This week, it's clear to see that Facebook is moving rapidly into 'real-time' enhancements that will allow it to offer compelling features to advertisers and developers. As we've come to expect, there is more movement into mobile enhancements - this time developing mobile commerce options - as it begins to abandon Facebook Credits as the default payment system for the site.
Facebook Ad Exchange 'FBX'
This is a significant addition for Facebook as it sees it moving into real-time advertising in a significant way, incorporating browsing activity outside of Facebook into the users' ad experience on the platform. The ad exchange â€˜FBX' will allow advertisers to bid on impressions in real-time in reaction to browsing activity such as online shopping. So if a user researches a particular product on a site that uses one of the approved technology partners, you can then choose to show the user an ad for that product on Facebook. This gets exciting if you choose to target people based on abandoning products in the shopping cart to entice them back, or competitor products.
This is exactly the kind of ad product that Facebook needs to prove it can still own social advertising. With Twitter emerging as the leader in effective mobile advertising, being able to offer a real-time ad product reactive to user activity outside of Facebook will encourage more ad dollars over to Facebook.
And Facebook needs this, with a survey in June claiming that 80% of advertisers are now dedicating their attention on the â€˜rest of the web' as opposed to Facebook; an increase of 11% since March.
Real time updates for apps
Another development in real-time here as Facebook will now allow developers to subscribe to real-time updates for apps. This means you will get automatic notifications when changes occur across set fields of data:
You can subscribe to real-time updates here.
App activity plugin
A much-needed update from Facebook here, which will help protect users from 'over-sharing' - an unfortunate outcome of the spread of the Facebook like button and proliferation of open-graph integration across sites and apps. Instead of sharing all your activity by default on a site that uses Open Graph, the new plugin will allow the user to select which activities they want to share. You will also be able to select which friends you want to share certain activities with. So if you're sharing activity that only relates to the city you live in, you could select to share with a group of friends by location.
Facebook has addressed a fundamental issue with Open Graph here, which can even lead to people abandoning apps for fear of over-sharing with their friends; something which early news apps were a victim of:
Facebook Mobile Payments
Facebook first announced mobile payments through the site earlier this year, and this has now gone live in the UK, Germany and the U.S. with the mobile tech company Bango. This will allow users to pay for goods within Facebook via their mobile bill, instead of being forced to use Facebook Credits. This is another sign that Facebook is abandoning its own currency, as it recently allowed an app on the site where users could play bingo with real currency as opposed to credits.