Why is this important?
I’ll tell you –
Let’s get one thing clear: Hashtags are not owned by Twitter. They’re used heavily throughout the platform, of course they are, they help track conversation topics. In fact, Twitter is so entrenched in the hashtag that they’ve now taken to describing themselves as “The shortest distance between you and what interests you.”
The “you” in that equation is the @name. The ‘what interests you’ part of it? That’s right, the hashtag. Hashtags really are great for finding conversation topics. You know what else they’re good for? Ad sales. But we’ll come back to that…
Hashtags are used across other social networks but when your average consumer sees them today, it’s fair to say they immediately associate them with Twitter.
Not for much longer.
Keep in mind, where else are Hashtags used? Instagram. And you know who owns Instagram, right? Right. Facebook.
2. Graph Search
With the advent of Facebook Graph Search, Facebook appears to be strategizing and getting to grips with meaningful conversation data. What do I mean by that? I was on a panel recently about Facebook’s latest product and one of the issues that we discussed about Graph Search was the disparity between the two elements of data it’ll search; behavioral and surrendered.
I might like something, but that might just be to gain access to an app or a game or whatever. That’s behavioral and that’s not the type of data a marketer may put to use. With surrendered Facebook is trusting its users to enter their information fully and honestly – this simply does not always happen. These two combined may not provide the most useful insights.
However, using hashtags to badge up Facebook posts suddenly creates anchors within user conversations. First, these anchors are searchable and second, you can sell ads against them.
Last month, Dan Rose, VP of Partnerships at Facebook, made it very clear that television and the second screen was definitely an area that Facebook was going to move in to. Perhaps not immediately, but soon.
Being able to tag your Facebook post against say, the TV show that you’re watching? That’ll be one major step towards that paradigm.
Earlier this week I wrote about what Twitter’s new Ad API meant for social media ad-planning. With Facebook now introducing their own version of the hashtag, this same model applies: choose your TV show, pick your audience, choose your time slot, go buy ads…
OK, so obviously this won’t happen overnight; Facebook has a billion users and it needs to ease them into it slowly.
With the new News Feed inbound, Facebook Hashtags (and their ads) could soon be just a click away…