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Open Graph a Marketer’s Jackpot?

February 14, 2012

Facebook and its peers like Twitter and (rapid up-and-comer) Pintrest continue to offer marketers a panoply of options for building rapport and deeper dialog with their target audience.  Similarly, marketers who can incorporate open graph apps are in store for a bonanza of benefits.   But great opportunities for marketers– and New Market Entrepreneurs alike– are also quite creepy for users… especially if they are unaware.

Let’s break it down with the help of some recent helpful posts.

Unless you are in the business (working for Facebook or Advertising with them) you may not realize all  the data they are collecting about you and providing access to marketers to reach you.  From this post we excerpt the following 7 items Facebook knows about you and shares with marketers.

     1. Where You’ve Been

You’ve always kept your location up to date on Facebook, ensuring everyone knows when you change cities — but you’re not interested in geotagging. Watch out, because your exact location can still be picked up by Facebook and broadcasted.

2. What You’re Listening To

You just downloaded Spotify and you’re really excited to get started. You signed up and were asked to link to Facebook before launching the app, so you clicked the boxes and everything seems ready. But don’t click play on that MC Hammer track just yet…

3. When You’re Creeping

That girl you met at the event you went to last week. Your ex from college. Your worst enemy from middle school. Odds are, they’re all on Facebook, and you can’t resist the urge to creep. Just remember that Facebook is watching, too.

4. Where You Run

Social running is all the rage these days, and you’re ready to load up your iPhone with RunKeeper, connect it to Facebook and get to stepping. But there’s more, and it has to do with that sneaky little GPS…

5. Your Saturday Night Plans

Your local bar is having a comedy night, and you have to RSVP on Facebook to get on the guest list. But when you click “Attending,” your plans can be broadcast to your social network — whether you realize it or not.

6. When You’ve Slacked on Your Diet

You have a Fitbit and you’re ready to get your connected fitness in gear. You allow your account to connect with Facebook so you can broadcast your successes to friends and family, but the Open Graph does change things.

7. What News Articles You Just Read

A friend read an article that catches your eye through the Washington Post Social Reader. You click on the title and realize that the app requires permission before linking to the article. You may think little of it and click through to the article, but Facebook watches as you keep reading.

read more

If you are a marketer, this is great news.  If you are a general user, it’s a little creepy.   But it gets better/creepier.    When you register through facebook, twitter or any of these OAuth/Open ID registration vehicles, marketers also get access to a great deal of data.  As this post describes, just the simple act of registering using a social media app opens a pandora’s box of access that you may not be aware of and, unfortunately, my not be clear as you go through the registration process.  Here’s a snapshot… not an exhaustive list:

Apps that do send data, with no warning

Foursquare stands alone here as an app that was, until an update issued on February 14th, sending personal data with no warning. This is similar to the previous behavior of Path that got it in so much hot water. Since the update, Foursqare now warns users before uploading data. Foursquare says that, while it was uploading the data, it was not storing it.

  • Foursquare (Email, Phone Numbers no warning)

Apps that do send data, after warning

Apps in this category send copious amounts of data including email addresses, first and last names and phone numbers. Path appears to be sending the most information out of the apps that were tested.

  • Path (Pretty much everything including mailing addresses, after warning)
  • Instagram (Email, Phone Numbers, First, Last , after warning)
  • Facebook (Email, Phone Numbers, First, Last, after warning)
  • Twitter for iOS (Email, Phone Numbers, after warning)
  • Voxer (Email, First, Last, Phone numbers, after warning)

Finally, there is now Open Graph Apps and Open Graph Actions allow activities that take place outside Facebook not only to show up in Facebook, but also on Marketer’s and New Market Entrepreneurs radar.  In fact, items 2, 4, 6, and 7 in the first excerpt above are examples.  There are dozens (and growing rapidly) more.

With Open Graph actions, users can now interact with and share things on the web in more nuanced ways than liking or posting. The new dynamics between apps, Timeline, Ticker and News Feed means more options for brand exposure on Facebook, but not necessarily in ways brands can control or own. Instead, marketers will need to think beyond their Facebook pages and consider partnership opportunities with other apps, as well as how to build new experiences for the web and mobile devices that last beyond a single campaign.  read more

Access to or partnering with Open Graph Apps will become a valuable asset to Marketers.

Brands will also be more likely to partner with apps to offer promotions or be featured in some way now that their reach will be much greater. This is because instead of waiting for users to actively share things on Facebook, Open Graph apps can continuously publish lightweight stories about users’ activity. As a result, formerly niche communities like the aforementioned Pose or Foodspotting could become more viable marketing avenues.   read more

But ‘rolling your own’ may not be the best option for Brands.

Marketers might be tempted to create their own Open Graph apps, but they will need to think more long term than they previously have with Facebook. Timeline apps provide value through use over time, helping users share part of their identity or learn something about their own habits. These apps are not ideal for one-off promotions. If marketers create them solely to take advantage of “frictionless sharing,” users are likely to recognize them as spam.   read more

And Moble Open Graph Apps could stand to win big… New Market Entrepreneurs take note!

Another important point about Open Graph apps is that since they benefit from users taking repeated action, they work well as mobile and web integrations not page tab apps. A few of Facebook’s more than 60 Open Graph partners developed canvas applications, but none were using page tabs. We suspect this is in part because tabs apps are unavailable on mobile and pages could be converted to the Timeline format sometime this year. Marketers should be mindful of how much they invest in page tab apps moving forward and instead consider what kind of Open Graph integration or partnerships would be most relevant for their consumers.   read more

We are living in times of “Bountiful Data” that can be a marketer’s blessing and a user’s curse.  The key for New Market Entrepreneurs looking to leverage these assets as part of their business model is to be painfully transparent and honest in the data you are collecting and how you will use it.  And, of course, to always get permission each step of the process.

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