An interesting business model change for The Guardian. Will other media outlets that rely on Facebook readers (Washington Post, for example) follow?
From Monday 17 December we will begin directing users who click on a Guardian link within Facebook straight to our website to view articles
In September 2011 the Guardian unveiled a new Facebook app to coincide with the launch of Open Graph at Facebook’s f8 developer event.
As part of a wider integration with Facebook’s Open Graph, the Guardian Facebook app was an experimental social news experience that aimed to make it easier for Facebook users to discover Guardian content via their friends. The app enabled Facebook users to read and experience Guardian content within Facebook.com rather than being taken to guardian.co.uk. As a user read within the app, this action would also be highlighted on their friends’ news feeds as well as in the ticker and on their own timeline (although users could remove shares of a particular story if they chose to do so).
For us, 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.
In the months following the launch, we saw tremendous volumes of traffic being generated by the app. Over 12 million Facebook users have authenticated the Guardian Facebook app since launch, and at its peak (April 2012) we were seeing 6 million active monthly users.
The Facebook app has given us access to a hard to reach audience and has helped us learn much more about our new and existing readership which, as a digital first organisation, is crucial.
The app has also played an integral role in helping us understand best practice for the social discovery of news, and a few months ago the app enabled us to implement social login on Guardian.co.uk, which means that users can now register on the Guardian using their Facebook details for a more social experience on the site.
In light of this, we have decided to switch our focus to creating more social participation for our users on our own core properties, beginning with guardian.co.uk.