August 18th, 2008
Tim Kendall, Facebook’s Director of Monetization spoke at an app developer Meetup at AOL Mountain View. All Facebook covered the Social Ads panel and got a chance to catch up with Tim afterwards.
Tim’s team incubated Facebook Social Ads, and he oversees product development and product marketing for social advertsing on the Facebook platform.
Facebook Social Ads
Social advertising is a huge opportunity for Facebook and app developers. Facebook gives advertisers unprecedented reach, however, the platform is dominated by expressions of social intent – more so than commercial intent.
Facebook Social Ads is developing ways to segue users’ activities to more commercial actions, in a way that fits with the overall user experience of the platform. App developers are going to be able to participate, by having their applications accelerated by Facebook in partnership with paying advertisers.
Social advertising on Facebook is clearly experiencing rapid innovation and evolving dramatically.
Facebook Social Ads – Early Iterations:
Initially, the Social Ads program focused on leveraging the social graph to increase interest in an advertiser’s message. This increases performance relative to an advertisement that does not take advantage of knowledge of friend connections and information about those friends.
A classic example would be a campaign to promote a move that leveraged and communicated information about which of your friends watched or enjoyed a particular movie trailer.
Facebook Social Ads – Next Generation:
In the next 6-12 months, Facebook is developing the ability for advertisers to throttle usage and engagement in areas they care about. Marketers will be able to pay to accelerate usage they find valuabel, to dial up and down actions that people take on applications, as part of the Social Ads program. For instance, News Feed uses an algorthm to communicate a users actions to the friends who would find it most interesting. Marketers will be able to pay for increased or enhanced distribution above and beyond what News Feed already provides.
An example would be purchasing a ticket to a concert. Usually, a small subset of your friends would receive a notification of this action, however, in the future Cheryl Crow or Ticketmaster could pay fo r this to be distributed to your full friend group.
Tim and Facebook are clearly innovating rapidly in the Social Ads space, after defining the category initially. Facebook is exploring ways to make it completely transparent which actions are commercially accelerated on the platform, essentially in similar way to which Google color codes sponsored search links above its organic search results. Additionally, Facebook is focusing on how App Developers will be helped by this new form of monetization for their applications. Facebook will help app developers accelerate the distribution of their applications drive more usage with Facebook’s next generation of social advertising tools.
Will everyone accept how Facebook Social Ads affects the user experience (UX)?