Will the Facebook ‘Buy Button’ infringe our privacy even more?

It’s a smart idea, even if a few years too late, but Facebook’s new Buy Button could be a great move, for the brand. Or another disaster.

Facebook Buy Button2

It’s currently being piloted in the US and allows brands to post ads on Facebook newsfeed with direct links to purchase. It relies on impulse purchasing, which if well targeted could be successful. If used in a random way, which despite all the data, many ads I see on Facebook are, it will probably disappoint.

Probably the key business plan here is to get people financially linked up to Facebook via a digital wallet. Then they can develop lots of other opportunities to utilise the relationship.

Of course people are starting to ask questions about personal data. Facebook claims to have the most powerful audience profiling tools in the world. So with you financial information added to all the other data they have on you, is that just too much?

The newsfeed ads have certainly been as success story for Facebook on mobile platforms, considering how much flak they got after floating when it was revealed that their mobile ad income projections were based on desktop figures. However, just because media agencies are spending brand’s money on it doesn’t mean it’s successful yet. If brands don’t see a good ROI within a few years, media budgets will dry up.

Facebook’s desire to get in on on-mobile purchasing is good business sense but despite the hype, real government figures show we actually only spend 11.5% of retail spend on line.

Probably the biggest challenge of all things digital and in turn, the Internet of Things, is to moneytize them. There’s only so much ad budget in the bucket and it’s already spread too thin, so taking a slice of a purchase seems the next thing to do.

Of course the other challenge Facebook faces is how brands use these buy button ads? Brands almost always manage to abuse an opportunity – just look at daily deal companies that flood your inboxes with emails to a point where they have almost killed the sector off by upsetting consumers.

But ironically, it’s actually daily deal brands like Groupon. Wowcher, KGB who could probably make this concept work best. After all, their whole business model is based on impulse buying of bargains.

On the downside, pay day loan companies like Wonga will probably be just as interested in the idea.

Facebook haven’t announced when it plans to roll the feature out globally, so we’ll have to wait and see how the tests go.