About 2 months ago I wrote an article named 9,475 People LIKE AIDS. The article was a response to Facebook changing the “Become a Fan” button to a “Like” button. In the article I said:
These social networks need to start hiring some staff with brains. I call for the firing of whoever is involved with this whole “Like” fiasco at Facebook. I hope you “like” job hunting.
I do still believe that the “Like” button confuses the heck out of Facebook users. By “Liking” something I don’t think that many users realize that they are subscribing to what they “Like.” However, I was being shortsighted.
Here’s the TREMENDOUS upside that I overlooked: The benefit to the Facebook advertisers.
By forcing a standard, and removing manually inputted interests on profiles, Facebook created a HUGE opportunity for advertisers. It went down like this (all under my nose and I was oblivious to the benefits):
- Facebook removed the “Become a Fan” button and replaced it with “Like”
- Facebook popped up a message that all profile info must be associated with a Facebook Page – The following are now associated with pages: Hometown, Interests, Favorites etc.
- The Facebook open social graph was released which allowed webmasters to add a “Like” button to their websites.
By standardizing the “Like” button and associating all user information with a page (whether on Facebook or off Facebook) they began the creation of a MONSTER ad system that could rival any other. Everything that is liked by many, can now be targeted through the Facebook Ads System. In the past, you couldn’t target fans of a page. Now you can. As Facebook continues to collect data about what people like across the web, their targeting capabilities are going to shoot up exponentially.
What can Facebook do with this newly obtained, free flowing data you ask?
- Add extra targeting for existing Facebook advertisers
- Create a Quantcast type rival since they are able to collect the demographic information about any site that participates in the open social graph – even if they don’t create the service for the public, they can use the data privately
- Create an adsense type rival to serve ads on 3rd party sites, making them a force to reckoned with for self serve ads online
I think this is going to be interesting to watch.
What do YOU think Facebook’s plans are? Sound off in the comments…