Facebook offers vanity URLs, but for brands, what’s the point?

As a public service announcement we remind you that Facebook will allow you to grab a vanity URL starting Saturday morning at 12:01 a.m. Eastern. This is supposed to help people find you, or your brand, on Facebook more easily, since up until now Facebook-specific pages were complex URLs with long strings of numbers impossible to remember.

Of course all of this poses the question of why some brands want Facebook pages at all. Facebook allows businesses to build “fan pages” which mirror human profiles, and usually end up awkward compilations of photos, user comments, and press releases. Bank of America, for example, has 6,139 retail branches in the United States and holds $791 billion in domestic deposits — and yet has only 1,650 “fans” at its Facebook page. The top comment at the BofA Facebook fan page today says “Citibank will work with you but BofA does nothing. Their execs should be executed in public!” (Ahem. We quote.)

If consumers and business partners care so little about their money on social media, perhaps Facebook fan pages aren’t for every brand. It is possible, perhaps, that Facebook will evolve into a web inside the web, a social-media operating system so popular that not having a presence there would be a strategic mistake. The average age of Facebook users is now 27, and social media use has been creeping up (Twitter users average age 31 and LinkedIn users are 40). With 200 million users at Facebook, perhaps there is marketing gold inside those online pillow fights. So go ahead, grab your www.facebook.com/brand URL. Think of it as a low risk and probably very, very low reward investment.

2 thoughts on “Facebook offers vanity URLs, but for brands, what’s the point?

  1. Facebook’s vanity URLs are only about one brand–Facebook’s. The value to Facebook is that it creates better SEO for Facebook(-branded) profile pages.

  2. The primary value of a vanity brand is SEO currency.

    Most brands will rank first regardless of whether or not they own their Facebook vanity URL.

    But it certainly doesn’t hurt for brands to register for the URL when the gates open.

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