For the last few days, Facebook has been unveiling some features to the site before their big product reveal at the F8 developer conference this thursday [Friday NZ time]. The theme around this conference is “Read, Watch and Listen” as reported first by Liz Gannes from All Things D. A report from Techcrunch mentioned “Read, Watch and Listen” could come in a form of social buttons like the Facbook “Like”.
So, with this post I want to concentrate on these new social buttons and how they mean Facebook will have a deeper understanding of its users than ever before.
The Like button was a fairly self-explanatory feature. But the popular feature also had many people raise questions about data collection for advertising purposes. In a recent case, A German state has banned Facebooks’ like button from all institution websites for security purposes. So if that is anything to go by, the three new buttons soon to be released by Facebook may have a few hurdles to jump over.
Let’s take a look at “Read” first [now I'm purely playing on gut feeling here on what these features will likely look like and do] the opportunity here to know what books you’re choosing to read (not just “like”) will have major book retailers like Amazon drooling as the ability to gather such real-time, accurate data enables them and other advertisers to create uber-targeted ads.
Next in queue is Watch. Again, working on gut feel and prediction, I see this being more of a movie check-in feature. Again, companies like Netflix and Hulu will be celebrating this feature. Not only does it offer an opportunity for a user to say I’ve just “watched” this clip that’s exclusively available on Netflix or Hulu, but now the emerging media platforms will be able to track viewership/popularity more accurately and tailor content to their markets. And another cheque book flies open, thank you very much. This has roll-on effects for local sites in New Zealand like TVNZ On demand, where the opportunity for them to really gauge what shows are shareable on the web.
Lastly “Listen”. Some time ago twitter introduced a feature that enabled people to share their favourite iTunes tracks on Twitter. Great idea in theory but it was never used widely and has not gained a lot of momentum. Now with Facebook it’s a whole different story because music services like iTunes and Spotify have the chance to present themselves to a huge audience while Facebook gathers data about the fact that you’re big fan of the artic monkeys and sells it on to Universal who can then embark on a heavily targeted “those who like … also like …” Facebook ad campaign.
So what does this all mean? Firstly, be prepared for the over sharers. It’s only a matter of time before we’re all going to be virtually following our mate Bob around his strenuous day of Read-ing Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, Watch-ing two back-to-back episodes of Jersey Shore and Listen-ing to Madonna’s Greatest Hits. Secondly, if this is implemented well, advertising on Facebook is about to get more targeted and more personal than ever before.
Would love to hear what you guys are making of “Read, Watch and Listen”, how do you think these new features will work?