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Reconnecting, reluctantly, with Facebook



Haje Jan Kamps is a founder, photographer and journalist who logged time as a TechCrunch writer years ago and who has since launched a platform for virtual conferences called Konf. In a recent catch-up with him about work and life during COVID-19, we wound up talking at some length about Facebook, which is seeing record use across its social networking, messaging and live-streaming platforms right now and will likely continue to do so throughout this pandemic.

We asked Kamps, who joined Facebook around 2006 — which is when it first expanded beyond its roots on college campuses to enable anyone over age 13 with a valid email address to join — if we could share some of his thoughts as a kind of snapshot. They represent only his views and opinions, but they underscore a broader struggle that many Facebook users around the world — currently isolated from friends and family — are experiencing as their relationship with the tech giant evolves, and its power accordingly grows at an accelerated pace.

Kamps’ comments have been edited lightly for length and clarity.

How do I feel about Facebook: I take breaks from Facebook from time to time, because it’s a little bit much and occasionally, I think, they change your algorithm, so sometimes it just gets real depressing, [so] I’m just going to vote with my mouse cursor and get the hell out of there for a bit. And then I come back. And then it’s like more friends doing updates and stuff.

I want my friends’ life updates. I don’t necessarily want the weight of the world on my shoulders. I made a conscious choice a while ago to stop reading the news just for my well-being. And if it gets in through the back door through Facebook, I’m like, ‘Look, I don’t want that.’

Just a little vignette from this morning: I woke up, I overslept slightly, and I got on Facebook, and there was a friend who was doing a live stream because she decided to try and cheer people up a little bit. She was playing her ukulele and just singing for 15 minutes. She had, like, 20 of her friends watching and was like, ‘Hope everyone has a great day.’ That didn’t happen before everybody had to go into isolation.

There’ve been a whole bunch of groups that have popped up, as well as some older groups that became reactivated. I actually started one for the Human Awareness Institute, which has this concept of a large group share, where basically people stand up in front of a room of people and share something that is real and heartfelt and pertinent. They’ve had to cancel their workshops, but it turns out the digital version of that is juicy and beautiful and connected. And the outpouring of comments you get on those shares — people leap in with words of support —  is just not something I’ve seen on Facebook in such a long time.

My big realization, which I guess is kind of an obvious realization, is that it’s just a tool, and we get to choose what we use that tool for. And if we choose it to be a place to, to spread joy and share creative projects, and if I feel really good about seeing other people that do that, I might do that, too. 

I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. I have signed off before for weeks, even months. I am grateful for the internet and the information that is available, but I feel like basic source criticism is something that isn’t taught at all in the U.S., meaning that when you read something on the internet, do you know whether or not it is real? In Norway, where I grew up, you get taught as part of history class to criticize the source itself, to ask: Is this a reliable source? Was this kind of the ‘victor writes the history’? How do you piece together sources to get a good feeling for what really happened?’ 

The fact that fake news has even slightly been able to take hold is terrifying to me. I was in a yoga class the other day, and the yoga teacher had this little spray bottle [to clean her mat] and she said, ‘There are essential oils in here. You can use it on your hands, on your mat, on your face — you can even drink it because it’s edible.’ It’s like, ‘Look, if it’s fucking edible, it’s not gonna do anything to a virus.’ I mean, maybe some essential oils might help get some viruses. I have no idea. But Lysol was invented for a reason.

People allow themselves to get so bubbled and so echo chambered into believing what they want to believe. I mean, the anti-vaxxer movement is one example. There’s a lot of other dumb news out there, to the point that now that if I really want to know what’s happening, I go to the BBC or maybe The New York Times or The Washington Post or any of the other big stalwarts of journalism, because I know they have some sort of process in place to make sure that what is published is actually relatively sensible.

That’s the big challenge with the internet. There’s more information available right now than there ever has been. You can find the best possible information if you want to. You can go to a medical journal and read about coronaviruses. But there is a lot of news that’s absolutely 100% made up and people still believe it. And I’m like, ‘Look, either everybody collectively is really fucking stupid, or we just want to believe.’

I don’t really have an opinion on whether Facebook is meant to police what is real and isn’t real. But the fact that it is so easy to share and spread misinformation is not helping us when there’s a massive pandemic going on. 



5 Effective Ways to Run Facebook Ads A/B Tests




Facebook Ads A/B Tests or split tests help them try different versions of ads with various campaign elements. This process helps them arrive at the best version for the organization’s target. 

A/B Tests offer a vast pool of resources to try out various versions. You may get caught up and lose your way to arriving at the best version in a limited time. To better understand this topic you can read the Facebook ad testing guide. Here are five effective ways to run Facebook Ads A/B Tests-

1) Start with the minimal number of variables

This approach will help you analyze the impact of a variable much better. The lesser the variables, the better will be the relevant results and more conclusive. Once you have various versions, you will need to run them through the A/B Significance Test to determine if the test results are valid.

2) The second way is to select the correct structure. 

There are two structures in A/B tests. One is a single ad test, and the other is multiple single variation ad sets. All the variations will go under one ad set in the first structure. Each variation will be under a separate ad set in the second one. Out of the two, the second one works out to be better and gives better results.

3) Use of spreadsheets is important to stay organized. 

These spreadsheets help collect and analyze data to get meaningful insights and arrive at data-backed decisions.

4) Do target advertising and set realistic time goals. 

One approach is to choose an entirely new set of audiences. Also, the data pool should be vast and not the same as some existing campaigns. The reason for choosing a different audience is that Facebook may mix up your ads and give contaminated output. 

Another approach to choosing the right audience is to pick geography. It works better, especially when you have business in a particular region.   

It’s also essential to set a realistic timeline for your testing. Facebook suggests one should run a test for at least four days, but you can choose to run the test for up to 30 days.   

5) Set an ideal budget. 

The concept of a perfect budget is subjective. But, you can fix it yourself, or Facebook can do that for you based on your testing data. A large part of the test budget is spent on avoiding audience duplication. If the same audience sees variations, it could affect the test results.

Besides these top five effective ideas, you will need to take a few more action points to make the testing process efficient. Make sure you put the website’s domain link and not the landing page link in the ad, as that doesn’t look good. Put appropriate Call To Action Button, such as ‘Learn More,’ ‘Buy Now,’ etc. It’s also important to see how your ad is coming across on various electronic gadgets- mobile, tablets, etc.

Another strategy that works is trying to engage the customer. You may add social engagement buttons such as ‘Like’ or ‘Comment.’ Use high-resolution images as they work better with the customers. Low-quality, highly edited images are often not liked and trusted by the consumers.

You can learn more about the audience behavior patterns with A/B test results. Conducting these tests on Facebook streamlines the entire process and makes it smooth for you. With the test results, advertisers and marketers can work on the creatives they need to utilize.

To sum it up, you can run an effective A/B test campaign within the specified budget. You don’t need to spend massive amounts to get your advertisement right. You’ll make the correct assumptions about the performance of variations with a good understanding of business and consumers.

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