Advertisers, Get Ready: Facebook Finally Adds #Hashtags

Becky Doles

For years, Twitter has enabled advertisers to leverage hashtags to bolster their marketing campaigns. With hashtags on Twitter, advertisers can target users searching for specific keywords or following events that have an associated hashtag. Brands that use promoted hashtags or pay to join a conversation as part of a real time marketing campaign have the opportunity to get in front of a much wider audience than just their own followers and those who retweet their messages. The cost of reaching this much larger audience is also relatively low, as we’ve found the cost of leveraging hashtags on Twitter as part of B2B campaigns to be approximately 50 cents per engagement (click, follow, retweet or reply).

Now, Facebook is rolling out hashtags to its users, including brands and businesses. Users have already been using hashtags for quite some time, both ironically and as users and brands cross-promote from other channels. In fact, the implementation of hashtags on Facebook will likely make it easier for brands to cross-promote, as this is is now one less variable that brands will have to worry about between channels. For example, if a brand automatically posts a tweet with a hashtag to Facebook, that hashtag will now be clickable on Facebook.

Facebook is adamant that initially there will be no opportunities for advertisers to monetize these hashtags, but it’s likely brands will be able to do so in the future. One possible future option would allow advertisers to target users who write or engage with timeline posts containing specific keywords. Additionally, it is possible that brands will be able to leverage hashtags to enable users to directly make purchases using hashtags. Earlier this year AmEx partnered with Twitter to enable AmEx users to make purchases with hashtags, and Portland-based Chirpify also enables brands to offer Twitter users the ability to make purchases simply by using hashtags on Twitter. If these programs also partner with Facebook, brands may have a huge opportunity to quickly convert users into customers via hashtags.

One of the biggest draws for advertisers may be the data brands can collect about users who are talking about their products. Hashtags have been key in helping brands gather insight into their businesses and products on Twitter, but beyond the basic insights that Facebook already provides, this data is currently hard to gather. Facebook has the intelligence to report that, for example, the recent “Red Wedding” episode of Game of Thrones, received over 1.5 million mentions on Facebook, representing a significant portion of the 5.2 million people who watched the show. In its announcement Facebook went on to say that it “…will be rolling out a series of features that surface some of the interesting discussions people are having about public events, people, and topics”. Obviously hashtags are a first step in that direction.

We’re excited to see how Facebook will offer advertisers the ability to integrate hashtags into their marketing campaigns. If you’re an advertiser, what functionality do you hope to see with hashtags on Facebook? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Becky Doles

Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.