Facebook Branches Out Past 'Likes' with 60 New Lifestyle Apps
Currently accessible only to users who have already enabled their "Timeline," new apps from partners like Pinterest, eBay, Ticketmaster and the job-search company Monster are built around action verbs other than "like."
Users started to get a taste of a post-like Facebook ecosystem after the F8 conference in September, when a new breed of social apps were launched from partners like Spotify, which informs users when their friends have "listened" to a song or "read" a Washington Post story in the ticker in the upper-right corner of their page.
Pinterest's app will track when users who have opted-in have "pinned" something, for example, and a travel app from Gogobot will report when users have "wishlisted" a city. Foodspotting's app will note when a user has "wanted" something to eat or drink at a particular restaurant. Users will be able to control who sees their app activity on their timeline (where it will populate its own module), ticker and news feed.
The broadening of Facebook's vocabulary could ultimately make its "sponsored stories" ad units -- which are served to friends of users who have engaged with a brand -- more compelling to marketers. While today's sponsored stories mostly inform about "likes" and check-ins, a future iteration could be more brand-specific by applying customized verbs. (Hypothetical example, Jessie "ordered" a pizza from Dominos.com.)
Among the apps in the new launch, the design-centric daily-deals site Fab.com is already looking to explore the marketing benefits of "actions" by providing bait to entice users to install its app. In an offer that runs through May 31, it's offering $5 a month in free credits to users who enable the app, and another $5 a month in credits if they allow their friends to see when they've purchased something. Fab.com is versed in the art of using Facebook to drive social buzz and invested in sponsored stories last year to sign up users months before the site ever went live.
Facebook also announced that it's starting to accept "actions" for the Open Graph from developers who have submitted apps. The company still hasn't disclosed when the Timeline format when be activated for all users.