Social shopping on the rise with Open Graph

6 Jun 2012

Shopping and fashion apps and sites that integrate Open Graph are seeing significant increases in traffic from Facebook, leading the social network to advise on best practice.

In a post on the Facebook developer blog, product manager Austin Haugen wrote that shopping and fashion has become one of the fastest-growing categories of apps for Facebook’s Timeline.

Citing the benefits of integrating these apps and websites with Facebook’s Open Graph, Haugen pointed to the success of brands like Fab, Lyst and Pose, who are using the service to develop a global presence, secure funding, and expand across the web and mobile devices.

Noticing their increasing popularity, Facebook has made suggestions on best practice for developers working on similar apps, influenced by the success of these brands.

Call to action

First off, Facebook recommends a clear call to action that encourages users to add the app and start connecting with friends – and there’s no harm in offering an incentive to do so. For example, online design marketplace Fab offered users US$5 free credit per month if users shared purchases and favourites on their Timelines.

Clearly an effective technique, Fab has increased its membership base to more than 4.5m since launching with Open Graph in January and 20pc to 40pc of its daily traffic comes from Facebook.

Fab's Facebook call to action

Creating actions and categories

Facebook also recommends that app developers experiment with actions for each phase of the buying cycle. Whether discovering items or following through with a purchase, there are many ways consumers can share their interactions with products on their Timelines.

Finally, Facebook encourages developers to use categories that enable users to compile their own lists, such as ‘Most Loved’ or ‘Top Items’.

Pose, a free photo-sharing app where users post their personal style, does this and has seen a ten-fold increase in daily sign-ups since launching with Open Graph. Before this, less than 10m poses were viewed per month, but now they’re seeing 40m.

Facebook users buy more

More and more fashion and shopping businesses are starting to integrate Open Graph into their online strategies and launching Timeline apps, and the benefit for them is not just consumer engagement and profile-building.  

Outdoor goods retailer Giantnerd reports its Facebook-connected customers have an 18pc higher average order value – and considering its traffic from Facebook has increased 214pc since integrating with Open Graph, and users signing up from the social network has risen 69pc, the site is seeing no shortage of deep-pocketed visitors.

Lyst says visitors coming to its social shopping site from Facebook spend 50pc more time on the site and more sales are coming through Facebook than all other social media sources combined. The London-based company also has seen its user base double and traffic more than double since launching on Open Graph.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.