By Jordana Heinke, LCI Account Executive
Since the IPO of Facebook in May, much has been predicted about the social media giant’s ability (or inability) to generate revenue. The “It’s free and always will be” model has always resonated with Facebook fans, who now number 1 billion. Now that Facebook is a public company, there’s much more at stake. Facebook is moving away from its comfort zone in order to hit a revenue-generating sweet spot.
Last week, it was reported that Facebook will beta test a new feature called “Collections” in which a new “Want” button will act as the primary test balloon. A catchy play on the common meme we’re all guilty of using (see mine below), the “Want” button will allow Facebook users to collect items on their virtual wish-list for all to see (making holiday and birthday shopping for friends and loved ones a snap!).
Sure, Facebook’s “Want” button contributes to the already blurred line dividing an online hub where you can hang out with your friends and a place where companies can invade your personal space and sell you things. But, I see the “Want” button as the perfect balance between a blatant banner ad and a word-of-mouth recommendation from one friend to another.
The upshot? The “Want” button is a viable competitor to Pinterest from a revenue-generating standpoint. From a PR standpoint, it could have massive affects for building buzz around consumer products (think Fashion Week 2013 and the iPhone 6). This could be a whole new world for Facebook, advertisers, PR folks and consumers. It’s now up to Facebook to encourage users to adopt new habits without turning them off.
Facebook will continue to be the personal soapbox we all know and love; a way to network and build new pathways; the virtual picture-book of our lives. But, as a PR professional, I’m also interested in how my Facebook habits (and those of my clients) might change with the introduction of “Collections.” To quote Liz Lemon of 30Rock, “I want to go to there.”