Forget the Microsoft deal. The real sign of Facebook’s maturity? Its new PR tactics, now featuring announcements of important upcoming announcements and information strategically leaked to highly trafficked blogs.
Such it is that our 23-year-old social overlord’s secret advertising announcement, scheduled for tomorrow in New York, has received more thorough analysis than the federal government’s budget, despite no official confirmation in Zuckerberg’s status.
If even half the speculation proves true, that status might tomorrow read: “Mark is becoming the richest twentysomething in history by helping advertisers know you better than your mom.”
Poking Madison Ave.
We knew something was up in May, when Facebook opened the doors to widget-building with its Facebook developer platform. (Today, I can hardly imagine life without some of these essential widgets, allowing you to throw sheep at friends after turning them into zombies.) Now Facebook is approaching 50 million users and, following the Microsoft deal, is apparently worth nearly $15 billion.
What to do with these friends—making Facebook the number two social site behind MySpace—and a strategic alliance with Microsoft, which desperately chases Google for online ad revenue?
Enter SocialAds, the name that Facebook trademarked in late September, likely for a new advertising service targeting users based on highly personal information such as their age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, relationship status, location and interests.
Mark has sent you a message
Christian rock promoter throwing a singles event in Sarnia? Facebook lets you hit the right masses. Television producer interested in who has your program as a favourite? Facebook gives you a better rating than Nielsen.
Ethics and privacy aside—the subject of future articles, no doubt—Facebook’s move into highly personalized promotion could be no less important than Google’s launch of AdWords about seven years earlier.
Forrester says social marketing will be worth about $10 billion by 2012. So whether you agree with it or not, to reach your target audience, you probably want to add the SocialAds application to your marketing profile.