Facebook App Center Launches Today in US

Today Facebook is launching the Facebook App Center to make it easier to find apps you can enjoy with your Facebook friends.

The new Facebook App Center features mobile and web apps, such as Draw Something, Pinterest, and Nike+ GPS, and new apps including Jetpack Joyride, Ghosts of Mistwood, and Ghost Recon Commander.

Discover the Best Apps For You

The Facebook App Center gives you personalized recommendations, and lets you browse the apps your Facebook friends use. It only lists high-quality apps, based on feedback from people who actually use the app.
Facebook App Center Launches Today

Install Mobile Apps

To make it easier to find social apps for mobile, the Facebook App Center is available in the Facebook iOS and Android apps, as well as Facebook.com.

You can send apps you find on your computer to your mobile device using the new “Send to Mobile” feature. If a mobile app requires a download, you’ll be sent to install it from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Install Mobile Apps Facebook App Center

Easily preview Facebook Social Apps

Every app in the Facebook App Center has screenshots and a detailed description, so you can learn more about it before installing it. It helps you control your privacy by showing the information an app needs and letting you choose who can see your activity on Facebook. If you decide you want to use an app, you can get started directly from the Facebook App Center.

Facebook App Center Pinterest App

Get started

The Facebook App Center will begin rolling out to people in the U.S. today, with more than 600 apps. The Facebook App Center will be available to everyone worldwide in the coming weeks.

Watch a screencast of the Facebook App Center.

Consumers Using Pinterest to Engage With Retailers More Than Facebook, Twitter

One-Third of Smartphone Owners Who Shop Online Share Their Location With Retailers

Never before has social media been so attractive to consumers, literally. According to the 2012 Social and Mobile Commerce Study, a joint research project by Shop.org, comScore and The Partnering Group, the visually-appealing social media site Pinterest has become a big player in an even bigger arena, with online U.S. consumers reporting that they already follow an average of 9.3 retail companies on the site, compared to the average 6.9 retailers they follow on Facebook and the 8.5 retailers they track via Twitter. Overall, almost two out of five (38%) online consumers follow retailers through one or more social networking sites.

For retailers engaged in the social media sphere, customizing their approach with social and mobile strategies is leading to social commerce success. The report outlines that as social media continues to grow, retailers are actively evaluating where their customers want them to be. The survey found company blogs, YouTube and Facebook command the majority of consumers’ social activity. In particular, seven in 10 (70%) of those who follow a retailer’s blog click through to the website, and though sometimes overlooked in the overall social media mix, more than two-thirds (68%) of consumers use YouTube to browse and research a retail company.

“Retailers have done a commendable job embracing social media – engaging their customers where it makes sense while keeping their brand relevant, interesting, appealing and exciting on each platform,” said Shop.org Executive Director Vicki Cantrell. “Specifically, Pinterest has given retailers another channel to ‘listen’ to and interact with both existing and new customers, telling an ongoing visual story through images of their products and their brand ‘spirit’ – a story that customers can then tell again to their friends and family members.”

When it comes to what spurs consumers to follow retailers on social media platforms, the study found that finding good deals is still the leading reason, but that deals and promotions have lost a little bit of their luster. This year, 51 percent say they follow a retailer to get information on deals and coupons, down from 58 percent who said so last year. Four in 10 (43%) say they are looking for product information and 36 percent want to post/read comments about merchandise or services. Additionally, three in 10 consumers who follow retailers via social media say they are actively looking for information about events (34%), current trends and ideas (31%), or photos and videos (30%), such as “how-to’s” and styling ideas, as well as expert opinions (27%).

“There are significant new opportunities for retailers to entice smartphone owners who may be within a few feet of their store — or already in the store — thanks to technology that lets shoppers who want to hear from retailers instantly interact with them,” said Jennifer Vlahavas, Senior Director, comScore, Inc. “And while check-in and store location functionality are already gaining popularity, retailers have just begun to scratch the surface of using location data to better serve their customers. In-store shopping maps and customized shopping lists are a few of the emerging mobile technologies that promise to shape consumers’ future behavior.”

