Facebook announced at a press conference on Wednesday that the company would soon be offering “Premium on Facebook” advertising, a package that will include the ability to advertise on users’ homepages, log out screens, and even within their news feeds.
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The package is a last hurrah being pulled out by Facebook in the period leading up to the company’s initial public offering. The advertising package will certainly give advertisers more face time than current sidebar advertising options, but the big news is that these ads will be viewed by mobile Facebook users as well.
When making the announcement, Facebook Vice President of Global Marketing Solutions Carolyn Everson said, “Our vision for marketing is that it is as good as any of the content you and I see on our news feed from a friend or family member.” And that’s because it will occupy equivalent space and positioning within your news feed — “Oh look honey, the Smiths had their baby, Kelly posted her wedding pictures, and, oh! Target is having a sale!”
EMarketer analyst Debra Williamson said this is a major opportunity for Facebook and advertisers alike. “Premium and mobile ads will help Facebook generate more revenue, particularly from big brand advertisers like Walmart (NYSE:WMT) and Macy’s (NYSE:M). Premium will enable advertisers to have a broader reach on Facebook, but they will have to pay for that.” She continued by saying, “Facebook advertising in the past was off to the side. Now Facebook is taking the bold step of putting advertising right in the mix between photos of babies and updates on trips to restaurants.”
The premium service was warmly received by advertisers at the event, especially the mobile advertising aspect. The publication quoted Fab.com’s chief executive Jason Goldbert who said, “Mobile Facebook ads are huge. We’ll be all over this. We’re already seeing more than 40 percent of our daily traffic to Fab from mobile. Being able to reach Facebook mobile users will only increase that.”
Facebook will use an algorithm to decide which users will see which advertisers in their news feeds, an uncertainty that may leave advertisers feeling a little uneasy. Facebook will have to carefully weigh advertising revenue with the risk of running off users with an advertising assault.
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