Sharing 2.0: Facebook's New Open Graph

By Timmy Bosch 

Recently, Facebook announced that the new features in its Open Graph are available to all application developers.  Although changes to Facebook’s Open Graph were no surprise, watching it unfold has been eye-opening. I have been observing the 60 apps involved in Facebook’s Open Graph Beta very closely and have come to appreciate the genius behind Facebook’s changes.

New Open Graph Features: Gestures & Frictionless Sharing

  1. Gestures represent a type of action you have taken within a Facebook Open Graph app.  In addition to ‘Like’, ‘Share’ and ‘Recommend’, you can now ‘Read’, ‘Review’, ‘Heart’ or any other verb within Facebook’s guidelines.
  2. Frictionless Sharing enables users to share behavior on Facebook, without going through the “friction” of publishing approval. For example, if you have permitted the Rotten Tomatoes App to share your behavior once, then every time you rate a movie, that action will be auto-published in the ticker and on your timeline.
The Marketing Impact: Viral Reach & Unprecedented Behavioral Data

Frictionless sharing is word of mouth marketing on steroids. After the initial approval for the app, sharing all actions while using the app become automatic. For example, if you install the Washington Post Facebook app, every article you read in the Washington Post (while logged into Facebook) is shared with your connections via the ticker or newsfeed.

If you are in the digital content market (e.g. TV shows, articles & music), this should be a no-brainer! Digital content services are inherently shareable, thus a perfect fit for Frictionless Sharing.

Although digital content marketers have the most obvious angle with Open Graph apps, any brand creative enough can benefit from this new tool. For example, e-commerce sites can create powerful gestures beyond the ‘like’. Seeing your friend ‘need’ a certain pair of shoes or ‘review’ a book you were thinking about purchasing can be a powerful peer-to-peer message.

Facebook’s Open Graph is not only redefining the way we share, but has also cleverly installed a way to capture valuable media consumption data. Facebook will eventually have a comprehensive archive of what you like to consume. This data will help with Facebook ad accuracy and help marketers drive better engagement.

Predictions

  • I can’t help but think they are planting seeds for a bigger long term opportunity by compiling all this data. I am just speculating, but imagine the product recommendation engine Facebook could create with all this data!
  • Open Graph Apps will need to provide value in order to get users to give their initial permission (required for Frictional Sharing to happen). This will be especially important as the app competition thickens.
  • This is the beginning of Sharing 2.0, where the bulk of brand interaction is from consumers sharing with consumers.

What are your thoughts/ concerns with Facebook's new Open Graph? Share below in the comments!

Tim