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Facebook Ads & Applications: Critical SEM Learning Curve

Marty Weintraub
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The New York Facebook Social Advertising Event Nov. 6, 2007 introduction from boy-wonder Mark Zuckerberg was a millennial harbinger of marketing-things-to-come. If your business or agency's search marketing department has dismissed Facebook applications & paid ads, as outside of your product's demographic, think again. Though advertisers are making millions now on the Facebook platform, the revolution is far more important than Facebook.

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Not Your Father's PPC
The SEM concepts employed on Facebook's fledgling paid ad platform embody a methodology which will be likely be embraced by mainstream search engines and communities. Keyword research has always been the staple of classic “pull” search marketing. When configuring Facebook paid campaigns, marketers research and target buzz pockets of user interests, as expressed by their dealings with friends. It's called the “social graph.”

As an example, now it's possible to target ads to “Woman between 24-29 years old, interested in gardening, organic food, wine, cooking, live in Minnesota or Wisconsin, and are in a relationship.”

Last week Google responded by (re)announcing beta-testing of an enhanced AdWords feature, called demographic bidding. Advertisers will target gender and age groups on some sites within the Google content network. The feature is being tested over the next few weeks with a select group of advertisers in the U.S. and the U.K.

There has been industry debate regarding the long-term value of demographic targeting. MSN has had similarly rudimentary demographic targeting features for quite some time.

Facebook Applications: Fad or Future?
INC Magazine recently published a celebrated case study about quick scores. Whether you believe in Facebook apps or not, Google has already responded with Open Social developers' platform, "a set of common APIs for building social applications across many websites,” and inked deals with prominent social sites. These next-gen social apps and widgets are coming. Early adopters, who figure things out now, will clearly have the advantage.

“Facebook Ads represent a completely new way of advertising online,” Zuckerberg imparted to more than 250 advertising and marketing executives on that day in New York. “For the last hundred years media has been pushed out to people, but now marketers are going to be a part of the conversation. And they're going to do this by using the social graph in the same way our users do.”

Facebook ads and applications represent marketing early adopters' first opportunity to dapple in, what will clearly be, a significant wave of future viral techniques and media buys. Study Facebook and practice marketing to points on the social graph in order to prepare for a future which is already here.


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