There is a type of online advertising that has been designed specifically for sites like Facebook. It is referred to as social network advertising. This form of advertising focuses on social networking sites. One of the major benefits of advertising on a site like Facebook is that advertisers are able to take advantage of the users demographic information and target their ads appropriately. For instance, if your profile says that you’re a single Christian, living in Chicago who enjoys reading as a hobby, an advertisement on your wall would likely be for a Singles’ Christian Chicago Book Club. That’s just an example though.
In 2008, eMarkerter predicted that $2 billion would be spent on social network advertising across the world and that this market would continue to grow. They projected that it would reach $3.8 billion in spending by the year 2011, with a majority of it coming from the U.S.. Well here we are now, and although I don’t have the exact numbers as far as spending goes, I can tell you it has definitely grown.
The three major classifications of Social Network Advertising include:
Direct Advertising based on your network of friends: An advertisement or message in your news feed can pop up based on an action your friend has taken. This is the most controversial category as it raises privacy concerns.
Direct Advertising placed on your social networking site: Banner ads pop up on the social networking site. It is more traditional web advertising and minimally effective. These type of ads are also placed by individual developers on their application pages.
Indirect Advertising through Groups or Pages: A company will create a page or group that users can choose to join. It is used to build up fans or subscribers to increase brand awareness, promote a new product or market a contest. It can be a very effective marketing tool because these groups can quickly grow in numbers.
You’ll find a lot of advertising on Facebook now. Some methods you will notice very easily while others may be more subtle, but social network advertising continues to grow whether you “like” it or not.
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