On Friday the Guardian launched a new app through Facebook's open graph, allowing for a completely socialised experience of reading the news and sharing news with friends. News of this might not be so much on its own, especially when you compare it to the Washington Post's newly launched social reader, that also takes advantage of the Open Graph on Facebook. But by looking at the app a little more closely, you can see the true potential of Facebook's Open Graph and what it mean for brands that choose to make the most of the functionality available.
One thing that you can't look past is the huge userbase that The Guardian has built up, despite only having launched on Friday and also being a UK-focused paper. They have close to 198,00 users already, despite very little advertising by the paper :
Pages Are Dead
What you can also expect from Facebook's new Open Graph, is the slow demise of Facebook Pages, as they turn into something else entirely. We've said it before here, but if you're still not convinced, compare the fact that The Guardian's Facebook App which has been live for 3 days has 198,000 users, while their established Facebook Page which has been running for months, has just 118.702 fans :
What I can't help but notice is how many of my friends are using this. I already have 15 friends who are using the app, which I think is incredibly high given how long it has been live for :
And this of course compares with the very viral nature in which content is spread throughout the app, allowing you to quickly see what your friends have discovered, as well as what's popular in the app generally :
The nature of the Open Graph is that you're able to discover more content, quicker and easier. This is demonstrated perfectly through the Guardian app, as every page brings with it new information and new ways to get to more content. So you are continually discovering new content but all the while (through automatic publishing) generating your own stories that will lead to higher usage of the app
The fact is that with Facebook's open graph there is no escaping the content generated by brands. When I first noticed a friend of mine using the Guardian app on Saturday, it grew straight away to 3 more stories, then when I used it, I saw a further 3 friends using it straight away. Every item I read on the Guardian (unless I choose to remove it from my timeline) will now be generated as a story and you can see the effect of this firsthand. When I started writing this post and using the app, I hadn't had any friend activity on the Guardian app for a couple of hours. Yet almost straight after I started reading stories on there and generating updates, another friend of mine starts using it :
This shows the extreme spread of content through the app and how quickly brands can grow through the new Open Graph. This will likely become the default way for brands to manage their presence on Facebook as so far, it's a win-win.