Facebook apps just added real-time, customizable notifications for developers to pop up messages for any user that has accepted the app terms (and there are no new permissions required).
The Notifications API launched in beta Friday to help keep users updated and engaged with the apps they make.
As digital media go, notifications aren’t too invasive; they appear in the globe-shaped “jewel” for all Facebook notifications, a huge and noisy channel that also includes comment thread and message notifications.
While these notification could start popping up in your mobile app starting now, without your prior interest, users can press “x” button in the top right corner of the notification box and reduce these notifications once they start or even flag them or report them as spam.
Facebook is also putting out some analytics tools for developers to see how those notifications are performing, what the click-through rate is and other nifty stuff so that brands can really optimize their efforts on the social networking site.
My concern is that this may mean I need to go into my "likes" and start unlikeing them so that I don't get 50 notifications a day on my mobile app. A few years ago, a like was simply a way for people to know your interests, and now it is a commitment stating that you want emails, update, photos and other elements popping into your feed all the time.
In a blog post up today from the Facebook dev team, it was clarified that most won't see a significant change, especially since the Facebook staff is hard at work getting all those spammy pages out of sight: “These newly improved automated efforts will remove those Likes gained by malware, compromised accounts, deceived users, or purchased bulk Likes. While we have always had dedicated protections against each of these threats on Facebook, these improved systems have been specifically configured to identify and take action against suspicious Likes.”
Other Facebook changes out today
Even as Facebook continues to monetize and improve its mobile app entity, growth estimates for the company's advertising properties is dropping. According to a revised forecast from market researcher eMarketer, No. 1 social network will barely break $5 billion in revenues for the year, with a majority ($4.2 billion) coming from advertising and the rest from payments and other revenues.
While that sounds like an obscene amount of money in almost any other context, that’s down $1 billion from the research firm’s estimate from last February. That is a substantial slash but still portrays a 34% increase this year from a year ago.
While this decreased estimate is coming out now, eMarketer does not single out mobile advertising, or the slowed effort to even create that subcategory, as a major factor.
The firm states that the estimate cut reflects growing concerns about the effectiveness and measurability of Facebook ads.
Just hours after eMarketer pushed out this update, Facebook shares dropped to fresh all-time lows Friday morning with many looking at the upcoming November 14 lock-up expiration and analysts siting earnings misses.
Facebook shares this morning are down 71 cents, or 3.71%, to $18.38; the stock has traded as low as $18.23 on Friday (a new low). This places the stock at more than a 50% loss for the year, since it went public at $38 a share in May.
Companies siting Facebook at a loss and lowering target prices include Bank of America/Merrill Lynch and BMO Capital's analyst Daniel Salmon. Bank of America cut its target price on the stock down to $23, from $35. It sited risks from the slowing social gaming revenue and an increase in spending but states that the firm maintains its neutral rating on the stock.
BMO's analyst Salmon repeated his underperform rating and tore off $10 from his target price, placing it at $15, from $25. Salmon stated that this change was do to adjustments in Wall Street revenue estimates for the third quarter. And since Facebook did not publicly disclose any third quarter estimates in its first ever quarterly earnings report, analysts and investors have no company prices to factor into the mix.
Despite the near constant changes, updates and options available on Facebook, including the ad exchange and mobile ad products, people continue to look at Facebook with concern.
Since paid advertising accounts for the vast majority of Facebook’s total revenue, though its share has been dropping over the past several years. Back in 2009, advertising accounted for 98% of the company’s intake, while this year that percentage is expected to fall to 83.9%.
Emarketer believes that revenues from Facebook payments and other sources will amount to $811 million this year, an increase of 45.6% over last year.
eMarketer based its updated estimates on the analysis of reported revenues from Facebook company releases; estimates from other research firms; Facebook usage trends; and eMarketer interviews with executives at ad agencies, brands, online ad publishers and other industry leaders.