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New Wharton Research – Persuasive Content Most Effective on Facebook

November 5, 2013

Today Wharton Professor Kartik Hosanagar held a webinar to discuss new research on Facebook Content Strategies. Professor Hosanager used a data set of 106,316 Facebook Posts from 782 companies.  Those posts were categorized into 16 different content types (humor, philanthropy, product, deal, etc.). They reviewed the 450 million page fan responses to that content to determine content effectiveness for Likes and Comments on Facebook.

The research showed that “persuasive content” is the key to success.

prof“We find that inclusion of persuasive content − like emotional and philanthropic content − increases engagement with a message. We find that informative content − like mentions of prices, availability and product features − reduce engagement when included in messages in isolation, but increase engagement when provided in combination with persuasive attributes.”

Persuasive is a bit of an academic term in this context. They mean content which creates an emotional, trust or logic connection. This is as opposed to “informative” content which discusses product features and prices. Note that the professor clarified in the Q&A that the research is for B-C companies. Informative content for B-B is successful.

To clarify, I asked about content strategies for direct response, such as click/buy. Professor Hosanager appreciated the question as it allowed him to note that offers may not produce the same engagement, but they may produce clicks/revenue. Basically corporations may chose to trade off viral reach for revenue.

At SimpleFeed we find that Social Media Managers often frown down upon product and offer content. However, this research suggests that it is really about context. This content can be successful, even measured with engagement metrics, if it is presented with emotional, trust or logical context and connection.

results aloneProfessor Hosanager concluded with recommended three strategies

Signal Brand Personality

Highlight Social Initiatives

Use product posts with persuasive content

Typically I find academic research behind the curve, but this could not have been more timely and insightful. Our customers are eager for best practices on social content publishing. This is particularly true as Social Media Marketing is no longer just the purview of full time practitioners. A big theme for SimpleFeed in 2014 is helping part time social media mangers – channel partners, thought leaders, etc. make informed decision on social publishing . For example, our newest technology analyzes all possible content for a customer and makes recommendations on the best content to publish.

The complete research is available here.

The Google Reader Shut Down and the Truth About RSS

April 2, 2013

Since Google never tried to monetize Reader, the shutdown is not a surprise. What is interesting is the tremendous backlash. How can the cancellation of a product based on a “dead” technology be the biggest tech story of this year to date? It is a little like when people are dying – they start telling the truth.

There are millions of passionate RSS users in 2013 and that is not changing

In Forrester’s reaction, they noted that 9.6 million U.S. adults use RSS at least weekly and 24 million at least monthly.  That is a small number compared to social networking, but the number is only part of the story. 500,000 people signed up for Feedly, one of the many Google Reader competitors, hours after the announcement. [Update: on April 1, Feedly announced 3 million new sign-ups.] Google Reader is 11% of subscribership to our customer’s feeds. This implies there are over 5 million people who are really, really serious about RSS. These are people who need RSS to do their job and live their lives. Are there 5 million people who are deeply passionate about a social network? Certainly there are for Facebook, but the rest? With or without Google, RSS is here to stay.

RSS is critical to marketing

Bob Warfield says it very well. RSS is unique. Customers use feed readers to get information, not to view their friend’s pictures or catch up on celebrities. So if you sell a commodity product, RSS is probably not for you. However, if your customers need your information for your company to generate revenue, the loss of Google Reader is scary. Media companies are an easy example.

TechCrunch noted that RSS is their second largest traffic source and is fretting about the viability of their business. Let that sink in a bit. RSS is second only to Google Search. That means it is above direct, email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. And since TechCrunch publishes full text feeds, vs. summaries in those other channels, the only reason to click through is to see the comments. So as a media consumption point, RSS may be more important than their web site. Further RSS is where they reach the info junkies who republish the content to followers on social networks.

Google Reader is the IE 4.0 of the RSS Reading Market

Users were satisfied with Google Reader, and their content and customizations locked them in. So they did not evaluate new RSS applications. Now that they are being evicted, they will find greatly superior RSS readers, particularly in the mobile/tablet experience. As the economic opportunity rises from the demise of Reader, innovation is blooming.

At SimpleFeed we do RSS, Facebook and Twitter publishing and analytics. We see the numbers and the truth is RSS has been thriving for years. The user numbers did not grow like Facebook, RSS is just not as much fun.  But for reads and clicks, RSS is almost always number one. If you need to connect with an intelligent customers who need your information to make a decision, you need to use RSS.

The New Facebook News Feed – Power to the Fan and the Return of RSS

March 8, 2013

Today Facebook announced its most significant redesign of the News Feed in many years. When the changes roll out over the next few weeks, you can will see three enhancements – a greater emphasis on photos, unification of the mobile and desktop interfaces and new ways to sort your News Feed. For corporate marketers it is the latter that may be the most important.

Previously users had a choice of sorting their News Feed between “Top Stories” and “Most Recent.” Top Stories 3-7-2013 2-01-03 PM



The feature was hard to find so nearly everyone kept the default, Top Stories.

 Soon users will be able to sort their News Feed by All Friends, Photos, Music, Games, Following, Groups, even lists of friends. Importantly the News Feed selection area will be prominently displayed. New Sort highlight 3-7-2013 2-07-07 PMFacebook assures that EdgeRank will remain the same for the default News Feed. So if users keep the default News Feed, marketers should see the same results. However, if users select All Friends, marketers are shut out of the News Feed, unless they buy placement.

 From our prospective the most interesting News Feed segment is “Following,” which will display updates from Pages and people you follow in chronological order. Basically it turns your News Feed into a river of news RSS reader. They even use the same icon!Other Feeds 3-7-2013 2-02-58 PM


With the Following segment, no longer will the Facebook EdgeRank algorithm decide if your corporate content is relevant. Your Fans will decide. Since the feed is chronological, will it pay to publish early and often? Or is it a better strategy to hope you engage Fans so their social gestures will place your content in what is likely to soon be the coveted All Friends News Feed? How will marketers know what and when to publish? We will have some thoughts on these issues soon.

SimpleFeed Screencast – Social Sharing in RSS Feeds

January 8, 2013

Learn how to expand your social presence by using SimpleFeed’s Social Sharing Feature in RSS Feeds

SimpleFeed Screencast – Using RSS to Expand Your Social Media Marketing Distribution

December 4, 2012

In this SimpleFeed Screencast learn how to use RSS Feeds to expand the distribution of your Social Media Marketing content.

SimpleFeed Screencast – RSS Reading in Windows 8

November 13, 2012

Today we look at RSS Feeds in Windows 8. We review two new “Live Tiles” apps, FeedReaders and Bento. We also look at RSS subscription in IE for the Windows 8 desktop and the common feedlist.

SimpleFeed Screencast – Understanding Content Syndication

November 8, 2012

In our inaugral YouTube Video we explain Content Syndication to web sites using RSS Feeds.


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