November 4th, 2007 | 3 MIN READ

Juicy Facebook Rumors - Social Ads & More

Written by author_profile_images Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.

Facebook LogoExpect a huge announcement from Facebook tomorrow about "Social Ads." Recently partnered with Microsoft, Facebook's been sitting on a very large pile of consumer information such as age, political views, favorite movies, college information, marital status and more that lends itself to behavior-targeted ads. Certainly this advertising model has been months in the making.

Depending on the details, there could be some low-cost opportunities for online retailers big and small to market effectively through Facebook. Until tomorrow's big reveal, here is a recap of the Facebook rumors:

Project Pandemic / Mullets

Facebook may be removing "sponsored groups" and replacing them with sponsored pages that might include interactive games or other Facebook applications developed by Facebook itself, rather than third party developers.

Initially, Facebook made the brilliant move to open up its platform to leverage the power of the development community because Facebook understood it couldn't create all the cool apps that were possible by itself. If the rumors that Facebook is developing its own applications to compete with popular third-party applications, this could mean that other emerging platforms like the MySpace development platform and Google's OpenSocial could become even more attractive to third party developers. It might also mean Facebook risks these developers pulling their apps altogether.

Rumor via Venturebeat.

Project Beacon

"What happens in Mexico -- stays in Mexico!" But that can't be said about Facebook if the rumors are true that it's working with third parties to collect data about what you do on sites like Amazon and eBay. Not only that, the activity could even be published in your News Feed and broadcast to friends, and potentially strangers depending on your privacy settings. Mind you, you will be asked for permission at point-of-sale to publish it.

Project Beacon Screenshot

Privacy Settings Screenshot

This will be a bonus for brands and items that people like to show off. I'm thinking collectibles like Threadless tees, sports bobbleheads and perhaps music and concert tickets. I can't imagine someone wanting to broadcast that they bought some DVD recordables and a pencil sharpener, but who knows?

Merchants will receive nothing from Facebook but will get a link back from the News Feed as free advertising, while Facebook retains the user data which can be used to serve targeted "Social Ads." Since this can be a very low cost of advertising for online retailers, perhaps etailers will offer incentives on check-out like "receive 5% off your next order" for sharing the story (but then the advertising isn't so cheap anymore!).

Screenshots and rumor via TechCrunch.

Other Platforms

MySpace is also said to be launching a social ad product very soon. Google also plans to do something similar with its OpenSocial platform. (For the record, Google has been partnered with MySpace for over a year now and has access to its profile data, which most likely will be applied to the Adwords system. Socially-targeted advertising is going to get very interesting).

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