Rich Young “Friend,” Will You Engage? Please!

Jeremiah Owyang, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research summarizes the latest “revolution in advertising” from Facebook.

Facebook launched a new product called ‘Engagement Advertisements’ that encourages members to interact with the ads by leaving comments, sharing virtual gifts, or becoming fans. To combat dismal click through rates of traditional advertisements, these features emulate widgets and encourage users to increase member adoption, viral growth, and brand interaction. Brands will only succeed with these “WidgetAds” if they create content that puts community first, lean on new interactions, integrate with other tools, plan for the long haul, and change how they measure success –traditional internet advertising tactics won’t apply.

I like how Owyang breaks it down. But putting the community first will be tricky for most brands to pull off–they’re simply unaccustomed to such things. Once upon a time, in the not too distant past, they got to put themselves first. And old habits die hard.
CNET News’ Caroline McCarthy thinks there might be some victories but also some PR gaffes waiting in the wings, as there was the last time Facebook introduced a shiny new ad thing.

…what Facebook calls “engagement ads” won’t be the magical cure, because it simply won’t work for most advertisers. Rather, it’s a niche option that will probably lead to very successful campaigns for some brands–and high-profile blunders for others.

I do like the commenting on ads part of this program. Although I believe the idea is pretty chilling to most ad people and clients. Hopefully, this kind of interaction with the audience leads to high quality learning and better work, long term (well after the egos mend).



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.