According to SocialTimes our attention spans on social media have dropped from 12 minutes to just 5. And that was in 2011. In 2014 we have a dozen more things to sap away our interest like a leaky tap of free-time and it means that more than ever marketers are going to have to consider how they get consumers eyeballs where they want them: on their content. This has never been the easiest task for those not gifted in the art of headline curating and some may not have even considered their competitors as valid threats (>this article from Copyblogger is of huge use) but now it could get even trickier with Facebook’s new Save feature.
Poised for a release sometime ago, the Facebook Save function has taken its sweet time to roll out to users but now that it has it could cause a huge shake up. Save allows users to save links from their News Feeds along with Facebook Pages for Places, Events, Movies, TV shows, and music, and store them in a read-it-later list. While that is useful in theory – because finally potential readers have a better way of bookmarking your content – in actual practice will it work?
Some might argue that by letting users put links in Save, it effectively robs them of the necessity to read it now, before they forget. Facebook explains that there will be an occasional News Feed post offering a ‘carousel’ of whatever they’ve got stored in their Save lists which again, is a potential boon but how many people will just ‘x’ that News Feed reminder to get rid of it, fed up of it cluttering their News Feed along with updates from friends they fell out with long ago and updates from estranged family members who they can barely remember?
And even if the opposite was the case and for some reason, that fantastic list post you wrote was getting added to Save lists all over the place, you would have no idea. Asked about analytics for Saved content (which would allow marketers to refine their content strategies and find out what’s working and what’s not) Facebook offered a resolute “Not at this time.” Furthermore, ad targeting based on what people have saved is also out of the question, “Currently you cannot target ads specifically to saved content” although Facebook say that they’ll explore this more “in the coming months”.
That said, fellow read-it-later services Pocket and Instapaper (which are their own apps) have proved to be successful so there could be potential in Facebook’s own offering. It does have a target userbase of over 1 billion users after all. So it’s one to watch then, but we remain cautiously optimistic.