I’m not sure if it’s a new feature or a function of Beaconfire’s Facebook Page reaching over 40 fans, but as I was posting an event earlier today, I noticed that updates can now be targeted to certain segments. While the system is currently relatively rudimentary, allowing only targeting based on geography, gender, and age, we’ll hopefully see something soon with the robustness of social ads (which we’ve discussed targeting here and here).
The true value of Facebook as a company is the data it holds. Hopefully we’ll see additional ways that users can leverage that data in more meaningful ways – imagine some of the ways you could make use of this kind of message segmentation:
- A nonpartisan non-profit could send one message to liberal supporters and another to conservatives, with two separate pitches for why they should donate
- You could send fans with more than two hundred friends a pitch to “Tell a Friend” while you send the rest a fundraising appeal
- If you have a large pool of celebrity talent, you could leverage that talent based on members’ other fan affiliations
These are all functions of integrating your messaging in with social networking – most members would never give this much information to an organization on its own, but will gladly share it with Facebook. It’s this ability to microtarget that will give socnets a competitive advantage over email in the next ten years, as they become more robust and full-featured.
In any case, while it may be just another example of how Facebook is akin to Calvinball, it’s a change that’s certainly in both users’ and organizations’ favor.