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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.

5 Responses to “Facebook Ads Unveiled; 60-Plus Advertisers Have Signed On”

  1. The Social Ads Idea is clever, very clever. But it’s not true word of mouth. Here’s why

    In my book WoM is when the person makes the recommendation for a brand in his/her own words (this is why it is authentic and credible) and NOT when they get used as a carrier pigeon to deliver the brands message.

    In FaceBook’s model people’s profiles are simply being co-opted to carry the brands advertising. It’s simply a clever way for brands to put their advert on your FaceBook profile

    But – the advertisers with love it as it “seems like Word of Mouth” and YET they still get to control the message – and thus FaceBook will make lots more money.

    Is it a clever new way to advertise– yes.
    Is it a good idea for brands to advertise this way – yes.
    But, don’t see this as real word of mouth – my profile carrying your ad is not as effective as me telling my friends in my own words how good your product is.

    Net net – do both, they work hand in had.

  2. Steve Goldner

    As a Marketing Executive, it is encouraging to see TARGET MARKETING taking the next step and congratulations to Facebook for the initial step.

    But frankly speaking, the implementation falls short given the potential of “social graphing” and “exposed connections”. The power of social networking is "matching" to the benefit and interest of both parties. In the case of advertisement, matching buyers and sellers.

    The granularity of this match can be much greater given the inherent social network platform. The benefits to buyer and seller could be increased dramatically. "Buyers" ("Opt In" users) could define what info they want (or sales promotions) via their user selected profile. Sellers could have a much greater ROI and sales close.

    Maybe this is the real distinction … targeted marketing can now be more closely aligned with targeted selling yielding targeted marketing to have a clearer ROI.

  3. Frank, If you're asking about Popfly, yes. Some interesting things going on at Should be relatively straightforward to, for example, create a mefeedia branded video viewer that lets users pull videos from their meeps (media peeps) and share out on their web pages. Contact me through my blog if you want help connecting to more info or have other questions.

  4. First, good summary of interesting news. Second, I think FaceBook is ahead of some other social networks on an important emerging trend you touch on this post: tying ads and actions. FB's work described above "Social Ads with Social Action" is one approach. Not bad, but for me an even more interesting approach is what Microsoft is doing with Popfly.

    Yes, Popfly is a mashup maker, but it's also much more than that. Because you can build displays and share mashups out to Spaces, FaceBook, or anywhere you can embed some html — it's also a way for brands that want to connect and empower people to provide something unique, personal, and practical to consumers.

    For example: Imagine a retailer lets people create a fun, engaging, and *branded* display of their holiday wishlist and embed it on their own personal FaceBook, Spaces, or web page… complete with links in the display so people can click back to purchase wishlist items, and also "rip and tweak" the gadget to put on their own page (for viral effect). Popfly is perfect for something like this, and it lets brand create a link between ads and action that empowers gift-receivers and gift-givers alike. Note: For more details on this particular scenario, see:

    This is just one example, of course. The key point is that we've now evolved our technology to a level where we can tie ads together with actions to engage and empower people — in the process driving loyalty and effectively replacing a chunk "traditional" online advertising. As Jim Stengel, CMO at P&G;, said at 4A this year: "The era of telling and selling is over".