It appears as though the average Facebook user has met the company’s recent implementation of hashtags with an overwhelming sense of “blah.” While some have excitedly accepted the inclusion of this new feature, others have viewed it as another unwelcomed pill that the social network has forced them to swallow. But, while the opinion of the average user is seemingly still in the air, performance marketers are welcoming Facebook’s decision with open arms, and for a number of reasons.
First—performance marketers are excited about Facebook hashtags because the feature offers unparalleled insight into users interests in an extremely timely, and searchable, manner. With hashtags, marketers are able to identify the types of things users are talking about, when they’re talking about them, and who they’re talking about them with. This data allows marketers to custom build their advertisements and better target individual users, providing a more relevant ad experience for the user and a higher conversion rate for the publisher.
Another reason Facebook hashtags are an exciting new performance marketing tool is that they allow advertisements to expand beyond the initial reach of your network. Hashtags allow marketers to tap into a wealth of users who have similar interests to those that are already being targeted, ultimately making it easier for “outside” users to see relevant ad campaigns. Not only does this mean a larger audience overall, but it may also bring new subscribers, and new customers.
A third reason that Facebook hashtags are beneficial for performance marketers is that it offers a highly specific way to monetize the Facebook ad space. For a long time, Facebook has done a great job of organizing unstructured user data and offering marketers a small bit of insight as to users unique interests. Page likes, group activity, and events all helped provide better user data to marketers, however, with the inclusion of hashtags, Facebook now has a much more solid data point that can be monetized. Plus, as Facebook Graph Search works its way into the social network, hashtags will essentially become Facebook SEO, providing a look into relevant and trending topics amongst users. Furthermore, these highly specific data points can be used by marketers to retarget potential customers to other sites, offering them relevant offers or enticing them to sign up for services or newsletters.
There’s no doubt about it—hashtags will provide an unparalleled new means of monetizing Facebook user data. Now more than ever, page owners can target users who are actively talking about something, rather than users who liked a page or joined a group years ago. The ability to monetize intent is the name of the game when it comes to digital advertising and e-commerce—just look at Google for example—and Facebook hashtags finally allow the company to identify intent and help marketers capitalize on it. Now, marketers can really hone in on unique user preferences and give them a highly specific ad experience that, in theory, will result in a higher ROI.
Murray Newlands is an online marketing industry veteran, and the founder of TheMail.