By Ilya Cherepakhin

Facebook_295x175Recent changes are now elevating Facebook to become an active decision-making vehicle, paving the way for greater transformation of Social as a channel. For a while, Facebook primarily enabled information sharing. Now, what used to be passive information – a restaurant suggestion, travel recommendation, or doctor referral – is being amplified to become more actionable and intuitive.

This is especially important for location based information where considerations such as distance are important in decision-making. In particular, when combined with insights on popularity from other trusted sources, Facebook is well positioned to detect signals of user intent and combine them into helpful suggestions.

With its recent recommendations feature, Facebook is transitioning from a passive sharing vehicle to a recommendation engine. Like a concierge, Facebook is now helping us make complex decisions using multiple sources of information.

Last week, I had a relative visiting and was hoping to have dinner at a steakhouse. I posted a question on Facebook asking for ideas and got several suggestions. To my surprise, Facebook even analyzed them enabling me to save me time in deciding where to go!

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Facebook mapped the suggestions using the mentions in each comment. Profile pages for the recommended restaurents were incorporated into the comments and into map pins. Friends who recommended each place were listed throughout the recommendation pins. Minutes later, I skipped through the restaurant pages and made a reservation with Facebook’s convenient ‘Book Now’ link.

At Acronym, we like to think of users as moving along the See/ Think/ Do stages in their decision making. Traditionally, media channels would align closest with an individual stage of this journey. With the recent changes, Facebook is actively expanding beyond the ‘See’ stage to play in the ‘Think’ and even ‘Do’ stages.

Akin to a search engine, Facebook is transforming into a problem-solving vehicle. Until now, when needing to book a hotel or restaurant, would anyone have thought of doing that exclusively on Facebook? Maybe not. They likely would have asked friends for input, and the process would have stopped there.

Now – armed with all the information and new functionality – the whole process can be completed in a matter of clicks. Who knows, with voice search and AI taking things to new heights, maybe soon we will be asking Facebook to book our next vacation.