Facebook Like and Open Graph API

Facebook Like and Open Graph API

Michael Barber [Director of Emerging Media @ Lucid Agency] explains the new Facebook Like (Open Graph API) implications for business:


What is it?

From a technology standpoint, the Facebook “Like” button is part of a larger technology initiative called the Open Graph Protocol or Open Graph API.  The platform is an upgrade to last year’s Open Graph announcements. It also replaces the “Fan” button with the “Like” button.

The new protocols will not only allow organizations to have all the features currently found on their Facebook pages page such as being able to “Fan” or now “Like” the organization, allowing that action to show up on people’s profiles, publish that action across their friend’s newsfeeds, but will allow Facebook to start building massive amounts of data on how Facebook users interact with sites within and beyond the Facebook walls.

Simply put the “Like” button and Open Graph Protocol will allow Facebook and organizations to understand web users’ habits across the larger web. They want to build not only a social, but personalized web whose hub is Facebook.

Organizations will be able to find out what users like, what they do not like, what their friends and connections like and then tailor a user’s site experience to that data. They can leverage this platform to make their websites more personalized based on site visitor’s Facebook profiles and actions within Facebook and outside the walls of the social network by utilizing data from sites that also adopt the Open Graph Protocol.

One of the earliest integrations of the new protocols is Levi’s ecommerce site http://store.levi.com/. You can now see the products that Facebook users like and what your friends’ like. Based on your interactions on the site, Levi’s can also provide targeted and personalized recommendations for different products.

Why it matters:

  1. Facebook is the most used social network by monthly active users. With just under half a billion users, Facebook boasts the largest active user base of any US-based social network. Need some perspective on that number? If Facebook was a country, it would be the third-largest behind only India and China. Needless to say, it has the largest potential reach of any social network for your brand to connect with consumers.
  2. Facebook could be the key to building the true semantic web. Due to the number of users and the ability for Facebook to collect data from its and any site that implements the Open Graph protocols, Facebook is potentially becoming the hub of the semantic web. By semantic web, we are referring to the idea of building a web ecosystem where a user’s needs can be anticipated, understood and personalized for them. Think of demographic or geographic targeting on other sites such as Google, but take it to the next level, where a website understands what you and your network likes, does not like, buys, reads etc, and then personalizes your experience around that data.
  3. The growth and data provided by the Open Graph is already massive. The new Open Graph Protocols were announced less than a week ago and already some 50,000 sites have implemented it and Facebook is seeing over 1 billion “Likes” per day.

Privacy Concerns:

The greatest concern is privacy. Facebook has not effectively promoted exactly what these changes mean for users, at least not in terms that the average Facebook user understands. The Open Graph Protocol allows third-parties to access most, if not all, of any Facebook user’s data as long as they are opted into the program through their security settings. It’s important to note that all users were automatically opted into the Open Graph Protocol.

How your organization can use it:

  1. Site registration using Facebook. Similar to how Facebook Connect allowed websites to register and sign-on utilizing their Facebook account, sites can even more easily integrate Facebook’s authentication features to allow users to register for your site. Websites can access a Facebook users real name, email address, profile picture and list of friends. This sign up functionality can either replace or supplement your current system and can help increase user signups and improve the quality of user data.
  2. Interaction and Engagement. With new features such as the “Like” button and additional sharing features, websites can now engage with visitors in deep ways such as what the larger Facebook community likes on your site or what friends of specific users like. This will help create engaging and meaningful experiences for Facebook users.
  3. Syndication beyond the walls of Facebook. Websites that incorporate the “Like” features across different pieces of content—such as articles, images, products, etc.—will allow site visitors to easily spread that content across Facebook and web.

All of these opportunities can ultimately help increase the viral potential of your content. To further illustrate the process, click on the image below which will bring up a larger image to illustrate the “like” process.

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If you have any additional questions or would like to discuss how Facebook Like and the Open Graph Protocol could affect your business, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

– Michael

Scott Kaufmann
[email protected]

Scott is Partner at Lucid Agency and a lover of all things technology, marketing, investing and entrepreneurship. Scott volunteers on the board of the Denver-based Nonprofit Celebrate EDU and as a mentor for SeedSpot (a Phoenix-based social startup incubator).

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