Facebook Launches Hybrid Engagement Ads

Facebook has been offering advertisers a number of new types of engagement ads from their homepage which are intended to increase user interaction and drive new fans to Facebook Pages. The most recent additions are the combination of video ads and poll ads as well as video ads and event ads, as pictured in the Bruno advertisement on the right. A large number of these advertisements include integration with Facebook Pages, attempting to drive up the number of fans, helping to build a community around products and services.

With the increased number of Bruno advertisements on Facebook, the company is gunning to have a larger response then on MySpace where the promotional “Meinspace” has attracted over 335,000 fans so far. The number of fans on MySpace has peaked though as there were already 330,000 fans of the page over a week ago, according to Michael Learmonth. The Facebook page has been growing quickly over the past couple days though and I’m sure Facebook wouldn’t mind proving that they can make a bigger splash than MySpace.

The two forms of advertising are dramatically different. MySpace is willing to let users completely redesign the site’s homepage whereas Facebook forces advertisers to work in a much more restrictive environment. Despite the restrictions, advertisers continue to flock to Facebook. Just in the past two weeks, Facebook has run ad campaigns for Wendy’s, Samsung, Budweiser, CareerBuilder, Gilette, Palm, Lexus, Kellogg, CNN, Dos Equis, HBO, Bing, and a few others.

While each campaign has experienced varying degrees of success, the company appears focused on adjusting engagement ads to maximize the impact. One of the best components of engagement ads that integrate with Facebook Pages is that advertisers reap the ongoing benefit of having a community around their product. The Apple Students page has been a perfect example.

With over 1.3 million fans, the page has been active since the company started offering sponsored groups, and before the Pages product even existed. Today, the page continues to have an active community, even though traffic to the page has leveled off (view stats here). There are clear benefits of running Facebook advertising campaigns, something that many Fortune 500 companies are only beginning to experience.

As Facebook continues to tweak their advertising services, they hope to be able to continue to attract the highly prized ad budgets of “big-budget brand advertisers” as Fred Vogelstein described earlier this week. With access to big-budget brand advertising budgets proving tough nut to crack online, Facebook engagement ads are appearing to be at least one valuable proposition that some large advertisers are willing to put to the test.

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