The future of Facebook ads

With Facebook’s first client council meeting hastily approaching (October 3rd) there has been a rumble in the marketing world over whether Facebook can effectively carry adverts.  With Facebook’s ad revenues estimated to rise by 104% this year, to $3.4billion it is more important than ever for Facebook to have the backing of marketers.

Sir Martin Sorrell, chief of WPP, spoke last week at the Royal Television Society in Cambridge and expressed his doubts in using social networks for commercial advertising, stating that they were “not the right context” –  if you interrupt personal life with commercial messages  “you may run into trouble… it is dangerous territory”.

But not everyone seems to agree with his sentiment. In fact, this week saw  the multi-million-pound advertising deal between Facebook and Diageo. Whilst the shift in Bacardi’s digital spend to mainly Facebook initiatives (90%) highlights further this growing trend towards social media-centric marketing strategies.

Gokul Rajaram, Facebook’s Ads Product Director, explains that “Facebook Ads are essentially based on the premise that people want to discover what their friends are doing”. Rajaram goes on to reveal that, when compared to standard display methods, social ads are 68% more likely to be remembered and increase the chance of a consumer purchasing that product by 400%.

 The prospect of using only adverts which are socially communicated across Facebook, so that only those ‘liked’ or shared by our friends are displayed, provides a much more personal link to campaigns. It is clear that Facebook has a wealth of data on all of us – and if used effectively this will be the ultimate resource for any online campaign. This level of personalisation can only help increase brand and campaign awareness and ultimately sales.

Due to its sheer number of users (750 million), I believe Facebook advertising will continue to attract the attention of marketers. However, my concerns is how imposing these ads could become on the users’ experience.

For now, Facebook remains a social media giant, used daily by millions worldwide. But how effective these adverts will be is still uncertain – we’ll have to wait and see what the industry experts at the council meeting come up with…

Danielle Barrett

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