When Facebook introduced its Open Graph last year, it became evident that the immensely popular social network had aspirations that led far beyond its own personal web space. On the flip side, that ambition created opportunities for third parties by allowing them to connect to the platform in new and exciting ways. Numerous brands have taken advantage, and now eBay is doing so in a way that could mean big things for e-commerce moving forward.
Katie Mitic, who heads up Platform and Mobile Marketing at Facebook, and also serves as a member of the eBay board of directors, announced the partnership at the recent X.Commerce Innovate Developer Conference held in San Francisco. According to the announcement, the two internet superpowers are teaming up to deliver a platform that enables developers to create social-centric, e-commerce features utilizing eBay’s technology. Mitic said that Open Graph will play a key role by connecting the systems of both parties in seamless fashion.
At last month’s F8 developer’s conference, Facebook revealed that a huge update would be coming to its Open Graph framework. The biggest change turned out to be the introduction of new social verbs that let users take action beyond the “Like.” Among those actions are “Want” and “Own,” which will come in the form of buttons that will not only be made available to well known eBay clients such as American Eagle, Bath & Body Works and Calvin Klein, but the more than 100,000 global retailers utilizing its recently acquired Magento shopping cart system.
The Marketing Takeaway
So far, the tandem efforts of Facebook and eBay look to be something that will result in tremendous opportunities for e-tailers. When a customer interacts with one of the new social sharing buttons, that activity will show up in both the application and Facebook. This means that friends can see the items they want as well as those that they already own. Recommendations play a huge role in purchasing decisions these days, so the new social features could easily prompt other users to want to check out the items their friends expressed interest in.
The true potential of this new venture between Facebook and eBay lies in the data. Developers will be able to implement the new buttons just like the Like and Recommend plugins. They also function in a similar manner on the back-end in terms of the data they generate. This means that you can use the data you have available to tailor content on your site or in your marketing communications in general to suit the user’s preferences. Apparently the duo has much more up their sleeves as buttons for Listening, Reading, Watching and other social actions are said to be in the works.
A Revolution in Social E-commerce?
Getting together to create new social applications is a big step in the relationship of Facebook and eBay. Before teaming up on this particular venture, the two already had a partnership that allowed advertisers and users to respectively purchase self-serve advertisements and Facebook Credits with PayPal, the popular online payment system owned by eBay. When Mitic, a Facebook employee, joined the eBay Board of Directors in late September, it started to become apparent that the two sides had something big in store.
With apps such as BigCommerce, Muncom and Vendorshop making it possible to shop from fan pages, it is clear to see that social e-commerce is already alive and well. The recent partnership between Facebook and eBay could lead to a revolution that creates even more opportunities for consumers and the merchants that exist to service them.