Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Facebooks flying start, by Even Aas-Eng

Things move fast in the online media world. So fast that the product facebook flyer pro that was launched a couple of weeks back is already gone and replaced by facebook social ads! But it’s still the same product so it doesn’t really matter. So my plan with this post was to dig a bit deeper into what effect facebooks latest move has on the online advertising world. I briefly touched this in my last post and I will go further into details in this one.

So what is facebook social ads? Well it’s a mix between a text and a simple display ad. Whats “social” about it? You can target your ad based on “social” parameters. When you create the ad you first pick the country you want to show it in. Then facebook tells you how many people that have a profile in that country (940.000 profiles in Norway) After that you start with your segmentation. You decide if you want to target females or males, you choose age, political views, education background, religious view and relationship status. If you like you can also target people based on interest and where they work. You can segment your campaign all the way down to 20 people.

So how will this work for a brand advertiser? Pretend that you are the Swiss watch maker IWC and that you have a few people in the Norwegian market that are potential clients of yours. You create your facebook ad by choosing the following:

Country: Norway
Gender: Male
Age: 30-65
Education: College Graduate, Major in Business
Political views: conservative
Relationship status: singles and people in relationships
Interest: investing, watches, wine
Workplace: ABG, Artic Securities, Orkla Finans, Glitnir, Enskilda

The point is that you can define your target group pretty precisely. And I am pretty sure that hypothetical campaign above would be quite successful. Now think about how much a company like IWC would be willing to pay for such segmentation… Obviously this is just an example and a profile like this probably doesn’t exist in Norway but it makes a point.
You can use the system for extremely targeted campaigns like my example but also for campaigns where reach is key. If you want to reach Norwegian females between 20-35 you have about 250.000 profiles at your disposal. So it’s a tool for large brand advertisers and small local businesses and it’s a tool for targeted niche campaigns and those who need volume. It covers both the head and the end of Mr Andersons long tail…

In my last post I mentioned something about facebook flyer being an adwords killer. It isn’t but it will be one of the only alternatives to Google’s adsense system that has huge reach and targeting possibilities. So it’s not a threat to Google but a great supplement for advertisers. If it where to be a threat they need other publisher than just their own site.

But interestingly enough facebooks ad move probably tells us a lot about what Microsoft and Google are launching pretty soon. Segmentation across communities, news sites, blogs, e-commerce sites and IM tools. This is why they bought Doubleclick and Aquantive. Imagine placing your ad within Google’s adsense network on the criteria from my example above. That makes contextual advertising look kinda bleak don’t you think?

So in conclusion; Hooray for facebook social ads and lets wait for Google and Microsoft

If you want to read more about facebook social ads and their polling tool! You should read this