Sunday, October 28, 2007

Monetizing Facebook

Patrick Ruffini asks, "Could Facebook be the greatest microtargeting engine ever built?" In short, most definitely.

As the NYT observes in an editorial today,

To its users, Facebook is a way to keep up with friends, promulgate a relatively nonfictional online identity, do research, and waste fantastic amounts of time. But to advertisers, it is a universe of self-created focus groups that link more or less virally to other groups.

Specifically, the Times is referring to Facebook's advertising program, Flyers, an updated version of which the company released earlier this week. Like Google AdWords, Flyers allows ad buyers to microtarget their audience by various demographics.

But what makes Flyers so revolutionary is the extraordinary precision it wields. For instance, say you want to target women living in London, age 18-35, who are engaged and like painting. Instead of bothering the 6.5 million Facebookers in the United Kingdom—or even the 1.5 million in London—Flyers allows you to cater to the 140 who meet these exact criteria. Here's the relevant screen shot:

The cost of the ads is entirely up to the buyer: you can pre-set both a maximum price per click and a maximum daily budget.

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