Layar tutorial – Sharing API demystified

Everyone does it!

Websites, mobile apps and other media all understand the importance of doing it so they do it frequently and try to make it as easy as possible for you to help them doing it!


Obviously I’m talking about sharing content on the famous social media sites Facebook and Twitter.

Social media have grown to be the power tools of the internet for generating traffic, increase ROI and, most important, to learn what drives their potential customers.

Layar Sharing API

Layar allows its developers to do just that and makes it even easier by allowing Facebook and Twitter sharing to happen in one go. Cool!

But, in my opinion, the documentation of this API doesn’t clearly show you how the shared content will be presented on those networks so I set forth and dedicated this post to the Layar Sharing API

The brief

Note: This article is an addition to Layar’s Sharing API specification on their wiki and only described sharing intents of type “message”.

The Layar sharing API allows you to do the following:

  1. Share a layar or a link to some website on Facebook and Twitter,
  2. Share a screenshot on Facebook, Twitter or mail it to someone,
  3. Share a screenshot with the Layer’s developer.

And the variables available for your tweeking pleasure are:

  • type – Type of content to share. Possible values are “message” or “screenshot”.
  • title – The title of your post. Facebook only
  • link – Optional content to link to. Facebook & Twitter
  • icon – An icon that will be shown next to the post. Facebook only
  • description – The description of the posting. Facebook only

The above used to confuse me until I wrote this post because as you may have noticed there is no parameter that defines the message that is to be posted on Twitter.

Facebook sharing

Check this example posts of a shared message on Facebook:

 

All the parameters you can configure in the Sharing API call are present in the Facebook post. Also the optional personal text the user may have added is present.

I doubt there’s any questions about this one.

Twitter sharing

Twitter sharing is a different story.

The only Sharing API parameters that you will actually see in a tweet is the optional link parameter.

 

The image above is the result of sharing to twitter without adding a personal message.
What happens is that Layar will take the Short Description as it is defined in the Layar Publishing Environment (where you configure your layer) and use that as a message.

Although it’s good to have fallback, it really is a shame one can’t customize the fallback message. The Short Description is pretty general and will most likely not say much about the item being shared in particular.

 

In the image above I’ve actually manually entered a message which is what shows up here.

About links

In both the Facebook and Twitter posts a link will always be present, even if you omitted the optional link parameter. In that case Layar will add a link to the layer’s info page on layar.com.

The link added to Twitter posts are automatically shortened using layar.it

Metrics

We can be short on this one: There’s none.
Layar does offer some metrics but unfortunately these do not include information such as video reproductions, hits on web pages (outbound or not) and successful sharing events. Information that is very valuable when trying to optimize usage of your layer. 

That’s all folks!

I hope this post makes it a bit easier to understand how to use the Layar Sharing API and what parameter does what.
Again, please note that this is not a full blown tutorial. It’s additional information on top of Layar’s own documentation.

Hang on tight. Next up is an article about metrics. What Layer measures and what you can add yourself! 

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