The Washington Post Enters The Facebook Advertising Business

By Nick O'Neill Comment

SocialCode LogoThis week The Washington Post formally announced the launch of SocialCode, the latest company to enter the hot market of third-party Facebook advertising solutions.

The social network connection for The Washington Post is deep rooted. Donald Graham, the chairman of the publishing company is also on the board of Facebook. Now his daughter, Laura Graham O’Shaughnessy, is spearheading the company’s efforts to enter the market. For news organizations looking for a way to diversify their revenue base, new advertising channels are never a bad idea since most already have sales staff and we all know which way newspaper ad revenue is trending (hint: DOWN). Don’t just view this as a sales effort though.

SocialCode has built its own proprietary system built on top of the Facebook ads application programming interface. While Techcrunch appears a bit confused by the move, we see this as a rationale continuation, and potential massive revival, of a business the Post already had — advertising. Here’s how the company described themselves to us in a release:

The Washington Post Company’s SocialCode is an advertising company built on the Facebook Ads API that executes some of the most advanced advertising and marketing techniques on this highly engaged vehicle. SocialCode’s history of running ads at high volumes and experienced team allow SocialCode to effectively optimize Facebook inventory. SocialCode’s skilled front-end creative and performance-driven analytics team allow SocialCode to test faster and smarter on day one of any Facebook campaign.

While Facebook isn’t exactly “Washington Post-owned” inventory, it’s a massive channel that Donald Graham also has a small stake in. Want to connect the dots further to figure out how this came to be? Laura Graham O’Shaugnessy is married to Tim O’Shaughnessy, the Chief Executive Officer of LivingSocial, the company which was once the largest application developer on the Facebook platform, and the same company which is also is about to surpass the largest single day deal of any online deals company with today’s Amazon gift card deal.

While Tim isn’t an official advisor to SocialCode, I’m sure he’s also providing valuable advice regarding navigating the Facebook ecosystem. If I were to bet on who’s poised to dominate the social media advertising space, the three-person team of SocialCode would be it. With a powerful network of influencers in the space, an existing portfolio of big brand advertisers, and a very long history of selling advertising, I think SocialCode is going to completely crush it.