This is one of the easiest, most straightforward things I've done in terms of integration with Facebook. It took me half a day to get [Avengers actions] out there.
With engaging stories about the well-known Avengers comic-book characters, Playdom has generated over 7 million referrals to its game Marvel: Avengers Alliance. They did it by identifying actions their players are proud to share with their friends and objects with a cool factor that attracts new players to the game. And Playdom took advantage of all the ways to publish via Open Graph, publicizing actions in the news feed and timeline, which generates high traffic to their game. In addition, Facebook Insights helped Playdom measure and sustain their success.
With Marvel: Avengers Alliance, Playdom had the momentum of a popular movie driving great interest in the game. When modeling which actions and objects to publish, Playdom focused on achievements: defeating a boss and recruiting a hero. The actions of defeating or earning were sweet spots for publishing via Open Graph: According to product manager Jason Sheldon, Playdom chose these actions because they only occur once to a few times per game session and are rewarding for players.
When a player recruits a hero, the news feed story features a short video clip that shows all the moves that hero can make. When developing their "recruit a hero" story, Playdom was aiming for an "I want that" response among players' friends, which paid off with a high rate of click-throughs.
Playdom incorporated .swf video clips into their Open Graph stories by setting the optional
og:video parameter for the Open Graph object:
<html> <head prefix=" og: http://ogp.me/ns# fb: http://ogp.me/ns/fb# avengersalliance: http://ogp.me/ns/fb/avengersalliance#"> <meta property="fb:app_id" content="19457756..." /> <meta property="og:url" content="https://playdom.com/.../hawkeye" /> <meta property="og:title" content="Hawkeye" /> <meta property="og:type" content="avengersalliance:hero" /> <meta property="og:description" content="Orphaned at a young age..." /> <meta property="og:image" content="https://playdom.com/.../hawkeye.jpg" /> <meta property="og:video" content="https://playdom.com/.../hawkeye.swf" /> <meta property="og:video:height" content="295" /> <meta property="og:video:width" content="380" /> </head> ... </html>
Marvel: Avengers Alliance takes advantage of the widespread recognition and appeal of the Avengers characters from the Marvel comics series and 2012 Marvel Avengers movie. Playdom knew they had a great asset in these characters, so they made them the centerpiece of their stories. Aggregations in the news feed - displaying all the heroes a player has recruited or bosses they defeated-created a wow factor, Sheldon says.
Playdom also took a lot of care to ensure that its IP is shown to its best advantage, optimizing its graphics and video - including the logo - to look good in stories. They also crafted their copy to make sure that the most intriguing content was always visible.
Open Graph is an ideal way to generate referral traffic for games. Actions published to Facebook generate story impressions in three places: the news feed and Timeline. Playdom found that roughly 50 percent of traffic came through stories generated in News Feed and the other 50 percent from Timeline units. Custom Open Graph stories are the third-largest source of clicks into Marvel: Avengers Alliance. A key element of this success is carefully planning how stories are presented and crafting the right Timeline units. Playdom makes sure to include a call to action in all of its Open Graph stories, to encourage users to get into the game.
With the effort put into writing strongly attractive stories and the extremely solid response rates that resulted, Playdom felt they had hit the ball out of the park the first time. Nevertheless, Playdom has continued to work on improving their stories, upping the quality of the graphics and fine-tuning the story text. After replacing still images with .swf videos, Playdom saw three times higher distribution and doubled click-through rates.
According to Playdom engineer Jose Rosado, generalizing their code to allow content to flow seamlessly to their custom Open Graph stories took only one to two hours, which made it possible to iterate quickly and learn if a modification works, then move forward with it.
The hardest part of implementation is choosing what to publish, producer Gabe Brown said. There's a fine line between spamming and being useful, and picking the right objects and actions to publish is critical. "In everything we do, like video custom Open Graph stories, we want to tell the story in a way that captures people's imaginations, and really share the experience of [playing the game] with other people. Open Graph really made it easy to expand the reach of our storytelling," Brown said.