Facebook capitalises on social marketing

7 Nov 2007

While Facebook is a hugely popular web destination, companies have been wondering how to capitalise on such a large potential market of over 40 million users gathered in one place.

Yesterday Facebook launched a new advertising system that will allow companies to reach their audience through three different channels: by building their own page, using viral marketing, or through a Facebook tool on their own website.

Facebook Social Ads uses viral marketing methods to spread a company’s brand awareness. Coca-Cola has already developed an application called Sprite Sips that lets users create and interact with an animated character that can be shared with friends.

At yesterday’s launch of the new advertising model, Facebook founder Mark Zucherberg said: “For the past 100 years media has been pushed out to people, but now marketers are going to be a part of the conversation.

“And they’re going to do this by using the social graph in the same way our users do.”

Facebook Beacon is using the status updates in combination with users’ shopping habits to create an entirely new form of advertising.

For example, if a site like Emusic.com had a Facebook tool, when a customer purchased an album they would be given the option of alerting Facebook. When their friends logged on they would read something like: “Joe Bloggs has just bought The Killers album from Emusic.com”.

Companies like eBay plan to engage their customers in this way.

Gary Briggs, senior vice-president and chief marketing officer for eBay North America, said: “In a marketplace where trust and reputation are crucial to success, giving sellers the ability to easily alert their network of friends, the people who already know and trust them, to an item for sale has the potential to be a powerful tool.”

By Marie Boran