Today Facebook announced that it will be bringing Skype video to its existing chat feature, bringing a next-generation experience to hundreds of millions of people (Facebook also announced it now has more than 750 million users). This is another step for Facebook to solidify it as a central platform for communication and connection across the globe. Yet for marketers, this particular partnership offers little in the short term. There may be an opportunity to chat with fans, whether for customer service purposes or even a more live version of the Old Spice campaign, yet those features are not available to brands at this time. However, two aspects of this announcement will impact marketing in the long term:
- Facebook continues to be the center of earned media. It's already the number one place for online word of mouth, and according to today's announcement, 4 billion things are shared every day — a rate that has doubled in the past year alone. And with Open Graph and Facebook Connect, Facebook not only has a walled garden destination but now lives nearly everywhere across the Web collecting data on millions if not billions of earned media (both word-of-mouth conversations and shared branded content). This makes Facebook, even in the wake of the new shiny object of Google+, still very relevant for marketers.
- New partnerships could have greater impact. While the Skype partnership in itself may not have significant impact for marketers, the fact that Facebook is more open to partners building on its platform could. For instance, Facebook already has partnerships with Bing (another Microsoft product) and EA, and many speculate a deeper Netflix integration could be on the way. These deals could lead to more opportunities for marketers to leverage Facebook's massive network through video, search, gaming, commerce, and more.