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Today’s post is by Vaibhav Mathur and Trevor Reader of Ampush.
Do you want CPCs that are one-third your current cost? How about a 4X increase in CTR? Of course you do! These are just a few of the benefits we found during our early tests of Open Graph Sponsored Stories (OGSS). So with such great potential returns, why isn’t everyone running Open Graph Sponsored Stories (more importantly, why aren’t you)?
With a concept this new and abstract, it makes sense that marketers have been slow to take advantage. For starters, OGSS can only be created via the Facebook API, which requires you to work closely with one of the API partners.
Next, to run these stories you first must create a framework that will allow you to implement Open Graph on your site or app/game. Once your domain or app is Open Graph-enabled, you define specific actions taken on the site and associate Open Graph verbs with them. For example, if someone purchased shoes on your website, your application would associate the verb you defined, “bought,” with the purchase.
The Open Graph story created with verbs alone, though, won’t tell your friends about your taste in shoes, or which pair you bought. Defining products on the site as specific objects allows you to know which stories associated with individual products are driving engagement, and more importantly purchases. With objects added in, the next time someone buys a pair of shoes through your website, you can create a story that says someone “bought” (verb) a pair of “shoes” (object) on your site and share that story with their friends through your Open Graph application. This is just one of the infinite verb/object combinations possible (see below), and this unlimited customizability only adds to the learning curve.
While the setup can be daunting, the early results have proven that the initial monetary and time investments are well worth it. Since Open Graph stories are told in the voice of your friends, they appear more like a story your friend is sharing with you rather than just another ad.
The combination of this social context and the option to run OGSS in the newsfeed (desktop and/or mobile), lead to significantly higher engagement/CTRs and, with that, lower costs. This increased engagement can also be attributed to the fact that each OGSS is unique and more relevant to the audience than other Facebook ad types. A story that says your friend bought a specific pair of shoes from a retailer stands out amongst the multitude of stories that your friend “likes” a certain brand. These are some of the main factors that explain why OGSS drive more engagement than other ad types as the Facebook ecosystem becomes more saturated with advertising.
Let’s demonstrate this with a couple of examples.
Say we’re the shoe retailer mentioned above. While they aren’t one of our current clients, let’s take Nike as an example. The infinite customizability we’ve described allows us to outline goals and then define the verbs and objects that will create stories that best address these goals.
Goal #1: Awareness
Open graph stories are the perfect venue for Nike to use the voice of famous athletes to endorse Nike products. Using OGSS we can create and promote stories whenever one of Nike’s athletes takes a specific action, and we can show these stories to relevant fans. We can define the verb “is wearing,” and the object as a specific shoe to create the story (see above) when LeBron picks the exact shoe he’s wearing. With advanced targeting we can show this story to people interested in basketball (or, more specifically, NBA fans or even fans of LeBron). This is a powerful way to drive awareness about LeBron and his new shoe and about the Nike basketball Facebook page, and a great way to drive possible purchasers to the Nike website.
Goal #2: Monetization
One of the common verbs we’ve seen used in e-commerce OGSS is “bought.” This is a great start as you will see the shoes your friend bought, and you can click the ad and go directly to the product page to purchase the shoes yourself. Custom verbs that show purchase intent like “want” or “wish list” could lead to you gifting your friend or family member the fresh pair of Nikes they wanted instead of another tie or sweatshirt that would inevitably disappear in their closet. We can then track how many purchases these stories lead to, allowing us to focus our ad spend on only ROI-positive OGSS.
The examples discussed above just highlight two among innumerable scenarios that a company such as Nike could take advantage of with their Open Graph app. The possibilities are limitless for any company with a website or app. The question is, are you willing to put in the initial investment to harness the true potential of Open Graph Sponsored Stories?
– Vaibhav Mathur (top) and Trevor Reader are media analysts at Ampush. Vaibhav studied Engineering and Economics at Brown University before joining the Ampush team in August 2012. Vaibhav enjoys spicy food, stand-up comedy, and critically acclaimed films. Trevor graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in Operations Information Management and played professional poker for several years before joining the Ampush team.