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Facebook Plugs in All Over the Web

Social Plugins and the Open Graph

On April 21, 2010 Facebook held its third annual developers’ conference, the f8, in San Francisco, where they announced their new services designed to make the Web a more social place.

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 Specifically, Social Plugins and the Open Graph Protocol are designed to bridge the gap between Facebook users and web publishers. By enabling users and publishers to share and publish content together, Facebook’s new tools are expected to emulate a web-wide social search engine with improved behavioral targeting and a focus on personalized user experience.

The Open Graph Protocol enables any website to be registered as a unique object in the social graph. By implementing markup tags specific to the Open Graph protocol, websites will perform with all the functionalities of a traditional Facebook page. If a Facebook user ‘Likes’ a page enabled by the open graph, the site will be linked from the user’s profile. The publisher then has the ability to publish information on the users’ News Feed, access the administration interface, and profit from inclusion in Facebook search and analytic tools.

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Social plug-ins enable third-party sites to include Facebook services, e.g. Facebook’s Like button, Facepile, Recommendations, etc., in their site. Plug-ins are hosted by Facebook, which means that users can interact with third party sites as long as they are logged into Facebook, even if they haven’t registered with the site itself. Plug-ins are designed to help users share interests with other visitors and friends on Facebook. By clicking on a Like button, users create new connections, allowing sites to keep them updated on brand, company or campaign news.

There are currently eight available Facebook plug-ins:

The ‘Like’ Button



Like Box


Activity Feed




A few other social plugins available through the Facebook Developer site [9]:


Live Stream

Login With Faces


Impact on Marketers

By automating the online relationship between consumers and businesses, Facebook has generated countless new opportunities for online marketers. The promise of an open graphed web means that for the first time since the advent of Facebook in 2004, marketers will be able to tap into the wealth of Facebook’s 400 million self-identifying users. While the possible benefits of Facebook’s Open Graph are exciting, the responsibilities of becoming a member of this new ecology are important to note:

Actionable Insights

Facebook is taking some bold steps to become the hub of most everyone’s web surfing experience.  This concept of the social web is nothing new.  But Facebook has the size (400mm users and growing) and scale (connecting millions of sites together through the open graph) to produce an immensely powerful database of people and preferences.  This means a more efficient and relevant web surfing experience for consumers and a treasure trove of targeting data for advertisers.  It also means the “official” marketing message becomes increasingly less relevant.   The opportunity for marketers is to figure out how best to engage their customers with relevant content and motivate them to “like” it, customize it, and share it with their friends.

Brands that choose not to implement the Facebook social plugins may be seen as being out of touch with their customers.  And at the end of the day, the Facebook Like Box and Like Button are about customers connecting with the brand and publicly declaring their affinity.  Marketers who have spent the past 10 years responding to angry comments and negative reviews across the web should rejoice in the fact that Facebook hasn’t implemented the “dislike” button…yet.