Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Differences between Facebook Open Graph and Facebook Newsfeed Stories

Again a question on Quora motivated me to writing a post here. Last time it was about difference between two like widgets and this time the question is:
Whats are the differences between Facebook Open Graph and Facebook Newsfeed Stories?
It is true that they look similar. Ultimately there is a photo with some title, caption and description.

However, the way the post are created as well as the way they stay on Facebook are different. Let's look at them one by one.

News Feed Stories

News Feed stories are the one you create either via Feed Dialog or using Graph APIs provided by Facebook. The concept of Feed, common usage and best practices are described at Feed Documentation page. While using graph API, one need to create a Post connection of User object.

All the items of the posts e.g. image, the link where it takes the user, title, caption and description is customizable. All the stories are independent and are not attached to any specific object or action.

Open Graph Stories

A Open Graph story is an action about an Open Graph object. The concept of open graph is described at open graph documentation page. One can turn any web page into an open graph object by putting open graph tags and start using pre-approved actions. For using custom actions, approval from Facebook is needed.

Because of the attachment with an object, the content of the post comes from the object (i.e. the web page) and can not be changed for every post.

However, a story generated by an Open Graph action is slightly better than any regular News Feed story in the sense that it not only shows up in news feed but also in ticker. Additionally, aggregation of Open Graph stories make it more powerful. Stories around similar objects or actions group together and rather than going deep in the timeline the post may surface up again and again as more actions happen.

EDIT Aug 16 2013 in reply to Yurly's comment:
If you are implementing for yourself, open graph stories should be preferred over news feed story because of its slightly better visibility. However, implementation may be tough and time taking [Please see my detailed answer on this topic at Quora]. Also there are many other factors that need to be taken care for increasing the interaction and conversion rate on a online retail website.
Third party companies focusing on these aspects (e.g. Shopocially) come as a great help for retailers.