The Good and the Bad: Three New Advertisement Platforms on Facebook

By Herman Pool
In Marketing
October 1, 2012

Kat / Vertical Axion

Facebook has gotten creative. Since the social media giant went public, they’ve done nothing but lose money. People aren’t clicking on the sidebar ads (no matter how customized they are) and people aren’t buying credits for games like they used to. So what’s the solution? More ads.

But you’re not going to see these ads on the sidebars or on the top of the page. You will, however, see them in your newsfeed. Your friends have become the ad carriers themselves.

Without further ado, here are the three ways you can now advertise on Facebook – and why you probably shouldn’t use them.

Sponsored Likes

As you can see from this picture, there are several “suggested likes” on my sidebar. Several of them are ones that my friends like. One of them even has five likes from my friends, so it makes sense that Facebook thinks I may like it too. But what is this “Love hope and dream”? Why is that popping up if none of my friends like it?

The link has been sponsored. Don’t get me wrong – links that people “like” can also be sponsored. But it’s much more likely the one with no likes from any of my friends is the one that has some money behind it.

Why you shouldn’t use this method: This is probably the least irritating of all of the new ways to advertise, but it’s still invasive when people happen to notice when a suggested like has been sponsored. None of their friends like it – most people will figure out that this ad isn’t a natural one.

Why this method may work for you: If you do choose to advertise with Facebook, this is the gentlest way to do so – and the link doesn’t even say it’s sponsored, like the two examples below. The key to this method is the passiveness. There is no blaring ad in the middle of the page. It’s simple and subtle. It’s also the cheapest ad type Facebook has to offer.




Sponsored Links First in Facebook Search

The screenie above was taken when I searched for “OkCupid”. As you can see, OkCupid does appear on the list, but it’s second to Why, when I searched for OkCupid, did come first? If you look at the top of the window, you see that has been sponsored.

Why you shouldn’t use this method: People don’t use Facebook to look for a new dating site. They search to find something specific. By advertising and placing your sponsored link first, you’re telling a potential customer – who may have come to your site eventually anyway through other means – that you don’t care about the genuine results, only about distracting them from their goal. Sure, sometimes someone may say “yeah, that website looks like a better match for me,” and will click on the sponsored link. But don’t depend on it.

Why you should use this method: In all honesty, there’s no reason Facebook can’t be used as a search engine. What if you wanted to try out a new dating site, but OKCupid was the only one you knew? You wouldn’t have any idea what to search for, so you search for OKCupid and bam – you’ve found an additional site you can try. That site can be yours, and if your Facebook is active, you might even gain a new client that day. Didn’t you notice that has 420,000 likes and OKCupid only has 12,000? This may be due, in part, to Match’s sponsored search result.

Sponsored Ads in Newsfeeds

What this particular screenshot doesn’t show is the fact that right above “Verizon Wireless,” Facebook indicated that 25 of my friends “liked” Verizon Wireless’ Facebook Page. As you can see, this result also says that it is sponsored, and this one even includes a fancy picture of some Verizon products.

Why you shouldn’t use this method: This is invasive and studies show that it’s completely ineffective. As soon as someone sees this on their newsfeed, unsolicited, they scroll right past it. It’s almost like grabbing your mail, glancing quickly at the junk, and tossing it right in the trashcan without a second glance. As a small business, a more personal approach will almost always be more effective: you need to target your reading audience specifically.

Why you should use this method: This ad is in your face and hard to ignore. Even if no one clicks on it or wants to see it, Verizon still got their message across – “we have some cool new products, and you would enjoy them.” They may not be building their audience, per se, but they’re definitely building their recognizeability. That’s almost as important. Besides, 12,000 people liked this ad-  that might be 12,000 people that wouldn’t have even thought of Verizon that day.

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