In a short period of time, Facebook has tested autoplay video ads and introduced hashtags, embedded posts, and now a trending topics section in an attempt to become the preferred social network for real-time updates.
Similar to Twitter’s “Trends” section, Facebook’s “Trending” section presents popular topics being discussed throughout the site. Though still in early stages of development, Facebook’s trending topics section can become a great tool for advertisers who handle the new feature correctly.
Trending Topics Building on Facebook’s Mobile First Strategy
Facebook’s mobile strategy today is leaps and bounds above what it was 18 months ago. A year and a half ago, a mobile strategy was nearly nonexistent. Impressive Q2 earnings suggest that Facebook has figured out a winning mobile strategy that has proved beneficial to advertisers – and Facebook’s bottom line.
Some key mobile strategy updates include a complete redesign of their News Feed, mobile app install ads, and Chat Heads. With the combination of a successful mobile strategy and the amount of data available to advertisers, it seems like trending topics will further the success of Facebook’s mobile strategy. And with 819 million monthly active mobile users, you’d be crazy not to try and capitalize on this opportunity.
The News Feed has become much more than a place to update yourself with what’s going on with your friends. It has evolved into a place where users can also stay up to date on topics they care about, whether they are a brand, a blog, or a news source. The News Feed has become a 24/7 go-to hub (thanks to our mobile devices) for updates on subjects that matter to us. When breaking news hits, for example, Facebook’s “Trending” section can display topics related to the news, allowing the user to receive and engage with real-time updates. Or when a new makeup line is released, those who like Sephora’s Facebook Page, for example, will also see related topics they may want to engage with.
Consider trending topics as a form of real-time conversation. It is the concept of real time that makes trending topics an excellent fit in the mobile world.
Potential for Promoted Topics
With Twitter, clicking on a Promoted Trend topic brings users to search results for that term, alongside a promoted tweet at the top of the results page. The promoted tweet is the only ad that is tied to the promoted trend. Facebook, however, has always given advertisers plenty of options for advertising to their target audience: mobile app install ads, sponsored stories, promoted posts, (soon to be released) video ads, and much more.
With a feature like Facebook’s “Trending” section, Facebook has the opportunity to engage users beyond a 160-character blurb. Similar to Twitter’s Promoted Trends, the advertiser promoting a topic on Facebook will have a related promoted item at the top of the search results. However, because of the multiple advertising options on Facebook, advertisers can have the option to promote more content that users may find engaging (think surveys, articles, fan pages, external landing pages, and more!).
The Wall Street Journal reported Facebook will “disclose more details if it decides to release the feature more broadly”; until then, we can only speculate about the opportunities a trending section can provide both users and advertisers.
With all-important mobile devices making it easy for users to partake in real-time updates via social networks, Facebook has the opportunity to bring home some serious revenue in mobile.