Written by Katy Campbell • Published 07th November 2012

Facebook has introduced a new “want” button in an e-commerce push to increase its revenues outside of web advertising. But will this encourage users of the world’s largest social network to buy products through Facebook or simply reach for the dislike button?

The “want” button works alongside a new feature for retailers called “Collections” (yes, there is also a collect button!) which allows users to effectively create a catalogue within Facebook of items they want to buy. By clicking “want”, “collect”, or “like” on a product in “Collections”, Facebook members will be offered the chance to buy the item from the retailer’s own website.

This new feature will also take advantage of the wider social network by making public the details of what you “want” to your friends, family and colleagues. This might be helpful when you need to start dropping a few hints about what you want for your birthday to your nearest and dearest but do you really want to share this personal information with your whole newsfeed? Perhaps your boss is better off not knowing that you “want” an official boy band autobiography or the latest rampant rabbit…

The feature is similar to the model social network Pinterest has pioneered by allowing members to create a pinboard of products they would like or want to buy. If it is successful, it will have a massive effect on online shoppers’ behaviour, forcing retailers to relate to Facebook in a new way. It could also pose a challenge Pinterest beyond earning money indirectly, as if users can “collect” and share products on Facebook where they and their friends are already spending time, they might have less of a need to join Pinterest.

Facebook will be hoping that its “want” button will follow in the footsteps of its popular “like” button that has been used more than 1.1 trillion times since it was introduced in 2010. If the “want” button is successful it will help to convince investors that Facebook can grow revenues and profits which will, in turn, lead to a rise in Facebook share prices and improve investor sentiment.

The button is still in its testing phase and it might never be introduced. While I don’t believe the new button will deter people from using Facebook, they’re already willing to “like” brands online; I’d personally rather not see my newsfeed clogged up with what my “friends” “want” for Christmas. One thing is for sure, if the “want” button is a success the “buy” button will be coming soon to a profile near you.

Verdict: Dislike

Cover image courtesy of: flickr.com/photos/latteda