Viewing entries tagged

Facebook's Recently Used Apps Module & The Larger Relationship with App Ecosystem

Last week I wrote about Facebook's newsfeed clustering of posts published by the same applications. While it is interesting as a signal of the newsfeed's evolution - it is represents the larger theme of Facebook relationship, promotion, and integration of applications (and the larger application ecosystem). Obviously Facebook has always been supportive of the ecosystem - from Zynga & LOLapps (gaming) to Spotify & Pinterest (content) to Wantful & ShoeDazzle (off-Facebook commerce), etc. In fact, yesterday's news was that "visitors from Facebook accounted for 1.1 billion visits to iOS and HTML5 apps, meaning an average of more than 6 visits per user."

The emergence of Facebook's Timeline, Open Graph and the proliferation of applications atop the platform (mobile, newsfeed, ticker, etc) - Facebook relationship with applications is evolving:

- How do they cluster by type and by shared users? (example here)

- How do they cluster by recency (example below with "Recent Used Apps")

- How do they cluster by popularity (example of trending here)

- How do they prevent the Ticker and newsfeed from being overwhelmed by content? (more here)

- What role does Timeline and off-Facebook play here?

- And ultimately, what does this mean for Facebook's strategy: promotion, monetization, mobile, etc?

ShoeDazzle a Facebook Commerce, Comments Launch Partner

Earlier in the week, I explained why Facebook Comments are important. Clearly others agree as Facebook announced launch partners for three verticals: commerce, media and sports. I am excited that ShoeDazzle (a Polaris portfolio company) is part of the launch. Considering ShoeDazzle's strong, active community and deep Facebook ties (725,000 Facebook fans!), Facebook Comments is a powerful two-way publishing platform.

Also worth noting: Facebook's specific call-out to the commerce category is strategically and directionally revealing. You can follow Facebook + Commerce at

Exclusivity And Facebook Fan Pages - Whats the Incentive?

Over the summer I wrote about the four keys to Facebook page marketing: authenticity, consistency, regularity and engagement. Particularly for those in the e-commerce space... and for those trying to tackle "social shopping"... there is a fifth: exclusivity.

I am not sure that 'exclusivity' is the best word, but the point is twofold:

1. Why should I become a fan? as you think about 'acquiring' fans - what is the incentive? 2. How do you drive engagement?

Exclusivity is the key to both. Portfolio company ShoeDazzle is terrific at this: their 500,000+ Facebook fans get special insights, contests, and behind the scenes access.

I was reminded of this by an email from Rue La La today... who are selling exclusive products today only to Facebook fans:

It's All About Personalization (2011)

Two years ago (somehow it's been that long), I gave 20 predictions for digital media & e-commerce in 2009. This year, I am going to do it slightly differently and write individual posts about various themes / predictions in 2011. You can follow them at the tag "predictions". Today's is simple: it's all about personalization. I was reminded this yesterday while spending the day at the-very-exciting ShoeDazzle (note: Polaris is an investor, and you can see more about ShoeDazzle on TechCrunch TV). ShoeDazzle has built a business in part on great product, in part on a great & differentiated shopping experience, and also in part on the power of personalized & social shopping.

And I was reminded again this morning by an email from Gilt Group which looks different than their ordinary daily emails. Rather than a list of today's deals, the email noted items available for my specific shoe size (based on a Gilt purchase months ago). Among a slew of unread emails (some important, some not; some shopping, some personal) - Gilt's stood out because it spoke directly to me.

And as folks' like Gilt look for ways to resonate with their customers, drive conversion efficiency and optimize everything from the experience to search results to the pixel's creating an ad unit... personalization will be the differentiator. In addition, personalization has the opportunity to improve more than the middle of the funnel (conversions) - it can affect the top of the funnel through virality.

Facebook, Twitter and the loads of data that we each produce (and the companies sit atop) enable personalization is ways that previously were not possible. Some of those solutions are out-of-the-box scripts and widgets - others will be baked directly into the product, experience and brand.

