We see that people who post regularly to Facebook do an average of 1.5 times more activities than people who don't share—the numbers are pretty staggering.
Like its 14 million users, RunKeeper knows the best way to get results is to develop a plan and stick to it. The four-year-old company used Open Graph to create a familiar set of fitness-based actions and objects with real-time metrics, and added a layer of personalization through profile pictures, performance stats, and maps that tell a rich story about the person's fitness journey. The Facebook Open Graph stories are published to the news feed and timeline, and aggregated as users and their friends log more fitness activities.
RunKeeper lets users add friends who have already signed up for the app, as well as invite new friends to try it out.
The timeline experience of a Facebook user's RunKeeper activities highlight daily or weekly activities. This experience is even more enjoyable and informative when multiple friends use RunKeeper and compare their progress—and competitive folks can easily measure how their activities stack up next to their friends and rivals. This is a great way for a group of friends who are competing in the same race or part of a walking club to share their results.
With development and testing, RunKeeper's first Open Graph rollout took a few weeks. Gilman encourages other developers to keep iterating after their first Open Graph efforts, since RunKeeper has gotten significant mileage out of continuing to refine the content they present via Open Graph.
RunKeeper combines actions for running, walking, skiing, cycling, and more, with route objects that are generated by GPS tracking in iPhone and Android devices. People can also manually enter activities, and RunKeeper will record the location, distance, speed, calories burned, and pace. A map that highlights the person's route can also be added.
"People are posting to Facebook as motivation for themselves, and social is a great motivating power for our users. But the other side is that people who view activities via Facebook are motivated to embark upon their own fitness journeys," Gilman said.
People can share rich information about a wide range of activities via Open Graph stories. Runners can post speed, distance, pace, and a short comment about their workout—but RunKeeper has added a couple of innovations to these fairly common stats: RunKeeper users can post route maps, and RunKeeper stories include the person's profile picture. And any updates to peoples' Facebook profile pictures are reflected in RunKeeper, so RunKeeper always has a current picture.
RunKeeper also lets people browse their friends' profile pictures when inviting someone to use RunKeeper or when tagging someone in an activity.
"Having that easily recognizable Facebook profile pic is important for [..] making the friends list as easily scrollable as possible, so you're able to pick out the right friend as quickly as possible," Gilman said.
Incorporating maps into activities has been a strong traffic driver: RunKeeper has seen a 55% jump in impressions and 233% more clicks since including that information in stories.
"Users who share their maps via Facebook see much more engagement around their posts: they get many more likes and comments from their friends, which motivates them to achieve their goals," Gilman said.
RunKeeper attracts fitness enthusiasts with health goals, as well as competitive athletes who want to go faster and further. Sharing their activities and achievements on Facebook appeals to these people because it helps them reach their goals.
"Facebook is the number one source of referral traffic to RunKeeper, and we've seen a tremendous impact on both new user growth and retention from having users connect their accounts to Facebook and share through Open Graph," Gilman said.
Facebook Login, which lets users connect quickly and easily through either Facebook or RunKeeper, has positively influenced both adoption and usage. Daily Facebook installs have increased threefold since RunKeeper implemented Facebook Login. What's more, when a user connects their Facebook account to RunKeeper, there is a 70% increase in the likelihood that they'll go out for their first run, walk, or bike trip.
Among people who share their runs, walks, bike rides, and other fitness activities to Facebook, the rate of continued use the app is 40 percent higher than among "non-sharers."
For developers who are working on Facebook integration, RunKeeper's best advice is to mirror your users' activities in your app within Facebook. The broad audience in Facebook makes social engagement with your app more likely.