Sharing for Games

Overview

By adding sharing in your game, your players can share their game activity to their profile and into their friends' news feeds. This one-to-many communication channel is a powerful driver of player acquisition and engagement. As all shared stories are published directly to a player's profile, it is important to build a high quality and intuitive sharing flow into your game. This guide will help you determine the sharing approach that works best for your game.

Games can use the following approaches to share stories:

  • Sharing lightweight stories representing game content such as levels, achievements, etc., in the form of link shares.
  • Sharing photo and video media, such as screenshots of a player's base or video replays.

Sharing can be implemented in these two ways:

1. Dialog based sharing:

The Share Dialog, which is available on web, iOS and Android, allows people to share content using a consistent UI that matches that of Facebook. You also don't need to implement Facebook Login to use the Share Dialog, which makes it simpler for developers.

2. API based sharing:

The Graph API can be used to share links. This is also available on all platforms. The API offers more control of the sharing experience by letting you build your own UI, but requires that Facebook Login is also implemented.

Sharing And Attribution

Mobile games can make use of the sharing functionality built into iOS and Android, which provide ways to share to Facebook without complicated developer integration. However, these forms of sharing don't have any association to your app, so the value of this type of share is limited.

A link share with no attribution

By using the share dialogs provided by the Facebook SDKs on iOS and Android, you can share stories that are attributed to your game. This provides additional benefits, including driving traffic to your game from the attribution label on stories, and measuring how stories from your game are performing via Facebook Analytics.

A link share with attribution and a Play call-to-action

Story Types

Link Shares

Link shares are the simplest way to get content from your game into News Feed. By sharing a link, you can control the appearance of your game's content when it appears on Facebook, as well as the behaviour when people click on that content.

To share content via a link share, you need to create links that are available at public URLs, and can be shared via one of our dialogs or via APIs. You can create representations of common objects on your game, such as levels, bosses, collectable items, or you can generate links that are unique to the player sharing, such as their island, farm etc.

A personalized link share in Criminal Case

Optimizing your content

To ensure that your links look good in News Feed, you can optimize them using Open Graph (OG) metadata. With OG metadata, you can define a primary image, a title and a description, and these will be used by Facebook when rendering your links in News Feed.

If you supply large-format images, Facebook will render them as large as possible in feed. To make use of this format, your images must be at least 1200px wide, and with a ratio of at least 1.91:1.

Sharing a link with large-format from Caesars Casino

Read the full guide to optimizing your web content in the Sharing for Webmasters guide.

Where to send players

The destination of your shared links is crucial to making the most of sharing as a re-engagement and retention channel. Driving players back to your game quickly is the best way to grow your player base. The common behaviour depends on platform.

  • Mobile: Links shared with attribution to game-category apps will always send the player to the app, or to the app store if the app is not installed.
  • Desktop: Links shared with attribution to game-category apps will have an additional call to action, “Play Game”, which will bring the player to the version of the game on Facebook. Clicks on the rest of the link surface will bring the player to the URL defined on the share.

When people engage with the news feed stories posted from your app, those stories can send people to your app or your app's App Store page, driving traffic and app installs. You can control this behavior using App Links, allowing you to provide specific destination for each platform. This feature is available on all devices, including iOS and Android.

Photo & Video

As an alternative to sharing self-hosted content via links, you can also share media content directly to Facebook via both APIs and dialogs. Sharing content directly to Facebook carries some additional benefits; content will be shown full-size in news feed, and video content will auto-play on both Desktop and Mobile. However, since the photo / video experience is optimized for viewing content, these kinds of stories drive fewer players directly to your game, so they work best for surfacing interesting content to players.

A photo shared from Pearl's Peril

If you prefer to use link shares, you can add Open Graph video tags to the metadata on your links, and Facebook will show the video content in news feed. You can define HTML 5 compatible video files, or a custom SWF player. Since this video content is loaded in from your URL during play, Facebook will not autoplay this content.

A battle replay video shared from Nords: Heroes of the North

Read more: Video Content Types

Open Graph Stories

For some games, a link share or a screenshot might not fully express the actions that your players take while playing. In these cases, you can use Open Graph stories to choose action-object pairs to generate compelling shares that describe actions specific to your game.

Open Graph stories can be shared via dialogs or via Graph API. To share Open Graph stories, you first need to set up the actions and object types that your game will share. You do this via the Open Graph tab in App Dashboard.

Open Graph supports several built-in action types and object types for game developers. To see a full list of built-in actions, check out the Open Graph reference documentation.

Share Methods

Sharing via Dialogs

The Share Dialogs, available on iOS, Android and web, are the easiest ways to get content from your game onto Facebook. By using the Facebook SDK for your supported platforms, you can share links, media and Open Graph stories directly from your game.

