Facebook announced plans this week to utilize the vast wealth of psychographic data within consumer profiles as ad targeting criteria. This announcement comes roughly a month after a similar announcement by MySpace to leverage their vaults of data as well. This should be a welcome move for advertisers large and small. Advertisers will be able to target by geo, age, gender, specific psychographics and even the company they work for. Similar to the large search engines, the possibility exists for the larger social networks to provide national or global advertisers with a scalable and relevant platform for matching consumer interest to marketers’ products and services, while also offering even the smallest local advertiser (still an untapped potential) the ability to reach the 16 people in Topeka Kansas who are into model airplane collecting, for example.
Facebook in particular is valued at over $15billion and the revenue model is now playing catch up to the valuation – dare I say it – circa 1999.
The MySpace custom page marketing program costs are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range at this point, but beyond the excitement of Facebook’s widget-friendliness and acceleration of the ensuing industry-wide widget mania, they have not been able to build a masterful media practice just yet…
But I feel one coming. It’s like the calm before the social storm.
Granted there’s a lot of buzz out there regarding marketing and advertising within the social media environment. Every client has asked their agency about it, every publisher has considered developing or acquiring one. Those of us who have been marketing in the social media ecosystem (wider than just social networks) have learned that effective social media marketing is experiential marketing – becoming part of the experience, not just a message sitting adjacent to it. The adjacent advertising model is ubiquitous across media channels, and thus far has never been well translatable into the world of online communities, social networks included. Hence, the low cost of plain old banner advertising on modern social networks is no different than what used to occur with Geocities, Tripod, or any of the other early online communities.
But consumers have spoken – we live in a MySpace/YouTube generation – expect the kinks to be worked out this coming year, as the projected doubling of ad spending over the next 4 years commences actualization.
So back to Facebook – to test some of the new tools, I just created my first psychographic targeted “Facebook Flyer” ad at $.05 CPC, targeting scuba divers (to promote an underwater photography site that I run together with my wife.) The neat little estimator tells me that there are 69,000+ interested in scuba diving in the US, 18,000 in the UK etc. Unfortunately the system is not entirely flexible yet. I’m running a test that is geo-targeted to the US for 10 days beginning the date of our re-launch on Oct 30. Stay tuned for the results…