Facebook launches detailed ad opps

Brand pages, social ads, insightful metrics. Blockbuster, Sprite and Travelocity are among the brands using some of the new tricks launched by Facebook. Here's what Mark Zuckerberg told advertisers and marketers in New York yesterday.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the details of the social networking site’s targeted advertising programs at a much-anticipated meeting with 250 marketing and advertising execs in New York yesterday. The Facebook Ads launch includes brand pages, viral ‘social ads’ and an interface that lets marketers gather insights about people’s activity on the platform. And lots of brands and partners have already signed on.

‘For the last hundred years media has been pushed out to people, but now marketers are going to be a part of the conversation,’ says Zuckerberg. ‘And they’re going to do this by using the social graph in the same way our users do.’

Ad messaging will be distributed throughout a person’s ‘social graph’ when he/she engages with an advertiser’s Facebook page. Social ads combine actions from a user’s friends (i.e., buying a product or reviewing a restaurant) with an advertiser’s message, enabling an advertiser to deliver tailored ads to users, including info from their friends (although advertisers do not get identifiable info about individuals). The social ads can appear within news feeds or in the ad space on the left side of the site. The metrics system Facebook Insights is free to all marketers using Facebook pages and social ads. It gives access to data on activity, fan demographics, performance and trends to adjust their content and targeting.

More than 60 major consumer and Internet brand partners were highlighted at the launch – including Blockbuster, CBS, Chase, The Coca-Cola Company, Microsoft, Sony Pictures Television and Verizon Wireless, CondéNet (Epicurious.com and flip.com), Crest Whitestrips, Dove Cream Oils, Herbal Essences, The New York Times and Saturn. More than 100,000 Facebook pages launched yesterday, covering the world’s largest brands, local businesses, organizations and bands.

Facebook also announced that 44 partners are now using Facebook Beacon, which lets users distribute info from other websites with their friends – from posting an item for sale to scoring a high score in an online game or viewing a video. When users who are logged into Facebook visit a participating site, they receive a prompt asking whether to they want to share those activities with their friends on Facebook. Websites and companies participating in Beacon at launch include eBay, Fandango.com, AllPosters.com, Blockbuster, Bluefly.com, CBS Interactive (CBSSports.com & Dotspotter), ExpoTV, Gamefly, Hotwire, Joost, Kiva, Kongregate, LiveJournal, Live Nation, Mercantila, National Basketball Association, NYTimes.com, Overstock.com, (RED), Redlight, SeamlessWeb, Sony Online Entertainment LLC, Sony Pictures, STA Travel, The Knot, TripAdvisor, Travel Ticker, TypePad, viagogo, Vox, Yelp, WeddingChannel.com and Zappos.com. A number of IAC brands, including CollegeHumor, Busted Tees, iWon, Citysearch, Pronto.com and echomusic will also be using Facebook Beacon to share actions taken on participating IAC sites, from concert tickets to restaurant reviews, with friends online.

Several examples of big brands getting in on the viral aspects of Facebook were highlighted. Blockbuster’s new Facebook app, Movie Clique, enables Facebook users to search thousands of movie titles, create lists of movies they want to see and share movie ratings and reviews while staying updated on new movie releases and promotions. Facebook users who are subscribers to Blockbuster’s online rental service get the added benefit of using Movie Clique to rent movies directly from Blockbuster within the Facebook website. Coca-Cola Company will feature its Sprite brand on a new Facebook Page and will invite users to add an application to their account called ‘Sprite Sips,’ which lets people create, configure and interact with an animated Sprite Sips character. For consumers in the US, the experience can be enhanced by entering a PIN code found under the cap of every 20-oz. bottle of Sprite to unlock special features and accessories. As a way to let users tell their Facebook friends about upcoming travel plans, Travelocity is implementing Facebook Beacon on its website. When Facebook users book trips on Travelocity, they can choose to share that information with their friends on Facebook.