Facebook announced a number of new common actions today for Facebook activity, joining the “watch video” and other existing ones available to developers. These include actions in the Fitness, Books and Movies & TV categories that help users better express their interaction with media and their world. Of course, they also help developers mining the Open Graph for data get a more accurate picture of user intent and habits.The new common actions include “run, walk and bike” for the fitness category, “read, rate, quote, and want to read” for books, and “rate, plus want to watch” for movies and TV. In the fitness category, the new actions help differentiate between specific types of actions for lifestyle apps. Facebook uses Nike to demonstrate the “run” action in, well, action, showing a user’s distance traveled, as well as time of run and NikeFuel accumulated in a sample Facebook post. Users familiar with Path’s Nike+ integration may find this type of post familiar.
As for the new common actions for books, movies and TV, they help identify not only what a user has actively been consuming, but also what they intend to buy, and to what degree they enjoyed something with a quantifiable score. The value of gathering intent data, as well as qualitative information on exactly what kind of media people like for marketers and others who use Open Graph information to customize their consumer interaction should be apparent. It’s also a play for higher engagement, as Facebook outlines in its blog post:
For example, the new fitness stories dynamically update when someone finishes their workout, and early data shows that average likes per story have increased by more than 2x. As we move more apps to use a common set of actions, we’ll be able to further optimize the performance of these stories and the user experience.
Previously, developers could’ve created these actions on their own via Facebook’s Custom Actions tool, but now they’re normalized and offered up to all developers on Facebook’s platform, which makes the information gathered via them more generally useful. Facebook announced that a number of top-tier brands are already employing the new common actions, including Jawbone UP, Runkeeper, Endomondo, Kobo, GoodReads, Rotten Tomatoes and Hulu, and also let developers know that it will be forcing a transition from similar custom actions to the new common versions by July 10, 2013.
For end users, the surface effect of this change might not be instantly apparent, but it will definitely have an impact for Facebook’s developer and advertiser partners.