Social media ad forecasts mostly focus on networks like Facebook and MySpace, but brands are also running campaigns on IM-based services like Meebo and IMVU. And both companies have launched new partnerships and feature upgrades aimed at increasing the time users spend chatting on their platforms (so that they can attract bigger ad budgets).
— Meebo taps into “the stream”: Meebo users can now send links and status updates directly to Facebook and Twitter — staying plugged into “the stream” — without having to be on either site. This means they can linger on other sites like CafeMom and SparkPeople (which are now using Meebo’s upgraded IM platform); the increased engagement time means both the publishers (and Meebo) can serve more ads. About 32 sites currently use Meebo’s IM client; the company said it has deals with more publishers, including MTV’s AddictingGames, Paste Magazine and Current TV.
— IMVU runs performance ads through Offerpal: IM-based virtual world IMVU makes most of its money from virtual goods sales, but Kevin Dasch, the company’s VP of business and finance, told us that there were new ad deals coming down the pike. One of the first is through performance-based ad platform Offerpal Media; IMVU users will now be able to get virtual credits by completing branded “offers” (surveys, free-trial subscriptions, etc.). Dasch said the ads would appeal especially to users that wanted virtual merchandise, but didn’t want to use/have credit cards. He added that IMVU would continuously screen the offers to make sure they weren’t misleading users (a common complaint about certain types of performance-based ads).