Facebook’s “Want” Button Introduced. Game Changer or Feature Failure?

The Facebook Like button has been around for a little over two years, and since its introduction we’ve seen it used to indicate interest on everything from news articles to pictures of a friend’s newborn. Until now, Facebook ads have been personalized and generated for users based on their Liking history, among other things. As it turns out, this formula could be shaken up quite a bit with the inclusion of a new button posted on shopping and retail pages.

Right now, the criteria for targeting someone with ads on Facebook are a bit wide and unrefined. Rumors abound that Facebook has a Want button in the works, and its inclusion could change how personalized ads are generated and targeted very quickly.

Before I dig in, I should make it clear that I’m discussing a feature that isn’t even certain to be released and I make a lot of observations and comments based purely on conjecture regarding how the Want system would work. 

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Introducing the Want Button

How is the Want button different than the Like button, you ask?  For one, a clearer message is conveyed through a Want. A Like means a lot of things right now; it could be used to show support for a movement, approve a message, indicate interest in an article, give a virtual laugh to a joke, or, finally, present desire to purchase a product.

Wanting something shows that you desire or have a use for a product or service. Clicking the Want button would effectively create a Wish List for yourself, but it would be applied to a marketplace that isn’t restricted to one website. And when Facebook advertisers get ahold of that data, it opens up a new level of customer relationship management that, perhaps, hasn’t been seen before.

This also allows marketers to get more creative with their targeted advertising since it takes a lot of guesswork out of determining the top performing products within different demographics.

Want data would, of course, reflect typical information fields such as what groups of products someone might buy together, what prices, what brands, and so forth, but opening up this data to any and all websites willing to use the Want buttons means being able to measure these fields against potentially every store on the Internet, and could show trends that we haven’t seen before.

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User adoption is still very much in question. Marketers may see the value of a Want button to produce new data, refine old data and create insights and analysis into trends not observed in the past.

Are you excited for a Want button?  Or are you one of those that is pining for a Dislike button?  Sound off in the comments, or check out some of our other social media entries.