Facebook’s Tim Kendall: What Works in Social Advertising

Facebook is tweaking its approach to advertising, given the realities of what’s effective in social media, according to Facebook Director of Monetization Tim Kendall, who was speaking at TargusInfo’s Online Lead Quality Summit last week in Las Vegas. The problem is people who are visiting social networks are not explicitly in “consideration mode,” he noted.

For instance, “we targeted fans of ‘the Washington Redskins,’ ” said Kendall. “It really wasn’t a good way to reach a consumer.” What happened is that Facebook and its advertisers fell into the classic trip of trying to “transpose” a search campaign. And that ends up disappointing everyone.

“People have a very high commercial intent when they are making a search,” Kendall said. But they have very low commercial intent when using Facebook. “Eighty-four percent of social campaigns don’t measure ROI.” It is also a challenge to scale social content.

But there is still a great deal of potential with social media –including local applications.  “It is compelling because it is about your friends,” said Kendall. “It is directory utility consumption. What is better than a friend saying, I’m going to a movie?” he said.

For a social campaign, what Facebook has learned is that it is more effective to switch the query target to a people or subject target. Or instead of using a term such as “digital camera,” use “photography.”

Ultimately, Kendall suggests the scale issues will be met by the broader uses of Facebook outside the Facebook URL. “The experience might be less defined by Facebook.com,” he says. “With Facebook Connect, there are more mechanisms, more social opportunities.  Facebook might be an application that goes across the Web.”

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