Does Facebook’s New “Add a Link” Button Make Sense?

by | May 14, 2015

Facebook began experimenting with a new button over the weekend that allows mobile users to easily add links to status updates without switching apps or using copy and paste. Although only available to a handful of select users at the moment, experts believe that the social media company intends to use this new function to steal traffic from Google search. But given what we know about content behavior and consumption, does this new button really make any sense?

According to Josh Constine and Kyle Russell at TechCrunch, “Mobile link sharing is a clumsy rigmarole of app switching and copy & pasting. So to get more people posting links, Facebook is testing an in-app keyword search engine that lets you find websites and articles to add to your status updates.”

The new button will appear alongside the photo upload and location tagging buttons on mobile devices. Upon selecting the “Add a Link” function, users are prompted to enter a keyword query for a particular subject, and are then presented with a list of trending articles that feature that keyword. Users can preview each article through an in-app window prior to posting it as a status update.

Facebook stands to gain quite a bit from this new function if it eventually becomes available to all mobile users. From an analytical perspective, the social media giant will gain even more information about what kind of news or interests users care about. From a financial perspective, Facebook also stands to gain revenue from advertising and referrals.

But from a content behavior perspective, one has to wonder if this button makes any sense.

Aside from personal musings and photos, the content that users share on Facebook typically originates from a source outside the social media site. Few people login to Facebook with the intention of posting a status update unless they have already found a story they want to share. In truth, Facebook’s theory that users are so dedicated to updating their status that they’ll literally search for ways to do so seems somewhat out of touch.

Then again, there’s always going to be a handful of people that will prove to be an exception to the rule. And if Facebook is able to redirect even 1 percent of search traffic from Google through the “Add a Link” function, the social media company will effectively earn millions in new ad revenue.

Regardless of the future fate of “Add a Link,” Respage will be on the lookout for the best and newest ways to optimize social media marketing strategies for the multifamily industry.


Photo Credit: facebook-mobile-app by Maria Elena via Flickr | CC BY 2.0