Facebook Borrows from Twitter Ad Playbook with Hashtags

Last week, Facebook officially unveiled hashtags to its social platform, following months of speculation. Hashtags are immensely popular on Twitter, while gaining momentum on other social services such as Google+ and Instagram. The move could have significant implications regarding advertising potential and search engine optimization. Facebook is already encouraging brands to start including hashtags in their Facebook ads. 

According to a company statement: “If you are already using hashtags in an advertising campaign through other channels, you can amplify these campaigns by including your hashtags in Facebook advertising. Any hashtags that you use on other platforms that are connected to your Facebook page will be automatically clickable and searchable on Facebook.”

“Let’s say a brand places a hashtag in its television or out-of-home advertising. Up until now, a Google search for that term would at least nine out of 10 times produce a Twitter link at the top of the results,” explains Adweek. “Now, the consumer might instead be led to Facebook’s property. Hashtags should also affect Facebook.com search results.”

“For all their similarities as leaders in the social networking space, Facebook and Twitter have relied on two significantly different marketing pitches to date,” reports Mashable. “Facebook’s strong suit its treasure trove of data, which advertisers can use to target users based on content shared on the site and sites they visit after leaving the social network. Twitter, on the other hand, has excelled at giving marketers a way to participate in real-time conversations. Now, Facebook wants to have it both ways.”

In a blog post, product manager Greg Lindley hinted that Facebook is also targeting the second screen ad dollars Twitter has been pursuing. “During primetime television alone, there are between 88 and 100 million Americans engaged on Facebook — roughly a Super Bowl-sized audience every single night,” he wrote.

The hashtags are already available to a small percentage of consumers and businesses. The company plans a wider rollout in the coming weeks. Clickable hashtags are available today, and trending hashtags will be available soon.

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Facebook Begins its Ad Consolidation by Eliminating Sponsored Results in Search, TechCrunch, 6/13/13