Using Facebook to move your business forward

Recommendations and best practices to help drive traffic to your website, increase engagement, and gain valuable customer insights
9/27/2010

 

 

Facebook Platform    

Table of Contents
I.  INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................................................3   II.  GETTING  STARTED ...........................................................................................................................3   III.  GOAL:  TRAFFIC .................................................................................................................................3   IV.  GOAL:  ENGAGEMENT.......................................................................................................................9   V.  GOAL:  USER  INSIGHTS................................................................................................................... 11   VI.  TAKING  YOUR  INTEGRATION  TO  THE  NEXT  LEVEL .......................................................... 11    

 

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I. INTRODUCTION Today, Facebook has more than 500 million monthly active users with 50% of those users returning daily. Each month, people spend more than 700 billion minutes and share more than 30 billion pieces of content with their friends on Facebook. Additionally, each person on Facebook has an average of 130 friends each, providing you with powerful distribution opportunities.

On Facebook, experiences are customized for each user, based on their real friends, real identity, and the connections they’ve made. Through Facebook Platform, sites across the web are now bringing that same type of personalization to their users. Already, more than 1 million websites have integrated with Facebook through registration and social plugins. Businesses often integrate Facebook into their websites to achieve three key objectives: (1) driving referral traffic from Facebook, (2) increasing engagement, and (3) gaining valuable customer insights. This document contains our recommendations and best practices on how to effectively use Facebook to achieve these objectives. II. GETTING STARTED Determine key goals Understand what you want your integration to accomplish. Goal Traffic   Engagement Insights    Recommended integration Integrate the Like button or create a Facebook Page Publish or advertise to people that like objects on your site or Facebook Page Add the Activity Feed or Recommendations plugin Optimize your integration Personalize your site with Facebook Login and Graph API* Time to integrate 1-2 hours 1-2 hours 1-2 hours Ongoing 2-4 weeks

* Not covered in detail in this document

III. GOAL: TRAFFIC a) Integrate the Like button onto your website or create a Facebook Page The Like button is a simple, one-click action that lets people share content, make a connection, and discover what friends like.

 

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i) Key benefits
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Distribution on Facebook: When people click the Like button on your website or Facebook Page, a News Feed story is published to the person’s News Feed, and shared with friends on Facebook, as well as your site. As more friends like it, the story becomes more prominently displayed to other friends. The published story will always link back to the original content on your website or Facebook Page. Publishing: Use our interface or API to publish updates directly into the News Feed of users who have clicked a Like button on your site or on your Facebook Page.

ii) Proven results
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Businesses have seen significant increases in referral traffic from Facebook after integrating Facebook (data from 5/11/2010):   o News sites that implemented social plugins to surface individualized content for readers saw significant increases in daily referral traffic from Facebook. For instance, Facebook referral traffic increased by 190% for ABC News and 80% for The Globe and Mail, Canada's largest-circulation national newspaper. The Globe and Mail also found that people who like their Facebook Page are more engaged on their site — and comment, share, and read more. o IMDb.com saw its daily referral traffic from Facebook double, and its users have generated more than 350,000 likes. Dailymotion, one of the top 50 most-trafficked websites in the world, saw users click the Like button tens of thousands of times per day on their site. As an example, more than 250,000 users engaged with one of the most popular videos on Dailymotion, PIXELS by Patrick Jean, and a quarter of the views are from Facebook users. o NHL.com saw an 80% increase in referral traffic from Facebook, as people interacted with articles, scores and videos. o Scribd, a site that helps authors publish their writing, saw their referral traffic from Facebook double as authors gained followers among groups of Facebook friends.

iii. Facebook Page vs. Like button/Open Graph tags on a Web page, or both? This decision boils down to where you want to connect with users (on Facebook, on your website, or both). There are a few key differences between a Facebook Page and a Web page with a Like button:
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Facebook Pages have a built-in Wall that enables you to have a direct channel to your fans. If you have the resources to provide fresh content and participate in active discussions, we recommend that you create a Facebook Page. Facebook Pages have a standard layout (e.g., Wall, tabs, profile photos, etc.) and can be created in the place of a website. If you have an existing website or want more design flexibility, the Like button provides several flexible layouts that can be integrated into your site’s design. If you only want to drive traffic and manage connections on your Facebook Page, but have an existing website, you have the option of changing the URL of the Like button on your website to the URL of the Facebook Page, allowing users to connect with your Facebook Page from your website.

