What’s the cost of buying users from Facebook and 13 other ad networks?

Google Search, Google Shopping, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Quora, Snapchat, LinkedIn & more

This post reveals the cost of acquiring a customer on every ad channel my agency has tested. The ad channels include Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Quora, Google Search, Google Shopping, Snapchat, LinkedIn and others. Using this data, you can reduce your costs by identifying which channels are a likely fit for your own product. Then you can focus on testing just those channels to start. I’m pulling data from my agency’s experience testing 15+ ad channels and running thousands of ads for dozens of Y Combinator startups.

This post leaves you with a prioritized to-do list of which channels might work for your product, and reference points for how much you can expect to pay if you get those channels to work.

Which ad channels should I use?

We focus on three criteria when assessing ad channels:

  • Profit — You want to earn at least as much as the cost of acquiring a customer. For example, it’s uncommon to acquire an American customer through Facebook for less than $30 USD. So, your profit per customer should be at least $30 to break even. (In reality, it should likely be 3x more to account for meaningful profit and ad channel volatility.)
  • Volume — If your audience doesn’t exist in significant quantities on a given ad channel, it’s likely not worth your time to experiment with it yet. Especially given your effective audience volume is probably smaller than you think: It’s not just a matter of how many people use the channel, but how many who use it also want your product today and can justify its cost.
  • Targeting — The best-fitting ad channels are those that let you narrowly target your desired audience. If they can’t do this, you’ll be forced to target broadly, which wastes dollars on the wrong eyeballs. This means your customer acquisition cost (CAC) is more likely to exceed your profit margin.

In short, to succeed with ad channels, your product should earn sufficient profit and have a sufficiently large targetable audience.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Link to original source

Pinterest throws subtle shade at Facebook in IPO filing

Those creeps out here making it hard for everyone else.
Those creeps out here making it hard for everyone else.
Image: Kim Kulish / getty

Pinterest is not happy with Facebook. 

The forgotten middle child of the social media family filed for an IPO on March 22, and in doing so the San Francisco-based company made a very public argument that its future is bright. That is, if Facebook doesn’t screw things up for it first. 

Buried deep in the pages and pages of IPO-related disclosures resides a friendly little section called “RISK FACTORS.” The section contains a lot of standard, boilerplate stuff about how things might not work out how the company hopes, and that investors should be warned that nothing in life is a sure bet. Which, totally. It also, however, has a lot of what look to be pretty Facebook-specific digs.

“[The] increase in news about online privacy may motivate Pinners to take more aggressive steps to protect their privacy,” reads the filing. “Pinners may elect not to allow data sharing for a number of reasons, such as data privacy concerns. This could impact our ability to deliver relevant content aligned with Pinners’ personal taste and interests.”

Gee, we wonder why news about online privacy has increased in the recent past. If only there was something specific at which we could point our fingers. Oh, yeah

“Additionally,” continues the Pinterest filing, “the impact of these developments may disproportionately affect our business in comparison to certain peers in the technology sector that, by virtue of the scope and breadth of their operations or user base, have greater access to user data.”

In other words, companies like Facebook are so big that they’re more or less insulated from the consequences of their actions. Pinterest, on the other hand, argues it may not be. 

But Pinterest isn’t just worried that Facebook’s repeated privacy-violating debacles have spoiled social media users’ trust for everyone else. The company also appears to be nervous about another favorite Mark Zuckerberg pastime: ripping off other companies’ core features. 

“There are many factors that could negatively affect user growth, retention and engagement,” continues the filing, “including if: our competitors mimic our products or product features, causing Pinners to utilize their products instead of, or more frequently than, our products, harming Pinner engagement and growth.”

This is not a baseless fear. It was just last month that we learned of Facebook-owned Instagram’s likely plan to steal a key Pinterest feature. And then there’s what happened to Snapchat

Obviously, Pinterest is paying close attention to its older sibling and wants you to know that it saw the big blue jerk coming. 

Uploads%252fvideo uploaders%252fdistribution thumb%252fimage%252f90773%252f3d0c0f27 8427 4adf 94bb 12d6adfaf43d.jpg%252foriginal.jpg?signature=wu1br1m3jlljiyautjm4df2upmi=&source=https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Link to original source

Daily Crunch: Facebook admits password security lapse

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Facebook admits it stored ‘hundreds of millions’ of account passwords in plaintext

Prompted by a report by cybersecurity reporter Brian Krebs, Facebook confirmed that it stored “hundreds of millions” of account passwords in plaintext for years.

The discovery was made in January, said Facebook’s Pedro Canahuati, as part of a routine security review. None of the passwords were visible to anyone outside Facebook, he said. Facebook admitted the security lapse months later, after Krebs said logs were accessible to some 2,000 engineers and developers.

2. To fund Y Combinator’s top startups, VCs scoop them before Demo Day

What many don’t realize about the Demo Day tradition is that pitching isn’t a requirement; in fact, some YC graduates skip out on their stage opportunity altogether. Why? Because they’ve already raised capital or are in the final stages of closing a deal.

