Facebook launches Facebook Ads

The wait for the announcement of Facebook‘s new advertising system is over: Facebook Ads was launched in New York.

More information on Facebook Ads will be available Tomorrow at this link: http://www.facebook.com/ads/.

Facebook Ads has 3 components:

  • Social Ads
  • Beacon
  • Insight

Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, described Social Ads as Social Actions with Content. The advertising message will be able to spread virally through Facebook’s social graph. From what I understand for the content part, advertisers, instead of Sponsored Groups, will be able to create profiles. They will have more latitude to build their pages and these will also be able to host applications. Through Social Ads, advertisers will be able to target Facebook members based on their profile information. You will also be able to be friend with these brands! So this is another way for the message to spread virally. I don’t think I will personally be friend with a brand, but we never know. Real fanboys, here’s your chance! At one point, I suppose you’ll be able to be Apple’s friend!

Beacon, for which many partners were announced, including eBay, will let users send information on their social actions to their feeds. For example, when creating a listing on eBay, a user could send this listing to his Mini Feed. This is what Zuckerberg calls a trusted referral. What does this mean? Now, your friends can advertise to their network. Will this generate Feed spam or will it be considered appropriate? I guess it depends on who your friends are.

Insight will provide advertisers with aggregated demographics and psychographics marketing data. Nothing too Earth shattering here. Newspapers have done this for years. Except here it’s not based on surveys, it’s based on real information and real actions about real people.

More information is available in the following articles:

It is nice to note that speculation on potential conflict with developers was unfounded.

Personally, I think this Facebook announcement is good glimpse of the future of advertising. Whether we like it or not, this is where it’s going. When you have the amount of information Facebook has on real users, you are sitting on a gold mine for advertisers. On the other hand, these kind of initiative can easily backfire if you start to really annoy the users. Facebook will have to walk a fine line and it is up to them to prove us that they’ll not cross this line too far. On another hand, done right, it has a lot of potential to grow Facebook’s business.

On the aftermath’s of last week Open Social announcement from Google, I think we are living in interesting times. Since Google’s first successes with advertising, it is clearer and clearer where the game is being played. It’s all about advertising. Behind the “open” aspect of Open Social, there is not much that is open. It’s an early reaction from Google to try the level the playing field on the next big advertising push which is all about social advertising.

In Open Social, users will have a feed about their friend’s activities on other Web sites. Which, in the advertisers point of view is really a way to “inform” you about other Web sites you might like. Now we know that Facebook can also “inform” you about what your friends are doing on other Web sites. What’s clear with Facebook announcement is that for these actions, your friend will decide if they want to push their offsite activity to their mini-feed (and their friends feeds). If you see such an item in your feed, you will know that your friend had the last word. In Open Social however, it is not yet specified how they’ll deal with this. Other than that, you will probably soon begin seeing more sponsored advertising in your main Feed in Facebook. Will Open Social go this way too? We don’t know.