 

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Facebook Pages and Open Graph Pages are functionally equivalent in terms how they show up across the site, can publish to users that like them, etc. Open Graph Pages work better for segmenting users.

iv) How it works When a person clicks the Like button on your site or Facebook Page, a story appears in the user's friends’ Recent Activity Feed and profile with a link back to your website.

If the person adds a comment or as more friends like it, the story will be more prominently displayed in the News Feed (URL, image, title, and description shown). You can customize the display of the feed story by adding the appropriate Open Graph tags  (on your website) or editing the settings on your Facebook Page.

Open Graph tags are <meta> tags that you add to the <head> of your website to specify how your Web page is displayed on Facebook. An Open Graph tag looks like this: <meta property= “og:tag name” content = “tag value” />

If you use Open Graph tags, the following are required:
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og:title - The title of the entity. og:image - The URL to an image that represents the entity. Images must be at least 50 pixels by 50 pixels. Square images work best, but you are allowed to use images up to three times as wide as they are tall.

 

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og:url - The canonical, permanent URL of the page representing the entity. When you use Open Graph tags, the Like button posts a link to the og:url instead of the URL in the Like button code. og:site_name - A human-readable name for your site (e.g., "IMDb"). fb:admins or fb:app_id - A comma-separated list of either the Facebook IDs of page administrators or a Facebook Platform application ID. At a minimum, include only your own Facebook ID.

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If your Web page represents a real-world entity, things like movies, sports teams, products, and restaurants, you’ll want to establish a more permanent connection with the user. To do this, add the object Open Graph tag (og:type). By adding og:type to the <head> of your Web page, your page becomes equivalent to a Facebook Page, with the ability to publish updates to a person’s News Feed. Additionally, when the person clicks a Like button on your Web page, your Web page will appear in the "Likes and Interests" section of the person's profile, as well as in search results on Facebook, and you can target Facebook ads to people who like your Web page. Use the article og:type for any URL that represents transient content - such as a news article, blog post, photo, video, etc. Do not use website for this purpose. The website and blog og:type tags are designed to represent an entire site, an og:type tag with types website or blog should usually only appear on the root of a domain. If your object does not fit into one of the specified types, you can specify your own type. This will be represented as type other on Facebook. We will monitor the most commonly used types and graduate them to fully supported og:types. The graphic below summarizes the actions that take place when a user clicks the Like button:
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One-line story is published to user’s friends upon clicking “LIke”

Richer story is published when user adds a comment

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Link is added to user’s profile under “Likes and Interests”

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Site can now publish directly to a user’s feed

 

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v. Best practices for implementing the Like button Facebook has worked closely with several partners across different verticals to understand their experiences and conducted a few independent analyses to determine the following best practices:

Use Like instead of Share The Like button offers a more lightweight way of making connections and sharing content with friends. Users reported that clicking on Like is faster than clicking on Share. On several media sites, we’ve seen that the number of likes is greater than the number of shares. For example, on a media site that displayed both Like and old Share buttons over a given week, Like was clicked 3x more than Share.   Ensure that the Like button has commenting enabled Verify that the width of the iFrame is at least 450 pixels or use the XFBML version (via our JavaScript library) for additional flexibility. Over 70% of the top-performing sites have commenting enabled.

If the user does add a comment, the story published back to Facebook is given more prominence (includes image, title, website, description, and ability for friends to comment):

Use the Like button with friend photos Including friend photos increases the click-through-rate (CTR). Like buttons with one face have around 8x the CTR of Like buttons with no faces. Consider optimal placement of the Like button Our study revealed that over 75% of the top-performing sites used natural positioning with respect to article copy and reading behaviors (like at the clear beginning or end point of the article). Partner sites also tended to place the Like button near visually appealing content (for example, next to a video or image). You can A/B test placement and layout of the Like button to optimize referral traffic. Simply include the ref parameter on the Like button. Our insights tool will also provide information on the source of the click (e.g., on Newsfeed, Inbox, etc.) Add the appropriate Open Graph tags Open Graph tags are <meta> tags that you add to the <head> of your website to specify how your Web page is displayed on Facebook. Use Open Graph tags to specify an interesting image, title, and description to draw attention in the News Feed.

