In light of Facebook second quarter results, an official launch of a new social plugin for third-party publishers by the social network has been a bit overshadowed, and I think that is kinda of a shame because this plugin is pretty awesome.
Facebook engineer Jeffrey Spehar has introduced yesterday a new social plugin for websites called the Recommendations Bar. The plugin’s purpose is to surface more articles from the site that visitors might be interested to read also, based on their social network’s connections.
The Recommendations Bar works like this- On pages where the plugin is installed, a small fixed element will appear at the bottom (on the right or left side) and when the visitor will scroll down the page after certain amount of time, it will expand to display more pages’ recommendations from the site.
As you can see from the example above, the Recommendations Bar box shows the headline and a small thumbnail of the recommended pages. If one (or more) of the visitor’s friends has Liked another page from the site, it will appear on the box and if not (or if the visitor isn’t logged into Facebook), recommendations for popular pages (based on Likes) will appear.
This is a fantastic new social feature which has a high potential of increasing the visitors engagement on the site as they see what articles their friends and others have Liked on the website. Nothing like a good old suggestion from a friend to make you read another article, right?
Installing the plugin is rather basic for people familiar with coding. Just enter this documentation page and define your parameters:
- URL of the article- The page where the plugin installed. Leave blank for the current page.
- Trigger- Define what will make the plugin to expand.
- Read Time- After how many seconds the plugin will expand.
- Verb to display- The plugin also features a Like/Recommend action button.
- Side- Choose on which side the plugin will appear (right or left).
- Domain- The domain for which the plugin will display recommendations for. Leave blank for the current domain.
After defining the parameters click on “Get Code”, select the type of code (HTML5 or XFBML) and follow the installation instructions.
For WordPress-powered site owners, there’s a much easier way to install the plugin- Facebook already released the plugin earlier to WordPress sites inside the official Facebook WordPress plugin which been presented last month and that offers a very simple set up.
Facebook stating that websites which already installed the Recommendations Bar have saw three times more the click-through rate on articles recommended rather than another social plugin, the Recommendations Box. I can personally testify myself that since I’ve installed the Recommendations Bar a month ago, I’m seeing some increase in engagement on my websites.