MySpace and Google represent a change in the mindset of Silicon Valley. Unlike earlier times, social networking giants have now come to the point where they share basic information about their users with third parties instead of hoarding information.
How Facebook Connect Works
To understand how Facebook Connect influences eCommerce, let’s first throw a glance at some of the features that the API lets third parties enjoy. There are two directions in which Facebook Connect works.
1. Connecting to a Website through Facebook
A platform such as Facebook with more than 700 million active users gives businesses ample opportunity to capture their target markets. Facebook Connect makes doing this very easy by letting third parties have a presence on Facebook and connect to users in a way that gives them access to users’ details to a given extent. Users are required to consent to a list of conditions before Facebook gives third parties access to their information. They have to do this separately for each website.
2. Connecting to Facebook through a Website
Facebook Connect also allows users to connect to Facebook while being on other websites. For example, a person listening to music on GrooveShark.com may login using his/her Facebook user ID to be able to post comments on the website and share files on his/her Facebook profile.
How Facebook Connect Influences Businesses
Facebook Connect is a very powerful tool that helps businesses connect with the social networking site. It creates a win-win situation for the three parties involved (i.e. Facebook, its users and businesses) by enhancing the browsing experience of Facebook’s users and giving businesses the chance to make money simultaneously.
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a. Entering New Markets
The very first step for a new business is to enter a new market. In such a situation, the AIDA (attract, interest, desire, action) rule applies. Facebook Connect makes it quite easy for businesses to convert the interest and desire of potential customers into action. Some of the ways Facebook Connect makes it easier for businesses to grab new consumers are:
- Given that Facebook has 700 million active users with a wide variety of demographic backgrounds, the social network website is a fine pool for businesses to their fishing rods into.
- Another reason due to which it is easier for third party websites to connect with their target markets as compared doing so through other websites is the trust that Facebook has built over the years. Users extend the trust they have for Facebook to third parties present on the website in spite of disclaimers shown to them before they allow third parties to gain access to their account details.
- The minimal amount of time and effort used in connecting to third party websites through Facebook is yet another factor that persuades users to register.
Facebook has claimed that websites that started using Facebook Connect witnessed an increase in site registrations between 30% and 200%. Hence, the first moment of truth for businesses (when users decide whether to register or not) has been made considerably easier by Facebook Connect.
b. Profile Analysis
Analysis of user details is one of the most powerful tools for businesses. It businesses do the following:
- Categorize people into different pools of consumers
- Personalize messages according to the pool a consumer has been classified into
- Develop an effective sales pitch
- Communicate with the user at the times he/she is most receptive. Analysis of a user’s social website browsing history reveals patterns that direct third parties to make smart decisions.
c. Expanding Markets
Sharing information is the soul of Facebook. Users share information not only about themselves but also other things and people related to them including businesses. Hence, if a third party engages a user on its website and proposes him/her to share his/her experience with her friends on Facebook, it is likely that the request will be accepted if the experience was something that the user truly enjoyed and considers it shareable.
Once people start sharing brand experience on a social networking site, a chain reaction starts. The information is shared with people who further share it with others and so on. Increased exposure leads to higher sales hence, higher conversion rates.
d. Repeat Customers/ Brand Retention
Given the clutter the media hosts today, brands struggle to stand out. Facebook is one of the best platforms for brands to remain in the sights and minds of target markets given the number of users it has and the time these users spend on the social networking site.
One of the ways brands induce increment in conversion rates in the long run is by engaging current customers in brand related activities on social networking sites such as rating products, participating in polls, commenting on posts and sharing information with friends. These activities help brands remain at the top of the consumers’ minds. Hence, a brand that been more actively promoted on Facebook (if that’s where its users are), it will stand a stronger chance when a consumer faces a decision-making situation between two or more brands. Thanks to Facebook Connect, according to Facebook, users of websites using Facebook Connect have increased their activities by 15% to 100%.
All in all, ecommerce conversion rates have been positively affected by Facebook Connect because it makes it easier for businesses to get access to new customers, expanding within a current market, communicating with registered users and retaining current customers.