Last week the social network surprised advertisers with a new ad type several times larger than any it had previously offered. The ad, which is shown after a user logs out of Facebook, seems to be a smart compromise, giving brands the prominence they’re looking for without sacrificing user experience. Not only does the unit appear when a user’s session is complete, Facebook’s most active users rarely log out and therefore won’t see many ads like this.
The Microsoft ad includes a unique interactive capability: users can type a query into a Bing search bar and results open in a new window or tab. Facebook did not make it clear when it announced the new ad type how much customization would be allowed. The logout ad is only available for “premium” advertisers working directly with Facebook, so we could see more custom elements like the Bing search. Otherwise, the unit’s size makes it ideal for promoting videos.
It’s fitting that Microsoft would be Facebook’s first logout page advertiser. Microsoft, an early investor in the social network, sold banner ads on the site from 2007 to 2010. Since then, Facebook has managed all of its own display advertising. The company, however, still uses Bing for search, translation and map features. Microsoft integrates Facebook social data into Bing, Outlook and other mail and chat clients.
Microsoft was also one of the first advertisers to advertise within News Feed before Facebook took away that option. Companies can once again get ads in users’ streams, but now users must be connected to the company’s page or have a friend who took an action on the page. This was not the case in 2007 when Microsoft ran ads for Windows Live Messenger directly in the feed.
Bing ad image credit: TechCrunch