Seven Facebook Advertising Options
Whether in response to its faltering IPO or just because it's what Facebook does, the social network has launched a number of new advertising options lately. I've created this quick "round up" of all its advertising forms in order to help you keep track.
It's hardly appropriate to use a term like "traditional" when referring to a site as young as Facebook, but what I'm alluding to are the types of ads you see in the right-hand column. You know, the ads no one pays attention to. This format is the one first launched by Facebook a number of years ago and is still in existence.
Sponsored Stories was the next generation of Facebook advertising and consists of actions taken by users or the fan page administrator - likes, posts, check-ins, etc. - that get turned into ads, which appear in fans' newsfeed.
Last summer Facebook launched Promoted Posts, which allow fan page administrators to turn any post into an ad that appears at the top of fans' news feeds. Promoted Posts increase the chance that more fans will see it, and that more of their friends will too.
Facebook Offers enable merchants to share discounts with customers by posting an offer on their Facebook Page. Offers are similar to coupons and can be used either online or in a brick and mortar store. They can be distributed through the newsfeed or promoted as Sponsored Stories. Offers are limited to pages with 400 fans or more.
Targeted page posts are not actually ads in the sense that you pay Facebook for the privilege of using the feature, but it "feels" like advertising due to the fact that merchants can target certain messages to reach certain audiences. For example, you can target by gender, relationship status, education, age and a number of other factors.
The increased relevance that targeting affords should lead to greater response and longer visibility. Consider it Facebook's "gift" to page administrators.
Facebook has finally jumped on the retargeting bandwagon with its recent launch of Facebook Exchange (FBX). The social network has partnered with 16 leading demand-side advertising platforms to expose its users to retargeted ads. Considering that, according to comScore, Facebook has over 25 percent of all ad impressions, that's no small thing.
Through its new online store, Facebook is now selling merchandise in the form of gifts. You may recall it used to sell virtual gifts, but shuttered that feature in 2010. Now, the social network is selling real, physical gifts that people can give to their friends to celebrate birthdays or other special occasions.
There is a possibility - though a faint one - that smaller merchants can offer products through the gift store. Contact Facebook if you'd like to give it try, .
To my knowledge, those are all the currently available forms of Facebook advertising. When you wake up in the morning don't be surprised to find that it has launched yet another! If and when that happens, I'll do my best to let you know.
Elizabeth Ball says:
At the same time Facebook has been ramping up its advertising, the number of fans who see your posts at any one time seems to be dropping. So this suggests you have to pay to promote your posts, with less people to see them. I have only a modest following on my facebook page and with the exception of an expo I was exhibiting which enabled us to post updates on what we were showcasing there, providing your latest update on facebook does not seem to lead to sales. It's just brand awareness. And people aren't even becoming that "aware".
Paul Chaney says:
Elizabeth, with its faltering IPO Facebook is forced to find new ways to garner revenue. After all, at this point the company, like every other publicly-held company, is beholden to its shareholders, many of whom have been severely disappointed.
Since I wrote this Facebook has come out with two new forms of revenue generation - Promoted Posts for individual users (which seems like a real stretch or act of desperation) and "Collections." I think the latter is a good idea, actually, but is yet another attempt to generate revenue.
It's faltering IPO combined with slowing growth and the rise of niche, non-advertising supported social networks are three chinks in its armor.
Paul Chaney says:
Regarding my previous comment where I mentioned "Collections," let me add some more detail.
Similar to Pinterest, it allows retailers to upload images, which can be clicked for more information and make a purchase by clicking on a "buy" link.
At present, Facebook allows retailers to post Collections free of charge. Because Collections only go to a merchant's Page fans, it's assumed they will want to purchase more advertising in order to grow the fan base.
I suppose it's within reason to assume that, at some point, Facebook will want to take a cut, possibly by using an affiliate link. That would make sense and would be in line with Facebook's current revenue generation strategies.