Why the Open Graph Protocol is a Marketing Opportunity

Ever heard the phrase people eat with their eyes? Well, people buy, click, take action with their eyes too. Online optimization is a weird and complicated world, but getting noticed always starts with catching someone’s eye, no matter the situation. There are thousands of articles that will tell you the best ways to sell…well, anything. However, it all starts with engaging web design. 

But how do you take that further? How do you get people to find and be interested in that beautiful site? By posting it. By posting it everywhere. But what if no one’s clicking? Why could that be? One common mistake that many digital entrepreneurs make when setting up their sites is not taking advantage of the little things that can help entice consumers on social media. For example, how the Open Graph protocol can help make web links more clickable in the timeline.

What are Open Graph Meta Tags?

Also known as OG meta tags, it is an open-source plugin for the backend of your website that basically tells social media platforms what your site is, its content, and what image to use when someone posts while linking back to your site. Let’s break that down a bit more. 

Open-source means that it’s a piece of code that is open to everyone. Anyone can cut out the coding and paste it into their website to let the autotools from other websites show the best, most eye-catching, and most accurate overview of your offerings to each and every person that sees the link. Here’s an example of an OG rich object will appear on Facebook:

og image on facebook

So what does it look like in your website? Pretty much exactly how you’d imagine a piece of HTML coding to look, so let’s go over each line to understand what it means and where your business needs come in. 

Start by telling them the title, that’s a piece of code that looks like this:

<meta property=”og:title” content=”YOUR TITLE HERE” />

You want to optimize the og:title tag to show the most relevant part of the webpage title. So for instance, if you are sharing an article on social media, you want to limit the character count to 55 or less. Keep in mind, the og:title will only display up to 55 characters when coding it on your website’s backend or through a CMS plugin like Yoast.

Next, let your audience know what they can expect if they click your link. Here you want to be specific about the page and content you’re trying to highlight. It’s important to keep length in mind. If your description is more than 125 characters, the whole thing won’t be shown. I recommend keeping it to one sentence if possible. That part of the code looks like this:

<meta property=”og:description” content=”YOUR DESCRIPTION HERE” />

Then there’s classification. This part tells the site that your link is posted on where to put your content, how to decide who to promote your brand to, and when to display your content. This section has specific categories for you to choose from. When you don’t specify, your content is simply categorized as a website. If you’re unsure of what ‘type’ your offering is, you can choose from website, article, blog, book, game, movie, food, actor, author, or politician; or take a look at the extended list here. This is an integral piece of code and it looks like this:

<meta property=”og:type” content=”YOUR CONTENT TYPE HERE” />

Now we hit the last, and arguably most important part, the image. Here is where you catch attention, where people take notice or don’t. This final piece of code looks like this:

<meta property=”og:image” content=”A LINK TO YOUR IMAGE HERE” />

When designing an og:image for social media sharing, experts recommend a dimension of 1200 x 630 pixels or an aspect ratio of 1.91:1. If you are looking to promote your website through Reddit, design the og:image to be a 1:1 aspect, as it will be resized on the platform to display 70 x 70 pixels.

When you have your OG meta tags coded how you like, you can test the appearance of the link on Facebook with the Facebook Sharing Debugger

Does Optimizing OG Meta Tags Matter?

People judge based on looks. We all try not to, but we do. So when your link shows up looking unreliable, messy, and unclear no one will bother to click it. No matter how many people see your posts, linkbacks, and reviews, if it doesn’t look good or they can’t tell what it’s about then they just won’t click. 

Optimizing, planning, and testing your website’s OG appearance is an important part of driving social media referral traffic. In this post-Facebook algorithm environment, businesses have a hard time as it is getting their content to appear organically on social media. When users want to share a link to your page with their friends and followers, or you want to include sharing links as part of your social media strategy, using OG meta tags to your advantage can help increase engagement with your brand, and could help drive conversions. 

And the Open Graph protocol isn’t just on Facebook. This precedent set by Facebook has been adopted across social media platforms including LinkedIn, Twitter, and Reddit. When it comes to marketing, looks matter. Descriptions matter. And that means that open graph and web content matters.

Open Graph Meta Tags, An Often Overlooked Opportunity

The hardest part of selling anything is getting people interested. That’s why every point of interaction is so important. When you’re working hard to get your content, products, and services noticed, you can’t let something like a misformatted link undo all of your hard-earned progress. 

By taking proper advantage of each opportunity you have to make a great impression, you can increase your click-through rate as well as the likelihood that your offerings will find their way to real, qualified leads. Posting isn’t about volume, it’s about quality. So make sure that your brand is projecting it’s full value to anyone that may come across it by using the open graph protocol effectively.

Want to talk to us more about your business’ social media marketing strategy? From content, to imagery, to OG meta tags, we got you covered. Get in touch with Cape & Bay today!