At its annual developer conference this week, Facebook rolled out a number of new updates and features.
The most interesting was a series of plugins that will allow external websites to add Facebook features and tools directly to their web pages.
In practice this means that you will increasingly see little ‘Like’ buttons cropping up on sites across the web, which, when clicked (as long as you are logged into Facebook), will automatically update your profile.
However, the clever bit is that this is not just a one-way process. As Facebook members use this feature they will build up what Facebook is calling a ‘social graph’ of likes and dislikes. Businesses will then be able to tap into this information to personalise individual web pages to visitors in real-time.
For retailers, the potential here is obvious. If you are selling CDs for example, you could use information from a visitor’s Facebook social graph to ensure they were only shown products by their favourite artists when they visit your website.
Many retailers (Amazon was the first and probably still is the best example) already use information about what their customers have previously purchased to dynamically create pages with recommended products within their ecommerce solutions. Just imagine how powerful this could be if it wasn’t just limited to user behaviour with a particular brand, but across the entire web.
Our recent So-commerce report into the use of social media marketing in ecommerce found that many UK retailers have a lot of work to do to ensure they really engage with their customers through social media, so it will be interesting to see how long it takes brands to embrace these new features.