Over 450 million people use the Facebook Events service. Back in May Facebook announced the function needed work and revealed plans for several new features including event reminders, ticket buying, event plugs and more. Now, in what is thought to be a long term strategy to better leverage the platform’s biggest asset (its users), it has rolled out a much improved mobile app which includes a streamlined event suggestions feature and better event discovery capabilities.
The improved iOS app taps into the growing trend for mobile search and will help Facebook users to find out what’s on near to them. Significantly, Facebook will tap into its understanding of what its users like to do and where they go, to make event recommendations based on interests, likes and previous events attended. App users can also search for upcoming events based on criteria such as date and location. Events are categorized into interests like Music, Food and Drinks, Nightlife, Sports and Fitness, Fine Arts and Crafts, Community, Film and Photography, Performing Arts and Causes.
So far, app users in 10 major cities have been given the ability to search for upcoming events via category and date, or to browse personalized suggestions. It has rolled out in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, DC; Boston, San Francisco, Dallas, Seattle, Miami and Houston.
TechCrunch analysts think the changes to the Events tab could eventually lead to a bigger advertising revenue for Facebook plus a closer relationship between the platform and its users. All of this could have potentially huge ramifications for marketers and how they spend their digital ad dollars.
Reporter Josh Constine says, “If Facebook plays these little mobile Event cards right, it could lock more users into its platform where it shows ads, become the best place to host the content people generate at Events, and even make money directly through sponsored Event suggestions. Plus, people make friends at Events, and if Facebook is responsible for both getting you there and keeping you and your new buddies connected, you’ll keep it a part of your life.”
If you’re a business in any one of those ten cities, you can get a head start on building your Events presence – the app allows users to purchase tickets via their cell phone, so it’s worth taking the time before the New Year to update your events schedule.