Open Audience Manager Helps Sites Publish Feed Stories to Those Who’ve Clicked Their Like Buttons

Today, DefinedLogic launches Open Audience Manager, a tool which helps enterprise-level companies manage the Like buttons on their Open Graph-enabled web sites.The browser-based tool lets clients treat those who’ve clicked each Like button as a different audience to which news feed stories can be published.

Large companies that have a diverse audience spread across their Like buttons could benefit from the ability to communicate on a granular level, delivering highly relevant content customized for each user segment instead of having to broadcast the same message to everyone.

Unfortunately, Facebook doesn’t permit the tool to adopt existing Like buttons without resetting their Like counts, so clients must create their site’s Like buttons through the Open Audience Manager to access the publishing functionality.

DefinedLogic is a traditional IT consulting service, but a portion of its team of 60 employees worked to develop this software-as-a-service. Clients pay a monthly fee depending on how many Like buttons they’re tracking with OAM, plus a start-up fee for customized integration into their existing workflow and analytics systems. The tool is launching with one large, undisclosed retailer, DefinedLogic tells us, and it is testing with two more retailers as well as two agencies. It is also working on a stock, self-serve version of the tool without customized integration, but that won’t be ready for market until next year.

A client first uses the tool to create Like buttons for their site. They enter Facebook’s required Like button information, including site name, page title, public description, type, thumbnail image, and page URL. OAM then generates a code for that Like button to be embedded in the client’s site. As new buttons are created and receive their first Likes they show up in the Dashboard, which also displays a client’s most popular Like buttons.

The core of Open Audience Manager is the Pages tab, which lets clients see a list of all their Like buttons and associated Like counts. From here clients can access each Like button’s publisher where they can craft feed updates to be sent to that button’s audience. Text, image, image link, and footer action link (next to the timestamp) can all be customized to create a rich, highly targeted feed story.

After publishing, clients can view analytics about each story, making it easy to see what kind of content best engages a Like button’s audience. Graphs and counts show how many clicks each element of the story received, how many Likes and comments the story itself generated, as well as how many Likes it drove back to the original Open Graph object. Post Activity lets clients see all the comments made on the each instance of the stories they publish, since there is no single, centralized version of the story as with those published by Facebook Pages. Without the tool, tracking the conversations surrounding Open Graph object-authored stories would be extremely difficult or impossible.

Using the Administration options, a client can set up different privilege sets for a sites different management teams. For instance, engineers could only be allowed to create new Like buttons, while the marketing team could only be permitted to publish stories. Like buttons can be set up under different channels, allowing a single person to manage to numerous separate sites with a single license of OAM.

DefinedLogic’s product is especially useful to large retailers looking to implement hundreds or thousands of Like buttons on their website. For instance, a clothing company might have products which appeal to very different demographics. A message about any one product might be irrelevant to 90% of the people that Like their official Page. But by using OAM, the company could send sale information about men’s belts to only their users who’ve Liked men’s belts on their site. Those seeing the story are much more likely to click, and the company doesn’t bother the rest of their user base. DefinedLogic is currently working on integration with product databases so if a company lowers the prices on 500 of their items, OAM could automatically publish “Fall Discounts” stories to anyone who Likes one of those items.

The barrier to Open Audience Manager’s success is Facebook’s precautions against companies bait-and-switching those who Like objects on their sites. Facebook doesn’t allow companies to change the destination URL or other properties of a Like button to prevent a user’s Like from being reassigned to something they don’t approve of. Therefore, to use OAM with a Like button, it must be created within the tool. DefinedLogic has included a proxy system so clients can in fact change the destination URL of a Like button, but OAM still can’t adopt existing Like buttons without severing the connections the buttons have already made.

DefinedLogic is still optimistic, though, as few companies have already fully rolled out the Like button on their sites. Even those who have implemented the button might still consider switching to OAM. “I’d rather lose 10 Likes than not be able to communicate with the next thousand” said Vidar Brekke, Emerging Media Strategist for DefinedLogic. He says that while Facebook is trying to protect its users from having their Likes reappropriated, users already Like many dynamic Open Graph objects. “If you Like the New York Times home page, that will change every day.” If Facebook created a protocol for the authorized transfer of publishing capabilities to a new app ID, it would stimulate experimentation and more widespread integration of the Like button.

By making Like button more easy to manage, Open Audience Manager encourages third-party sites to integrate the Like button and begin reaching specific niches of their audiences.