Following the heels of its announcement of Timeline for Pages at its fMC event, Facebook has released a new set of APIs to help brands create more compelling stories and manage relationships more effectively. On March 14, Facebook announced the release of a new set of that reaffirm its stance of allowing third-party developers to play the leading role in helping brands leverage its platform. The new APIs will allow brands to do the following:
For marketers and agencies that manage multiple pages, the new APIs provide a way of streamlining the process of building a brand’s timeline and managing relationships. However, most brands will not be building upon these APIs directly. Instead, most brands will look to their page management vendors (such as Vitrue, Buddy Media, Shoutlet, or SpredFast, to name a few of the big fish) to release an update that integrates these new APIs as features into their existing products. NOTE: At the time of this post, none of the previously named companies have posted an update about integrating these new APIs.
The race to release that update will be a very interesting one to watch. It’s been a while since Facebook has made a platform announcement as significant as Timeline for Pages, especially one that is geared specifically for brands. In the meantime, countless page management companies have sprouted up all over the landscape, a sure sign the industry is becoming crowded. Unique differentiators among these companies are harder to come by these days, and as a result, we’ve reached a point in which most page management tools perform the same basic functions: publish, monitor, and report.
That’s why as a marketer, I couldn’t be more excited about these new APIs. Sure, they significantly increase Facebook’s value as a platform for building relationships with its consumers through storytelling and direct, one-to-one communication. That’s a given. What’s more exciting to me about this update by Facebook, however, is that it allows me to gauge how dedicated these companies are to innovating and iterating. Will they be the first to market with features that leverage these new APIs, or will they let a competitor innovate and simply follow suit? Will the big boys (I’m looking at you Vitrue, Buddy Media, and Context Optional) flex their engineering muscles, or will a smaller company prove to be more agile? Let the most nimble and innovative company win!