Facebook today officially announced its enhanced status update product, which allows users to share what they’re doing or how they’re feeling in a structured and visual way. The feature will be available to all U.S. users in coming weeks and will likely expand globally after that.
Overall, structured status updates could lead more users to share their activity in a way that can be later used for ad targeting or indexed in Graph Search. Essentially, Facebook is bringing the vision of Open Graph — users connecting to objects through more relevant verbs than “Like” — to its own platform rather than relying on third-party apps to do so. A result might be that users become familiar with this type of sharing on Facebook and end up being more comfortable with third-party apps that help them tell similar stories. Even if not, Facebook will gain information to improve its service for users and opportunities for advertisers.
When users go to create a post on desktop, Facebook will offer a new smiley face icon next to the options for adding friends, location or an image. This produces a drop down menu of options: “feeling,” “watching,” “reading,” “listening to,” “drinking” and “eating.” Users can then share more details about their current status. The resulting update will include an emoticon to represent the user’s feeling or tag the page associated with the user’s activity. Users can tag friends or location in these posts. They can also include a photo or link. But they cannot combine multiple activities or feelings. Content that users indicate that they watch, read or listen to will also end up in the new About page sections for TV shows, movies, books and music.
These new post types would lend themselves well to Sponsored Stories. Entertainment companies or publishers might want to pay to promote activity that mentions their film or book, for example. CPG brands or restaurants could sponsor “eating” or “drinking” stories that mention them. Facebook hasn’t launched this capability for advertisers yet, but it has been possible for companies to sponsor any third-party Open Graph action since February 2012.
The development of structured status updates was first revealed in January, and we’ve seen the feature in testing among Facebook employees and some other users since then. Today Facebook officially launched the product by rolling it out to a wider audience and making a post on its newsroom site about it.