Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Facebook now dominating online advertising

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com
Cartoon by Dave Walker

I know this isn't the latest hot topic, but I'd still like to get my spoke in - after reading a bit more into it and discussing it with my new blogging friends of the breakfast club.
For those not in the know, Facebook has launched its new initiative - facebook ads and business pages where brands/ companies can now target customers more directly, based on what interests they post in their profile. to the marketers these sounds like a dream, especially with online advertising being more quantifiable.
however as a user of facebook, I am some what sceptical and put off by the whole idea. I mean I am used to flashing ads and banners on sites and if you respond to these then you are more likely to respond to the FB ads. However, it is the invasion of my interests that I dislike. For me facebook began as a nice way of communicating with friends old and new, and setting up nights out with the odd poke here & there. Now it is overloaded with games (at least it is all for fun) but when the ads start to appear inviting you to this page and that it will get in the way of what I essentially use it for which is to chat to my friends, NOT inform them of the latest gadget out or top to buy. What if my friend isn't interested?

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of the site assures, "The ads are going to feel like content to a lot of people." I can't help but feel used for being a marketeer for the brand instead of a consumer - can I get a percentage of their income from the link to their ad?
I do admit it is a clever system. The amount of data on the site that everyone has very openly volunteered must save thousands in focus groups. Plus as Zuckerberg puts it,
"Social actions are powerful because they act as trusted referrals and reinforce the fact that people influence people."

So the new system replaces the cold feeling of advertising messages broadcast by large companies to warmth from that of a recommendation from a friend. Advertisers will also be able to tailor messages to users via information they have received about that person from a friend. This is all getting a bit big brother isn't it - except it feels like your friends are snitching on you without them even realising.
I don't know, I see the potential for tailored advertising, but I don't believe it will ever take off as consumers are ALWAYS in charge of their choices, no matter what you put in front of them.

Quotes from full article on Portfolio.com

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