3. MoviePass parent’s CEO says its rebooted subscription service is already (sort of) profitable

We interviewed the CEO of Helios and Matheson Analytics to discuss the service’s tumultuous year and future plans.

4. Robotics process automation startup UiPath raising $400M at more than $7B valuation

UiPath develops automated software workflows meant to facilitate the tedious, everyday tasks within business operations.

5. Microsoft Defender comes to the Mac

Previously, this was a Windows solution for protecting the machines of Microsoft 365 subscribers, and the assets of the IT admins that try to keep them safe. It was previously called Windows Defender ATP, but launching on the Mac has prompted a name change.

6. Homeland Security warns of critical flaws in Medtronic defibrillators

The government-issued alert warned that Medtronic’s proprietary radio communications protocol, known as Conexus, wasn’t encrypted and did not require authentication, allowing a nearby attacker with radio-intercepting hardware to modify data on an affected defibrillator.

7. Nintendo’s Labo: VR Kit is not Virtual Boy 2.0

Like the first Labo kits, the VR Kit a friendly reminder that Nintendo’s chief job is to surprise and delight, and it delivers on both fronts. But just as the Labo piano shouldn’t be mistaken for a real musical instrument, Labo VR should not be viewed as “real” virtual reality.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Link to original source

Facebook staff raised concerns about Cambridge Analytica in September 2015, per court filing

Further details have emerged about when and how much Facebook knew about data-scraping by the disgraced and now defunct Cambridge Analytica political data firm.

Last year a major privacy scandal hit Facebook after it emerged CA had paid GSR, a developer with access to Facebook’s platform, to extract personal data on as many as 87M Facebook users without proper consents.

Cambridge Analytica’s intention was to use the data to build psychographic profiles of American voters to target political messages — with the company initially working for the Ted Cruz and later the Donald Trump presidential candidate campaigns.

But employees at Facebook appear to have raised internal concerns about CA scraping user data in September 2015 — i.e. months earlier than Facebook previously told lawmakers it became aware of the GSR/CA breach (December 2015).

The latest twist in the privacy scandal has emerged via a redacted court filing in the U.S. — where the District of Columbia is suing Facebook in a consumer protection enforcement case.

Facebook is seeking to have documents pertaining to the case sealed, while the District argues there is nothing commercially sensitive to require that.

In its opposition to Facebook’s motion to seal the document, the District includes a redacted summary (screengrabbed below) of the “jurisdictional facts” it says are contained in the papers Facebook is seeking to keep secret.

According to the District’s account a Washington D.C.-based Facebook employee warned others in the company about Cambridge Analytica’s data-scraping practices as early as September 2015.

Under questioning in Congress last April, Mark Zuckerberg was asked directly by congressman Mike Doyle when Facebook had first learned about Cambridge Analytica using Facebook data — and whether specifically it had learned about it as a result of the December 2015 Guardian article (which broke the story).

Zuckerberg responded with a “yes” to Doyle’s question.

Facebook repeated the same line to the UK’s Digital, Media and Sport (DCMA) committee last year, over a series of hearings with less senior staffers

Damian Collins, the chair of the DCMS committee — which made repeat requests for Zuckerberg himself to testify in front of its enquiry into online disinformation, only to be repeatedly rebuffed — tweeted yesterday that the new detail could suggest Facebook “consistently mislead” the British parliament.

The DCMS committee has previously accused Facebook of deliberately misleading its enquiry on other aspects of the CA saga, with Collins taking the company to task for displaying a pattern of evasive behavior.

The earlier charge that it mislead the committee refers to a hearing in Washington in February 2018 — when Facebook sent its UK head of policy, Simon Milner, and its head of global policy management, Monika Bickert, to field DCMS’ questions — where the pair failed to inform the committee about a legal agreement Facebook had made with Cambridge Analytica in December 2015.

The committee’s final report was also damning of Facebook, calling for regulators to instigate antitrust and privacy probes of the tech giant.

Meanwhile, questions have continued to be raised about Facebook’s decision to hire GSR co-founder Joseph Chancellor, who reportedly joined the company around November 2015.

The question now is if Facebook knew there were concerns about CA data-scraping prior to hiring the co-founder of the company that sold scraped Facebook user data to CA, why did it go ahead and hire Chancellor?

The GSR co-founder has never been made available by Facebook to answer questions from politicians (or press) on either side of the pond.

Last fall he was reported to have quietly left Facebook, with no comment from Facebook on the reasons behind his departure — just as it had never explained why it hired him in the first place.

But the new timeline that’s emerged of what Facebook knew when makes those questions more pressing than ever.

Reached for a response to the details contained in the District of Columbia’s court filing, a Facebook spokeswomen sent us this statement:

Facebook was not aware of the transfer of data from Kogan/GSR to Cambridge Analytica until December 2015, as we have testified under oath

In September 2015 employees heard speculation that Cambridge Analytica was scraping data, something that is unfortunately common for any internet service. In December 2015, we first learned through media reports that Kogan sold data to Cambridge Analytica, and we took action. Those were two different things.

