Facebook, the popular social network has announced the launch of its own advertising network, Facebook Ads, which went live yesterday. The advertising platform will provide three products to advertisers: Social Ads, Facebook Pages and Beacon, in addition to market information via Insights. These ads will be featured in addition to the ads currently supplied by Microsoft .
Distinct, customized pages for businesses, bands and celebrities will allow them to build a presence on Facebook in a manner similar to any individual does. Regular users can interact with these pages by posting reviews, buying products or just receiving information about latest offers, concerts etc.
Advertising will be delivered alongside entries in the Facebook News Feed when a user’s friend carries out a particular action. These ads will be absolutely relevant and targeted according to the specific action the user carried out. For example, if a user rates a song, an ad from the artist might be shown alongside the corresponding news feed item.
When a user carries out a given action on an advertiser’s website, Beacon can automatically update their profile to mention this action. Actions posted to Beacon can include anything from purchasing an item to rating a movie on the site. Users can opt out of publishing an action to their Facebook account. Advertiser products and services get virally promoted when user actions are published to the user profile or News Feed, allowing their friends to learn about it in a form of word-of-mouth.
The Insights service goes hand in hand with the three advertising products to provide advertisers valuable metrics about their presence and promotion on Facebook. This includes data on user activity, demographics and campaign performance and trends.
Criticisms of Facebook Ads
Facebook ads allow a degree of targeting that few other ad platforms can offer with such a wide reach. Advertisers on Social Ads can currently target users based on geographic location by country or city, sex, age, level of education, workplace, political views and relationship status.
Criticisms of the Facebook Ads platform stem mainly from the high level of and reliance on demographic / user action based targeting, which could end up turning into a privacy nightmare for users or fall flat if users refuse to share any information or actions whatsoever.