by Brian Solis
Mark Zuckerberg knows how to work a crowd, and in this case, the world is watching.
Today in New York, Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of the white hot social network, Facebook rolled out the company’s new Social Ad platform, which is just about anywhere and everywhere you look online at the moment.
What are Social Ads?
Social Ads combine the leverage of profiles and their friends (the social graph) with the visibility and influence of individual user News Feeds (influence within the social graph).
Facebook now gives advertisers the ability to create their own profile pages on its system that will let people identify themselves as fans of a brand or product. In turn, the news feed on their profile will then showcase “Brian Solis is now a fan of Coca Cola.”
If I have this correctly, then my friends could also feature ads by Coca Cola in the banner space around their profile with my picture above the ad.
According to Zuckerberg, “Nothing influences a person more than the recommendation of a trusted friend.”
Forrester’s Jeremiah Owyang, Shar VanBoskirk and Charlene Li agree. According to their research, 83% of consumers polled place the greatest amount of trust in their peers for referrals to products and services.
Facebook will also allow advertisers to tap into the vast stores of data that its users provide. They can display ads limited to people with certain interests, location, political views, favorite media, education and relationship status.
Many people are crying that this is a violation of privacy and that this turns regular people into brand spokespersons, inadvertently. I argue that the only people responsible for becoming brand evangelists are those who choose to “befriend” the brands that I’m sure will eventually pollute the network. Brands aren’t forcing their way onto the NewsFeed, people choose to bring them into their profile and in turn their network of friends.
Judging by the prospective invasiveness that might occur between people and their trusted network of friends, they may be a bit reluctant initially (and hopefully for the long term) to inject ads into the social river.
Facebook’s Social Ads will suck or succeed based on how we the people embrace it within our own social graph