Is Facebook's Open Graph the key to engagements?
A question arose the other day and it revolved around Facebook marketing. When you consider the platform and every brand's purpose, the first trigger that you would see the need to hit would be "likes." Now, we've talked greatly about the idea that "engagements" are a much stronger metric compared to "likes." However, maybe it's not "likes" we should be going after at all, or engagements on the platform. But instead, should we be focusing our efforts on Facebook's Open Graph?
I'm not saying to abandon efforts on the marketing side with "likes" and engagements. But Open Graph opens up doors to an entirely new landscape of users.
Facebook debuted the Open Graph in 2010, and since then it's made several updates to the platform, making Open Graph actions more prominent in users' timelines. None of this is more evident than in a recent study by Embedly that said 42 percent of the URLs it processes have Facebook Open Graph tags. Even more interesting, if you look at Google Trends, you can see Open Graph is trending up, clearly showing that the interest in the Open Graph is there.
Open Graph vs. Likes
When a user likes your Facebook page, or does something else on it, that post drives through her newsfeed just one time. With Open Graph, it's a bit more beneficial. Imagine every action a user takes is posted to Facebook, increasing your chances in referral traffic, likes, and engagements overall.
With Open Graph, the options are nearly endless. It allows you to customize visitors' experiences on-site and set up multiple ways they can publish their activity on Facebook.
Still don't see the difference?
Open Graph allows several stories:
And all of these actions above are repeatable every time a user comes back to your site.
With your Facebook page, you only have two stories:
And although engagements are also repetitive, the audience that views this is solely on Facebook, as opposed to your website, where you'll have a much higher visitor and click conversion, as opposed to a random Facebook user.
Open Graph = More Data
The web is becoming an open place where collaboration, community, and engagements are key to driving personalization; exactly what each and every person on the planet is looking for in a web experience. If your brand can utilize Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest, and the hundreds of other mainstream social networks, and can pull the personalization trigger, you'll drive consumers to act upon an experience and interact with your brand.
And the Open Graph can help unlock that door. Brands that are able to use this to their advantage will be ahead. Brands that can't close the loop on personalizing experiences for their users both in and out of the Facebook platform will most surely lag behind their competition.
But at what point this kind of web becomes "too open" remains to be seen.
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Nick Cifuentes is the global social media director at Ancestry.com, the world's largest online resource for family history, with 2 million paying subscribers as of July 2012. An industry veteran, Nick has worked in digital media and marketing since 2004, functioning in strategy, copywriting, analytics, search, planning, online media, and social media. He is a frequent guest writer on various industry blogs, and publishes his own blogs as well, including one focusing on digital media, and another on his side passion, ultramarathon running.
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