social advertising

Years ago the holy grail of advertising was to take every bit and byte you could record about a person’s behavior, demographics, characteristics, and needs and use them to your advantage to serve advertisements that resonated with a unique individual. Your goal was to know or closely guess what they wanted to see. A lot of science and a bit of art. That was then.

But gathering that kind of data and developing the various advertising models and horsepower to digest and present it effectively is a laborious and extremely complex task. Enter Google and others with an offering of contextual content advertisements that could (Ad)sense the content on the page and serve ads related to the topic or keywords present. The digital world went nuts and bloggers came out of the woodworks to take advantage of this new advertising model where little real work was involved but the money would come rolling in based on clicks and impressions (well, if you had something profound to say). That was a more recent then.

But how does that model work in a community-oriented, web 2.0 world if at all? Enter Facebook whose SocialAds model is the newest and hottest kid on the advertising block. If you think about it, this model isn’t much different than what we did before. Gather a ton of data on visitors as the interact with each other and the site within the community and use that data to serve relevant ads to them as they move around. More behavioral data equals more money right? Well, as we’ve seen with Facebook that’s not necessarily the case. Now let’s take it a step further. Facebook’s advertising platform - the SocialAds Network - gathers all this data which it then cookies you with. Then as you move around the Internet that data can be used by others to target ads to you. And you wondered by Microsoft invested $240 million in Facebook. They effectively act as the brain - telling other sites about you so they can make decisions on what you see. Will Facebook finally start to make money based on this new network? My belief is that it will if it can prove that it’s effective. And only time will tell.