Facebook today is officially unveiling hashtags to its platform after three months of industry speculation that it would make such a move. Hashtags, which are hugely popular on Twitter (and, to lesser extents, Instagram and Google+), should theoretically make the social media giant more conversational and could have significant search engine optimization implications.
When it comes to the latter, let's say a brand places a hashtag in its television or out-of-home advertising. Up until now, a Google search for that term would at least nine out of 10 times produce a Twitter link at the top of the results. Now, the consumer might instead be led to Facebook's property. Hashtags should also affect Facebook.com search results.
And CEO Mark Zuckerberg's company wants brands to start putting hashtags in their Facebook ads.
A statement emailed to Adweek today about the development said: "If you are already using hashtags in an advertising campaign through other channels, you can amplify these campaigns by including your hashtags in Facebook advertising ... Any hashtags that you use on other platforms that are connected to your Facebook page will be automatically clickable and searchable on Facebook."
Facebook said hashtags are now available to a small percentage of consumers and businesses, while it intends to roll them out more widely in the coming weeks.
Additionally, the Menlo Park, Calif.-based firm explained parts of its larger goals—in terms of the marketing community—with the following:
"We recommend you search for and view real-time public conversations and test strategies to drive those conversations using hashtags. Hashtags do not impact your distribution or engagement in News Feed on either desktop or mobile. We recommend you continue to focus on your existing campaigns to drive your most important business objectives. Hashtags are a first step in surfacing relevant and important public conversations. Over time, our goal is to build out additional functionality for marketers including trending hashtags and new insights so that you can better understand how hashtags fit into your overall Facebook advertising strategies and drive your business objectives."