Facebook has announced a "want" button. The latest addition to the social network forms part of a new “Collections” feature for retailers. There will also be a “collect” button in the pilot that’s now running with several merchants in the USA.
Retailers will be able to create a catalogue on Facebook using the new functionality. Brands already down to take part in the pilot include lingerie maker, Victoria’s Secret, department store, Neiman Marcus, and Pottery Barn, an American home furnishing chain.
Tradedoubler’s Market Unit Leader - North West, Dan Cohen, could immediately see the benefit of the new features to brands. “The implicit personal endorsement of “liking” and “wanting” a product has immense value for advertisers,” he said.
Users will be offered the chance to make a purchase from a retailer’s own website when they “like”, “want” or “collect a product from a “Collections” page. Details of that person’s interest in an item is then shared with their friends, family and associates.
Is Facebook eyeing the affiliate space?
Facebook’s like button has been used over 1.1 trillion times, which is hardly a staggering number given its one billion-strong active user base. Yet there will likely be debate about the social network’s intentions. Does it have eyes on the affiliate space?
Senior Strategy Manager at Affilinet, Paul Brown, doesn’t think so. He revealed that if Facebook makes this available to all, then publishers could have the option to create their own custom catalogues of advertisers’ products.
“Publishers leveraging affiliate network product data and Open Graph object protocol may be able to get products listed on their websites into users collections, and therefore pick up commissions when the user clicks through from Facebook to their site and on to the advertiser,” he said.
Parallels can be drawn with photo-collecting social upstart, Pinterest. Its concept is similar, even if the final execution appears slightly different. Registered members regularly use the social network to create a virtual pinboard of products on their shopping list.
Kelvin Newman, Creative Director at SiteVisibility, believes attention should be drawn away from the profitability of the scheme to the fact users could react badly to these developments. “Given the growing vocal cynicism of some towards Facebook and the Pinterest precedent [amassing “wants”] I would expect badly,”
Pinterest may have many a tech commentator gushing, but question marks exist over whether it can sustain this good press if it opens its API to Brands as has been suggested by the site. Twitter realised the error of its ways and has slowly reneged access to its own API after various cases of abuse.
Adobe EMEA’s Head of Social Strategy, Jeremy Waite, raised concerns over the effect brands had on social networks. “Marketers have a habit of messing up great platforms with bad campaigns,” he stated. “If / when Pinterest opens up its API and brands jump all over it though, Pinterest could look like a very different animal.”
Waite heralded another feature he'd liked Facebook to consider, a “Love” button. “You might "like" Topshop, Adidas Originals and ASOS, but you really love TOMS,” he suggested. “That would be a powerful way to target key influencers and brand advocates (and less commercial than a want button).”