Facebook is Going to Find Out What You Really ‘Want’

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Facebook marketing in 2012 is a never-ending roller coaster. Some days, the world comes to your page; other days, all of your efforts sit there and collect dust. As a social media channel, Facebook has had one hell of a challenging year and the brand continues to search for ways to pull itself out of the hole and pull in revenue. Over the last several days, we’ve watched Facebook inch closer to online shopping and retail solutions. Last week we saw Facebook roll out Facebook Gifts, a Facebook-based shopping service which allows users to buy presents for friends celebrating birthdays. On Tuesday, however, the online marketing world was buzzing about the “Want” button. Here’s what we know about this new Facebook feature and what it could mean for marketers.

According to the Los Angeles Times, a “Want” button is currently being tested by Facebook. “Want” would be the equivalent of “Like” but for retail items like shoes, clothes and cosmetics. Facebook users would build wish lists, officially referred to in Facebookland as “Collections,” which would feature the items they’ve stamped with the “Want” button.

“People will be able to engage with these collections and share things they are interested in with their friends. People can click through and buy these items off of Facebook,” Facebook said in a statement, according to Reuters.

Select Facebook users will soon see the “Want” button as well as a section marked Collections during testing. Seven retailers have hopped on board during the testing — Victoria’s Secret, Pottery Barn, Neiman Marcus, Michael Kors, Smith Optics, Wayfair and Fab.com, respectively. Facebook appears to be very serious about getting the kinks ironed out and getting these features to its billion-plus users as soon as possible.

The retail makeover of Facebook seems like a natural progression. Social shopping as been stuck in the mud for a few years and most efforts have been unmitigated disasters. Perhaps it’s an idea whose time has come. For marketers and Internet-based retailers, the “Want” prospect could be an exciting one if all goes well. If Facebook offers this feature for all brands, this could mean a huge boom for smaller businesses that struggle with getting products noticed. It has a social Etsy-type of potential if Facebook looks beyond the big mall retailers.

Enlighten us, lovely readers: Is a “Want” button a good idea or just another nail in Facebook’s coffin? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section!

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