Smartphones Allow “Social Shopping” Experience for Consumers

Smartphone-toting Americans seem to have no qualms about sharing their location with friends and family members through social media channels, and the study finds they are also interested in sharing their location with retailers. One-third (33%) of those who own smartphones say they have shared their location with retailers. Location-based services, such as Groupon Now!, FourSquare and Facebook have effectively helped retailers instantly reach new and existing customers by targeting special offers, discounts and coupons to their mobile devices once they’ve “checked-in.”

“For retailers, the possibilities are endless when it comes to enticing smartphone owners who may be within a few feet of their store or even already in the store, thanks to technology that lets shoppers who want to hear from retailers instantly interact with them,” said Jennifer Vlahavas, senior director, comScore, Inc. “And while check in and store location functionality are already gaining popularity, retailers have only just scratched the surface of using location data to better serve their customers. In-store shopping maps and customized shopping lists are a few of the possibilities that will cater to the consumer.”

The study found that men are more likely than women to share their location with a retailer (40% vs. 25% respectively), and nearly half (46%) of those aged 18-34 say they have shared their location, compared to just two in 10 (22%) of those aged 35-54.

In very different ways, tablets and smartphones are still an integral part of the average person’s shopping experience these days. The survey found those with smartphones are most likely to use their device for social reasons, such as contacting friends and family about products they see and searching for items nearby, while tablets are more likely to be used to make purchases and comparison shop. Specifically, nearly four in 10 (37%) smartphone owners who shop online say they use their smartphone to take pictures of products and more than one-third (34%) said they send the pictures of the products they see to friends. U.S. online consumers surveyed also say they text/call friends/family about specific products while shopping (33%).

About the survey

The 2012 “Social Commerce Study” provides a unique look into the behaviors and attitudes of consumers regarding social media. The study covers consumer shopping activity and engagement via Facebook, Twitter, customer reviews on websites, group-buying sites and location-based social platforms. 1,507 online U.S. consumers participated in the survey which was conducted in March 2012 by comScore, Inc. The survey participants were selected to ensure that results were representative of the demographics of the U.S. online adult consumer. Results were weighted to accurately reflect U.S. demographics.

comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR) is a global leader in measuring the digital world and preferred source of digital business analytics. For more information, please visit www.comscore.com/companyinfo.

The Partnering Group (TPG) is a global strategy and management consulting firm. Our mission is to build sustainable incremental value for leading retailers worldwide. For more than two decades, TPG has helped retail clients address their strategy, marketing, merchandising and supply chain challenges in order to maximize shareholder value. TPG’s ecommerce, omni-channel and digital marketing practice area is led by consultants with hands-on executive experience at retail. Learn more at www.thepartneringgroup.com.

Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation, is the world’s leading membership community for digital retail. Founded in 1996, Shop.org’s 600 members include the 10 largest retailers in the U.S. and more than 60 percent of the Internet Retailer Top 100 E-Retailers. It’s where the best retail minds come together to gain the insight, knowledge and intelligence to make smarter, more informed decisions in the evolving world of the Internet and multichannel retailing. Shop.org programs and activities include benchmarking research, events and networking communities.

4 Ways Facebook’s Instagram Acquisition Works for Brands

Facebook’s $1 billion acquisition of Instagram is a blessing for brands.

Love the deal or hate it (I’m talking to all you early adopters and hipsters), it is time for brands to start building a strategy for the photo-sharing and story telling application.

Yes, I know—another social media platform to worry about? But unlike with other platforms, this one is plugged into the Facebook community, which is still the largest social media website (one in 13 people on the planet are on it!).

