Facebook Ads Unveiled; 60-Plus Advertisers Have Signed On

Facebook has discovered targeted social marketing … at least, I think that’s what CEO Mark Zuckerberg is trying to get across in today’s announcement about Facebook Ads, pitched as “a completely new way of of advertising online” but described like something we’ve heard before — “an ad system for businesses to connect with users and target advertising to the exact audiences they want.” Among the 60-plus advertisers (“brand partners”) at launch: Blockbuster, (NYSE: BBI) CBS, (NYSE: CBS) Chase, The Coca-Cola Company, Microsoft, (NSDQ: MSFT) *Sony* Pictures Television and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) Wireless. The invite-only Facebook Social Advertising event is going on now in Manhattan.

As was the case with the MySpace ad services announced earlier this week, this is all about making a free community pay for itself by meshing volunteered personal info with technology to create highly targeted ad segments. Facebook Ads includes: More after the jump…

Facebook pages: The Facebook page population should jump by more than 100,000 sometime tonight jumped by more than 100,000 today. as advertisers launch their own pages allowing “users to interact and affiliate with businesses and organizations in the same way they interact with other Facebook user profiles.” (Great, I can throw a sheep at CBS.) Various Facebook developers have launched new apps with business use in mind.

Social Graph distribution: The Facebook equivalent of word of mouth mixed with social media tools.

Social ads with social action: At first glance, this may be the most unusual aspect — combining social actions (reviewing a restaurant, buying a product, etc) with the ad message without giving the advertiser personally identifiable information. Kind of like the context ads on Gmail but responding to actions rather than words.

Analytics: Actually called Facebook Insights, free access for Facebook Pages and Social Ads advertisers to data on activity, fan demographics, ad performance and trends.

Update: The press release said more than 60 “brand partners” would be involved at launch but the actual number hovers around 40 for now. Also, the info page has gone live.