Over the last few weeks, Facebook has seen many changes to the news feed, but the one change that seems to be causing the most criticism is the “Ticker”, which sits to the right of the page, over your contacts.
No matter how you feel about this new feature, the Ticker is here to stay. Let’s take a look at how this change will affect the way we interact with each other and the way brands will interact with us, in the short term.
What is the Ticker?
Specifically, the Ticker is a scrolling status feed of all updates and notifications of your friends interactions on Facebook. Whether they comment on a friends picture, or like a new brand it will show up here. This is very different from the newsfeed, as it displays your friends interactions, comments, questions, and conversations immediately, in real time. If you don’t see it on your wall, it is sure to be here, as it is happening. One advantage of following the feeds through the ticker is the ability to respond, in real time, to your friends posts and comments, straight from the ticker itself.
How will Facebook use the Ticker?
So, now that everything we do, no matter how small, our friends will see the comment. How will Facebook and marketers use this?
As we interact with more and more applications through Facebook, these interactions will aggregate through the Ticker. As we engage with our friends (if we see they are listening to a certain song on Spotify, we can then listen to the same song at the same time), Facebook will monitor these interactions, and if enough people take part, may move the whole conversation to the Top News section of our news feed.
Facebook will decide what’s important to us, based on the number and frequency of interactions of our friends.
But will people monitor this fast-moving section of our News Feed? Initially, I found the Ticker an annoyance, taking up screen real estate, and shrinking my contacts list. But, one week later, I find myself checking in with the Ticker, more and more, to see what my friends are talking about. I have even taken action based upon something I saw in the Ticker, which I may have missed in the News Feed (I “Liked” a company page that I had never really thought about before).
Overall, I feel that people are still very undecided on this new way to interact, but if it’s used properly, I think it may become a valuable interaction tool.
How can brands best utilize the Ticker?
This is a question that I believe will be decided by the 800 million Facebook members. As of now, there are very few applications that are able to make use of the Ticker (Spotify and Netflix are two), so it is hard to tell how this will affect future interaction.
However, as more brands are able to stir interaction on their pages, more of their updates may be seen on the Ticker, thereby spurring even more page interactions. In addition, as a page administrator, you can see, in real-time, when a comment is posted on your page, and assuming your settings permit, respond as that brand, immediately! Wow, did you just see that? You can respond to your clients, members, associates, and evangelists in REAL TIME! For now, I see this as the best use of the Ticker for brands – an immediacy that cannot be matched by just monitoring the news feed.
Where do you see the Ticker heading? Love it or hate it? As a brand, how are you using it?