Pondering Advertising On Facebook Home

By Justin Lafferty 

When users start getting Facebook Home on Android devices, there won’t be paid advertising. But much like other Facebook products, it’s likely coming. Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg didn’t rule it out when the product was announced last week. Todd Herrold, senior director of product marketing at Kenshoo Social, talked with AllFacebook about how Facebook Home can change mobile advertising.

Now that Facebook won’t just be a compartment of the phone, it will have access to much more information. Herrold thinks that Facebook Home holds very powerful potential for real-time targeted marketing.

For instance, if users live near Target or Jamba Juice locations, and Facebook knows that they have liked those brands or otherwise interacted with those pages on the social network, users could start seeing real-time ads for discounts and other offers, mixed in with status updates and photos from their friends.

Herrold talked with AllFacebook about how users might start seeing these kinds of messages:

For those companies that they’ve liked or the bar that they like, or the restaurant, or retailer — whatever the case may be — you could imagine that this hyper-individual, hyper-local advertising that’s based in real-time and based on presence could be built into it … Virtually, instantaneously, and in real-time, if that user is on Facebook and Target is running FBX (Facebook Exchange) ads, that user can potentially start beginning to see fairly product-specific creative based on what they’re looking at.

Herrold knows that this kind of super-targeting may not be possible for a while. Facebook likes to introduce a new product first, let users get accustomed to it, and then start building out advertising. Facebook Home may follow a similar development arc.

One key item to note is that users cannot control whose stories are shown on their Cover Feeds. Much like the redesigned News Feed, where users have greater control over what they see, the default for Cover Feed will be determined by Facebook’s post sorting algorithm (externally known as EdgeRank). This means that users will see not only check-ins and photos from their friends, but also posts from pages. Someday, this will likely include ads.

A common complaint about Facebook ads is that they’re poorly targeted. Users have noted that they see ads featuring children or babies, when they’re single and living alone. People might see ads based on what their friends like, but not necessarily based on their own interests.

That could change, depending on how deep advertising is integrated into Facebook Home, Herrold said:

I think Facebook does a pretty good job of walking that fine line. I always use the email marketing example. What’s spam and what isn’t is totally subjective, and it’s not just all commercial email that is spam — only commercial material that is not interesting or relevant to you. Typically, that’s the way that the lay user thinks of it. If they receive a message, regardless of the medium, and it’s personal and relevant and interesting and something they care about, then that provides value and there’s a positive feeling toward it.

Readers: How often have you interacted with an ad on Facebook because it was relevant to you?