Facebook: The New Action Star

When Facebook integrated with publishers and other content providers for its Open Graph in January, over 60 apps—from Hulu to TripAdvisor and The Washington Post—were created to show that the social network wanted its users to not just "like" things, but to share what they're listening to, watching and reading. 

In an effort to make its Timeline profile pages and News Feed stories even more interactive, Facebook has handed the keys to developers to let them add customizable action links to stories generated from those apps.

Until now, whenever a user read or listened to content that was shared through an Open Graph app, their friends would see the update and only have one of two options: either to like the post or comment on it. Now, users have the option to choose one of Facebook's built-in action types to listen to a song on Spotify, for example, or read a shared article or watch a shared video, movie or TV episode without leaving the site.

Going one step further, developers can now create a custom engagement action for their Open Graph app—like "save this recipe," for example. When the user performs one of the actions, they will then have the option to publish the action as a story on their Timeline and on their friends' News Feed and Ticker. 

Foursquare, for example, has added the option for users to "save this place" when they see a post about a friend checking in somewhere, while Fab.com now lets users "fave this product," reports Business Insider

The update is essentially a better defined form of engagement. Users can either drop what they're doing at that instant and consume their friends' content, or they can save it. (It's yet to be seen whether or not users can "save" a friend's posting that they are organ donors—perhaps we will be able to save our friends' organs for ourselves to be claimed later.) 

As is the case with all updates and redesigns from Facebook, it will take time for users to get accustomed to the new offerings. For brands eager to get fans reading, watching, listening and saving, it should be noted that, at this time, action links are currently not available on mobile platforms, and do require a bit of coding configuration within Facebook's Open Graph. 

Follow Bill Miltenberg: @bmiltenberg

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