“So tell me what you Want, what you really, really Want”
If recent reports are to be believed Facebook are rumoured to be launching a new “Want” button. (And I wonder why they didn’t time the launch to coincide with the recent Spice Girls re-union )
It’s an interesting move if true. In recent years, conversation about social media (and mainly Facebook), has shifted from “Should we do it?” to “What is the value of doing it?” And more specifically “What impact is this activity having on sales and profitability?”
So maybe to help answer these questions, or indeed to give us another set of questions to ponder, Facebook is rumoured to be granting us another button.
The “Like” button was a great innovation, and for big brands that invest in their sites the numbers can be significant. Coca-Cola is a fantastic example of a Facebook site with great awareness, with over 45 million “Likes”. And according to a search on allfacebookstats.com, has added over c.350,000 “Likes” over the past week alone.
But as is the conundrum for those of us obsessing about how to utilise “big data”; we need to go beyond the clicks to understand the people behind the numbers, their behaviours, their existing loyalty to your brand and how your digital activity is impacting this. This is something we at Ipsos ASI integrate into our in market evaluation tools.
Wanting is all about desire, so a button that allows users to signal to brand owners that we want a new product, variant, and so on, well that would be interesting. And you could potentially see more directly the things you and your friends “Want”, which gets us closer to social buying.
However, a note of caution: there is a reason researchers have built forecasting models to simulate demand; just asking consumers their perceived desire for a product is not a straight line to likely purchase intent. From Ipsos’ research on FMCG forecasting, we know how important it is to compete with what a consumer does now most often – the new must be able to displace what is currently bought.
And in our evaluations of new product propositions, conducted by our Vantis team, we have found that how much consumers like the idea of a new tech product can be a more powerful predictor of market success than how much they think it will actually meet a need for them. In other words, ‘I like it even if I am not sure how useful it will be’, can be a very positive reaction.
So what do Facebook want? Well probably a way to build their business, given the issues around advertising via mobile, and to head off apps such as Fancy who are encroaching on their territory.
What do consumers want? As social networking becomes multi-platform a more connected experience, and to link themselves to brands and products they had previously “Liked”, but now should “Want”.
And whether brands will be able to make the most of what consumers “Want”, for now we will need to wait to see.
Louise Brice is a Research Director at Ipsos ASI – The Advertising Research specialists