors released an interactive Facebook app to introduce consumers to its three new beauty and fragrance collections.

SEE ALSO: How ModCloth Went From a College Dorm to $100 Million a Year

When you launch the video portion of the app, you'll find a vanity table displaying the three collections. Clicking one transports you — for Sporty, that means a flash of a boat followed by a dive in a pool; for Glam, a splash of champagne and a photo shoot

While you're watching the videos, the app prompts you to take screenshots to share to Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter — an idea the brand has clearly borrowed from Topshop's runway live streams. (Update: A Michael Kors spokesperson says the company first demoed the technology in February 2012, six months before Topshop did.) When you're finished, you can opt to watch more videos, shop the collections or enter a sweepstakes. Read more...

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You Can Soon Make Restaurant Reservations on Facebook

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The next time you visit a restaurant's Facebook page on your mobile phone, you'll be able to do more than browse photos and posts: You'll also be able to book a table for four.

The feature is part of a new integration with OpenTable, which allows you to make online reservations at about 20,000 U.S. dining establishments. Beginning later this week, the booking service be available on Facebook's mobile site and newly updated apps for iOS and Android (see below screenshot, left). A Facebook spokesperson says the company plans to gauge use and performance before rolling it out to other platforms, like the desktop. Read more...

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Can a Popular Baby Franchise Turn Its Facebook Fans Into Customers?

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Talk to most small businesses about social media, and they want to know how to get more fans and followers. But what if you already have a large following? How do you turn those fans into customers?

That's the challenge Meg Faure, founder of The Baby Sense Company, and Jeremy Pepper, a Los Angeles-based social media and public relations consultant on our Small Business Panel, are taking on this month. Faure is the international bestselling author of Baby Sense, which over the past decade she has expanded into a franchise that includes several more books, a seminar series and an ecommerce business that spans three continents. Read more...

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Facebook Study: We’re Bigger Than Prime-Time TV

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Facebook wants a slice of the video advertising market — and not just the online video ad market, but TV, too.

Facebook is reportedly preparing for the launch of a video advertising program this fall, which would bring :15 second ads to the news feeds of hundreds of millions of users.

Now, the company is trying to drum up advertiser interest. During Facebook's second quarter earnings call last week, COO Sheryl Sandberg happened to mention that 88 million to 100 million residents of the United States use Facebook during prime-time TV hours. Those figures were reinforced in a Facebook-sponsored Nielsen study released Wednesday, which found that among the 25-to-34-year-old demographic, Facebook has a daytime reach "comparable to or exceeding" the four major networks used in the study. (Let's assume those networks are ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox.) Read more...

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Facebook Introduces Photo Comments for Pages

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It's been one month since Facebook introduced photo comments for personal accounts, and now the social network is extending the feature to brand Pages.

Users and Page admins can now respond to posts and comments using a photo instead of, or accompanied by, words, a Facebook spokesperson tells Mashable. Leaving a photo comment is as simple as clicking on the camera icon next to the comment box and uploading an image from your computer.

Here's an example of photo comments in action:

For now, photo comments can only be uploaded using a desktop or mobile web browser. Although mobile app users can see photo comments, they can't yet leave them, although we imagine that capability will be included in a future update. Read more...

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Facebook Insights Gets a Makeover

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Facebook Page owners, rejoice: Facebook Insights, the social network's analytics dashboard for public Pages, is getting a makeover. A small, random group of beta testers will get access to the new desktop design on Wednesday, with a broader rollout to follow at an unspecified date.

The new design is simpler, cleaner and more intelligible. Stats that were previously rolled in together (i.e., "People Talking About This") have been broken down into separate charts that allow Page owners to individually measure the reach and engagement (likes, comments, clicks and shares) of individual posts. Additional charts make it easier for users to see what kinds of posts — say, those with videos, or ones targeted to certain groups — have better reach or more positive engagement than others. Owners can also now break down demographic behavior on individual posts to see, for example, if Read more...

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You Can Now Send Amazon Group Gift Cards via Facebook

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Amazon's Friends and Family Gifting feature is getting a little more social with the Tuesday launch of a tool that allows you to create and send group gift cards to your Facebook friends on their birthdays.

By connecting your Facebook and Amazon accounts, you can keep tabs on your friends' birthdays and prepare group gift cards in advance. To get started, head over to Amazon.com/birthdaygift, select a friend with an upcoming birthday and privately invite friends (via Facebook) to contribute to a gift card. Participants can contribute as little as $1 and as much as $25, and can also invite other friends to join, a spokesperson for Amazon told Mashable. The card, personalized with your message, is delivered to the recipient's Facebook wall on his or her birthday. Read more...

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