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Responses to Facebook Forays into Experimental Advertising

Backstory: On November 11th, the Wall Street Journal has an article that says Facebook still isn’t selling ads like MySpace, despite surpassing their market share. It’s interesting, and compares formats of online advertising that are now considered traditional with more novel ideas like Facebook’s engagement ads.

Wired and cnet were, of course, among those to respond to the the WSJ article. All three articles quoted industry & media research people, like eMarketer, Forrester, etc. But here’s the part I want to talk about…Wired takes a quote from the AdAge interview with Ted McConnell, who heads up Proctor & Gamble’s interactive marketing and innovation operations.

“What in heaven’s name made you think you could monetize the real estate in which somebody is breaking up with their girlfriend?”

The piece on McConnell is wonderful, read it; it shows that he’s very conscious of the potential value of demographic targeting on sites with user generated content. But he identifies as a consumer advocate, and suggests that the propriety of monetizing media is dependent on who creates it and why. It bears consideration; I’m really interested in how to do online marketing in ways that satisfy both consumers and advertisers. I feel that way because advertising is core to the business model of many free web-based apps that I’m crazy about.

So, take McConnell’s example. How, in heaven’s name could you think about monetizing the real estate where someone’s breaking up with his girlfriend.

A couple ideas:
Puffs (P&G tissue brand) a sad story contest. prize = a vacation for one.
iTunes or Amazon solicits user created breakup mixes

What do you think? Worst / most heartless ideas you’ve ever heard? Am I awful for thinking that would be funny? You see any fun opportunities given this difficult hypothetical?

WSJ : Facebook Tries to Woo Marketers
Advertising Age : P&G Digital Guru Not Sure Marketers Belong on Facebook
Wired : Facebook Ads Not Dead Yet

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One Response to "Responses to Facebook Forays into Experimental Advertising"

  • Susan Weinschenk
    November 24, 2008 - 2:18 am Reply

    McConnell makes an interesting point, but I love the idea you raise of user created breakup mixes. My daughter regularly puts together music mixes like that for friends. And facebook is not just about break-ups… there’s lots going on there. I’m surprised to find out the ad revenue is less.


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