Thursday, February 5, 2009

Facebook, Advertising and Revenue

You may have read the article in Ad Age on Tuesday that talked about Facebook’s continuing quest for ad revenue. It touted a number of types of “engagement” ads. I decided to do an inventory of my own page, groups, etc. to see what I could find.

First, I simply looked at Facebook’s advertising page. All that is offered on the public self-service page is Facebook Ads, small text or image ads with targeting options. There’s an interesting feature though—you can add “social actions” to your ad. That brings it into the social sphere, but I’m not sure how the URL of the DIY blog connected to Meredith or the Dave Matthews band, neither of whom I have any known connection with. Nor do I know how this aspect of the ad would change over time. But it is social!

Events. Because of the nature of my Facebook Friends, I get event invitations all the time. An interesting one is from C.C. Chapman who is drawing attention to a Charity:Water event. It’s a Twestival; if you can’t figure that one out, visit the website. When you do, notice that there’s a Connect to Facebook app on the Twestival page. Good connectivity.

Become a fan. I don’t do much of this, but it’s obvious why products, services, organizations, etc. would want you to become a fan so they can communicate with you, right?

Comment on a video
. I didn’t really expect any videos with comments on my page; it’s just not the sort of thing I do. However, I checked my inbox and found that Sheldon Muddle, who has a site called Carib Life Central, had sent me a message about a video, on which I can comment. Check it out, but be sure your volume is down low.

Send virtual gifts. I don’t do this either, but it was pretty easy to find. Interestingly enough, it was the first fee-based service I found. At $1 per 100 credits, it doesn’t look as if Facebook is going to get rich on this app fast.

Poll within ad. Career Builder, as part of its Super Bowl program, invited viewers to vote on who would win the game and see the results on Facebook. The Cheezhead blog does a good job of explaining the process and points out that Facebook could make this one self-service if it becomes popular.

That’s Ad Age’s list of the “engagement ads.” I found another example or different type, I don’t know which, on my own—not very active—page that I would add to the list. It’s the Sponsored ad by Dell which encourages me to Wiggle into Social Media by “fanning” Dell’s Social Media for Small Business blog. That’s at least interactive—I’d call the way Dell is using it engaging. I got two different versions of the Dell ad while I was going back and forth and a different ad later appeared.

If you look back over this list of sever different ad formats for Facebook, only 3 of them Ads, Sponsored, and Gifts give Facebook a revenue stream. The others are essentially apps, free to corporate or individual users.

I long ago described Facebook as a metaphor for Web 2.0. Both its successes and its struggles mirror what’s going on around the world of social media. Monetization is one, but certainly not the only, issue.

It seems to me that Facebook is a good place to see a lot of things that are going on in social media. Have you made your Facebook page yet? Are you seeing other marketers doing interesting and potentially useful things there?

No comments: