Yup, what’s old is new again. Facebook, the current face of social media, has finally found a way to capture ad dollars… and lots of ’em. Zuckerberg and co. will soon be unveiling TV-style ads on your newsfeed. They’ll be limited to 15 seconds each, appear once in every 20 newfeed updates (only 5% of your feed experience, Zuckerberg has stressed), and ultimately leverages the fact that there are 88-100 million people logged on during primetime TV hours (think 7:30-10:30 PM) in the U.S. alone. What’s even sweeter music to Facebook’s ears is that the site draws in more 18-24 year olds during these golden hours than any of the four major T.V. networks. Ka-ching.
While the details are still mostly under wraps, there is no doubt whispers of this incoming revolution in online advertising played a part in helping Facebook stocks jump back to its IPO levels: a cool $38/ share. Today, it dropped a smidge to $36.80.
Here’s how it will work:
Advertisers will craft a 15-second piece (the same time limit as current Instagram videos to keep the format familiar), and pay between $1-$2.5 million per day depending on how many viewers they would like to reach out to. For now, they will only be able to target viewers by age and gender- not location and interests, although we bet that’s definitely on the horizon. But Zuckerberg is keen on not messing up. In fact, collaborating with global marketing head, Carolyn Everson, he’s already pushed back the debut date TWICE because he wanted to ensure that this won’t taint the user experience.
Expect high-def videos and easy-to-playback features (how many people are really going to replay a TV ad though? unless we’re also talking Superbowl-caliber commercials). Skeptical about this project already? Zuckerberg would like you to know that one of the things he watches “most closely is the quality of our ads and people’s sentiment around them. We haven’t measured a meaningful drop in satisfaction.”
Key word: meaningful. Time will tell whether users will embrace it, but if history is any indicator, people will grumble and maybe lift a few pitch forks, but then get back to Facebooking as usual. On the other hand, social networking rival Twitter Inc. has already been wining and dining T.V. advertisers after having recently integrated a service that targets promotions to users who tweet about shows they’re watching. Their target: $1 billion in sales by 2014.
Let the ads race begin.
(photo creds to mgdadvertising.com and marketingland.com, respectively).