Facebook Advertising: The Introduction of Hashtags
By Rob Beirne, Digital Marketer at Wolfgang Digital
Earlier this week, Facebook announced the introduction of clickable, searchable and trendable hashtags. Like every new feature Facebook releases, hashtags will be rolled out gradually. They are following in the footsteps of Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus and, of course, Twitter. It is a move which will streamline branding strategies across the major social
Facebook as a Second Screen
Facebook wants to allow people to get involved in real-time conversations on their platform in a way which has been impossible up to now. Their aim is to be considered as a ‘second screen’ for users to interact with content such as TV shows or new stories. The aim is to become the first port-of-call for people who want to keep up with real-time news and events. It’s a position Twitter has made its own in the last couple of years and it’s going to be a real challenge for Facebook to knock them off their perch.
The ‘Problem’ of Privacy
One clear obstacle which will hinder Facebook’s quest is privacy. This is something which differentiates Facebook from Twitter, where most people have public accounts which can be seen by anyone. Some may say that Twitter has the upper hand here; when someone searches for a hashtag on Twitter, they are likely to see entire conversations. This is in contrast to
Facebook, where users will only be able to see input from users who have made their posts public. With most posts only visible to the user’s friends by default, this is an issue Facebook is going to have to address.
So Facebook users may not see the whole conversation when they search a hashtag; this is not necessarily a bad thing for advertisers. Their content will be more visible and less lost in the mass of information seen on the likes of Twitter. Although advertisers will not be allowed to employ paid ads in the hashtag search results, they are being encouraged by Facebook to use hashtags in their ads across all channels and can still get involved in real-time conversations through the use of hashtags. This means that Facebook will become a more engaging platform for brands. Advertisers can now tap into
Facebook’s huge user base much more easily.
Leveraging Interest Targeting
Another interesting implication of Facebook hashtags is their role in determining people’s interests. Currently, Facebook does this by looking at the Pages a user has liked or followed. People ‘Like’ Pages for a variety of reasons. For example, if a friend creates a Page for their business, you may ‘Like’ it to show support – but you might have no interest in the service they provide.
Status updates are a much stronger indication of a user’s interests, but until now there has been no effective way of categorising their content. By monitoring users’ use of hashtags in status updates or hashtag searches, Facebook will glean a better understanding of user interests. This will allow Facebook to really improve their ability to accurately determine
someone’s interests. This in turn affords advertisers a much better chance of showing an ad to the most relevant user.
The Humble Hashtag
The humble hashtag has permeated into popular culture. With the vast reach of Facebook, this is a trend that we see continuing. Twitter has been incredibly successful as it facilitates real-time, public conversations among masses of people. Now that Facebook is jumping on the hashtag bandwagon, advertisers have the opportunity to reach more people than ever before. What’s more, they can reach them instantly. It will be very interesting to see how this develops in the next few months. As is often the case with online advertising, those who adapt early and do it well will reap the rewards. Those
who don’t will get left behind.
How do you plan on using Facebook hashtags for your brand?