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Google, OpenSocial, and Marketing

Google is announcing an open API for social networks. This has been widely reported on all the major tech news sites. It’s a strong, smart play by Google, as it lets them turn any participating site, effectively, into a Google App, and gives them access to index data that hasn’t been available in some cases.

OpenSocial will allow data interchange among networks for three types of data:
– Profile data
– Friend data
– Activity data

Initial participating networks include Orkut, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Ning, Hi5, Plaxo, Friendster, Viadeo and Oracle.

OpenSocial means something different to marketers, though. OpenSocial will immediately increase the value of each of the participating networks to marketers. Here’s an example.

In context, I have very different friends and friend data on LinkedIn and Plaxo. My friends in turn have different friends and contexts on the various services. OpenSocial will let me aggregate all of my friend data across networks to a data store, and I can then get a better idea of what’s on my networks.

More importantly – perhaps most important of all – I’ll be able to get common reference data across networks. This means, simply, that I will be able to cross reference data from one network to another. If a contact has a mailing address on LinkedIn, but is missing a ZIP code, and they have the ZIP on Plaxo, I will be able to aggregate the disparate pieces of data to develop a complete profile. Marketer’s dream? Heck yes.

What’s your marketing strategy for OpenSocial? Mine is to continue building and growing my presence on individual networks, targeting them for their demographics, and as the first OpenSocial developer applications come out, I’ll aggregate all the data together.

If you’re doing a targeted campaign, such as social network marketing, OpenSocial will make this process easier and faster. You’ll be able to amplify your marketing power across many networks, rather than just one, much in the same way TubeMogul lets you post your videos to 9 different video sharing sites at once.

Are you ready for OpenSocial?

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