Facebook's game changing new ads system

There have been rumours upon rumours that facebook was going to launch something for musicians soon, and that they were also readying a new advertising system. Today it turned out that not only were they doing both, but both are part of the same strategy.

Announced by Leah Perlman on the Facebook blog, facebook’s new ads system breaks down into two parts:

  • “Brands” can now create Facebook Pages, which combine some of the functionality of a personal profile with that of a group. For “brand” you can also read company, artist, campaign, or nearly anything else that might want to advertise.
  • “Social Ads” allow Facebook to target ads at people based on their friends’ activities. So if I were to make a certain purchase, mark myself a fan of a band, or rent a given DVD, and facebook knows about it, facebook could tell my friends about that and sell them a related product.

David Emery was quick to write up some thoughts on how this development could impact and help bands. While the immediate option to create a clear presence for something people might be “passionate about” is clearly significant, he’s absolutely right that it’s the “Social Ads” that have the potential to truly change the social advertising game as they leverage data more completely than has been done before. The intrusive possibility of them is potentially quite scary and as clear leaders in the field, we can only hope that facebook are making privacy central to this new approach.

Every band and every campaign really ought to be headed over right now to set up their Facebook Page and ensure they get their preferred name. However functional this turns out to be, it’s highly likely that it’ll be worth the effort. It’s not yet clear how the Social Ads side will work, or what it will cost, but it’s also probably a good idea to start thinking about how you might use it. What might your fans/supporters do that it would be good to tell their friends about? What might make your events or other activities compelling as a social activity? They’re not new questions, but this announcement ought to bring them into new focus.

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