FTC Forces a Mea Culpa Out of Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg posted a lengthy message on the Facebook blog today that includes this statement:

“I’m the first to admit that we’ve made a bunch of mistakes. In particular, I think that a small number of high profile mistakes, like Beacon four years ago and poor execution as we transitioned our privacy model two years ago, have often overshadowed much of the good work we’ve done.”

I actually feel bad for him.

The mea culpa was in response to a release from the FTC that details the 7 times Facebook made privacy promises that it didn’t keep. The majority of the instances have to do with data sharing with third party apps and advertisers. They also say Facebook allowed access to data belonging to accounts that had been deleted by the users.

Cyber Monday Beats Black Friday

Cyber Monday is over (sort of) and the results are in. It’s a HIT!

According to IBM Benchmark, Cyber Monday sales were up 33% over last year. The average order value also rose from $193.24 to $198.26.

Unlike Black Friday, there were two peaks during the day, one at 11:05 PST and again late in the evening. Take a look at this comparison chart. Except for the early morning hours, Cyber Monday beat the pants off online Black Friday buying to the tune of  29.3%.

Just When You Thought it Was Safe. . .

Now, here’s what’s interesting. Part of the reason these big sale days work is because they’re special. 24 hours of the lowest prices and best deals. Yet, this morning, I woke up to emails from two retailers saying they were extending their sales for another 24 hours. So now it’s Cyber Tuesday?

Mobile Paid Search Offers Bigger Bang for the Buck

Now that more people are using their mobile devices to search and shop, more advertisers are paying for mobile ads — it’s the circle of life and it’s working out well for everyone involved.

New numbers from Performics show that smartphone CPCs are still a real bargain, coming in at around 40% less than desktop CPCs. The one mobile exception is the tablet, which, last week, rose 20% over desktop CPCs.

When compared to last year, mobile impressions and click shares are both way up. Says Performics:

“We now predict that mobile paid search will make up 25.4% of all clicks (desktop + mobile) in December 2011, up 8 percentage points from our projection a month ago.”

For those visual learners in the bunch, here’s a graph that tells it like it is.

Black Friday Online Sales Up 24% Over Last Year

Another Black Friday is over and in the books and it looks like a good time was had by most.

IBM Coremetrics estimates a 24.3% increase in online sales over last year. As you can see from this chart, midnight was the magic hour with a nice spike over the last two years. This is likely due to the fact that many major chains made holiday prices effective at midnight online as well as in stores.

Sales peak in morning then slowly taper off, but still 2011 stayed well above the numbers from previous years with slight exceptions. (Can anyone account for that crazy early morning spike in 2009?)

Breaking it down by category, Department Store online sales were up 59%. Home Goods was up 48.8% and Apparel was up 47.2%. I like those numbers.

Small Business Saturday Gets White House Support

In the weeks leading up to Black Friday, it’s mostly the big brands that get all the attention. This year, though, American Express wants people to think about the small businesses, too. They’ve christened November 26, Small Business Saturday and the idea has truly taken hold.

The base of operations is the SBS Facebook page. Here, merchants can download signage, get e-marketing ideas and learn new ways to promote your business.

If you accept American Express, you can also promote a special offer through the Go Social program.

For their part, American Express is encouraging shoppers to go local with credits for qualifying purchases, a directory of local businesses by zip code and the Shop Small Facebook pledge.

So far 2,557,876 people have “liked” the page.

A Banner Day for Black Friday Retailers

This year, Black Friday began earlier than usual with many chains opening on Thanksgiving and even more starting as early as midnight instead of the usual 4 or 6 am on Friday.

Toys R Us cashiers can take comfort in knowing they’re not the only ones slogging through the holiday madness. The folks at IBM Coremetrics are at their desks, turning out data as fast as they can.

So far, they say this Thanksgiving 2011sales were up 39% over last year and that it was a “banner shopping day” for online retailers.

Mobile traffic to online retail sites was also good with 15.2% of consumers using a device to log-on. That’s up 6.45% from 2010.

11.09% represents the number of folks using their mobile device to actually buy items and that’s also up from 4.25% in 2010.

Facebook: 1 in 10 Ticker Stories Could be Ads

Facebook has found a way to put more ads in front of more people. Why is that a bad thing?

The latest uproar involves Facebook’s move to include “sponsored stories” in the home page Ticker. The Ticker, which I still don’t have, is made to quickly deal with all of the boring notifications generated by your friends when they do something:

Susan bought a duck in Farmville. Grant listened to “Don’t Stop Believing.” Natalie commented on “Cute Puppy Plays with Baby” video.

Now, in addition to those updates, you’ll see things like Andrew, Carl and Corky like Triscuts – Sponsored.

In other words, more information that you could live without.