You may have noticed another subtle change by Facebook lately – the ability to add an emoticon to your status update. In addition to telling friends how you’re feeling, you can tell them exactly what you’re doing as an extension of your written update. See below.
While this encourages users to update their status by giving more options (perhaps even suggesting some topics to post about), it’s clearly a data-gatherer for Facebook to develop ad-targeting opportunities. Direct linking to brand pages for TV shows, restaurants, music, books, etc. can be huge for Facebook as they try to mine through data to find meaning (read: opportunity). There are a few things Facebook can do to make these options more beneficial to everyone:
1. Make the feature available on mobile and tie it into Graph Search
2. Notify brands when they are tagged in a post
3. Offer more than ads as a result of this data mining
That last one is more for marketers than Facebook. The reason some blogs are warning people not to use these status features is that they will soon be targeted with ads related to what they posted about. But, so what? Wouldn’t you, as a user, rather see a relevant ad than an irrelevant one? Probably. But, providing Facebook with ad-targeting data annoys a lot of users. What are they getting out of it? Spam, they say. It’s the brand’s job to change that perception. Use the opportunity to offer customers something for their patronage. An incentive goes a long way to getting fans in the right frame of mind to purchase, while being less concerned about giving up some of their personal data to nab a great deal. Show them you use data to deliver better offers to them in the future, and you’ve got their click.
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