Facebook’s New Face

During Ad Tech this week, Facebook finally unveiled their new ad serving system. Although the hype has been intense over the last few weeks (with some in the industry speculating that it could take on Goolge’s AdSense), the new model isn’t overly revolutionary.

Prior to getting into a brief analysis, here are the three new components of the model:

1) Free Brand Profile Pages – until now, brands have only had two major advertising options on Facebook; sponsored group pages and applications. Facebook is now allowing brands to create their own profile pages for free. They will have the ability to post on their own wall, upload pictures and movies and provide applications for distribution. Others will have the option to make the brand their friend so they can receive updates just like any other user.

On the announcement yesterday, 100,000 brand pages were launched on the site.

2) Social Ads and Facebook Beacon – “Facebook Beacon” is the most interesting component of the new model. Through a comprehensive partnership with a number of high-profile sites (Ebay, Sony Entertainment, Blockbuster, CBS), Facebook is now importing user date while they visit other sites to the news feed.

For example, let’s say that you’ve gone from Facebook to Ebay. You’re selling an item and you want to see if anyone has bid on it. With Facebook Beacon, your actions will be listed in the Facebook news feed so all your friends will know that you’ve gone to check out a certain item on Ebay.

Similarly, if you upload a new video to ExpoTV, your Facebook friends will get to see it in their feeds, increasing the chances that more people will view it. (That and the fact that the featured site will also be featured in the feed).

3) Enhanced Analytics – Perhaps the most sought after part for advertisers is the news that they will have access to the vast amounts of data that users upload about themselves (with their permission of course). Targeted executions will be based on interests, demographics and other information that users upload.

As well, Facebook will now allow brands to see how users are interacting with their ads after they click on them – ie. Where they are going afterwards, what pages they are clicking on, etc.

This new model is very attractive to advertisers but what about the users? Are people going to like the option of having their actions tracked and posted to the Facebook news feed?

Moreover, are many people going to want to be “friends” with brands they like? And how about the ones that they don’t? What are their walls / tagged photo’s going to look like?

Many questions remain but one answer seems clear – Facebook’s revenue is going to go up from the $150 million it made last year.

Some links on the release:
Facebooks Official Press Release
Marketing Vox article on the details
Excellent Mashable review of the model
Madison Avenue reaction (from Valleywag)

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