Facebook’s recommendations bar brings attention to what your friends are reading

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Announced on the Facebook Developer blog earlier today, the social network has rolled out a new tool for blogs and other sites called the Recommendations Bar. Positioned in the bottom left or right corner of the screen, the new bar appears when someone is reading an article. Alternate article recommendations are specifically limited to the same domain as the site and the social plug-in will display what friends have liked and shared on Facebook. If a friend hasn’t liked a single story on the site, the bar will show popular stories that have gained a large amount of likes or shares from other Facebook users. Of course, the site visitor will have to be logged into Facebook for the Recommendations Bar to work correctly.

Facebook Recomendations BarIn addition to the two stories, the plug-in also includes a like button for the current article in addition to a square icon that will allow the user to minimize the social bar. Once the bar has been minimized, the user can browse around the site without having to continually see the pop-up window appear in the lower corner of the site.  

When the Recommendations Bar is setup for the first time, the site owner has a variety of choices in regards to timing. For instance, the site owner can set a specific number of seconds before the social plug-in will appear on the page. The site owner can also insert a specific line of code on the page that will trigger the Recommendations Bar when the user scrolls past it. In addition, the site owner can set a specific percentage of scrolling before the pop-up window appears.

This setting is ideal for allowing a user to read an article in peace before attempting to encourage that person to read another article on the site. According to a statement from Facebook, sites that have been testing the new Recommendations Bar are seeing a 3x improvement over the same pages being suggested in the older, static recommendations box. Anyone that’s interested in the new Recommendations Bar for their personal blog or site can find the installation instructions here.