Speechless? It's only natural
After a cryptic announcement two weeks ago, yesterday Facebook unveiled its online advertising ambitions.
The model was dubbed "social advertising" and is a combination of three components, using member relationships to facilitate word-of-mouth marketing, reports The New York Times.
One part of the plan enables brands to create pages for free, which can then be added as friends of regular users.
Users can add these pages as friends, thereby endorsing brands they like, or share items they recently purchased, which then appear in their friends' news feeds.
While the branded pages are free, companies can also buy banner ads that appear under feed items, with links to their profiles.
Brands have long attempted to build their own profile pages on Facebook, with no success getting past identity moderators.
The next part of the new offering lets advertisers mine user data in order to display ads related to interests, location or other information. Advertisers only have access to information members opt to share.
Zuckerberg explained the model was intended to make the site feel "less commercial," as ad messages are disseminated mainly as personal endorsements between friends.
The final component is an analytics feature. Advertisers may track who is clicking on what, then analyze how people interact with the pages they create.
The new program goes live today. As of yesterday, 60 advertisers were registered participants. And last night, 100,000 profiles were built promoting products, services and bands.
Facebook's announcement comes just one day after social network market leader MySpace unveiled its own set of advertising improvements.
The MySpace model enables users to build and proffer their own banner ads — either to friends, or demographically-targeted users.