Dialog-based sharing in Criminal Case

Sharing via the Share Dialog requires your players to tap an explicit Share button. For games on Facebook, the Share Dialog appears as an overlay on top of your game. For mobile games on iOS and Android, the Dialog appears on top of your game, and supports both landscape and portrait modes.

Read more:

Sharing via Graph API

Depending on your game, you may prefer to build your own sharing flow that doesn't use the dialogs provided by Facebook SDKs. If this is the case, you can share directly on behalf of your players via the Graph API.

When sharing via Graph API, you can create link shares, share photos and videos, and publish open graph stories. You can publish stories directly from your own UI, as long as your players have granted write permissions to your app. This works well for games that play in full screen mode on Facebook, and mobile games where you want to customize the share experience to match the rest of the game's look and feel.

A custom dialog for API-based sharing in The Last One

Sharing via Graph API has some additional requirements:

  • Players must grant publish_actions permissions when logging into your game.
  • Your app must go through Login Review for publish_actions.
  • You must provide a sharing flow that allows users to opt out of sharing.

Best Practices

Whichever sharing approach you take for your game, there are some best practices to help you build an optimal sharing experience.

Define Shareable Moments

As players make progress in your game, they'll often want to share this progress with their friends. When designing your game, make sure to define moments in the gameplay that will encourage sharing. These moments might be a new high score, a level completion, or unlocking new inventory items.

Ensure that players can share these moments easily when they occur, by presenting a share button along with the announcement in-game. The more interesting these sharable moments are, the more likely they are to attract new players from your players' friends.

A shareable moment in Nords: Heroes of the North

Build your own custom share dialog

Sharing stories via the Graph API enables you to build your own custom share dialog which fits into the look and feel of your game. Building your own custom share dialog also means that no extra steps are required by the player to share stories and you also avoid interrupting a fullscreen session as there is no need to open a Facebook dialog.

When using the APIs for sharing stories, it is also important to give players the opportunity to add their own custom message to the story, as stories which have a custom message attached usually achieve better engagement. This step should always be optional and players need to be able to continue the game without being forced to share a story.

Read more: Clarification of Platform policy on prefill

Make sure your sharing flow is policy-compliant

To make sure that stories are shared at the right moment in the game, make sure to use a clear and concise button. For example, the button should clearly state "Share" and draw the player's attention to it, e.g. by highlighting it in green. This ensures that a player is invoking the flow with a clear intent to share something and is therefore more likely to complete the flow.

Read more: Facebook Platform Policy, section 2: Give people control

Offer multiple ways to share

With the Share Dialog on Android, iOS and web, you can provide an alternative two-step sharing mechanism to players who don't grant write permissions to your game. When a player reaches a moment that they want to share, you can check the permissions they've granted, and if publish_actions hasn't been granted, show them a button that launches a share dialog.

If a player has never granted publish_actions permissions it is recommended to attempt to upsell this at a later stage in the game. It is important, however to limit the amount of attempts and respect the player's decision not to grant the permission after all. A good scenario to upsell would be for example after a player has shown intent of sharing a story, e.g. by clicking on a "Share" button after completing a level.

Clarifying the benefits of granting write permissions in Nords: Heroes of the North

The Native Share Dialog for iOS & Android supports both Open Graph stories and link-based feed posts.

Show engaging content

When a player chooses to share their content, this gives your game a chance to gain new audiences. Shared content is often the first thing that a players’ friends see from your game.

Make sure that your content is enticing in the context of a player’s friend who’s never seen your game before. If you have rich in-game characters, be sure to add these to your images, and don’t reuse imagery for multiple objects.

Good use of in-game character artwork in a share from Criminal Case

Measure Sharing with Facebook Analytics

Track the success of your shared content with Facebook Analytics. You can view the reach of particular stories, understand the demographics of who is sharing and engaging with your content and optimize future efforts based on this understanding. This data is available online and through an API for developers.

Tracking the performance of different share types in Facebook Analytics

Using the ref parameter In order to track the performance of different types of stories, you can append an additional refparameter when publishing. You will then be able to track the performance of each type of story separately in Insights.

Click Through Rates The CTR for your stories is one of the key indicators of engagement which in turn affects distribution of your stories. It is an important data point to monitor, particularly as you make changes to the content you are publishing, or the frequency at which you are publishing data. You can find this on the Story CTR tab in Insights. This can also be filtered to show only a particular type of action or object.

Engagement Similar to CTR, Likes and Comments on your stories are another important indicator of user engagement, contributing to the distribution your stories receive. You should monitor these to see which get the best engagement in terms of Likes and Comments to understand what content your users like to engage with.