January 23, 2012
Why Facebook’s New Timeline Apps Will Change The Way Brands Use Facebook
Last week saw Facebook announce the launch of more than 60 new integrated partner applications within the Facebook Timeline, once more bringing about a promise for a new social media experience to users. Much in the same way we saw some months ago with the integration of the Spotify music streaming service, this latest move is a further indication of Facebook’s focus upon becoming an even bigger part of people’s everyday lives and experiences. Moreover, the latest group of apps to be added including eBay, Foursquare, FoodSpotting, Zynga and TripAdvisor are only the start of what is sure to become a game-changing addition to the social network.
At the heart of the latest additions is Facebook’s focus on users sharing and interacting more, urging others to express who they are, be it “a runner, foodie, traveler, music fan, movie buff…” – all of which will undoubtedly shine as a beacon of light to brands who now have the opportunity to creatively integrate with the everyday lifestyle and interests of Facebook’s 800 million users.
Where Spotify enabled fans to share what they are ‘listening to’, Facebook has indicated that the list of activities brands and apps will be able to present to users are endless – from watching and reading, to cooking or wearing. More importantly, no longer will Facebook user activities be defined by ‘likes’ – and this is something that up until now every brand has worked towards achieving.
With smartphone apps such as Foursquare enabling users to check-in to locations and social media agencies will need to take into consideration when streamlining their approach towards both acquisition and engagement, but in fact, many brands will have to adjust their approach entirely. Before too long, current approaches to chase ‘Likes’ and comments will soon appear dated and out-of-touch with the direction Facebook and its users are heading.
The hustle and bustle of making it onto Fan news feeds is also about to get much more interesting. Brands and online PR companies will have to work even harder to capture attention and become part of user everyday lives. Wall posts and content will now need to become even more visually appealing and focused on interactivity and engagement. There’s also the question of how EdgeRank will factor in the latest changes. For example, will more weight and relevance be placed on users sharing ‘activities’ than ‘likes’ and ‘comments’?
Of course, it is far too soon to tell; however, for those brands able to take advantage of the new Open Graph activities feature, the opportunity to provide something creative and unique as well as increase visibility, engagement and acquisition throughout the platform will be impossible to overlook – with Spotify’s recent success presenting the perfect example of this. Within just six weeks of partnering with Facebook back in September 2011, Spotify saw more than 4 million new users and over 1.5 billion song shares, something that only further emphasizes the opportunities that exist for brands that are able to tap-in to the day-to-day activities and interests of fans and users.
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