Facebook’s addition of the Want button is a most likely, wise move to bolster its advertising efforts. And its new Collections button helps it confront the Pinterest threat head on. But are either good for members?
The buttons debuted earlier this month and closely foilowed Facebook's decision to make it easier to send gifts within the social network. It appears Facebook wants to mediate online purchases, taking a cut of the action.
Facebook is evaluating all upgrades, looking to see if each is a pure monetization play. PUre revenue moves help Facebook members least, usually. But in the case of the three new buttons, they may benefit. The buttons are advertising strategies, but they may decrease the ads appearing on newsfeeds.
Diane Buzzeo, CEO and founder of e-commerce software maker Ability Commerce, said that if they are implemented carefully, Gifts and Collections may help Facebook ads be less intrusive.
“Facebook's new approach of seamlessly integrating its new features, Gifts and Collections, into the social-networking experience may lead to a more successful outcome, while decreasing the platform's reliance on advertisements in the process,” Buzzeo said. “Facebook (is) resetting the standards for how retailers sell online." The new strategy bears watching, she said.
Still An Advertising Company
I first approached this post as a look at whether Facebook is considering a fight with Amazon by moving retail advertising. But the answer from the five social-media and digital-advertising experts I talked to was a resounding "no."
If anything, Gifts, Collections and Want solidify Facebook as an advertising platform.
“The Collections model looks much more like a social-media advertising model than a pure commerce play,” said Scott Forshay, a strategist specializing in mobile and emerging technologies for tech consulting firm Acquity Group.
Forshay said, “It seems a much less intrusive and awkward mechanism for spreading brand communications since the community effectively spreads the message, as opposed to the current strategy of injecting advertising into users' newsfeeds.”
In other words, you are always going to see ads in Facebook. Now, however, the ads may be disguised as shared content or, at the very least, should be more relevant. It’s up to individuals about whether repackaged ads is a good thing, but my instinct says most understand that Facebook needs to make money to survive. More-relevant ads may seem like the lesser of all evils for the ad-conscious.