Facebook Fallout: The Future of Online Advertising
November 7, 2007, 8:23 pm
Filed under: online advertising | Tags: , ,

Interesting guest column on GigaOm today from Mark Kingdon, the CEO of Organic. I agree with many of his assumptions and I think his view into the life of a 20-something in 2012 is both interesting and accessible for those who might not be familiar with the industry.

A visit to Facebook in 2007 provides another glimpse into what Leah’s life might look like in 2012. She’s spending her time connecting, engaging, documenting, sharing, following, and being followed. She can add and delete on a whim. News, opinions, and recommendations flood in from her friends. Filters are big in her life. She’s not spending her time consuming media (and the advertising that supports it) the way she used to; her content is broken up into smaller pieces, made into applications, and distributed across platforms — sometimes with advertising around it (or in it).

This isn’t revolutionary stuff, if you follow online advertising this is a pretty standard forward looking view. That being said, the post does provide a neat summary for the uninitiated. I think he’s especially on point when he mentions that the “era of impressions-based advertising (lazy man’s marketing) is being replaced by the era of engagement.” What remains to be seen is whether or not Facebook’s new ad products represent the sort of shift that Kingdon is describing. Naturally it will take some time to shake out, but I think Paul Boutin may be right; while the context/demographics/potential of Facebook may be extremely appealing to marketers, FB’s users might not be willing to disrupt their normal routine to make it work.

From a personal standpoint, I’m skeptical. I use Facebook and I’m on the internet all day pushing pixels. I have learned, without the assistance of certain Firefox plug-ins that are a bane to my existence, to essentially block out all traditional display advertising I encounter online. I might notice the ad, but I’m not clicking on it. Average CTRs are way below 1% industry-wide so I’m clearly in the majority here. Frankly, I don’t click on search provided ads either because I’m not an idiot. Sure they’re contextually relevant, but I’m smart enough to know that they’re ads and I’m confident enough in my searching abilities to believe that I’ll find what I’m looking for on my own thank you very much. Facebook users are a lot like me in that they’re generally young, college-educated, and computer/internet savvy. Just because the ads popping up in their newsfeed will be a sort of bastardized personal referral doesn’t mean that these ads will necessarily translate into CTRs and conversions. It’s still an intrusion that will be recognized as such by most FB users who will ignore these new ads just like they (mostly) ignore display and search ads.

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