In 2007, Chris Messina could never have pre­dicted his lit­tle hash­tag idea would spread like wild­fire from Twit­ter, to Insta­gram, tum­blr, Pin­ter­est and now Facebook.

In an announce­ment last night Face­book said “…hash­tags will be click­able on Face­book…  allow you to add con­text to a post or indi­cate that it is part of a larger dis­cus­sion. When you click on a hash­tag in Face­book, you’ll see a feed of what other peo­ple and Pages are say­ing about that event or topic.”

Via memegenerator.net

Via memegen​er​a​tor​.net

This is notable for a num­ber of rea­sons. Firstly, mar­keters have long strug­gled to track con­ver­sa­tions on the plat­form out­side their brand page. This may be a small step toward allow­ing brands to lis­ten to, engage in, and track more men­tions of their prod­ucts and services.

Sec­ond, it puts Face­book in a posi­tion to pur­sue some of the sub­stan­tial TV bud­get brands have at their dis­posal.  Social ad spend is still 2–5% on aver­age and Face­book, cit­ing stats from tele­vi­sion view­er­ship dur­ing Game of Thrones and The Oscars™ in their blog, clearly sees the oppor­tu­nity to carve out a big­ger slice of the pie.

Lastly, and per­haps most impor­tantly, it uni­fies the social sphere – I like to imag­ine Mrs. Sand­berg lean­ing over to Mr. Zucker­berg and say­ing, “Mark, did you know you can’t click a hash­tag on Face­book?” and Mark says, “Oh yeah, I think that’s on a TO DO list somewhere…”

The func­tion is cur­rently only avail­able to a lim­ited num­ber of users on desk­top only. The click­able hash­tags will open a pop-up feed of posts using the same hash­tag – this includes pub­lic user posts and brand posts.

What might this offer to mar­keters in the future? Will we be able to pro­mote trends or spon­sor hash­tags like on Twit­ter? Where do you think this is headed?