Integrating with Startups the Facebook Way

By David Knight |

Following on from Google, It was Facebook’s turn to connect with Berlin’s tech scene on Wednesday with an event aimed at promoting open graph integration amongst startups. SoundCloud,, Amen, Moviepilot, Simfy, EyeEm, Gidsy, Readmill and Zattoo were the nine companies strutting their stuff at the Soho House but it seemed like most of the rest of the scene was there too.

Open graph integration allows these services and other third-party developers to make better use of Facebook and to improve the social experience of users. And where better for Facebook to talk about how to make that process smoother than in Berlin?

Christian Hernandez is Facebook’s director of platform partnerships EMEA. He said the aim was to have an informal encounter with the people they work with in the Berlin scene: “Berlin has this vibrancy and this amazing innovation that is happening. Most of these guys built these integrations themselves. We have provided advice, but they coded these social experiences from scratch. That’s as close as you can get to the ethos of Silicon Valley, with people hacking away trying out platforms. Kudos to their innovation and their trust in our platform.”

But just how important is Facebook to these startups? We asked some of them:

Roel van der Ven, product manager for web at SoundCloud

Half of our users are connecting their accounts to Facebook, so that’s an indication of how important it is for us. The thing that Facebook is able to do that no one else can is what’s coming along soon with the App Center. They can recommend you on your phone, applications that your friends are using on the same phone, which is super powerful and will mean a super smooth experience.

Julana Chondrasch of Amen

Obviously we really want to have a strong presence on Facebook and the open graph integration is just very good for us and any other app. We can integrate our photos there with the Amen statements; you can also discover really cool things if you click on the statements. It’s also been really interesting to see what others have been doing with Facebook. We have been walking around, seeing how Gidsy is implementing their activities onto Facebook, how is doing it, Simfy, EyeEm. There is still a lot of room for development, everybody knows that.

Ben Krause, CTO of Moviepilot

Some 80 percent of our users come through Facebook. We do not do any SEO; we have a very simple SEO layer across our application. Everything we do is just optimised to working with Facebook.

Ramzi Rizk of EyeEm

We worked pretty tightly with Facebook on building our open graph integration. This stuff is doable either way, but having someone there that you can ping quickly with a question who can write back and say, we know about this problem, we’re fixing it, that definitely has a lot of value. That’s also true with analysing the results, because they’ve seen it all, they’ve done it with 10,000 other partners, so they can really give you good insights into what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong and what you need to fix.

For Facebook, the importance of working with these third-partydevelopers is clear, as Christian emphasised: “We do one-to-many developer outreach to the website. Then we do smaller more focused events, like here at Soho House we had a gaming event, a mobile event and this open graph event, trying to talk to specific developer audiences.

“But at the end of the day, these people are going to trust their peers and their friends more than they are going to trust one of us. So they validate the platform, provide growth, provide discovery, provide monetisation, and then we provide advice, best practices, ideas. We don’t have scale to go talk deeply to all of them, so when your friend at startup A tells your other friend at Startup B that because they went on Facebook their growth went viral, that’s the best validation we can get.”

Christian Hernandez of Facebook