This Was Facebook’s Ad Pitch Eight Years AgoBy: Josh Wolford - August 20, 2012
Remember the Facebook of old? There were no Timelines, no FarmVille requests, not even a news feed. It was powered by wall posts after hazy nights of college binge drinking and coy inside jokes about random hookups with complete strangers. Six or seven years ago, Facebook really was the college experience online.
But just a little bit before that – before Facebook became the nationwide dorm room phenomenon, it was a little more selective. In the first half of 2004, Facebook was only available for a couple dozen colleges, a third of which were Ivy League. And in that period between launch and full expansion, former Facebook CFO Eduardo Saverin went to New York City to sell ads.
DigiDay got their hands on an original media kit used by Saverin back in 2004 to sell ad space on what was then known as thefacebook.com. The package boasts of Facebook’s growing numbers (70,000 users!) and their potential for quick expansion. It also markets Facebook as the “new college addiction,” quoting the March 5th issue of the Stanford Daily:
Classes are being skipped. Work is being ignored. Students are spending hours in front of the computer in utter fascination.
“There are 15 million college student in the United States,” says one page of the kit. “With an estimated purchasing power that exceeds $85 billion, college students have money in their pockets for your services and products. This year they will spend $21 billion on restaurants and food, $9 billion on automobiles, $5 billion on clothes, $4 billion on phones and $46 billion on other amenities.”
Although Facebook is mostly trying to sell banner ads here, you can already see that they are pushing the giant trove of personal information they have at their disposal. They highlight targeted advertising, which they say can nail down a user based on major, fraternity or sorority, age, gender, sexual orientation, relationship status, political views, and more.
Although the ad offerings have diversified, a lot of what’s in this packet would be applicable to Facebook’s pitch today. Just up the 70,000 user mark to 950,000,000 and it’s basically the same argument: Look at all of these people that you can taget based on a massive amount of personal data. This is just a fascinating look into the early days of one of the biggest online properties in the world.