Facebook Adds 60 Timeline Apps; What’s it Mean?
Facebook gathered reporters in a San Francisco restaurant Wednesday evening to announce the release of 60 new apps that will allow Facebook users to automatically share more information on their timeline profiles.
The implications for small- and medium-sized businesses aren’t obvious, but we’ll get back to that in a minute.
A full list of available apps (I still want to write “applications” instead of “apps”), is on Facebook along with a couple of helpful videos that explain what these apps do. I recommend watching the videos because even I have a hard time wrapping my brain around these things.
If you’re a regular Facebook user, you’ve probably already seen a few of the original apps built for Facebook’s Open Graph platform. The Spotify app tells your friends what songs your listening to, and the Washington Post Social Reader app tells your friends what you’ve been reading in the Post.
The new apps include entertainment and games (Rotten Tomatoes, Words with Friends, Bubble Island), travel (Trip Advisor, Gogobot, Where I’ve Been), shopping (Livingsocial, eBay, Fab.com, Pinterest), food (Foodspotting, Urbanspoon) and many others (Ticketmaster, Autotrader, Foursquare).
Based on what I’ve read and watched today, here are a few examples of how these things will work. A fitness app will track your daily run route and distance and automatically update your Facebook timeline. The Ticketmaster app will not only let people know when you’ve bought concert tickets, it will also review your likes and what you listen to on Spotify (for example) and recommend nearby performances of your favorite musicians. (Here’s a review of the Ticketmaster app on TechCrunch.) The Autotrader app posts a photo or photos of the next car you’re planning to buy.
So what does this all mean for businesses on Facebook? It might not mean anything, depending on your business. But if you run a restaurant, you might want to encourage customers to take pictures of your food using Foodspotting and the new Foodspotting app. Foodspotting is a location-based mobile app that encourages users to take photos of food they’re enjoying or that they’d like to enjoy (how much is that triple chocolate cream-filled cupcake in the window?). So when you’re in Boston and looking for some good food, you can search through Foodspotting to find delicious-looking food and the restaurants that serve it.
With the new Foodspotting app on Facebook, photos of food will start moving through the tickers, news feeds and timelines of potential customers who use Facebook. If you’re a restaurateur, wouldn’t you want photos of your food turning up in those Facebook feeds?
That’s just one quickly conceived example of an online marketing opportunity created by the new timeline apps. There are sure to be others. We’ll keep thinking about it, and if you’ve got some ideas, share them!