The word ‘Like’ has taken on a whole new meaning thanks to Facebook. The social networking giant dominates in terms of interaction and daily usage, but may not be content to just have our ‘Likes’.
Recently, a snippet of disabled code was discovered by Tom Waddington, a web developer from Cut Out & Keep. The code suggests that a ‘Want’ button may be on the way from Facebook. The small bit is an XFBML tag, <fb:wants>. Which in plain terms means there is a real chance that a ‘Want’ button could be built-in to Facebook similar to the like button, without the need for users to authorize apps.
A ‘Want’ button would mean a world of opportunity for retailers and merchants to determine what users actually desire in products. Facebook has been actively improving their ad targeting by focusing on users interests, interactions, etc. A ‘Want’ button would open up a new door to advertising revenue and could make Facebook appear more stable in the eyes of Wall Street.
The question of why or why now should be asked. Although we don’t know for sure Facebook will be introducing the ‘Want’ button or just how long its been in the works, we can say that increased social network competition is part of it. Facebook has no real competition, but with the rise of other social networks their grasp weakens on small bits of the social experience. Pinterest for example has turned social sharing through images on its head. Pinterest users share colossal amounts of images and spend a high percentage of time on the site. Google+, while not the competitor it was billed to be, does have a steady following. Those numbers combine to equal less interaction on Facebook.
Facebook’s would be willingness to grow can only be beneficial. Users may gain more enticing deals from brands that know what they want and are willing to give it to them. Merchants could get their products in front of users, creating more exposure and potential profit. For now, the ‘Want’ button is just a snippet of code that is disabled, but the social, consumer potential is enormous.
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