What Facebook’s f8 Announcements Mean for Marketers

On September 22, 2011, Facebook held f8, its 4th annual developer conference. There were two clear themes throughout the keynote address and the feature demos – user engagement and content discovery. Facebook is making richer experiences possible by expanding the capabilities of the Open Graph and through the introduction of a redesigned profile page – the hub of all user activity on Facebook.

Impact to Janrain Customers

Facebook has been slowly rolling out updates to user profile pages since f8 and APIs that enable deeper engagement with users are currently in developer beta.

As a Janrain customer, no immediate action is required on your part. You will enjoy continued access to the same set of rich user profile data that is returned as part of the Janrain Engage social login product. Here at Janrain, we are testing Facebook’s APIs and introducing new user permissions to ensure optimized placement of the social posts users make from your site to their News Feed in order to maximize referral traffic back to your content.

Janrain understands how developer conferences like f8 can cause concern for your digital roadmap. In order to help make sense of what f8 means for you, please join us for a deeper roundtable discussion with extended Q&A. Members of our product and digital and social strategy teams will be available to discuss what all of this news means for Q4 2011 and into 2012, and we’ll be taking your questions throughout the conversation. Get the details and sign up here.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how Facebook is making user engagement and content discovery possible.

Finally, Some Context for Content Sharing

Whereas the Facebook Open Graph of 2010 supported the ability to “Like” a variety of content and web pages, the Open Graph of 2011 supports many more actions or verbs. Simply put, users can now convey a richer set of intentions and context back to their social graph. This makes user actions on your website even more relevant to their friends. Apart from liking a page, your users can share that they read a news article, cooked a recipe, listened to a song, or recommended a restaurant.

Improved discovery

The new Facebook profile page now contains three distinct elements.

  • The Timeline that allows a user to customize and share life stages and milestones with their friends and family
  • The Ticker that displays all lightweight activities from friends such as “Lisa just became friends with Gina.” in real-time
  • The News Feed itself that contains status updates and posts from a user’s social graph.

So, rather than display every action taken by a user’s friends, family and colleagues in a single timeline, these activity updates are neatly segmented into three areas of the profile page for easier discovery and consumption.

Automated Sharing

Users can opt-in to share activities to their Timeline one initial time which allows subsequent actions to be automatically shared to their Timeline. Facebook is encouraging creation of branded Facebook apps to make this automatic sharing possible though similar sharing can also be done from a brand site by requesting the publish_actions user permission which Janrain will make available shortly. Customers will be notified when the permission becomes available.

New Ways to Leverage the Open Graph

Regardless of your industry vertical, the Open Graph will provide new ways for customers to talk about your brands and products with their social graph.

Retailers

Instead of just “Liking” a product page, you can create any verb association. You will probably want users to “Want,” “Own,” and “Give” products, but think about other things customers would like to do with your products, like “Use,” “Upgrade to,” and “Rock.”

Media and Entertainment

Entertainment apps become much more important, as users will have new ways of engaging with video and music content.

Publishers

Publishers have the greatest ability to stay relevant, as the content stream from your website gets more social distribution through automatic sharing, and drives more users back to your site. You now have the option to introduce labels such as “Read”, “Commented”, “Strongly Agreed With”, “Disapproved” to your content.

Other Platform Changes

Lastly, Facebook has also announced several platform changes that will take effect starting October 1, 2011. We want to assure you that as a Janrain customer, no action is required on your part. Janrain has been consistently making changes and upgrades to API calls to ensure support for the latest and greatest from Facebook.

Join our Product and Digital Strategy teams October 7th for more discussion on f8 and get all your questions answered.