Why Facebook Hashtags Need To Co-exist with Trending Topics

Overview

Facebook has recently begun testing features for the platform that would now allow users to see trending topics and hashtags both in their notification center and on the upper right hand corner of the Newsfeed.  Testing has been done for both desktop and mobile devices. This feature is currently only available to a small percentage of users, as it is in the early stages of development. When a user clicks on a trending topic, they will first see their friends’ interactions within the topic, followed by popular and public posts.

This feature is a natural addition given that Facebook introduced the hashtag search functionality that made hashtags searchable on August 8th.

Picture1As it stands now, hashtags have had very little if any impact on post reach or engagement. A recent study from EdgeRank Check shows that posts with hashtags have actually gained less reach than those without hashtags.

Posts with hashtags gained a 0.80% reach rate versus those without hashtags, which received a 1.30% reach rate.  A conclusion by EdgeRank Checker stated that “Hashtags are often used in promotional material…By nature, campaigns are promotional, therefore more likely to drive less engagement, less clicks, and ultimately less Reach.”

Why This Is Important

The update will allow for easier discovery of and engagement with hashtags on Facebook. With information on what topics are being discussed in real time, users are more likely to jump into an existing conversation or click on the topic or hashtag to learn more.

For brands, this will prove to be useful in inserting themselves into existing conversation and discussing those timely and relevant topics with both fans and nonfans. By participating in already trending topics and hashtags, brands will be able to increase their visibility, reach, and in turn, engagements, on posts across the platform.

The images below show how the integration may appear on both desktop and mobile.

 

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Sources:

http://allfacebook.com/mobile-notifications-hashtags-trending-topics_b124718

http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2013/08/30/facebook-tests-trending-section-in-news-feed/

http://www.insidefacebook.com/2013/08/08/facebook-playing-with-trending-topics-how-can-it-make-hashtag-search-better/

http://news.yahoo.com/facebook-hashtags-dont-work-144252301.html

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