Of course the power behind social media is not the advertising options, but rather the ability to monitor, learn from and connect with consumers. However, there are plenty of advertising opportunities as well, and each focuses on tapping into the social graph to create relevancy.
After months in beta, MySpace finally officially rolled out the MyAds program, allowing for self serve ad creation and targeted placement throughout all of MySpace. For the record, this is the same program that larger advertisers had access to for some time (“hyper-targeted ads”), but now the program is available to the advertising masses…a la Google and more directly Facebook. Personally, I think this will be embraced by small advertisers in droves. While not a pull medium like search, the ability to specifically target consumers based on relevant interest is powerful, albeit I do not think that MySpace’s program, is anywhere as powerful as Facebook’s Social Ads platform.
The roll out was timed to ride the momentum of the recent launch of MySpace Music, a platform that allows independent artists & bands to market and sell their music to a rather large and appropriate audience. The ad creation tool makes it easy for any advertiser to create IAB standard 728×90 or 300×250 ads. It’s a little restrictive, but for the Photoshop adverse, it works – upload an image or two, add text, done. The tool even includes a built in compression tool – you can upload an image up to 600k, not too shabby.
Here’s an example of a test ad I created for my underwater photography website.
Although you cannot target based on user-defined keywords like you can on Facebook, I was able to target those interested in photography & scuba diving – again, not shabby at all. But this won’t be the rifle shot case for every advertiser in every category.
Unlike Facebook, which currently stands alone as an independent, Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp / Fox Interactive empire can always leverage the eventual base of small advertisers in the future, possibly including many local advertisers, by running ads created through this system across other Newscorp properties.
MySpace was selling over $700million in ads annually without this program. The top four search engines have over 500,000 advertisers. Can MySpace tap into that pool? Only time will tell, but I think the long term answer is yes.