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14 December 2012

The Guardian to get closer to readers away from Facebook

Rachel Hawkes, account director, Elemental By Rachel Hawkes

The GuardianFrom Monday, 17 December the Guardian is radically changing how it interacts with its readers within Facebook, instead directing “social readers” to the guardian.co.uk.

Back in September 2011, the Guardian unveiled its Facebook app using Facebook’s Open Graph at the social network’s annual conference.  The Guardian app allows people to read its online content without leaving Facebook, details of which were then shared with their friends via Facebook’s news feed, on the person’s profile and later in the recently introduced ticker.

Writing on the Guardian’s Inside Guardian blog, Anthony Sullivan who is responsible for the guardian.co.uk, the mobile site and apps explains, “We were interested in understanding whether readers would engage with our content in a different way. No additional editorial effort was invested in any aspect of the app so, in effect, the performance was entirely social.  Implementing the reading experience within Facebook was also a conscious decision to give us space to experiment away from the main Guardian website.”

Other key benefits of the Facebook app was that it helped the Guardian reach and engage with under 25 year olds – a market it had always wanted to reach, but struggled to.  According to its blog post, the Facebook app also helped them understand ‘best practice for social discovery of news,’ which then led to the introduction of a social login on the Guardian’s website and to its new position of making the Guardian website itself more social.

Guardian integrate social voting on websiteFrom Monday, any user that clicks on a Guardian article within Facebook will be directed straight to guardian.co.uk rather than staying within Facebook.  Also being introduced is an ‘agree / disagree’ button at the top of articles (the wording of which may change depending on the article), and a user’s votes will be counted and shared on Facebook.

The Guardian says that Facebook remains an incredibly important tool for them in reaching a global audience; over 12 million people had authenticated the Facebook app, and its busiest period was April 2012 where there was six million active users.

Categories: Social media, News

Tags: Guardian, Facebook, open graph, Facebook app, guardian.co.uk, social, reading, news

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