Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Owen van Natta from Facebook presents latest usage statistics and new Facebook Ads advertising platform to IAB Engage 2007 conference

Owen van Natta, Chief Revenue Officer for Facebook flew into London today to make the most eagerly anticipated (and subsequently talked about) presentation of IAB Engage 2007 - presentation of the new Facebook Ads platform.

He started by giving us some stats:

- Now 50 million active Facebook users and 50% use it daily
- 250,000 new users every day, 3% growth each week and Facebook is doubling in size every 6 months
- 40 page views a day for the average user (Facebook has a total of 65 billion page views each month!)
- The UK is the 3rd largest country for Facebook with 7 million users - London is the biggest city network on Facebook
- There are now 80 applications with over 1 million users (iLike had 1 million users just 4 days after launch)

Facebook has managed to tap into trust referrals and word of mouth like no-one else previously. Word of mouth spreads throughout the Facebook network through viral distribution centred around News Feed and Mini Feed.

This highly effective distribution method can be linked to Facebook's ownership of the social graph to provide a highly targeted ad distribution network, and this is the basis of the new Facebook Ads program.

There are three aspects to the new platform:

1. Facebook pages - "Represent your business, band, product and more by creating a distinct and customised profile" - advertisers can build their own pages on Facebook for free. Pages are designed in the same way that user pages are designed. Apps can be installed and all the functionality (Wall, photos etc) is the same. Facebook users cannot befriend advertiser pages but they can 'fan' them.

Since launching last night 100,000 advertiser pages have been created!

2. Social Ads - "Pair your targeted ad with related actions from a users friends"

The paid for element comes through Integrating content into a users feeds. Advertisers are able to upload an ad message and ad image into the Facebook ad system. Subject to a users permission this is combined with a message on the Feed when a user has interacted with an ad page. This would show up as 'Nick just bought a pair of X trainers' combined with a product
image and a product tag line.

This message will then spread virally through your network and encourage others to visit the advertiser page.

3. Insight and Analytics - "Understand who is viewing your page and optimise your targeting / message to hit the right audience"

For example you can specifically target the 240 men on Facebook who are single, vote conservative and went to Oxford University! It has never been possible to target people so precisely and this is what sets apart Facebook's new sell from anything that has gone before it.

Facebook's new ad platform looks amazing. This has the potential to revolutionise online advertising and bring social media to the fore. I'm looking forward to finding out a lot more about it - I might even start an advertiser page for this blog!

For more information see Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/ads/

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