When Facebook announced hashtags, you knew it was only a matter of time until the social network announced trending topics. And following testing on the web and mobile in August, Facebook today launched a redesigned version of the “Trending” section on the web sidebar in the US, UK, Canada, India, and Australia. It showcases personalized lists, based on what you’ve liked and what’s trending across the social network, of the most mentioned words and phrases of the moment, with explanations of why each os trending. The idea is to spur public sharing, drive return visits, and make Facebook a place to go for trending current events – in the way that Twitter is at present. Facebook’s “Trending” section is different from Twitter’s in that there is a reason offered to users for why the trend is happening – as opposed to just a hashtag – to provide a context for the user so that they don’t leave the site to do a web search. And by keeping users on the site longer via these current events topics, it hopes to drive revenue derived from users clicking and sharing ads – an important category of revenue in its post-IPO world.
Facebook has added hashtags recently, following in the footsteps of Twitter. While privacy settings will still be in effect, the new feature will give brand’s hashtag campaigns a much wider audiences as it can naturally extend to Facebook. It will also give marketers a better measure of engagement than the ubiquitous “like” as it indicates relevance and recency. That being said, do not expect it to have quite the same impact as Twitter as Facebook does not lend itself to real-time conversations in the same way.
Vine announced an update to its Explore section today that would allow users to more easily discover content: Vine will now include trending hashtags that allow for topical posts to come to the fore. It’s unclear whether this uses Twitter’s algorithms for trending, but the company acknowledges the dearth of creative posts that use a popular hashtag that have also made it to the popular sections of the service. There’s no update needed to see this new service – just go to the explore section and scroll down. It remains to be seen whether advertisers will use trending hashtags in Vine like they do in Twitter, but considering how closely the two services are linked and utilized, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the trend of viral marketing continue into Vine.