Facebook's controversial Ad platform should start to create some steam again. Megan McCarthy at Epicenter posted Facebook Ads Make You the Star -- And You May Not Know It, confronting a part of Facebook Ads called Social Ads, which only recently began to be deployed. Facebook's 'Beacon' feature, where a recent purchase of hemmoroid cream might suddenly be broadcast to your friend network (Billy just bought an extra large tube of Preparation H) has been flogged to a bloody pulp by just about everybody. But Social Ads, writes McCarthy, have flown largely under the radar:
Almost overlooked in the Beacon hubbub were the new display advertisements dubbed "Social Ads." These ads, bought by participating businesses, insert your name and profile picture directly into their pitches. Based on anecdotal evidence, the ads started to roll out right before the holidays.
According to Facebook, a user has to take a "social action" in order to trigger the appearance of their name and picture in an advertisement. According to Facebook spokesperson Brandee Barker, that could be almost any activity that the user does on Facebook, "such as the download of an application and the acceptance of a friend request." It could also include becoming a "fan" of a business by clicking a link on that company's Facebook page. But are Facebook users aware of the results of their so-called social actions?
Good question. Awareness will certainly increase when actual people and their pics begin showing up on the ads. My fear is that I inadvertently download an application after being inadvertently spammed by a network friend, and then become a spokesman for some stupid, worthless app that has no other purpose beyond trying to replicate itself like furbies in a Star Trek Enterprise food storage bin (ask a Trekkie). Beacon was a disaster from the start. It blows my mind that Facebook management had nary a clue that there would be blowback of biblical proportions on that one.
But I believe Social Ads have an opportunity to gain wider acceptance ... if Facebook and its advertisers take every effort to be completely up front, and tread carefully ... and hey, here's a thought, give some type of incentive to folks who help hawk your product. With all the flamethrowing about advertising in general, we all buy and use stuff. And we all have favorite stuff. And I think a lot of people are more than happy to tell their friends - or just about anyone - about great products and services they discover and use. So in the spirit of being a Passionate Consumer, I will gladly shout out my passion for Coke Zero. With pictures. And Coke folks, if you read this, you have my permission to use these pictures and my name to promote your product. All I ask in return is that you visit my other blog, OceanOfIdeas, and take a look at my idea for a new Coke product line, called Coke Zip (it's Zero with extra caffeine and natural supplements, like genseng). The idea happens to be the top rated innovation submition the open idea forum at Fellowforce.com, an Open Innovation platform I'm involved with. Ok, here we go:
1) fridge stocked with Zero 2) enjoying my 4th Zero of the day 3) empty Zero cans for recycling