 

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b. Publish and advertise to connected users (people who have Liked) i) Publishing to connected users To publish to people who have liked your Facebook Page, simply use the composer to send a status update, photo, or link:

To publish to people who have liked your Web page, Open Graph tags must be added to the Web page. The required Open Graph tags for publishing can be found here. Once added, you can publish via our interface by clicking on the "Admin Page" link to the right of the Like button (link only visible to the admins defined via Open Graph tags on the Web page).

ii. Best practices for publishing In our analysis of stories published by top media sites, we found that (a) stories involving emotional topics, passionate debates, and important sports events have 2-3x the activity of other stories, (b) status updates which ask simple questions or encourage a user to Like the story have 2-3x the activity, and (c) stories published in the early morning or later evening have higher engagement.

 

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For additional best practices on what content to publish, here are more resources. iii. Advertising to connected users Once your users like Web pages on your site or your Facebook Page via the Like button, you can begin to create Facebook ads that help you gain additional distribution on Facebook: • • • Target those who have engaged with your Web page or Facebook Page Exclude existing connections from your target audience Target people who are friends with your connections

Use this opportunity to drive people back to your site, gain more connections, or promote special offers and discounts to relevant connected users. For example, if a person likes a particular product on your Web page, advertise a relevant discount or offer to this user. Targeting ads to the friends of your connections will include social content about a friend’s interaction with your business, amplifying the relevancy of your ad. More information and best practices can be found here.

IV. GOAL: ENGAGEMENT a. Add the Activity Feed or Recommendations plugin The goal of the Activity Feed and Recommendations plugin is to serve the most interesting friend activity and recommendations that are taking place on your site. Similar to the News Feed on Facebook, the Activity Feed will keep people coming back to your site and clicking on content to see what their friends have been liking, commenting on, and sharing. Recommendations, meanwhile, show an aggregate view of the popular activity about your site happening on Facebook. We recommend placing the Activity Feed prominently on your home page and on content pages to keep users engaged throughout your site. See examples below from CNN and ABC News. Our team reviewed the top 100 domains using the Activity Feed and/or Recommendations plugins. Sites that placed the Activity Feed/Recommendations plugin above the fold and on multiple pages receive more engagement. For instance, sites that placed the plugin on the front and content pages received 2-10x more clicks per user than sites that placed the Activity Feed/Recommendations plugin only on the front page.

 

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Activity Feed shown on front page of CNN.com

Activity Feed shown on article page of ABC News

 

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V. GOAL: USER INSIGHTS a. Optimize your integration Many successful companies building on Facebook Platform take an analytical approach to development – monitoring key performance indicators, testing product changes, and optimizing key drivers of growth. We are actively adding and improving functionality of Facebook Insights to give you detailed analytics to help you optimize your integration. Currently, Facebook Insights includes: • Domain, Page, and Application Dashboards (http://www.facebook.com/insights)that show the number and demographics of connected users sharing and liking content from your website and within Facebook. APIs so you can integrate Facebook Insights data with your own, in-house analytics dashboards JavaScript i. Events so you can determine real-time usage of Like buttons on your site ii. Facebook Login Status so you can determine whether a user is logged into Facebook

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We typically ask partners the following questions when analyzing Insights data: • • • • What are people liking the most/least on your site? Where do people like your content/products (on Facebook/on your site)? Is the user logged into Facebook? Where are these users most engaged? What type of users like a specific item on your site? (e.g., Users who click “like” or “recommend” on media sites are younger than traditional newspaper subscribers)

VI. TAKING YOUR INTEGRATION TO THE NEXT LEVEL Personalize your site with Login and Graph API After optimizing your social plugins integration, you can give people the ability to log in to your site with their Facebook account to make your site more peronalized and social to drive more engagement.

When a person logs in with his or her Facebook account, you obtain access to the person's public profile information, including name, profile picture, gender, networks, current location, and any information set to “everyone” privacy. You can also request extended permissions to obtain additional pieces of data like a user’s photos, e-mail address and check-in data to enhance the user’s experience on your site. After a person logs in or registers with your site via their Facebook account, it’s important that your site make it easy to discover friends’ activity and see a customized experience.

 

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For example, Rotten Tomatoes used public information to create the following experience:
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See your friends’ reviews first when you search for a movie to watch Share the movies that you want to see and your reviews back to friends on Facebook Browse recommendations based on the movies you’ve liked or reviewed from across the web

 

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Another great example of this Amazon. Amazon launched a personalized shopping experience:
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See upcoming friends’ birthdays and recommended purchases based on what they like Browse product recommendations based on the things you’ve liked from across the web

 

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