Archives for posts with tag: advertising

If you use Facebook for business, you have to be able to adapt quickly to new features and platform changes. But more fun than playing catch-up is anticipating changes before they happen.

So far my prediction that Facebook would focus on improving the admin experience in 2011 has held true. I’m betting the company’s next major initiative will be real-time ad targeting based on posts and comments, not just Likes and Interests.

Facebook implemented a real-time commenting system in January, and now it seems to be testing an algorithm to feature content according to words in those comments.

For instance last week after making a comment that included the word ‘alien,’ I was served page recommendations for Alien and Star Wars. (In this screencap I didn’t include the comment because I didn’t immediately recognize that it was related to my comment not my post, but you can see the alien comment on the second below.)

When I hit enter on a comment that included the words ‘mmhmm’ and ‘facebook,’ the sidebar refreshed and I was served recommendations for Mmhmm and YouTube.

I have since had this same thing happen when I have left a comment including the name of the artist ‘Miguel.’ The recommended pages refreshed to show Miguel and similar artist Drake. Another time when I my comment included the words ‘rock’ and ‘cars,’ I got less relevant results.

I imagine Facebook is testing this algorithm first with Recommended Pages, but could apply this to advertising by the end of the year. It was last year that a presentation including reference to real-time ad targeting was leaked.

This would revolutionize Facebook ads. As it stands now, ads are targeted to ‘Likes and Interests.’ You cannot add your own words to Facebook’s targeting section. See below how Facebook won’t let me target the word ‘help,’ only pages, activities or interests that people already have in their profiles.

This would have to change, but you can imagine if Facebook offered targeting based on real-time keywords, it would be similar to search but might be most similar to ads that are served based on the content of your emails. The advantage with Facebook being the option for photos to attract people’s attention and the addition of social recommendations (5 of your friends like this).

Anyway, I’m excited about the possibilities for this product.

Whenever it gets released.


Things are looking up for brand marketers on Facebook. Last year was a major one for new products and changes to enhance the user experience, occasionally at the expense of marketers. But beta tests and launches of new Page admin features indicate that Facebook is focusing on improving the experience for advertisers and community managers in 2011. A new advertising platform and tools for Page activity notifications and analytics could help improve moderation and promote engagement.

Facebook’s big announcement last week was Sponsored Stories, a new ad format that allows brands to highlight organic News Feed items, such as Likes and checkins, to increase the chances friends see these stories and take actions to connect with the brand.

It’s too early to know how well these will work, but the announcement suggests Facebook’s self-serve ad platform will be getting a much needed update in the next few weeks. The interface for creating ads is not as functional as it could be, and the ad preview is outdated since Facebook changed the layout of profiles. Facebook advertisers should look forward to improvements for both ad creation and reporting.

Page Insights have already gotten an upgrade this year, with admins now able to easily select a date range for data. There’s also a movement toward real-time impressions data for posts. Page admins will be served well if this is part of a greater push to provide more up-to-date analytics. Page Insights are often a day or two behind.

On the community management side, a major new feature will be the ability to receive notifications about fan activity on a page. (Some admins got a preview of this when a bug accidentally revealed prototype features in December.) Admins of popular pages know how hard it is to keep track of new comments and posts. Third-party apps don’t track all activity, but Facebook’s pending feature is likely to be more complete.

Other things Facebook has in the works include a top posts filter for pages and a new way to promote page updates in the latest Facebook Messages product.

On Friday, the company redesigned the interface for creating new pages, further signaling that Facebook is putting more thought toward the experience of people who use Facebook for business.

2011 could be the year admins have been waiting for.

Regardless of whether you like the new Facebook profile layout, you have to commend the company for accomplishing so much with what, on its surface, seems like a design change. In reality, Facebook has done far more to secure its position as the top social network and provide advertisers with better targeting options.

Just a week ago, I was thinking about how Facebook profiles have lost much of their significance. In the pre-News Feed days, profiles were all there were, and people took care to prepare them accordingly. With the addition of fan pages and the Like button, profiles became ever-evolving without active editing. My profile is no longer a perfectly polished version of how I want you to see me, but it doesn’t matter because my friends and I aren’t interacting on each other’s profile pages as often anyway. More commonly, we’re doing this directly from News Feed.

So, just when people were starting to neglect their profiles, Facebook went and made them relevant again, if for no other reason than to make sure your information was up to date. Why? So ads work better.

The new features that allow you to add details about projects you worked on, sports you played, athletes you like, teams you support and people who inspire you are all meant to target ads more effectively. People are adding information they wouldn’t have thought to include before. This is good news for marketers and good news for Facebook.

Additionally, allowing more work and education details, along with languages you speak, gives Facebook some Linked-In-like qualities, which are needed to make Facebook an option for professional networking.

Then there’s the ability to highlight certain friends on your profile. At first, this sounds like a sophomoric feature like MySpace’s Top 8. But this actually isn’t a case of Facebook pandering to a particular demographic. This is Facebook’s clever way of getting people to make friend lists. As the social network expands to include friends and family, ‘how do you do?’ and ‘how do I know you?’ people are going to need to clearly control what they share with whom. The ‘featured relationships’ feature is a smart move toward helping people get to that point. When people feel confident with Facebook privacy settings, they will share more, which again, will help Facebook and advertisers.

One final note, the new layout turns Facebook ads horizontal with the body copy running next to the image rather than beneath it. This lets Facebook serve four ads more clearly above the scroll than the vertical layout did. It also removes the line between a person’s wall and sponsored content, making ads look more a part of the profile. This could be a boon for advertisers as well.

What do you think of the redesign?