Facebook is planning to test a new ad format in U.K. and U.S.A., which would amalgamate well with the already existing features of the network.
Come September, they will roll out an â€˜Engagement Adâ€™ format, with some select advertisers, in such a manner, that users can continue with their usual practice of commenting, giving gifts and befriending.
When a user sees one of these ads, he will be interact with it in any of the above mentioned manners, and this interaction will then be visible to all his friends, who can also further interact with it.
Blake Chandlee, Commercial Director for Europe, says, â€œThe whole concept of viewing and sharing is what Facebook is all about.â€ Thus they want to introduce an ad format in keeping with this policy. They would not like to impose the ads on their clients.
With this trial, Facebook will try to coax its users to interact with the ads as they do with their friends.
For instance an ad which runs as a short video film or animated gift or still, will be accompanied by a blank space, in which the viewer can post his comments, which will then be relayed to his entire list of friends as and when they see the ad, and they can further add their comments to it.
Another type of ad which is being planned, is to give gifts. This is a common feature of Facebook, but now instead like flowers etc. one will be able to present advertiser-created gifts to their friends. The gift will be charged on a CPM basis as usual with an additional fee according to the level of targeting.
Yet another manner of advertising will be in the form of an invitation to become a fan of a particular brand, which will help the brand to get new clients, among the young and tech savvy users of social networks. Users will be able to see which of their friends have also befriended that brand.
Other social networks, have not done very well, with ads in the past, but according to Mike Murphy, V.P. of Media Sales at Facebook, that is because social networks are using the same forms of advertising as other traditional sites like Google.
Facebook hopes to succeed, where other social networks have failed, by generating good ad revenues through this new format. It is important to remember however, that Engagement Ads may not work for all advertisers, as there is not much awareness about this system. It may be easier for well known and famous brands to get a clientele, but it will not be easy for the others.