Facebook Connect"€™s ability to share content back into users"€™ profiles and their friends"€™ news feeds can be a powerful driver of traffic, and it's usage is really picking up pace.
Facebook"€™s Developer Network Director, Ethan Beard, was recently quoted saying that "250 million people are using Facebook Connect every month".
He also said:
- More than 100 million of those users started logging into Facebook Connect on third-party sites in only the last 12 months.
- 2 million websites have added Facebook Connect in the two years
- Ten thousand new sites are adding Connect every day
As it reaches the masses, and as more organisations embrace the importance of Facebook for marketing, Facebook Connect is being used in creative ways. Allfacebook.com reference Amazon"€™s use of Facebook Connect to make shopping recommendations based off your friends"€™ interests, and Eventbrite"€™s implementation of Connect to share similar events your Facebook friends are attending (once you opt-in) make a booking. Equally, Spotify, has seen a growth of four times more referral traffic from Facebook since implementing Connect this year, according to Mashable. Check out more of them here.
So, what are the potential benefits of Facebook Connect for your website visitors accessing your site with their Facebook ID (Open ID)? Facebook Connect is an attempt from Facebook to allow its members access to Facebook user data outside of Facebook.
What are the benefits?
- A Connected (Facebook) Identity - Facebook Connect allows your visitors to log in and share what they want - to post back their participation on your site to their Facebook profile, their News Feed. You are helping them keep connected with their friends. At the same time they're spreading your brand message to their network, and driving you traffic - also remember that those links from Facebook to your site are taken into account by Google now).
- Quick Log in - Creating a profile and connecting with friends on your Facebook Connected site takes just one click. This saves your users lot of your time - its always great to skip the tedious registration, we are all busy.
- User Generated Content - For example, shopping on a Facebook Connected online store could allow the users access to reviews of various people - especially friends in Facebook - clearly this is crucial to decision making. It allows you to leverage all that positive buzz you've been generating 🙂
- Maintain Access to friends - The users of Facebook Connect can effectively take their friends with them to your web site. Your can add a social context to your site and enable the site user to share that great content or campaign creative with their friends via their Facebook news feed.
- A joined up social experience - Facebook connect is spreading - it's been integrated with Youtube and I noticed it recently on Quora. This is great for users saving the time to re-build and maintain multiple profiles and uploading basic data and profile pictures, and great for your to be able become a part of their social web
- Get Branded Without advertising - Brands can push their content into Facebook's viral channels by allowing the visitors post news feed stories, status messages, photos, events and more without having to leave the website - a meaningful exchange of content without compelling the users to post to Facebook at every turn.
Best practise advise for Facebook Connect
I really liked this list from Allfacebook.com, so have summarised it here for you as a part of this post"€¦
1. Consider Out of the Box Solutions: Using existing systems can reduce the headache and time to launch a Facebook Connect implementation. Facebook Connect development can become tedious and cumbersome and whilst Connect is a robust platform, bugs are a frequent thing with new Facebook Connect services and as such it"€™s much better to use a service which is proven and will keep things working for you. Here are existing plugins that work with Facebook Connect check out Facebook"€™s Plugin Directory.
2. Provide Multiple Login Options: Providing multiple options for registering or logging in is important. Let users connect to your site how they wish, some will not like the idea of letting your site access their Facebook profile, some won't have a Facebook profile.
3. Understand Facebook"€™s (Ever Evolving) Terms of Service - For most, implementing Facebook Connect while not violating Facebook"€™s terms of service will be easy. For those looking to develop custom applications you can quickly find that the tools you would like to build are in fact a violation of Facebook"€™s terms of service. This is especially the case for those building custom widgets that are intended to be distributed across multiple websites.
4. Leverage Facebook"€™s Feed Publishing Capabilities
Social distribution is one of the primary benefits of leveraging Facebook Connect. As your site gets published to users"€™ feeds, your site (or specifically some content from it) has the potential for becoming viral. So, ensure that the site acquires as many new users as possible. Publishing user actions to their news feed is one of the quickest way to drive traffic, new users, to your site. On blogs, the most frequently used news feed story is the publishing of blog comments, make sure that you prompt users to publish feed stories and actions that they've completed on your web site.
5. Build in Basic Community Features
One of the most important components of Facebook Connect is the potential for simple community features. If you have visitors who have taken the time to register with your site, it would be beneficial to highlight these individuals. One feature that should be implemented within the community features of your site is the ability to view which of a user"€™s Facebook friends have already joined the site. Provides that common bond between two or more individuals, and improve the chance of a return to the site in the future.
6. Leverage Connect"€™s 'Invite' Feature
Most Facebook Connect implementations so far do not include any sort of invite feature. This is surprising since Facebook"€™s invite feature is one of the best promotional tools on the Facebook platform and makes it really easy to select specific friends and invite them to your web site.
7. Alert New Connect Users to Friends
Connecting users to their existing friends significantly increases engagement, if their friends have visited your site before them, for example. If you are going to implement Facebook Connect then letting users discover which of their existing friends have also registered prior to them should be mandatory for any business - and sits well with points 5 and 6.
8. Take Advantage of Application Notifications
In addition to invites and news feed stories, Facebook enables applications to post notifications to a user"€™s "€œupdates"€ section. Notifications are also accessible to users within the navigation bar at the bottom of the Facebook.com website. Many internal Facebook applications have leveraged this capability but very few Facebook Connect enabled sites seem to interact with post notifications. Integrating notifications into your Connect-enabled website will add to the virality of your site, and so drive traffic.
9. Make Registration As Obvious As Possible
You can access details about who is visiting your site that you otherwise wouldn"€™t have been able to see. The only barrier between a new user"€™s identity is the click of a single button. That"€™s why it"€™s important to make that button as obvious as possible. The more obvious the button, the more likely it is that a new visitor will register for your site.
10. Request Extended Permissions
If you ever want to contact a user again you must request extended permissions. You may not see a reason for contacting users now but in the future, you are likely going to want to. If a user never comes back to your site and you didn"€™t request extended permissions, that has essentially become a lost opportunity.
The key takeaway
There are very few limitations with Facebook Connect sites. Everything that you could previously (and currently) do on Facebook, you can do on your website. Think: invites, notifications, post feed stories, and more. There is absolutely nothing that can be done on Facebook that you can"€™t do on your own website with Facebook Connect.