While having a Facebook page is crucial for communicating with consumers, Instagram provides brands the opportunity to communicate with consumers in more in-depth ways. Because Instagram is a delightful, easy and curated application to consume and share (as Pinterest is), it could be a pivotal platform for brands.

Here are four reasons the new Instagram acquisition is good for brands:

  1. Instagram is simple. Take a picture, write a short caption, put a pretty filter on it and you’re done. As Pinterest has proved, less is more. Brands that have photography should upload them to Instagram’s straightforward format. Let your photos on the application do the talking for you, and people will follow and comment naturally.
  2. Visual storytelling is key. New studies are showing that consumers are changing the way we see brands with Facebook’s Timeline. When EyeTrackShop recorded eye movements of participants scanning Timeline, where did eyes gaze first? On the cover photo, especially ones with faces versus objects. Photos are important to tell a brand’s story, and Instagram does it in a beautiful way. Furthermore, consumers engage more when photos are involved. Posts including a photo album, a picture or a video generate about 180 percent, 120 percent and 100 percent more engagement than the average post, respectively.
  3. Brands have found ways to advertise in a nonintrusive way. Brands such as Red Bull and PepsiCo have been on Instagram for a while now, engaging with customers with campaigns, like the “daily awesome” image (Red Bull). The thinking is that if people are taking cool pictures anyway, then why not take pictures of their products. Letting consumers spread the word with their photos through their networks is a much better way to spread your message without inundating them with your ads.
  4. Instagram was made for mobile. With all the complaints of Facebook’s mobile application, Instagram was made for mobile, thus making your brand even more visible on today’s most important touchpoint.

Facebook’s purchase of Instagram really is worth all the hype it has received over the weeks. It’s only a matter of time before brands learn their stories through the photo-sharing application—because a picture really is worth a thousand words (or in this case, a billion dollars).

Melissa Pitts is a marketing intern at gyro. She blogs regularly at Newstaco.com, FlamingTortillas.com and Americas Quarterly. Follow her at @mpittsm

Twizgrid: A New Way to View Twitter Through Photos

Twizgrid Twitter Picture App

San Francisco-based tech company, AJP Apps, offers a new way to view Twitter with their photo-centric iOS app, Twizgrid.

Twizgrid presents the visual side of Twitter in an unprecedented manner. Photos uploaded to Twitter stream into the grid-like format, transforming simple tweets into a collection of photos. Discover content by searching for keywords, browse topics in the ever-changing curated albums, or view images from individual Twitter accounts.

“With 500 million registered Twitter users and more than 175 million tweets per day, we feel there is a vast untapped resource of incredible photos on Twitter,” says co-founder Chauncey Regan. “Twizgrid provides a richly layered experience. While photos remain our ultimate focus, the inclusion of corresponding tweets and Twitter profiles provides an invaluable frame of reference for the images. It’s truly a window to the world.”

Twizgrid also offers a unique way to view photos around you. Using the integrated map, searches may be narrowed by current location or through specifying any other desired point. Users can search for food within 5 miles of San Francisco, or fashion within 10 miles of New York, providing an endlessly dynamic experience.

Photo apps have become big business. The recent acquisition of Instagram by Facebook, at a staggering $1 billion, sent shock waves throughout the tech industry. 150 million photos have been shared through Instagram, while Facebook, with an impending $100 billion IPO, boasts 250 million images shared per day. “It was shocking to us that no one had made a serious attempt at utilizing the photos on Twitter, one of the world’s leading social networks,” states Ms. Regan.

AJP Apps previously developed a photo contest app called Me+My, which was released in December 2011 and has consistently been featured among Apple’s “What’s Hot” list within the social networking category.

Twizgrid is available for free on the iPhone. iPad , and iPod Touch.

To try Twizgrid, please visit the iTunes Store:
http://bit.ly/twizgridapp

For more information on Twizgrid, please visit:
http://www.ajpapps.com/twizgrid

For more information on AJP Apps, please visit:
http://www.ajpapps.com