Flipboard’s Latest Brings Cover Stories To The iPad, Plus A New French Edition

flipboard-ipad-coverFlipboard is rolling out the first major update to its social magazine tonight since its December launch on the iPhone. The new release brings the iPhone app’s most popular feature, “Cover Stories,” to the iPad’s bigger screen. Now, iPad users will see a large, double-tiled pane on the first page of their Flipboard app. There, you’ll find a mix of stories popular among your friends, those that are popular across Flipboard’s network, as well as those that are uniquely relevant to you.

Also new in tonight’s release are a number of design tweaks, meant to give Flipboard a print magazine-like appeal, as well as a much-requested third page in Flipboard’s Table of Contents. And for international users, there’s even more big news: Flipboard just launched its first standalone European edition with the arrival of Flipboard in France, and is promising more localized editions to come.

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Study: U.S. Consumer Spending On Virtual Goods Grew To $2.3 Billion In 2011

virtual-currencyIt’s not exactly a secret that gaming has found new life on the web, social and mobile platforms. Of course, with it, especially the rise in free-to-play gaming, developers need to find ways to monetize their apps, or their browser-based games. Beyond mobile or banner advertising, there is the option of in-app or in-game purchases — the old in-game freemium model. Give your game away for free, sell new levels, armor, weapons, life for a buck or two. Lots of games have incorporated virtual marketplaces to hawk virtual goods of all kinds.

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Business Data Reporting In 5-10 Minutes, Not Days. Facebook Rolls Out Real-Time Insights

Real Time Insights Confirmed DoneFacebook has just confirmed my scoop from last week, announcing its business performance metrics tool Page Insights will start reporting data with a latency of 5-10 minutes, not two or more days. It will open new tactics for marketers such as amplifying a well-performing post’s reach with ads, or deleting one receiving negative feedback before it can trigger Unlikes or a PR crisis.

Insights Product Manager David Baser tells me real-time Insights will roll out globally over the next two weeks, and I think the way it ties to Sponsored Stories ads could boost Facebook’s revenues. Impressions, clicks, negative feedback instantly. Data wizards rejoice!

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New Facebook Premium Advertising Features Offer Marketers 3X the ROI

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Looks like Facebook wanted to close out February 2012 with quite a bang. In addition to the launch of its new Facebook business page design, which mimics the familiar timeline layout personal profiles adopted over the past couple of months (learn how to set up your page and leverage the countless other feature tweaks in our complete guide), Facebook also announced three new features today that should get marketers pretty excited.

  • Facebook Premium Offers
  • Reach Generator
  • Mobile News Feed and Logout Page Ads

So what are these new features all about? Let’s break down what each new feature does and how it changes how you advertise on Facebook.

Facebook Premium Offers

The Next Web reports that Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg shared the goal of making marketing more social today at the Facebook Marketing Conference in New York, after which Facebook VP of Product Chris Cox took the stage to congratulate marketers for being Facebook’s best content creators, and presumably reward them for it with the news marketers have been waiting to hear from Facebook for a while — Facebook is going to make it easier to get marketers’ content in front of more people (and the right people, at that) more often.

What exactly does that mean? The release of “Facebook Premium Offers,” available now — that’s what it means. In short, you can think of it as the Facebook equivalent of Twitter’s Sponsored Tweets, giving your Facebook premium advertising and Sponsored Stories better placement. Mike Hoefflinger, Facebook’s director of global business marketing, explained that with Premium Offers, a brand can start with a post to their page, and if it’s successful, choose to increase that post’s distribution through Premium Offers. “Over the last few years while testing the efficacy of Premium,” he shares, “it can hit 3X the ROI for brands.

Reach Generator

The release of this feature should be music to marketers’ ears. As Hoefflinger tells it, Facebook fans have been found to be twice as valuable as the general population based on purchase behavior, so it makes sense you’d want to promote your content — think offers, coupons, and landing pages — to the low hanging fruit that could more easily convert into a customer. That’s why Facebook also introduced something called “Reach Generator,” a new product that guarantees that 75% of your fans will see your brand’s content each month. Facebook cited Ben & Jerry’s as a case study who, using these new tools, reached 98% of their fans and increased sales 3 to 1. Right now, less than 16% of a page’s Facebook fans see their posts.

So if marketers know what stories their Facebook fans enjoy the most — let’s say for HubSpot, it’s our educational content about using social media for marketing — we can use the Reach Generator to promote those stories as Premium Offers so they are distributed to more people — 75% more, to be precise. These stories will appear in the news feed right in the mix with all of your fans’ other updates — on desktop and mobile devices.

Reach Generator is now available through Facebook’s premium managed accounts, and it establishes fixed pricing based on the number of fans your page has. It will also help marketers select the posts with the highest potential for success in the new ad placement format.

Mobile News Feed and Logout Page Ads

Wait, did you say ads are appearing in the news feed on mobile devices, too?

Why, thank you for noticing. It’s true, Facebook announced that starting today, news feed ads will be shown on mobile devices, too. But the prominence of ads doesn’t stop there. Users will also begin seeing ads when they log out of Facebook, starting in April. Boy, they sure are aiming to monetize after their S-1, aren’t they?

facebook logout ads

These stories you’re telling with the new Premium Offers and Reach Generator will now also appear when users log out of Facebook — a fantastic idea, as it turns out, since according to TechCrunch, 105 million people log out of Facebook every month, not to mention that there is no other content to distract users during the log-out process, giving your stories even more visibility. But if you’re a Facebook advertiser, make sure you still create compelling, eye-catching content in these giant log-out ads; users don’t tend to hang around the log-out screen for too long!

As we learn more about these new features (Facebook hasn’t even blogged about them, yet!), we will keep you updated about which tactics are most effective.

What marketing value do you see in any or all of these three new Facebook advertising feature launches? Will you be experimenting with this new functionality, or do you think it’s too intrusive for users?

Image credit: stoneysteiner

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