Facebook reportedly has let the Wall Street Journal and All Things D know that they are experimenting with the feature that has helped popularize social media competitor, Twitter, the #Hashtag.
Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram and other social sites have followed suit months ago but Facebook has realized that this will either be used for its Graph Search tool or to stay in the competition game with Twitter and other social media networks. The #+word combination would bring together group conversations around specific topics.
There is still no word on when hashtags will begin showing up in Facebook’s newsfeed. “It is unclear how far along Facebook’s work on the hashtag is and the feature isn’t likely to be introduced imminently,” the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. A Facebook spokesperson, when contacted, said, “We do not comment on rumor or speculation.”
This will also be great news to Facebook advertisers as the addition of hashtags will keep some users on Facebook more often for searching and other reasons. The addition will also be a great complement for Facebook’s new Newsfeed. The Newsfeed allows users to see feeds with specific types of content, including games, music, photos, friends, and pages.
The introduction of the hashtag to Facebook signifies the competition between Facebook and Twitter has reached a higher level for finally entering the #hashtag arena. With mobile and online advertising dollars at stake, Facebook is doing what it can to keep stockholders happy.
“Historically, Facebook has come first for advertisers and Twitter has been a nice add-on,” said Debbie Williamson, an analyst for eMarketer. “Twitter has been more aggressive.” Twitter is on pace to earn a half a billion dollars in advertising revenue in 2013, according to eMarketer.
Facebook earned $4.3 billion in 2012 from advertising. The gap is much closer in mobile, where Twitter is expected to earn $249 million in 2013, against Facebook’s $851 million, according to eMarketer.