If you use Facebook for business, you have to be able to adapt quickly to new features and platform changes. But more fun than playing catch-up is anticipating changes before they happen.
So far my prediction that Facebook would focus on improving the admin experience in 2011 has held true. I’m betting the company’s next major initiative will be real-time ad targeting based on posts and comments, not just Likes and Interests.
Facebook implemented a real-time commenting system in January, and now it seems to be testing an algorithm to feature content according to words in those comments.
For instance last week after making a comment that included the word ‘alien,’ I was served page recommendations for Alien and Star Wars. (In this screencap I didn’t include the comment because I didn’t immediately recognize that it was related to my comment not my post, but you can see the alien comment on the second below.)
When I hit enter on a comment that included the words ‘mmhmm’ and ‘facebook,’ the sidebar refreshed and I was served recommendations for Mmhmm and YouTube.
I have since had this same thing happen when I have left a comment including the name of the artist ‘Miguel.’ The recommended pages refreshed to show Miguel and similar artist Drake. Another time when I my comment included the words ‘rock’ and ‘cars,’ I got less relevant results.
I imagine Facebook is testing this algorithm first with Recommended Pages, but could apply this to advertising by the end of the year. It was last year that a presentation including reference to real-time ad targeting was leaked.
This would revolutionize Facebook ads. As it stands now, ads are targeted to ‘Likes and Interests.’ You cannot add your own words to Facebook’s targeting section. See below how Facebook won’t let me target the word ‘help,’ only pages, activities or interests that people already have in their profiles.
This would have to change, but you can imagine if Facebook offered targeting based on real-time keywords, it would be similar to search but might be most similar to ads that are served based on the content of your emails. The advantage with Facebook being the option for photos to attract people’s attention and the addition of social recommendations (5 of your friends like this).
Anyway, I’m excited about the possibilities for this product.
Whenever it gets released.