Facebook Adds Subscribe Button, Contemplating Endorsement Marketing?

Inplace #2

ADOTAS – Stalkers and exes around the world rejoice! Breaching Twitter’s turf, Facebook has added a subscribe button so you can follow a person’s public posts without being his/her friend.

Finally I can snoop on what’s going on with Sandy Olsen, the high school prom queen who rebuffed my advances, without her knowing I’m watching. Well, at least what she posts publicly, but she’s a total social media exhibitionist so I’ll know everything.

I’m sure there will be a mass movement of people changing their privacy settings, but this update is designed for people that want to share more — artists, journalists, narcissists, politicians and such who want to build a following. (I can only imagine the disappointment people who subscribe to my posts will feel when they discover my fondness for stupid cat tricks.) Typically that’s what you use Twitter for, and is a key feature of Google+ — oh, I see what’s going on.

Before its F8 conference, Facebook is plugging up all those holes in its service that Google+ exposed — it seems any intrusion on Twitter territory is incidental. A direct attack on Google+ are the new group features, including Smart Lists, which group friends based on interests, and the Close Friends and Acquaintances Lists, which segments your friend-base by location.

But wait, Facebook — you told me to build a Page to build a fanbase!

Well, Zuck and crew are going to let you merge your page and your account if you want people to subscribe to your great social output. You may remember that recently Facebook implemented privacy controls on a post-by-post basis — a little drop-down box lets you decide between “public,” “friends only,” etc. In addition, users can control how much of your posts they receive (all, most or “important” — however Facebook judges that) via the subscription tab.

From a functionary vantage, it’s a nice update (I’m watching you, Sandy!) but on the advertising front, Facebok may be considering the endorsement business as a potential revenue stream. Facebook notably kicked social endorsement advertising firm Ad.ly off its platform this spring when the social network realized it could make money doing the same thing. Why be friends with third parties when you can just stomp all over them?

I imagine Facebook would follow Ad.ly’s model, which has been pretty successful. Users with a high amount of followers would be paid for a post about a brand or product. The conversion goal could be a video view, a share, a like or a combination of all.

In theory, it makes sense and could drive revenue, but execution isn’t always Facebook’s forte.