If it wasn't a core discussion for you in 2010, personalization should be in 2011. And it should be a discussion for each component of the organization: what does it mean for:

- Product - User acquisition: advertising, virality and social - Conversions & retention: email marketing, search, customer support, landing pages

Gilt Groupe Gives Free Shipping for 10 Invites

Social commerce sites like Gilt, Rue La La, ShoeDazzle, Groupon and LivingSocial have been among the leaders in 'social marketing'... and they find success through relatively straightforward, sometimes simple products and promotions. Here is a great example: Gilt is running a promotion where users who invite 10 friends to the service get free shipping. Clear value proposition and very simple process to invite. Furthermore, it is an attainable result (not tied to purchases and not a crazy number of invites).

And of course the site / brand itself is 'share-worthy' - if Gilt provided a poor experience, these sorts of promotions wouldn't result in sharing or ROI.

"Got 10 Friends? Get Free Shipping" "Invite 10 friends to Gilt and enjoy free shipping on your next order. Spreading the word is always in style."

Join Two Amazing Companies: Formpsring and ShoeDazzle

I have been slow to update my blog's "job board"... but have two great companies and opportunities to add to the list. I am fortunate to spend time with each of these companies: excellent products, teams and communities. Job specs are below. If you are interested in either company, please let me know directly: rspoon @ polarisventures

Formspring is a social question & answer service that has seen meteoric growth (my blog post here). They are looking for engineers and designers to join them in San Francisco. It is a terrific opportunity to be part of a fast-growing company and build large, impactful products that touch 10m's of users:

- Jr. Software Engineer (PHP) - Senior Designer - Sr. Software Engineer (PHP) - Systems Engineer

ShoeDazzle is a monthly online shoe society, working with a team of Hollywood stylists to choose shoes for each member every month based on the member’s unique fashion personality. ShoeDazzle delivers unique products (stylized shoes) in a unique experience (monthly and at a fixed price of $39.95)... and their community is active, passionate and excited (50,000+ Facebook Fans).

ShoeDazzle is looking for a Director of Social Media & Community. Details are below:

The Director of Community and Social Media will be ShoeDazzle’s social media maven. This person will drive the development and implementation of all social media marketing programs and expand ShoeDazzle’s web presence and user base. The position takes ownership of all marketing efforts on social mediums including blogs and viral marketing campaigns for ShoeDazzle.

Responsibilities - Create and execute ShoeDazzle’s social media strategy that will exponentially grow the user base - Be the company’s expert on understanding social media marketing and functionality on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Wordpress, and other core social platforms. - Responsible for aggressively using social media to drive consumer engagement and grow ShoeDazzle’s online community. - Produce innovative, efficient and measurable social media programs that will engage ShoeDazzle’s users - Drive viral marketing campaigns using social networking tools - Develop and drive events, contests, promotions and incentives to keep the ShoeDazzle community actively engaged - Work cross-functionally with the Marketing, PR and Creative teams to develop tools to support social media initiatives (i.e. landing pages for social media contests, offline promotions, etc) - Increase customer life time value through targeted customer communications and appropriate incentives and promotions - Managed and produce regular contributions to blogs and social networks that will interact and communicate with the community, expanding ShoeDazzle’s web presence - Responsible for analyzing and monitoring web metrics (e.g. page views, Twitter followers, fans) and strategizing web content accordingly while providing reports to senior management - Identify and implement weekly, daily and often real time content updates - Stay up to date on social media tools online communities and share knowledge with the rest of the organization

Experience - 5-7 years of online marketing experience with 2-3 years of social media marketing preferred - Possess a keen understanding of social media’s added value to ShoeDazzle’s product offering since it is an integral part of how customers engage with the company - Expertise around crafting and executing user acquisition and retention campaigns on social media platforms - Demonstrated ability to develop and execute marketing strategies, with measurable and consistent results - Ability to manage social applications effectively with an expert understanding of the technologies deployed by social media - Deep understanding of social network structures with experience effectively using social media/Web 2.0 tools to effectively communicate and build relationships - Familiarity with dynamics of ROI/metrics related to social media channels


- An analytical mindset is a MUST! It is critical this person test, test and retest marketing campaigns - A charismatic, credible communicator who can lead by example - Have excellent communication skills – written, verbal, presentation and interpersonal - Strong organizational skills with attention to detail, operates with urgency, focus and discipline - Have the ability to thrive in a high energy, fast growth, entrepreneurial environment - Hands-on; completes tasks and dependable - Strong team player who can build strong relationships at all levels of the organization - A cost conscious, proactive problem solver who can maximize the resources of a start-up - Ethical, fair and of high integrity

Compensation: VERY competitive + equity