Facebook COO to Advertisers: We Are Not Working on an Ad Network Right Now

The rain gave New York a bit of a break yesterday, but the torrent of ideas at Advertising Week was unrelenting. The data summit included a demonstration of measuring ad effectiveness using brain waves, revelations on Generation Y that had a few Millennials in the audience pleading with the presenter from MTV to say it wasn’t so, and online media innovator Arianna Huffington interviewing her friend Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook.

After the jump, how a positive shift in America’s corporate culture may be an unintended consequence of social media marketing, why, after my snarky remarks of the last few days, I now hold Facebook’s advertising platform in high esteem, plus my take on the best revelations and quotes of day three of Adverting Week.

It hit me during The Huffington Post’s Social Media (For Adults) session. On stage were formidable brands – Ford, Microsoft Online, Pepsico, Johnson & Johnson (and later, IBM) – and equally influential agencies – Universal McCann and Deep Focus. Among the great “war stories” of social media marketing successes and flops, were citations of crowd sourced social giving. Shiv Singh of Pepsico mentioned that his brand spends millions of dollars each month of marketing money, not funds from the corporate charitable pool, as part of their Refresh Project.

Many major US corporations are using social media as a platform to commit piles of money to genuine acts of good to help organizations and movements that are in dire need of such support. Yes, at the end of the day it bolsters their brands and helps them sell products for less cost per impression than standard advertising. But what’s wrong with that? Is it possible that, driven by social media, we will be making more and more of our purchasing decisions based on the highly visible social contributions being made by corporations?

I also found a new perspective on the Facebook advertising platform. Facebook delivers what it promises – a place for people to connect and share with new and old friends. Yes, it has flaws related to privacy, rotten customer service for small advertisers and other annoyances; but, overall, they deliver their product as promised. Facebook’s pitch to the advertising community emphasizes that the most successful campaigns are those that deliver social value.

Facebook is a perfect example of its own advertising model. Be as genuine with your community as your own corporate culture will allow, infuse your brand’s “commercial” engagements with social elements that are a natural part of the lives of your fans and try not to cross boundaries that betray the trust your fans have in you. Do as Facebook does and reap the rewards.

Day three snippets:

  • Neurofocus did a cool demo of tracking attention, emotional engagement and memory retention while a commercial was being viewed by a woman hooked up to an EEG. Seems like a good research tool, but will the technology advance so that web advertisers can get real-time feedback? It’s one thing to have a chip in your cable box measuring what you watch; it’s another to wear a sensor cap to pick up your brain waves as you like, tweet and Google.
  • Quote from the Data Congress with greatest reverberation in later discussions, “Data is the new creative.”
  • Research from MTV described Generation Y, the first never to have known the world without digital device engagement, as being connected to and protected by their parents, feeling that being the center of attention is the norm and rarely believing that “no” means “no”. This group watches lots of TV so that they have content for their social networking. We’ll have more insights into this media hungry demographic and its social media habits when we cover Pivot in a couple of weeks.
  • The Huffington Post presented itself, accurately, as a solid social media platform for advertisers, due, in large part, to the “Social Informants” that use their site. I’m trying to track down an electronic version of the study presented.
  • A college intern saved Microsoft from being, like, totally dissed on social media when it launched Bing.

Off to day four!