There’s no lack of stuff to read about Facebook’s new social advertising announcement but here’s the bottom line:
In making Facebook one of the new ways to socialize and communicate – as well as attracting thousands of developers to make the platform more attractive – Facebook has been encouraging people to provide a mother-lode of information about themselves – where they live, what they do, their age, education, interests, etc Now, Facebook is going to use all that information to unleash targeted advertising at its loyal users.
It’s like Facebook has been your friendly corner drug dealer, peddling the soft stuff to slowly build your addiction. Now that they’ve got more than 50 million people hooked, the stage is set for Facebook to start selling the hard stuff to make some big bucks (aka advertising). And you know advertisers are going to love it because there’s nothing better than knowing exactly who’s seeing your advertising.
The big question is how Facebook users respond. Will advertising resonate with them or will they reject it? If done properly, Facebook could become one of the advertising platforms – along with AdSense – because it will give advertisers more comfort about spending their advertising budgets online.
I’m not sure whether Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had a master advertising plan that is just starting to unfold but the stage is clearly set for the Facebook Money Machine to start rumbling.
More: Nick Carr has a deliciously sharp post on Facebook, highlighted by this conclusion:
“Facebook, which distinguished itself by being the anti-MySpace, is now determined to out-MySpace MySpace. It’s a nifty system: First you get your users to entrust their personal data to you, and then you not only sell that data to advertisers but you get the users to be the vector for the ads.”
Update: Seth Godin raises an excellent point that Facebook users go to Facebook to find other people, not “stuff”.
“Any platform that makes ads a distraction or a cost is always going to fail compared to a site where the ads are a welcome part of the deal.”
Update: Facebook’s already on the public relations defensive. Maybe it’s just me but Facebook’s social advertising plan doesn’t seem to be passing the smell test. Whether it was presented incorrectly or whether there’s something fundamentally wrong with the approach, what should be a key strategic initiative doesn’t seem to be striking the right chord.
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