Imagine all your Christmas shopping for family and friends done for you in a second with a click of a button. Now stop imagining – Facebook is already on it.
One of Facebook’s newest endeavours allows e-commerce sites to give lists of recommended gifts for your Facebook friends. E-commerce sites are increasingly linking themselves to Facebook and can use data from the site to push suggestions.
"There are now quite a lot of e-commerce sites linking to Facebook," said the client services director at CTI Digital, Ryan Kaye. "They have widgets where, if you are logged into the social network, they display a list of personalised recommendation based upon your likes and discussion on the site," he added.
The creative director at Juice Digital, Ben Aronson, says that using data aggregation in this way can be positive and is where all social networks are headed for the future.
"Facebook is already intuitive – if you stop interacting with a brand it will drop out of your feed – but the next step is total data aggregation. We will have personalised search results and sites that offer us what we want, when we want it and are constantly updated," he said.
Facebook’s decision to openly use this information with e-commerce sites could have its drawbacks and may sway people to become very hesitant of what they share on the site.
The co-founder and chief marketing officer of CANDDi, Tom Cheesewright, explains:
According to the competitive intelligence service Hitwise, Facebook use has decreased significantly within the UK, with Facebook numbers growing 5 million between July 2010-2011, which is a far cry from the 20 million users the previous year.
The communications director at internet hosting company UK Fast, Jonathan Bowers, says that the site needs to understand the risks of taking data aggregation too far:
"On a very human level, online shopping is fantastic for convenience but presents already picked out for your friends… where’s the fun in that?"