Facebook enriched its revamped news feed this week with action verbs for developers that enable users to instantly post about their activities. The verbs provide Facebook users an easy way to socialize their run schedule or what they’ve been reading, for example, while providing Facebook as well as brands with critical, concrete data that can then optimize marketing.
The verbs run in three categories, including fitness activity (run, walk, bike), book related activity (read, rate, quote, want to read), and video activity (rate, want to watch).
The actions make it easy for developers to integrate concrete actions in with Facebook’s graph, and in turn, gain valuable marketing information. There previously were a number of connected apps, like Kobo reader or Nike+, that make it easy for users to share and categorize actions. Previously, developers could have included these actions through Facebook’s Custom Action Tool, but the company made it an official part of its development platform to simplify, encourage and standardize the process.
Apps that have already integrated the feature include Nike, Cyclemeter, Endomondo, Jawbone UP, Log Your Run, MapMyRun, Runkeeper, Runmeter, Runtastic, SPLIT Multisport GPS, Walkmeter in the Fitness category; Bookshout!, GoodReads, Kobo, Random House Inc.’s BookScout in the Books category; and Rotten Tomatoes, Hulu, Flixster, Fandango, Crackle in the Movies and TV category.
Unlike Google which has hard data on users intent through keywords that can then be used to serve up related ads, Facebook typically doesn’t know exactly what users are doing in status updates. Computers are as of yet too stupid to encipher concrete activities from “LOL. Visiting my mother. Cookies up in smoke,” for example. Facebook’s new use of concrete verbs provides it analytic data on user actions, helping it to better categorize data on the Open Graph.
Naturally, there is a marketing edge behind the data. Actions in the Books and Movies and TV categories not only state what the user is reading or watching, but what they plan to buy and how much they enjoyed it through a quantifiable rating system.
Users, for their own sake, gain a higher rate of engagement with the app.
“For example, the new fitness stories dynamically update when someone finishes their workout, and early data shows that average likes per story have increased by more than 2x,” Facebook explains in its blog post. “As we move more apps to use a common set of actions, we’ll be able to further optimize the performance of these stories and the user experience.”