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Hashtags have finally arrived on Facebook. The big question on all of our minds is how Facebook plans to monetize this new feature. After announcing the imminent upheaval of a number of their existing ad products, it is difficult to imagine them bringing a brand new ad product to their lineup.
As of now, you can engage with these hashtags in one of two ways – you can either click the hashtag itself, or use Facebook’s graph search to find the hashtag you are looking for.
So why did Facebook decide to introduce hashtags to the platform? Aside from collecting even more user data, I think they intend on introducing ‘real-time’ targeting options to amplify the power of their existing advertising products.
You may be familiar with Twitter’s recent release of the real-time bidding option for targeted keywords; hashtags could be Facebook’s answer to this marketing opportunity. If a user mentions a topic or interest in their post that includes a hashtag and immediately sees an ad for a product or service that is related to what they just posted about, that could be incredibly powerful – driving large CTRs, and in turn, large profits for Facebook.
Incorporating these hashtags into Facebook’s current lineup of targeting options may still be a ways off, but that doesn’t mean marketers can’t start taking advantage of them immediately. These hashtags provide a great opportunity for marketers to research the trends and movement around particular topics of interest. This information on its own is powerful enough to help you shape a campaign targeted at potential customers.
When you get down to the nitty-gritty however, it always comes back to the users. This could be an incredibly powerful addition to Facebook’s product lineup — as long as Facebook’s users adopt this new feature openly. Whether or not Facebook’s users decide to participate in the usage of these hashtags is yet to be seen.
How do you plan on incorporating hashtags into your next Facebook marketing campaign?