Facebook recently unveiled a variety of new verbs that can be associated with a user’s status. Clicking into any of the particular verbs will display another set of sub-options. Currently, the suggested verbs are:
- Listening To
Why Add Verbs?
Facebook is gathering new input signals to help them understand users better. When Facebook understands their users better, they are better able to advertise and display relevant content to them. Facebook will now have access to incredible sentiment analysis.
Language is a complex and ever adapting set of definitions that makes it difficult to fully analyze accurate sentiment. Most success surrounding sentiment analysis involves having users actually input their sentiment—think of the happy face charts from your early school years.
Facebook can now more directly pinpoint both sentiment analysis, along with user behavior activity (reading, drinking, etc). With both user behavior activity and sentiment analysis, Facebook has a wealth of new information that they can now consume. Some of this new information could be leveraged in EdgeRank.
EdgeRank + Verbs
If these new input signals are included into EdgeRank components, it would most likely be tied into Affinity. It should be noted though that we rarely observe new signals implemented heavily into EdgeRank on a full scale basis. Time will tell if enough Facebook users will actually use this new feature, therefore giving enough value to actually implement the data into the EdgeRank algorithm.
What Are The Possibilities?
Facebook could use these signals to connect certain posts with certain verbs. For example, users that are “Reading The Great Gatsby” may have an increase in Affinity with The Great Gatsby Page or perhaps Pages that are currently posting about The Great Gatsby. This creates more connectedness within Open Graph, which is ultimately Facebook’s goal.
Facebook could use verbs as another input signal into Affinity for personal users. This would help connect people who may not know each other, but may enable the opportunity to connect. Imagine if Person A reads The Great Gatsby, Innovator’s Dilemma, Getting Real, and The Signal and the Noise while Person B (who each has never met) reads all the same books plus one more: The Four Steps to the Epiphany. Person A may have never heard of The Four Steps to the Epiphany, yet could be interested to learn about the book and perhaps socially connect with Person B. There is a high likelihood that Person A and Person B would share other common interests and relate well with one another.
Facebook has the opportunity to connect these two people. The evolution of the internet is about discovery of knowledge. This new functionality is a step in that direction; however, as we’ve seen before, users tend to rarely use subtle new features.
Most Probable Outcome
The new verbs will most likely start as input signals for advertisers. Marketers will be able to target ad campaigns at users Listening, Watching, and Reading their media as well as their competitor’s media. Jay-Z could advertise upcoming concerts in users’ local area that have Listened To Jay-Z. Curb Your Enthusiasm could advertise their show to users who have Watched Seinfeld.
This could also be taken one step further. Users that are Feeling Sad, could be advertised anti-depressants. Users that have listed Feeling Lonely, could be advertised dating websites. The opportunities go on and on.
Time will tell if enough people actually use these new verbs. If enough users do, and Facebook keeps the feature around, we can definitely expect Facebook to allow marketers to advertise based on this new data stream. In the distant future, the EdgeRank algorithm may actually include a boost in Affinity for users who’ve consumed the same content.