August 21/22 roundup

On Web Strategy, a post about Facebook’s new “Engagement Advertising” program. It’s based on an interview with Tim Kendall, Director of Monetization at Facebook (which, by the way, is the worst job title in the history of job titles;  the word “monetization” always makes me cringe).  What the new program does is allow for users to comment, purchase virtual brand-related gifts, become fans of certain ads and brands.  You might wonder why someone would want to do that.  It all depends on the nature of the ads.  From the post “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’ve heard this referred to as social ads (except Facebook seems to define social ads in the 3rd party realm – see below), and has been described as organic.  Basically, people are engaging with products and services all the time, talking about what they like and don’t like. Word of mouth has always been a very powerful method of advertising.  Now brands are trying to engage word of Web, more or less, by using the social graph on sites like Facebook to encourage conversations, comments, interaction with their brands. The post says that Facebook will offer this to only a few brands at first, then later in the year a more comprehensive rollout.  The post also points out that this is unlike the failed Beacon or what is proposed for Facebook connect, in that it is not a 3rd party strategy – getting data from third parties about users activities and posting to Facebook. There’s also a neat list of Facebook’s “marketing toolset” that would be worth covering in Mass Comm courses: engagement ads, standard ads, social ads, traditional banner graphics, Facebook pages – fan pages, event features, Facebook Connect – like OpenSocial remains to be seen how successful, and Apps (brands become associated with successful ones or even make their own).

Here’s a quickie – Michel Gondry, famous director (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) is directing some new Microsoft commercials starring Jerry Seinfeld.  Not sure how much hipster cred Seinfeld has these days to compete with the Apple ads, as the article states. But, most significant is that agency  Crispin Porter + Bogusky is responsible for the $300 million campaign. They typically know what they are doing, but it’s usually in interactive strategies, not 30-second spots. Look for the ads to start on Sept. 4.

Here’s a good TechCrunch on one of Facebook’s weaknesses, music. I have long said that the only reason that MySpace is still a player is because of the music sites it hosts. For many bands, it is their Web site, and has become an important way to communicate with fans, labels, venues, etc.

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