Posted November 6, 2007 3:16 pm by with 13 comments

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Erick Schonfeld of TechCrunch is liveblogging Facebook’s announcement as we speak I type this. The first fifteen minutes were filled with soundbites from Zuckerberg about the social graph, how cool and popular Facebook is, the history of advertising and how revolutionary this announcement is. Just moments ago, Zuckerberg began on the actual announcement:

2:48: “the next hundred years will be different for advertising, and it starts today. As marketers pushing our information out is no longer enough. We are announcing a new advertising system, not about broadcasting messages, about getting into the conversations between people. 3 pieces: build pages for advertisers, a new kind of ad system to spread the messages virally, and gain insights.”

Advertisers can build their own Facebook pages and design them any way they like: “We have photos, videos, discussion boards, any Flash content you want to bring to your page, plus any application a third party developer has made.”

The first of the rumors to be confirmed is Project Beacon which features a user opt-in to receive messages from your brand directly to their mini-feed (not to be confused with their news feed!):

2:52 PM: Social distribution, now here is where it gets interesting. When somebody engages with your page, that is spread virally through the network. When someone says they are a fan of your brand, that becomes a trusted referral. It goes right to their Mini feed. A strong trusted referral for your brand. You will be able to craft the types of social actions you want to spread across the social graph.

“We have created a product called Beacon that let’s you do this. Beacon will let users send information to their page, we confirm it, and share it on Facebook. One partner is eBay.” Can share listings from eBay on Facebook. So users can share social actions from other websites and share them on Facebook. “This will be completely free.”

The second confirmation was for Facebook’s long-trademarked term, Social Ads.

“Social Actions + Content = Social Ads.” . . . these ads will appear both in people’s feeds and as a personalized banner ad.

Naturally, Zuckerberg promises that these ads can be targeted according to just about any information users have provided in their profile. (Equally naturally, he assures us that user information will only be made available in aggregate, and not linked to personal profiles or otherwise personally identifiable.)

But at its heart, today’s message is about the marketer:

“We will be able to track how much people are talking about your brand in public forums across facebook. As you run ads on Facebook you will be able to see the exact mind share you are getting.”

This final announcement appears to be part of a third service geared toward marketers called “Insights.”

With the pronouncement that everything they’ve shown launches with over forty partners this very night, Zuckerberg walks off stage. (Sounds very dramatic, eh?)

Meanwhile, All Facebook has the official announcement from Facebook:

Facebook Ads includes three parts: a way for businesses to build pages on Facebook to connect with its audience; an ad system that facilitates the spread of brand messages virally through Facebook Social Ads™; and an interface to gather insights into people’s activity on Facebook that marketers care about. On other websites, Facebook Beacon provides a way for users to choose to share their activities with their friends on Facebook. Landmark partners are implementing the fullest set of offerings from Facebook Ads.

The pages mentioned in the announcement are described further:

Just like a Facebook user, businesses can start with a blank canvas and add all the information and content they want, including photos, videos, music and Facebook Platform applications. Outside developers have created a range of applications to enhance Facebook Pages, such as booking reservations or providing reviews of restaurant pages, buying tickets on a movie page or creating a custom t-shirt. Companies launching applications for Pages include Fandango, iLike, Musictoday LLC, OpenTable, SeamlessWeb, Zagat Survey LLC and Zazzle.

I’m pretty sure this integrates with the first part of the announcement that Erick blogged: you can opt in to receive messages from your favorite businesses and brands.

Has Facebook finally found the way to make itself truly useful to businesses—and monetize itself effectively at the same time? (Time will tell, of course, but I’d love to hear your thoughts.)

  • Andy and Friends

    We have thorough analysis of the MySpace AND Facebook Social Ads, please take a look at

  • Google has announced OpenSocial as an alternative of Facebook. Good luck to them.

  • Just going off this line, and not really following all the specific details.

    “you can opt in to receive messages from your favorite businesses and brands.”

    But why in the world would I want to get AD’s from people. I surely would not opt in for that.

  • Jordan McCollum

    We do ALL the time. Do you want to receive messages about upcoming sales in your area? Online deals? How your friends are interacting with your favorite products?

    Have you ever known a Mac user? $10 says they’d sign up 😉 .

  • Jordan McCollum
  • Andy,

    This is great news for social media and online marketing as a whole. While this one thing may not be the end all be all solution to value centric online marketing, it most certainly gets the ball rolling.

    I wrote a post on SearchEngineLowdown (Post Beal) a while back that I think is relevant. It’s fun to look at this stuff years down the line when some of the predictions (or pleads in this case) become reality.

    Sub “FaceBook” for “MySpace” and it all comes together quite nicely.

  • It’s one thing to get the occasional product recommendation from a genuine friend, but another if it turns into Amway or Mary Kay stupidity. Facebook doesn’t provide a service I would pay for, nor one I can’t live without.

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  • I haven’t entirely digested all the information about the new ad system, but one thing stood out to me. When it comes to the recommendations how much control will you have over what you’re actually recommending?

    If I buy a product will Facebook automatically tell my friends and tell them I recommended the product? Just because I buy something I’m not necessarily recommending it to others. Do I control those recommendations or is it made on my behalf whether I truly endorse something or not?

    If my image is always being used as part of a testimonial without some consent on my part I see that as a problem. I also see it as another decision that has to go through my mind before taking certain actions, possibly changing a yes to a maybe or a maybe to a no.

  • Putting ads into a news feed would be unfair. We have already seen mess of news promoting apps in that feed. Sometimes they become really annoying. If Facebook fails to make those ads relevant or entertaining the newsfeed will loose its effect.