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.”
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?