How RunKeeper used Open Graph to increase engagement and downloads
“The following is an excerpt from Kinvey’s free eBook, “”The Developer’s Guide to Facebook Open Graph.”” You can download the full eBook here.
RunKeeper was one of the first apps to hit the scene back in 2008 and its success—14 million users and counting—proved to be an early validation that social and fitness go hand-in-hand. The app helps runners, walkers, and bikers track their performance—distance, time, calories burned and other measures—and then share the data on social networks.
Staying ahead of the curve, the innovator was among the original batch of Open Graph apps rolled out in January 2012. RunKeeper has used Open Graph to create fitness-oriented actions and objects. Stories get published to a user’s timeline and added to a growing mass of personal fitness data. All that sharing has deep ties to RunKeeper’s mission.
“Facebook plays an important role in motivating our users to achieve their goals,” said product manager Jon Gilman. “It’s about keeping users honest, keeping them accountable and supporting them when they need support. The reverse is seeing your friends achieve your own fitness goals and get inspired to embark on your own fitness journey.”
Open Graph offered RunKeeper an opportunity to create richer stories around a user’s fitness activities and goals. One improvement: RunKeeper was able to send in GPS data with Open Graph stories. Users that had the right privacy setting could show their friends a map of where they ran and stats detailing their performance. Inserting this additional data into users’ social graphs significantly increased member engagement and RunKeeper traffic. The map specifically resulted in 55% improvement in impressions and a 233% improvement in clicks.
Gilman said Runkeeper has been sticking with explicit shares—as opposed to the implicit shares you might see with an app like Spotify—because location data is sensitive. “But,” he said, “attaching more information to a post, being able to show high-level stats from within Facebook as opposed to just surfacing a link through the metatags really led to a lot of increase we saw in impressions and clicks.”
Facebook, RunKeeper’s number-one source of referrals, created a unique non-location-sensitive visualization that shows a bar chart of your runs over time from a single Open Graph post. Friends get context around how active you’ve been recently, giving more reasons to reach out.
RunKeeper has found that users who post to Facebook on a regular basis engage in an average of 150% more activities than less social users. Users who share are 40% more likely to continue using RunKeeper and for users who connect their Facebook accounts to RunKeeper, there’s a 70% increase in the likelihood they’ll do their first activity.
RunKeeper marries great design and functionality. It’s a strong example of where Open Graph development should head. Open Graph integration can improve a variety of metrics, from discoverability and virality to engagement.
If you are interested in reading more, follow this link for the full eBook: The Developer’s Guide to Facebook Open Graph.