Facebook did not engage with questions about any of the details and allegations in the court filing.

A little later in the court filing, the District of Columbia writes that the documents Facebook is seeking to seal are “consistent” with its allegations that “Facebook has employees embedded within multiple presidential candidate campaigns who… knew, or should have known… [that] Cambridge Analytica [was] using the Facebook consumer data harvested by [[GSR’s]] [Aleksandr] Kogan throughout the 2016 [United States presidential] election.”

It goes on to suggest that Facebook’s concern to seal the document is “reputational”, suggesting — in another redacted segment (below) — that it might “reflect poorly” on Facebook that a DC-based employee had flagged Cambridge Analytica months prior to news reports of its improper access to user data.

“The company may also seek to avoid publishing its employees’ candid assessments of how multiple third-parties violated Facebook’s policies,” it adds, chiming with arguments made last year by GSR’s Kogan who suggested the company failed to enforce the terms of its developer policy, telling the DCMS committee it therefore didn’t have a “valid” policy.

As we’ve reported previously, the UK’s data protection watchdog — which has an ongoing investigation into CA’s use of Facebook data — was passed information by Facebook as part of that probe which showed that three “senior managers” had been involved in email exchanges, prior to December 2015, concerning the CA breach.

It’s not clear whether these exchanges are the same correspondence the District of Columbia has obtained and which Facebook is seeking to seal. Or whether there were multiple email threads raising concerns about the company.

The ICO passed the correspondence it obtained from Facebook to the DCMS committee — which last month said it had agreed at the request of the watchdog to keep the names of the managers confidential. (The ICO also declined to disclose the names or the correspondence when we made a Freedom of Information request last month — citing rules against disclosing personal data and its ongoing investigation into CA meaning the risk of release might be prejudicial to its investigation.)

In its final report the committee said this internal correspondence indicated “profound failure of governance within Facebook” — writing:

[I]t would seem that this important information was not shared with the most senior executives at Facebook, leading us to ask why this was the case. The scale and importance of the GSR/Cambridge Analytica breach was such that its occurrence should have been referred to Mark Zuckerberg as its CEO immediately. The fact that it was not is evidence that Facebook did not treat the breach with the seriousness it merited. It was a profound failure of governance within Facebook that its CEO did not know what was going on, the company now maintains, until the issue became public to us all in 2018. The incident displays the fundamental weakness of Facebook in managing its responsibilities to the people whose data is used for its own commercial interests.

We reached out to the ICO for comment on the information to emerge via the Columbia suit, and also to the Irish Data Protection Commission, the lead DPA for Facebook’s international business, which currently has 15 open investigations into Facebook or Facebook-owned businesses related to various security, privacy and data protection issues.

An ICO spokesperson told us: “We are aware of these reports and will be considering the points made as part of our ongoing investigation.”

Last year the ICO issued Facebook with the maximum possible fine under UK law for the CA data breach.

Shortly after Facebook announced it would appeal, saying the watchdog had not found evidence that any UK users’ data was misused by CA.

A date for the hearing of the appeal set for earlier this week was canceled without explanation. A spokeswoman for the tribunal court told us a new date would appear on its website in due course.

This report was updated with comment from the ICO

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Link to original source

Facebook knew about Cambridge Analytica prior to 'Guardian' exposé


SIPA USA/PA Images

Facebook has admitted that it suspected Cambridge Analytica of scraping data from the platform even before the first reports about its massive data collection were published. The Guardian has learned about the social network’s suspicion from a court filing by Washington DC’s attorney general’s office, which sued the company over the scandal. That filing opposed Facebook’s motion to seal one of the documents the attorney general submitted to the court: an email exchange between the social network’s senior managers revealing that they knew of CA’s “improper data-gathering practices” as early as September 2015. The Guardian didn’t publish its first piece on Cambridge Analytica until December 2015, and the scandal didn’t blow up until 2018.

While the company admitted to the publication that it had concerns about CA’s practices months before its data gathering became public knowledge, it insisted that it “absolutely did not mislead anyone.” A spokesperson said the employees were talking about a different issue in the email exchange, and that it wasn’t about CA’s data purchase from Aleksandr Kogan. If you’ll recall, the Cambridge University professor sold CA up to 87 million users’ information gathered through his personality quiz app. Data extraction didn’t go against Facebook’s policies in the past, and the social network maintains that it was Kogan’s sale specifically that was against its TOS.

He said:

“In September 2015 employees heard speculation that Cambridge Analytica was scraping data, something that is unfortunately common for any internet service. In December 2015, we first learned through media reports that Kogan sold data to Cambridge Analytica, and we took action. Those were two different things.”

A few days ago, The Guardian also reported that Facebook execs met CA whistleblower Christopher Wylie back in the summer of 2016, way before the scandal became public. Unlike this incident, however, Facebook denied that one and called it “flatly and totally untrue.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Link to original source