Digital Bytes: Facebook want you to start Wanting

Welcome to FWM Digital Bytes, where we discuss all the biggest digital marketing and digital media news doing the rounds. This week Facebook tries out ‘Want’ buttons and we’re reminded of the power of viral videos…

Facebook try out ‘Want’ buttons

‘Liking’ has been a key part of the Facebook landscape for users for so long that it’s even turned into an item of clothing, but now they are trialling a way for you to start ‘Wanting’ things. A selection of American retailers are part of the initial test group, including Victoria’s Secret, Pottery Barn and Michael Kors, and they can choose to have Pinterest-style functionality on product images to allow users to ‘Want’ or ‘Collect’ those products and have them show up on their timeline. Links also appear to take the users to the retailer’s websites, where they can purchase them, rather than being able to do so within Facebook itself, with ecommerce still only a marginal part of the social media giant’s business model. There is also no referral fee for these transactions, with Facebook claiming that this trial is to test product discoverability and distribution. And, obviously, to try and get a piece of that Pinterest action…

Turning memes into money

Five years ago, a little baby called Charlie bit his old brother Harry’s finger. This might not sound like an earth-shaking event, but because it was filmed and put on YouTube, it became an internet sensation that has, to date, been viewed almost half a billion times. And nothing becomes that popular without someone making a load of money off it, so Harry and Charlie have become an industry all of their own. You can download an app where you can recreate the hilarity of the original video for yourself and play the sounds from it to liven up social situations. Soon, you’ll be able to follow their continuing adventures in a new web video series from Viral Spiral and Rightster, which will presumably pick up from the YouTube videos already posted of the boys enjoying themselves on water slides, logs and trampolines. This might all sound fairly mundane, but the boys’ family have reported made over £300,000 in advertising and follow-on products, all from the popularity of that initial video. With Psy’s Gangnam Style riding high in charts all around the world, there’s still no doubting the power of a viral video, even five years on from a simple finger-biting incident.

Making Twits of themselves

Twitter may have been a normal part of many celebrities’ lives for some time now, but that doesn’t make them any less likely to get themselves into trouble while using it. Last week, Chelsea and England star Ashley Cole found himself in hot water with the Football Association for an angry and foul-mouthed tweet, only sparing himself punishment with a prompt apology. Across the Atlantic, Carolina Panthers star DeAngelo Williams lost his cool with Twitter critics blaming his poor performance for wrecking their NFL Fantasy teams. He hit back, saying: ‘Dear upset fantasy owners with the bad language you are a fantasy owner for a reason because you can’t play or apparently coach!’ Needless to say, this didn’t go down well. Even in the less high-profile world of Under-11s football, TV presenter Terry Christian managed to get himself banned for using his Twitter account to criticise a referee in his son’s game. “I wasn’t saying anything on Twitter that every other Queensgate [his son’s team] parent wasn’t saying during and after the match,” he said after hearing from his local FA. Unfortunately for the former star of The Word, the other parents didn’t say the ref was biased to over 36,000 Twitter followers…

Pigs (and Angry Birds) in Space

Massively-popular mobile game Angry Birds has spawned plenty of spin-offs, including the recent Bad Piggies, but none have caused as big a splash as next month’s Star Wars version, which was announced this week. With official licensing to use the theme music and characterisations (wrapped around the familiar Angry Birds characters, of course), it’s bound to be another big seller. After all, Star Wars effectively wrote the rule-book on spin-offs and merchandising deals.