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Summary:

Facebook may have just pulled the plug on its controversial Beacon ad program, but it keeps devising new ways to generate revenue and profit…

Sheryl Sandberg UStream

Facebook may have just pulled the plug on its controversial Beacon ad program, but it keeps devising new ways to generate revenue and profits. The latest attempts include a new direct response-style ad, which lets users sign up for product samples, and a multi-year partnership with Nielsen that’s aimed at shedding light on how campaigns running across the network impact metrics like purchase intent and brand affinity.

At an Advertising Week presentation today, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said marketers had been pushing for better ways to quantify the value of their Facebook campaigns. P&G for example, attracted over 220,000 new fans to its Secret deodorant page within five days — but how many of those fans actually planned to buy the new fragrance?

Through a trial of Nielsen BrandLift, the first product of the Nielsen and Facebook partnership, P&G was able to learn that its social media campaign had driven an 11 percent lift in purchase intent overall, and a 33 percent lift in purchase intent for the deodorant’s target demo of women aged 13 to 18. Select advertisers in the U.S. will get to test out BrandLift this week; the short, opt-in surveys will show up on the homepage, much like Facebook’s Engagement Ads, and ask users questions about specific campaigns they may have been exposed to on the site. Facebook will expand the product to all advertisers in the coming months.

Sandberg made sure to point out that the Nielsen partnership isn’t about behavioral targeting; marketers will be able to target their BrandLift surveys demographically, but the product doesn’t collect members’ personal info or track their activities. Facebook is using this as a way to turn its network of over 300 million users into a genuine market research platform — one that hopefully delivers more organic insights than focus groups, in a way that’s less out-of-context than some of the pop-up surveys that get served to users on other sites. Release.

  1. politically correct Tuesday, September 22, 2009

    …"and a 33 percent lift in purchase intent for the deodorant’s target demo of women aged 13 to 18" … since when are "women" under 18 years old? "females" maybe, but anyone under 18 years of age is technically a "girl" …

  2. Not a bad way to assess purchase intention, but how many people simply love to sign up for freebies? Many.

  3. Question is not signing up for "freebies" nor changes in purchase intent – it's rather are they then actually buying the products they get to try. Now, speaking of this notion of people simply signing up for freebies … Yes, there is a group of people who find the whole "find stuff for free" a form of entertainment but, in truth it's quite a small (thought vocal) sliver of the population. Many more folks appreciate the chance to try something new but may still be hesitant to sign up for fear of what might happen to their information. However, done right (possibly recommended by someone they know?) the fear can diminish and there is likely a real opportunity to reach new people … who are interested enough in the sample to sign up for it and that is a very positive thing – if I am in brand management I am loving this idea!.

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